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Neato XV-21 Robot Vacuum Review

The first Neato (XV-11) was released in 2010 and was one of the first wave of robot vacuums that used intelligent mapping. At the time, most of the  robot vacuums randomly moved around the floor. Cleaning took longer and there was no real guarantee that the job was done satisfactorily. The XV-11 sported a laser guidance system which resulted in a faster and more systematic approach to cleaning. The XV-21 continues this tradition and comes with a “state-of-the-art laser eye”.

Neato’s eye scans the surrounding area approximately 5 times per second. The mapping capabilities enable the unit to navigate around obstacles (e.g. chairs) with ease. This was confirmed during testing as the unit was able to navigate successfully around regular household objects such as toys, chairs and coffee tables.

The dirt bin is on the top of the unit and comes out quiet easily. Cleaning is also a breeze. It would have been nice to get a HEPA grade filter but the pets and allergy one seemed to do a good enough job anyway.

Battery charge isn’t a problem, the XV-21 returns to base to recharge as required. With the intelligent mapping the unit can remember where it stopped so that it can resume from the same spot.

Probably the most greatest thing about the Neato was the inclusion of a USB port for user managed updates. Neato owners can update to the latest version of the firmware without having to get the service department involved.

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Vacuum Specs (from Neato)

Navigation System Laser Distance Sensor & SLAM (simultaneous localisation & mapping) or Room Positioning System
Auto Homing & Charging Yes
Virtual Guard Yes
Obstacle SensorYes
Bumper SensorBoundary Markers (1.5m/6’ standard inclusion)
Cliff SensorYes
Anti-tangle SensorYes
Speed24cm/second
BatteryNiMH
Bin Capacity0.6L
Cleaning ModesQuick Start, Spot Clean, Scheduled,Weekly Schedule
Noise Level (IEC) 74.5dB
Charging Time 2-3 hours
Cleaning Time 40-90 minutes
Side Brush N/A due to square front design
Pet Hair Care As standard Feature
Dimensions 33cm(13”) width, 32cm(12.5”) length,10cm(4”) height

Final Thoughts

The XV-11 was never a quiet vacuum and the XV-21 is no different. They both sound like jet engines and you certainly can’t watch TV or have a conversation with it buzzing around in the background. However, the new bristle and blade combo brush on the XV-21 does make less noise than the old XV-11 plastic blade brush. The 7-day scheduler makes the noise level a non event as well by scheduling the clean when you are usually out of the house.

Neato still haven’t included a HEPA grade dust filter in their units. It wouldn’t have taken much for them to make this change, possibly a future upgrade? Similarly, the lack of side brushes does make it difficult to clean wall edges and corners properly. This isn’t entirely a bad thing either as I find the side brushes on the LG RoboKing tend to be a cable magnet.

That said, this is a great little robot vacuum. The laser mapping system ensures that each room gets a thorough clean in the most time efficient manner.  The extra height and square edge means that it doesn’t get stuck trying to get under couches. Other brands tend to taper around the edges and can cause them to get wedged trying to get under furniture.

Overall, the Neato XV-21 is a standout unit and deserves to be compared to the best of them. I used the older Neato XV-11 and the new LG RoboKing Square during the review and the XV-21 performed extremely well against them.

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