Home » Narwal Freo X Ultra, the test: 5 things that make it different from other robot vacuum cleaners and floor cleaners

Narwal Freo X Ultra, the test: 5 things that make it different from other robot vacuum cleaners and floor cleaners

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Narwal Freo X Ultra, the test: 5 things that make it different from other robot vacuum cleaners and floor cleaners

Narwal Robotics, the company that produces the robot Freo X Ultra just landed in Italy – and which we had the opportunity to try for a month – it is based in China, to be precise in the metropolis where technology is at home: Shenzen.

Narwal was founded in 2016 and has over a thousand employees. The Freo X Ultra is a high-end device for performance and price (949 euros list price). It is a robot characterized by different strengths – compared to the competition – and by some defects to which, overall, we can turn a blind eye.

Design and measurements

The Narwal Freo it’s nice to see. There is no doubt. White, shiny, compact. Right curves in the right places. If Apple made a robot vacuum cleaner/mop, it would probably make it like this. With a minimal design, e a small round touch display on the base station coverwhich allows you to quickly carry out – without needing to connect to the app – five operations: turning on/off, child lock, washing/drying mops, starting/stopping cleaning and recalling/exiting the robot.

Il “child lock”, by the way, is a very clever feature. Prevents a child from accidentally activating the robot. Once inserted, it can be unlocked by pressing a key combination (padlock+recall/exit) for two seconds.

But the new Narwal is not just a feast for the eyes. The robot also makes those who own a small apartment happy, where every centimeter counts. The base station of the Freo

All this without giving up one Generous size of the canisters for clean water and dirty water: both of approximately 4.2 litres, are stored under the cover of the base station, with an airtight seal to prevent dripping when transported to a drain. And also odor-proof (we are obviously talking about those that may derive from the collection of dirty water that was used to wash the two cloths used by the washing robot).

The tray in which the mops are cleaned is well structured, it appears resistant and appears to be leak-proof – during the test period it never gave any problems – but compared to top of the range models from other manufacturers There is no brush dedicated to cleaning it in the package. Washing the tray, in which residues of dirt remain, is an operation that must be done from time to time, so as not to jeopardize the result of washing the mops.

[A proposito dei panni: sono di un bianco lucente anche questi, una scelta coraggiosa che Narwal dice di non aver fatto a caso: la pulizia dei moci è accurata al punto da riuscire a mantenerli immacolati. Dopo diversi lavaggi, in realtà, non appaiono più così bianchi. Ma si ha comunque l’impressione che vengano trattati a dovere].

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Last note on the manufacturer’s choices: the plug of the device that connects to the electrical socket is not a Schuko – which characterizes the vast majority of household appliances, including robot vacuum cleaners – but a Eurospina that is easier to manage.

The dust compromise

The compact design requires a compromise. In fact, there is space in the Freo X Ultra base station only for water and detergent tanks.

[Piccola parentesi: un flacone è già incluso all’acquisto del robot, si mette a testa in giù e si fissa in modo che una piccola quantità di detersivo venga aggiunta all’acqua per il lavaggio dei pavimenti. Ma il limite è che non c’è modo di riutilizzare il flacone con un qualsiasi altro detergente, dunque ne va acquistato uno ufficiale sul sito Narwal (930ml a 19,90 euro)].

The space of the base station, as we were saying, goes entirely into tanks and detergent, and therefore the dust is forced to remain in the body of the actual robot.

But Narwal claims to have developed technology capable of compress the powder in the bag extremely, so that it can remain in place for seven weeks before being replaced. We used the robot almost every day for a month, and in fact there is still room for crumbs, hair and various dirt because there was no need to change the first bag installed. The compression operation is underlined by the noise that the robot produces when it returns to the base, typical of emptying (in the models that allow it): in the case of the Freo X Ultra the air jet probably compresses the dust in the bag.

In the Freo X Ultra package there are everything three disposable bags (with filter included), for a total – on paper, and based on frequency of use – of 21 months. It’s almost two years, it’s not bad. And in any case, in extreme cases, it is also foreseen the classic plastic tray that can be emptied and reused.

We really appreciated this double option, for reasons of cost containment. Self-emptying in the base station, a feature common to many top-of-the-range cleaning robots, represents a significant advantage in the long term. But those who need space might prefer the Freo X Ultra. It must also be said that disposable bags have a negligible cost in the store (13.99 euros for a pack of 3 bags).

Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that there are top of the range products on the market such as the Dyson 360 Vis Nav which at the price of 1299 euros only provide the traditional plastic tray which must be emptied manually for dust and dirt.

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The brush team

The main brush of the new Narwal, that anti-tangle roller, is well designed and does its duty in areas, such as the bathroom, where there is often hair (in the case of the house where it was tested, even very long hair). The Freo X Ultra on test did not have to deal with pet hair. This is an aspect we had to research: the reviews published by foreign media praise the ability of the roller brush to manage the hair of cats and dogs.

We liked them the double side brushes, present on both sides of the robot in the front area. We find that this arrangement is more effective at conveying dirt towards the suction nozzle. Many other robot vacuum cleaners, however, offer only one brush on one side.

The power of silence

The declared power 8.200 Pa it is worthy of a top of the range and the best robots around. There are four suction modes: silent, normal, loud and super powerful. The first two modes, in particular, are sufficient to remove the most obvious dirt – the classic crumbs near the table at the end of the meal, so to speak – with a reduced noise compared to other robots we have tried. The strong and super strong modes are far too powerful if you use the robot with some continuity. They can be useful in the presence of carpets.

Still on the noise front, it was pleasant to note that the drying of the clothes, after the floor washing operation, takes place in complete silence. And it’s fast enough too. Every time the clothes were dried to perfection and from the base that houses them, where they are surrounded by a temperature of around 40 degrees, no bad smell has ever escaped.

About the mops: they spin at 180 RPM and exert a pressure of 12 Newtons on the floor (10N, so to speak, is the force needed to lift a book). You can choose a more or less humid wash: everything can be set via the app. We tried the floor cleaning function on both parquet and porcelain stoneware and in both cases it gave excellent results.

In washing the limit is the emptying of dirty water and the refilling that the robot performs perhaps too frequent. If the robot operates alone, while we are away from home for example, it is not a problem. But if we work at home, this operation can be quite long and, in some cases, a hindrance if we need to move around the various rooms.

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The artist of curves

The navigation of the Freo X Ultra is good and what impresses is the perfection of the curves that it draws around objects or the legs of the table and chairs, for example, managing to vacuum even the most complex points. When it enters floor function mode, however, the robot, in addition to carrying out the standard steps, also makes forward and backward movements to clean as best as possible. In some cases it even makes you smile: the robot in fact the “b side” comes to the heart for a more thorough cleaning.

A flaw, however, is represented by the fact that often the robot does not recognize the cables on the floor, such as those for example of floor lamps or those of smartphone chargers. Other top-of-the-line devices we’ve tried do this better. In short, the “vision” of the new Narwal, from this point of view, seems to be a bit limited.

Overall, however, the robot’s artificial intelligence works well and almost always understands which points on the floor require more suction power or passages. All this happens if we start from the app cleaning in “Free Mode” modewhich recognizes dirt and adapts to it.

[A proposito della app: è facile da usare, permette di mappare un appartamento in pochi minuti al primo avvio (un ambiente di 40 mq in 3 minuti, per esempio) e permette di impostare attività rapide che prevedono solo aspirazione oppure solo lavaggio in tutta la casa o solo in alcune stanze. Oltre, ovviamente, alla programmazione della pulizia].

On the negative side, we were struck by itlimited compatibility of the robot with wi-fi routers. The Narwal Freo X Ultra only connects to Wi-Fi that can guarantee a 2.4GHz signal and this must be taken into account before purchasing. You need to check the characteristics of your home network, or take into account that it will be essential to purchase an appropriate modem/router. However, an update could arrive in the future that extends the robot’s compatibility.

Ultimately, what we liked:

The design

The compact measurements

The thoroughness of cleaning

The silence

The super brushes

The children’s block

What we didn’t like:

The poor ability to recognize cables on the floor

Limited compatibility with wi-fi

The frequent return to the base in floor cleaning mode

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