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Test and experience report, Dreame A1 robotic lawnmower

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Test and experience report, Dreame A1 robotic lawnmower

After Ecovacs, Dreame has now launched its first robotic lawnmower, the A1.

Like the Ecovacs model, the A1 also does not have a boundary wire. The Dreame A1 goes even further! This also does without beacons or other external sensors, but only relies on a very complex LiDAR 3D sensor system for navigation.

According to Dreame, this should allow navigation accuracy of up to 1cm, which sounds almost unbelievable!

But how well does this work in practice? Can it really work that reliably? Many other robotic lawnmowers without boundary cables have mostly failed in practice.

Let’s examine this question in a test!

At this point, many thanks to Dreame for providing the A1 for this test.

Der Dreame Roboticmower A1 in Test

Dreame advertises the A1 with an area performance of up to 2000 m². Accordingly, we already have a slightly larger robotic lawnmower in front of us.

However, it seems much more compact than it actually is. The gray “high-gloss” design with the Roboticmower A1 lettering on the side reminds me more of a racing car than a classic robotic lawnmower.

The A1 also appears significantly more streamlined than the GOAT G1-2000 from Ecovacs or the Husqvarna 315X.

In short, I think the mower is very stylish! However, we have to be honest, it is a “tool” and the high-gloss plastic in particular will scratch over time.

As far as the general build quality is concerned, the Dreame A1 looks convincing. The Husqvarna 315X may seem a bit more robust in direct comparison, but there is nothing to complain about here.

It’s just that the A1 isn’t easy to grip. A suitable trough at the rear end is missing here. You can pack this under the plastic cover, but it seems a bit “unstable”.

The A1’s charging station is comparatively simple. This has a long cable and a weatherproof power supply.

The most exciting thing is a small brush on the top that cleans the LIDAR sensor when entering.

No boundary wires and no beacons

99% of all robotic lawnmowers on the market use boundary cables, which you have to lay around your lawn.

The ECOVACS GOAT G1 ​​was one of the first robotic lawnmowers to dispense with this cable. Instead, it navigates with cameras and beacons, which you have to distribute in your garden.

The Dreame A1 even does without these beacons! Instead, this uses a LiDAR 3D sensor.

Accordingly, you don’t have to install or set up anything else in your garden apart from the charging station! Set up the charging station and off you go.

In terms of cables, there is only the power cable to the charging station.

app or display

The A1 is controlled either via the smartphone app or via the display and the buttons on the top.

Here we find 4 control buttons as well as a rotary wheel.

The setup, a virtual boundary wire

After starting the robotic lawnmower, you first have to set a PIN. This happens directly on the robotic lawnmower. It then sends you to the smartphone app.

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Both WiFi and Bluetooth are built into the Dreame A1. The app first establishes a connection via Bluetooth and uses this connection to then integrate the mower into your WiFi.

IMPORTANT! A WiFi network must be available at the charging station.

You then use this to create a virtual boundary wire. You control the mower directly with your smartphone (this is used as a remote control) along the border of your lawn.

This way you frame your lawn and the robotic lawnmower will not exceed this limit.

You can then also set no go zones. It’s not a problem if WiFi isn’t available in all parts of your garden.

Once you’ve driven around your garden, you’re already done setting it up!

App

The Dreame A1 uses the Dreamehome app. This makes a very good and high-quality impression.

There you can see a map of your garden, start the robotic lawnmower, send it home, edit the map, create new zones, etc.

Of course, you can also create a schedule and be informed when the mower gets stuck, is finished, etc.

In straight paths through your garden

Most robotic lawnmowers with boundary wires drive randomly through your garden. That means they drive all over the place and hope to reach all the places over time.

This principle works in itself, but it can take time!

The Dreame A1, on the other hand, drives in straight paths through your garden. After the start, it looks for a certain section and then drives back and forth there in an orderly manner.

Similar to current vacuum robots, the A1 also remembers where it has been, where it has left out, etc. This means it has very good coverage of the garden and does not forget individual areas.

In my experience, the A1’s navigation works surprisingly well! This seems very safe and even if it misses a spot at first, it returns to that spot reliably.

My garden is relatively cluttered with a garden table, and my dogs have messed up the lawn a bit. So this one is anything but smooth.

But the A1 handled this much better than I would have expected. So yes the navigation works really well.

3D Map of the Dream A1

So far, I haven’t had a single incident where the mower got lost or exceeded the virtual limit. The virtual limit is really kept to a few cm. The mower seems to tend to stay carefully within the boundary rather than overshoot it.

In short, I’m really happy with the navigation.

Time saving!

By driving specifically from my garden, the A1 also travels very quickly. It takes about 1 hour to mow my front garden, which means it is +- just as fast as the ECOVACS GOAT G1-2000.

For comparison, the Husqvarna 315X requires approx. 6-8 hours for good mowing (3-4 hours mowing, 3-4 hours charging).

Obstacle avoidance: good, but not perfect either

Like almost every robotic lawnmower, the Dreame A1 also has a flexible bumper. If this comes into contact with a solid object, the mower turns or stops.

However, the A1 also uses its LIDAR sensor to detect and avoid obstacles. In the app you can choose what size of obstacles the robotic lawnmower should pay attention to.

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over 10 cm over 15 cm over 20 cm

The larger steps primarily make sense if you have taller grass or individual blades that stick up.

The Dreame A1 also avoids larger obstacles, such as flower pots, etc., very reliably. Here the mower completely avoids contact with the obstacle.

Smaller or flatter obstacles are usually detected and avoided without contact, but not always. But as soon as the A1 touches the obstacle with its bumper, it naturally turns away and remembers that something was there and approaches this area more carefully as it continues to drive.

Obstacles such as garden chairs and sun loungers do not cause any major problems for the A1. He then leaves out the area accordingly, but tries to mow around the objects as best as possible.

So an unexpected obstacle doesn’t upset the Dreame A1, as could happen, for example, with the earlier Bosch robotic lawnmowers.

Accordingly, obstacle avoidance is also better than on the Husqvarna 315X, which has to rely solely on its bumper to detect obstacles and animals.

However, in a direct comparison, the object detection of the ECOVACS GOAT G1-2000 is a touch more reliable. Not surprising, because it also has a front camera.

Nevertheless, the A1 has not stalled or gotten stuck once on dozens of trips! Impressive!

Update: After I wrote this, the A1 managed to get caught under a garden chair. However, this doesn’t change my point that the obstacle avoidance is good, significantly better than all the Husqvarna and Gardena models that I’ve had my hands on so far.

Off-road capability

My garden is on a slight slope and because of my dogs the rest is partly in a wild state, with deep tracks.

In addition, my garden is separated by a garden house in the middle and has various raised beds, etc.

The Dreame A1 copes well with this!

In principle, the A1 should be able to handle up to 45 degrees. I believe that the robotic lawnmower can do this if it is on a consistent slope.

However, especially when it has to turn on an incline, it has a harder time than the ECOVACS GOAT G1-2000 or the Husqvarna 315X.

Therefore I would say yes, the Dreame A1 is good “off-road” but a little worse than my two comparison models.

Cutting height digitally adjustable

With the Dreame A1 you can adjust the cutting height between 3 cm and 7 cm via the app or the display. This is unusual because robotic lawnmowers usually have a physical rotary wheel for this purpose.

This means the A1 has an additional motor that can move the cutting plate up and down.

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How well does the A1 mow?

In principle, the Dreame A1 uses the same cutting principle as the robotic lawnmowers from Husqvarna, Gardena, ECOVACS and Co.

We have three small “razors” which are movably mounted on a disc that rotates.

At first glance this may seem a bit ridiculous, especially compared to the large blades on “real” lawnmowers. But my experience clearly shows that this structure works very well!

Sure, the robotic lawnmower isn’t ideal for knee-high grass, but that’s not what a robotic lawnmower is designed for. These are intended/made to keep your grass at a good height.

And the Dreame A1 does this with absolutely no problem!

Thanks to the sharp knives, we have a very clean cut, which is also very even.

So don’t worry about the cutting performance as long as you don’t let the grass get too long (from 10 cm onwards it starts to become difficult for the mower).

Test result for Dreame A1

With the A1, Dreame has a really impressive robotic lawnmower. The most important thing here is the navigation, which worked perfectly for me in the garden and in the test!

All this without boundary wires, beacons and other aids. Still, the navigation is much, much better than I expected! Even if you put the mower somewhere else, it will always find its position.

He also sticks very closely to the virtual boundary wire and works through my garden very reliably and quickly.

Similar to a good vacuum robot, it creates a map of your garden and works through it piece by piece in straight paths.

The robotic lawnmower also uses its 3D LIDAR sensor for obstacle detection. This means it can recognize obstacles and avoid them without contact. This doesn’t always work 100%, but most of the time! If we compare this with classic robotic lawnmowers, which have no obstacle detection apart from the movable bumper, this is a huge advantage. The ECOVACS tends to make obstacle avoidance a little better.

The cutting performance of the Dreame A1 is good, on par with other robotic lawnmowers in its class, and the noise level is also pleasantly low.

I can therefore recommend the Dreame A1 with a clear conscience! I think this one will particularly feel at home in the following gardens:

Small to large gardens to medium complex layout to medium slopes or “hills”

Even if there are a few things lying around in your garden, you have raised beds, etc., the A1 is well suited.

Compared to the ECOVACS GOAT G1-2000, which is the first alternative, we have two main advantages. 1. you don’t need flashy beacons 2. the navigation and garden coverage tended to be a touch better.

POSITIVE

very efficient and accurate navigation

does not require boundary wire or beacons

good obstacle avoidance

good mowing results

traveling very quickly

good app and range of functions

NEGATIVE

tends to slip a bit when turning

Edge cutting moderate

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