We looked at 7 factors that will likely influence which robot vacuum you decide to invest in, allowing direct comparison between the Dyson 360 Eye and other brands. These areas were Cleaning Ability, Objective Avoidance, Features, Charging/Battery Life, Aesthetics and Price. Each category is scored individually, with the final score reflecting the average of each of the 7 categories.
The key performance factor of any robotic vacuum is, of course, its ability to clean. While the 360 Eye does live up to its Dyson heritage in terms of suction, there are some areas in which it doesn’t stack up with the competition. First is its own stacking up. The 360 Eye is about an inch taller than similar models. While this doesn’t matter for getting under chairs and tables, lower pieces of furniture may prevent access for the 360 Eye, where other brands navigate with ease.
While not necessarily cleaning functions, the double whammy of short battery life and small dirt bin may affect expectations for this, Dyson’s first attempt at a robotic vacuum. Since the bin carries only 0.33 liters – about half that of similar models – the short 45-minute battery life shouldn’t be an issue. However, those with lots of square footage may not get a full clean every time out. It does, however, return to base, charge and resume where it left off. Still, one run/charge/run cycle amounts to four hours with only 90 minutes of vacuum operation. With many other brands offering two hours on a charge, this is somewhat inefficient, if you discount the legendary Dyson power.
That power comes at another cost too. The 360 Eye is loud. It takes over a room while it works. Not an issue when it’s running in a vacant house, but also not conducive to quiet study without noise-cancelling headphones.
Though the 360 doesn’t store room maps, it does an admirable job of route planning on the fly. It provides one of the most complete coverages among units tested. It can’t really be called a coverage pattern, since it’s far more random in appearance than many of the back-and-forth, parallel path devices.
When it comes to actually picking up dirt on various surfaces, the 360 Eye produces solid but unimpressive results. Tested against other high-end robots, the Dyson model places toward the lower performance end of the scale. It’s not bad at dirt collection, it’s just not spectacular at it.
Score: 4 out of 5
The Dyson’s wheels raise and lower to adjust for both carpet pile and surface changes, it also uses this action to avoid low obstacles, such as lamp cords, for example. It has no problem with challenges such as an area rug on wall-to-wall carpeting, so winter entry mats aren’t an issue unless they’re of the extremely thick fiber variety.
The 360 Eye does a thorough job of room coverage, and with the accompanying app, you can see where the unit missed, if at all. In terms of reading its space and navigating around objects, the Dyson performs on par with other top of the line robotic vacuums, doing a somewhat better job with vertical challenges than most.
Score: 5 of 5
Round is the shape of choice for most robotic vacuums, which means corners are an issue for the 360 Eye as they are for any cylindrical device. The common solution of adding flexible sweeping brushes was not adopted by Dyson. They rely on a main beater that is almost as wide as the unit itself. Sadly, it’s an almost. Without the extra sweepers, edges and corners are weak spots for the 360 Eye. In animal hair testing in particular, the Dyson did capture most of the test material, while leaving visible clumps and mattes along the edges of the test zone.
The 360 Eye app supports both iOS and Android platforms, but don’t look for multi-task, gimmicky features. The Dyson app sticks to basics, such as remote start and stop and recording coverage. Driving a vacuum cleaner may be a priority for some users. Dyson, however, ascribes to the notion that the purpose of a robot removes manual function. Does anyone really try remote controlling a vacuum more than once, anyway?
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Dyson publishes 40 minutes of run time in MAX mode and 75 minutes in Quiet mode. As mentioned, this is somewhat shorter than many high-end robotic vacs. It’s somewhat offset by the fact the 360 Eye returns to base, charges and picks up where it left off. The shorter run time perhaps matches the Dyson’s smaller than average waste receptacle. The device simply can’t run as long without being emptied. It really comes down to how practical battery life and unit maintenance are in the way a user incorporates a robot vac. If you’ve never used one before, the shorter battery charge and small bin likely won’t affect your impressions.
Practical recharge time tests at about 2.5 hours from near-fully depleted to fully charged, as gauged by the unit’s battery light. The light pulses to show charging is active. The light turns red when the 360 Eye nears the end of charge and the device returns to its charging base. Occasionally, the unit misses the charging connection, but no more so that other robotic vacs. The pulsating charge indicator makes for easy work of detecting and correcting the condition.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
If you’re looking for a robotic vac that stands apart from the typical hockey puck design, then the Dyson may be right up your arena. It’s diameter and height break the typical robovac proportions and the nickel body comes accented in blue or fuchsia. The look is high-tech and space-age. The 360 Eye wouldn’t look out of place cleaning the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, though Kirk and Spock may have to yell over the noise created in MAX mode.
The color-coordinated tank track wheels not only look sharp, but prove practical in manoeuvering the unit between surfaces and over minor obstacles. All told this is a progressively styled device, typical of Dyson’s products.
Since performance is average for its class, the Dyson name and look will be critical to the success of the 360 Eye. Just as luxury auto manufacturers depend on the status of their logos and branding, so too does Dyson. Certainly, there are those who will enter the robotic vacuum world simply because Dyson now offers one. The unique look of the 360 Eye won’t hurt sales to buyers after the Dyson aesthetic appeal.
Score: 5 of 5
On the market for about a year at time of publication, accessories for the 360 Eye haven’t yet emerged. The Dyson pages themselves offer only the main units. There’s no mention of replacement parts or consumables online. The test unit did not arrive in consumer packaging, so contents of the box aren’t known. Availability of parts and supplies may or may not be an issue. Potential buyers should query the seller on these points for after market maintenance.
Score: 3 of 5
Sometimes, you get what you pay for and sometimes you pay for the name. Figure on a value of $150 to $300 for the Dyson name, as other brands of robotic vacs meet or exceed the 360 Eye’s performance for prices that much below the Dyson model.
You’re not purchasing any ground-breaking technology along with the 360 Eye, but you’re not buying an overhyped lemon either. This unit functions admirably, about the middle of the pack, and looks seriously modern and well-built. The tank track wheel system shows creativity and practicality. A good advantage over some designs but whether it’s worth the additional cost on its own is up to you to decide.
If the name and appearance aren’t important to you, there are better values to be had in the contemporary robotic vacuum field.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
It can’t be stated enough that the Dyson name and style are critical to the price/performance factor offered by the 360 Eye. Remove the value of these, and this is a well-built robot vac that performs with the middle of the pack, but carries a hefty price tag. Measured on features alone, the 360 Eye would score lower, but Dyson is the Rolls Royce of the vacuum world, and so brand recognition and favorable customer appeal must count. No one will go wrong buying the 360 Eye, but it’s possible to perhaps go a little more right, if you shop beyond brand.