Short Version: Didn’t want to review the XV-11 as it’s about a year or so old by now and I found this absolutely horrible infomercial for it on their site. That’s two strikes right off the bat. But I’m here to tell you that the Neato is a pretty cool little robotic vacuum that may out-Roomba the Roomba in some respects.
This $399 robotic vacuum uses “lasers” to map rooms automatically and then it creates an orderly plan for cleaning the floor, resulting in considerably faster clean times – about four times faster than the two Roombas I have. Because the Neato “knows” the shape of the room, it also creates those fancy straight vacuum lines on the rug that lets your guests know without a shadow of a doubt that you organize your toilet paper in neat little rows in your linen closet.
Other than the speed, this vacuum is as good as the Roomba. It has a fairly large dirt reservoir but it does not have a bristled brush, instead depending on a comically loud fan that looks ready to suck the polyurethane off of your hardwood floors. However, because of this powerful vacuum you can get a little more dirt out of carpets than you would normally, which is excellent.
We’re a Roomba family so it was hard to really fall in love with the blocky, weird upstart. However, once we saw it start up, map the room, and wend its merry way across the floor, I was a convert. The large LCD on the top is an improvement over Roomba’s UI paucity. My mom, who has been clamoring for a robotic vacuum for years, was able to start it and run it without trouble. It also took corners well thanks to its angular shape. One warning, however: you can’t move anything in the room while the Neato is doing its business because it will become confused and agitated. My mom kept on lifting it up, thinking it was like a dog that needed guidance.
Other than that, it’s a robotic vacuum like all others and we’re in a sad place these days when robotic vacuums are ho-hum boring. If you need more info, BotJunkie does a good job of comparing the Neato and the Roomba.
I’d say that the Neato is on par with the Roomba and depending on price and your desire for those fancy vacuum lines, the decision is a toss-up. The Roomba is much quieter than that Neato but the Neato has a full set of interesting features and is a worthy adversary in the robotic vacuum circuit.