On top of SLAM, the Neato XV-25 has the now industry defactos of edge detection (to stop it falling down stairs), spot cleaning (repeated runs over more ingrained dirt) and auto docking when low on power. It is also the first Neato robot vacuum to be designed for pet owners and allergy sufferers. As such it has a bristled brush to improve pick-up of pet hair, dander and fibres and a new filter which Neato claims will retain 3x more fine dust particles while allowing greater suction. The filter is washable and designed for long term use (though a second is provided in the box).
Neato XV-25 Performance
So the looks divide and the technology excites, but how does the Neato XV-25 perform? The answer is brilliantly... with caveats. SLAM certainly has a flair for showmanship. The Neato XV-25 leaves its dock silently, stops, builds up suction and airflow somewhat reminiscent of a helicopter while all the time mapping then finds the nearest wall to start the process of tracing the outline of the room.
This makes for a decent spectacle and watching the Neato XV-25 in action is a wholly satisfying affair as it seems to be applying human logic and order to every obstacle, cleaning in a progressive way and its bumper virtually never comes into contact with any object. As such the Neato XV-25 is both a satisfying substitute to manual vacuuming and a highly efficient one. It completed our test environment (a 60m2 flat with numerous chairs and objects deliberately left strewn around) in roughly 45 minutes, about half the time it took the flagship iRobot Roomba 780.
Furthermore since the Neato XV-25 is not bumping into objects it doesn't suffer from the old bump bot problem of shutting itself in rooms because it doesn't knock into doors when it is cleaning behind them. This is a great confidence builder as you don't feel the need to 'robot proof' the flat before leaving with various door chocks and wedges. This smart detection and location data also has another pay-off for larger houses as the Neato XV-25 has no problem finding its charger when low on battery and no problem automatically returning to where it was to continue cleaning when its charge is restored. We found a single charge was more than enough to do our flat, but this will be a huge benefit to larger houses.
Hard floor performance is good too. The slightly harder rubber used on the wheels makes it a little noisy rumbling along, but it automatically detects the change in surface and adjusts its brush and gears accordingly. The bristled brush here is a boon and it collects dirt, hair and fluff with ease rather than slinging it around the kitchen as we've seen other bots do in the past.