Review: ECOVACS’ 901 Robotic Vacuum sports iPhone & Alexa control, laser mapping, more

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I was first introduced to the world of robotic vacuums with the ECOVACS DEEBOT N79 nearly a year and a half ago. And while it was perfect for apartment life, upon moving home I figured it was time to upgrade to something more high-tech. Don’t get me wrong, the N79 is great, but its smartphone control is more basic and seemed out-of-place amongst the other Wi-Fi-enabled devices scattered around my smart home. 

Enter the DEEBOT 901, the latest in ECOVAC’s diverse lineup of robotic vacuums. Over the past week, I’ve been putting it to the test and have been incredibly impressed how much tech has managed to be packed into a relatively small form-factor.

At its core, the DEEBOT 901 is a typical robotic vacuum that autonomously cleans your abode. It sports a battery that allows it to offer around four hours of cleaning in a single session, which has proven to be more than enough for my home’s needs.

But what sets it apart from other models in the ECOVACS lineup is its various high-end features that bring more intelligent cleaning and control to the robotic vacuum. For starters, it boasts Amazon Alexa and Google Home support, which has proved to be extremely useful. Being able to bark “Alexa, ask DEEBOT to start cleaning” is as futuristic as it gets.

One of the other most notable features that the DEEBOT 901 packs is what ECOVACS calls Smart Navi technology. While other robotic vacuums effectively just roll around cleaning in no particular fashion, the DEEBOT 901 uses a laser system alongside its other built-in sensors to create a visual map of your home, allowing it know where it’s already cleaned and where it should head to next.

Set up |

Configuring the DEEBOT 901 is a mostly straightforward experience, with the companion application handling all of the heavy lifting. The app walks you through putting the vacuum into pairing mode and then having it join your Wi-Fi network.

The only real hiccup I experienced while setting up the robotic vacuum was that it doesn’t support 5 Ghz Wi-Fi networks, meaning I had to do some tweaking to finally get it to connect. This shouldn’t be a hassle for most, but it is something to consider if you rely on something like the AmpliFi Home Wi-Fi System, for instance.

Usage |

Aside from all of its more high-end features, the true test of quality in something like a robotic vacuum cleaner isn’t in what some may consider gimmicks, but how well it actually cleans. In this case, the DEEBOT 901 does a fantastic job at sweeping up dirt, dust, hair and other messes. Pet owners will have nothing to worry about, as dog hair hasn’t posed the tiniest of threats.

It also sports an improved drive mechanism that allows it to easily clean everything from hardwood floors to high-ply carpets. And thanks to all the included sensors, the DEEBOT 901 not only does a fantastic job at thoroughly cleaning your home, but also avoiding obstacles and stairs.

Effectively, leveraging all of its built-in tech makes the DEEBOT 901 a great vacuum cleaner.

Final thoughts |

For someone upgrading from a relatively budget-friendly vacuum to the latest and greatest model, I am completely blown away by how well the DEEBOT 901 works compared to its predecessor.

All’s not perfect though, as the ECOVACs app isn’t fantastic. It won’t win any awards for being elegantly designed or for offering unique user-interface paradigms, but I don’t expect what is effectively an appliance to have a remarkable app.

But all things considered, it makes set up a breeze thanks to animated tutorials that walk you through the process alongside simplistic controls and detailed information like cleaning maps, vacuum wear and more.

All-in-all, ECOVACS latest vacuum is an extremely impressive piece of technology in my book. It packs many of the features that more high-end Roomba models carry, but at a fraction of the price. If having a name-brand vacuum is a prerogative, then I would definitely consider looking into what the DEEBOT 901 has to offer.

If you’re in the market for a robotic vacuum but don’t need all the high-end features, we recently went hands-on with the ECOVACS N79S vacuum.

Buy the ECOVACS DEEBOT 901 Robotic Vacuum for $399.99 at Amazon

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