The Eufy Omni S1 Pro robot vacuum doesn't live up to the hype

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Overall, Eufy is a company that makes products that I really like. They make some of the best security cameras in the industry, enough so that I chose Eufy's Solocams and installed them in my home after testing many brands. Their parent company Anker makes some of my favorite power banks, and I really like my Eufy doorbell. Like many companies that make smart technology, they also make vacuum cleaners.

The Eufy sweeping robot Omni S1 Pro is interesting in many ways. Even though Eufy is a well-known brand that has produced and launched many products including other robot vacuum cleaners, for this model they went back to Kickstarter where their goal was smashed within hours. Secondly, instead of the compact tower design that nearly every company has opted for with robot vacuums these days, the S1 sports a giant, retro tower look. Despite my brand loyalty, interesting design, and decent performance of the vacuum, I don't think the Omni S1 Pro is a good purchase -- Eufy feels there's a disconnect between the robot they make and the one I tested. The S1 is currently priced at $999 on Kickstarter and will begin retailing at a higher price in late spring or early summer this year.

Unique design, but no unique features

Generally speaking, robot vacuums and mops now come with a base and tower that refills clean water, empties dirty water and the vacuum, and cleans the mop. Due to their size, these towers are impossible to ignore, but brands often try to make them look generic enough so that they blend into the landscape of the surrounding rooms. Eufy took a different path with the S1. The tower is tall enough that you might mistake it for a stick vacuum, and it has the word "MACH" on the front, which is also the name of the app. The contents of the tower are made of molded clear black plastic and are mostly obscured. While it may be made of the same material as other brands, which is also molded plastic, the clear plastic can sometimes look cheap. Despite its large vertical dimensions, the tower does not take up much less horizontal space than other robots. The footprint is about the same, but you can't easily tuck it under tables and counters.

The robot itself is like many other modern robot vacuums, complete with rollers, rotating sweeping brushes, and mop brushes—and to its credit, Eufy offers a host of replacement parts for the S1 Pro, including extra rollers, brushes, and filters. But Eufy markets the robot as a premium floor robot, and it comes with a hefty price tag. You’ll often see words like “groundbreaking” used in the marketing of robots. In fact, the marketing materials used to say "the world's first all-in-one scrubber robot vacuum cleaner" until I asked how it was different from other scrubber robots, as they are now common. The language disappeared from Kickstarter but remains on the Eufy website. The thing is, it 's not groundbreaking: at the time this robot was developed, scrubbing robots were already becoming routine, and the technology went beyond what this robot had to offer, with other brands offering extended brushes and mops, onboard video , voice assistant and direct connection to water. While the S1 includes many of the features I like from other robots, such as a location for built-in cleaning solutions within the tower and an easy way to divide and merge rooms in the app, most other premium robots also have these features.

Easy to install and the app is well designed

Most robots come ready to use right out of the box, and the S1 is no exception. Once unboxed, just fill it with water and insert a few brushes into place. In many robot mop combinations, you add cleaning solution to clean water, but more recently, models like the Roborock have added a bay for cleaning solution in the base, so you always have the right amount of cleaning solution. As I mentioned, the Eufy includes this feature, but it relies on the Eufy brand cleaning solution in a sealed bottle that you install - to replace it, you'll need to buy more from Eufy, whereas other models allow you to choose which one you want Any solution used. The MACH app is separate from the Eufy Clean app, and I've discussed before how each of Eufy's products uses a different app (Clean, Security, Pet, etc.), so this is just one more app to add. Still, it's a good app and has the same user interface as most brands. The robot uses lidar to map it when it first goes out, and you can then divide it into rooms, divide and merge spaces however you like, and name them. Of all the robots I've tested, the S1 mapped space better than any other (I've had six or seven robots map the same space).

One aspect I really like is that you can set cleaning preferences for each room instead of doing it every time you run it, and you can also set the priority of rooms instead of letting the bot decide. If you want to clean your kitchen floor multiple times but only want to clean your hallway once, you can ask the robot to always clean the bathroom last. The app has schedules, as well as the same general settings you'd expect, including remote control. The app lacks two features I see in many robots these days: stationary and mobile, or "spot cleaning" and onboard video. While I don't think video is that useful, it's still a feature you can get in other models. "Pin and go" is actually quite useful - you just place a pin on the map and the bot will clean that location specifically.

S1 is okay

As a floor cleaner, the S1 does pretty well. That's what I felt about the Eufy X10 Pro Omni, which I reviewed a few months ago. It picked up a lot of debris from the floor, but after three passes in my kitchen, it missed the onion skins that were intentionally left in the center of the floor. The S1 doesn't stick to the wall; it lacks those extension arms that other models now offer. As a mop, it does clean up surface spills, but the rotating brush simply can't get into the dirt, making white tiles look dirty. Over the course of 11 adventures, I ran the Eufy on its maximum setting, the highest level of suction and mopping, twice on each space. In each case, I asked my Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra for a run afterwards, and I could see it catching everything the S1 missed. This happens again and again.

Bottom line: There are better robots for the price

Earlier this week, I spoke with Eric Villines, Anker's head of global communications, about the launch of the S1 and why they chose Kickstarter. I appreciate how proud the Anker team is of the way Eufy encourages innovation, working like an incubator with at least half the staff dedicated to R&D. When teams come up with great concepts, Eufy can find innovative ways to move those products forward through crowdfunding. One of the reasons they like crowdfunding a product like the S1 is that it gets a long line of feedback from enthusiasts and backers, which Wellings said often has a big impact on a product before it's released.

To be clear, Eufy doesn't make bad robot vacuums; they work just fine. But they seem to work just fine, not great. The S1 is positioned as a high-end sweeping robot, but at the current price of $999, I think the Roborock S8 Pro can do better at the same price. When the S1 retails for around $1,000, I think you're better off opting for the $1,799 Roborock S8 Maxv Ultra . I'm also eagerly awaiting Switchbot's new S10; if I were to buy a robot vacuum now, I'd wait for it to come out because Switchbot has made really good vacuums before.