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I tested my favorite two-in-one robot vacuum's new model, and it's better in almost every way

Narwal's latest Freo X Ultra model is so good it makes the original, which was already fantastic, look bad. But to reap the benefits, you'll have to pay to play.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The Narwal Freo X.

The Narwal Freo X patiently awaits its next job.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Narwal Freo X Ultra is available for purchase on Amazon now for $1,399.99.
  • You will not find a better vacuuming/mopping robot on the market, at least from the many that I've tested.
  • At $1,399, the robot is not cheap, but it can be had at $200 off with a clip-on coupon right now.

I've been using the Narwal Freo robot vacuum and mop for months and have found it to be remarkable at what it does. 

My wife and I are very neat people. We like things tidy and spotless. Before adopting the Freo, we'd routinely vacuum and mop the floors. Now, that's not the case. In fact, I can't remember the last time we had to mop the floors. And that's big, given how busy I am.

So, when the PR rep for the company reached out to see if I'd like to review the new Narwal Freo X Ultra, I didn't hesitate to say, "yes!"

Also: I've tested dozens of robot vacuums and mops, and this one dusts the competition

I assumed the Freo would gain a few improvements. But little did I know.

The Freo X is such a vast improvement that it makes the original look incompetent. Not only does the Freo X increase the vacuum power (to a whopping 8200Pa), it also includes a floating brush that guides hair and fur directly into the suction pipe. Where the original Freo's brush would constantly be tangled with cat fur, thread, and hair, the Freo X brush seems to always be remarkably free of such debris. 

View at Hexcal

The specs

  • 99% particle removal on hard floors
  • Auto wash, dry, and clean
  • DirtSense technology ensures the Freo X mops until the floors are spotless
  • Tri-laser navigation
  • 7-week dust storage
  • Smart EdgeSwing cleans floor edges
  • Mop heads actively push down (with 12N downward pressure) to better clean stains and spin at 180 RPM
  • Auto station cleaning and dust box drying
  • SGS Certified for higher than 99% filtration efficiency and 99% antibacterial rate
  • 360-degree scanning
  • Automatically adjusts mop pressure according to floor type
  • Adjusts to weather (mops are made wetter during warmer days)
  • Voice control

My experience

We'd grown accustomed to the original Narwal taking about two hours to vacuum and mop the first level of the house. So you can imagine my surprise when the Narwal Freo X Ultra did the same job in half the time…and cleaned it equally as well as the original Freo. On top of that, the Freo X is considerably quieter than the original.

Also: The best robot vacuum mops for 2024: Expert tested and reviewed

During the first cleaning job, I had to keep peeking my head out of my office to make sure it was working. When I received the alert that it had completed the task, I immediately doubted the veracity of the claim. Off I went to check, only to find it had done exactly what it said and the floors were spotless.

Compare that to the original Narwal, which I moved to the upstairs floor (that is half the size of the first floor). I scheduled both robots to run the same tasks at the same time and the original took thirty minutes longer to clean half the amount of space.

Even better, the Freo X never gets tangled in anything. With the original Freo, I was constantly having to save it from cords, rugs, and other impediments. The Freo X has yet to get tangled up in anything. And, like the original, the initial setup is very simple. Unbox it, install the Narwal app, plug it in, add the device (you can scan a QR code to simplify this), add it to your Wi-Fi network, and run the initial mapping. Anyone can set this thing up.

Also: I tested the world's first robot vacuum with twin motors for extra suction power, and they actually work

Finally, I can leave the house while the robot is doing its thing without worrying it's going to wrap up a cord and take something down (or stop the job because it doesn't quite understand that the corner of a rug isn't something it should suck up.

ZDNET's buying advice

The Narwal Freo X Ultra is a vast improvement over a device that was already amazing. If you're unhappy with your current vacuum/mopping robot, I would highly recommend you consider the Narwal. It's far and away the best robot I've ever experienced (and it's not even close).

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