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Narwal Freo X Ultra review: Premium and persistent

Why have a normal robovac when you could have a Narwal one?

Narwal Freo X Ultra
Narwal Freo X Ultra
Our Rating
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Performance
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Design
4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7
Expert testing
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3

Prices are accurate as of the publish date. We may earn money if you purchase something through one of these links. Click as many as you want.

Fergus Halliday
Jun 25, 2024
Icon Time To Read4 min read
Quick verdict: Narwal Freo X Ultra

Even if it doesn't have the highest suction or a dustbin that automatically empties itself, the Narwal Freo X Ultra excels on more than enough fronts to make up the difference thanks to its more thoughtful mopping setup and superior object detection.

pro
Pros
pro Precise object detection
pro Mopping system
pro Quiet and quick
con
Cons
con Quite expensive
con Goes through a lot of water
con Manual dustbin
Narwal Freo X Ultra

Narwal Freo X Ultra: Mopping performance

The first thing you'll likely notice about the Narwal Freo X Ultra is the chunky rouleaux triangular mops attached to the back. Where other (and cheaper) robot vacuum cleaners opt for a more traditional scrubbing setup, these offer an experience that's a little more sophisticated than the alternative. 

More than just a match for the brushes on the front, this set of spinning scrubbers offers a level of coverage that's more comparable to a traditional mop as well as better coverage when it comes to skirting boards and corners. This is just one of many ways that the hardware here offers up a more thoughtful take on a familiar formula.

In line with other premium robot vacuum cleaners, the Freo X Ultra comes with smart carpet detection. That means it'll lift these pads upwards to avoid contaminating soft surfaces whenever it can. That's more a nice-to-have than something outright new, but it's not the only way in which the Freo X Ultra applies a bit of situational awareness to the work it does.

By default, Narwal Freo X Ultra will rely on its sensors to determine the best combination of precision, power and cleaning cycles to apply. If you're using it on wooden flows, it'll only apply 7N of downward pressure. Meanwhile, tile floors get the full 12N of scrubbing. In higher humidities, it'll even opt for a less wet mop while sunny and warmer weather will allow it to take better advantage of a faster evaporation environment.

These myriad little optimisations provide additional benefits you get without any extra work or input on your part. You can set the Freo X Ultra to vacuum before mopping or do both at the same time. If you opt for the latter, it'll technically get the job done faster but it may need to refill or recharge itself partway through.

Another novel touch here is that the Narwal Freo X actively tracks the quality and colour of the wastewater it produces. It then uses this as a stand-in for the relative cleanliness of the floors it's wiping down. If it finishes a cleaning cycle but still detects a significant level of dirt, it'll repeat the process until its sensors are satisfied.

Both the waste and freshwater are stored inside the Narwal Freo X Ultra's charging dock. These are fairly easy to swap in and out as needed. You simply flip up the lid and pull on the relevant handle. Each of these tanks can hold as much as 4.5 litres of liquid. However, in practice, I found that the Narawl Freo X Ultra would go through that entire tank in as little as a single clean.

This might be partially because two mopping panels use more water than one but it probably doesn't help that the robovac might take multiple swings at getting to job done. In any case, the Narwal Freo X Ultra might save you time on mopping but expect to refill these reservoirs fairly frequently.

Narwal Freo X Ultra

Narwal Freo X Ultra: Vacuuming performance

During my time testing the Narwal Freo X Ultra, I found that it handled most small, and medium debris without issues. However, I sometimes found myself underwhelmed when it came to the results when it came to corners and skirting boards.

That's not super unusual when it comes to robot vacuum cleaners writ large (even ones with 8200 pa of suction) but it is a little disappointing relative to the asking price of this particular one. Fortunately, I was more impressed with the obstacle detection tech. Where the Yeedi Cube threw itself with abandon around the house, the Narwal Freo X Ultra applied a lighter touch. Given that the robovac is armed with a tri-laser array that's said to allow for millimetres of precision, that's not exactly a huge surprise but it is easy to like.

Aside from the odd shoe-lace, the Narwal Freo X Ultra managed to avoid pretty much every obstacle I threw in its way. Where I'd usually have to do a light cleanup before turning my usual robovac on, I quickly found myself confident enough that this one wouldn't leave additional mess in its wake.

For the most part, the Narwal Freo X Ultra worked fast, was quieter than I expected and could cover around 90m2 of floor space in just shy of 2 hours. While it did have to stop to fill up its water tank at one point, that's still a fairly brisk turnaround that's well ahead of its 3.5-hour battery life.

Even though the unit is attached to a base station for its mopping functions, the Narwal Freo X Ultra relies on a self-contained dust processing system instead of offloading that part of the process to its charging dock. The upside here is that you don't get the loud emptying noise or odd smells that come with a base station. The downside is that you will eventually need to empty the dustbin compartment on the robovac yourself.

Narwal Freo X Ultra

Narwal Freo X Ultra: Intelligence

Dustbin management aside, the Narwal Freo X Ultra mostly delivers on its promises when it comes to offering a hands-off cleaning experience. You plug it in, charge it up, install the app and let it rip.

The Narwal Freo app divides things into three tabs. The first of these handles scheduling on a week-by-week basis. The second allows for more instant control of the hardware and its cleaning routine settings. The third allows you to rewind through time and check the stats of previous cleans.

The quality of the maps produced by the Narwal Freo X Ultra was generally pretty good, though it did suffer from some aberrations when it came to walk-in wardrobes with reflective exteriors.

Of all the robot vacuums I've used, I was impressed with just how ready to rock the Narwal Freo X Ultra was out of the box. Its first run around my apartment took slightly longer due to the mapping involved, but there were zero issues with the setup, network or app involved. 

How much does the Narwal Freo X Ultra cost?

In Australia, the Narwal Freo X Ultra can be found for a recommended retail price of $2,299.

Retailer
Narwal.net
Amazon

Prices are accurate as of the publish date. We may earn money if you purchase something through one of these links.

Is the Narwal Freo X Ultra worth buying?

A price tag this steep inevitably brings with it similarly lofty expectations. Fortunately, the Narwal Freo X Ultra sticks the landing with a sleek design and a combination of thoughtful touches that make it feel just that little bit better than the average robot vacuum. The fact that it doesn't automatically empty the dustbin is pretty much the only knock against it, but otherwise, the hardware is nice to look at and the results it delivers rarely fall short.

Robot vacuum cleaners compared

Australia has a bunch of robot vacuum cleaners available on the market, starting as low as $300 if you can get a good deal. We have reviewed and rated more than 20 units over the past few years. Here are how the most recent robovacs compare.
Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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