NARWAL Freo X Plus running review

This will be a running review of the NARWAL Freo X Plus until it’s complete at which point this line won’t be here. I will update it as anything new occurs.

NARWAL Freo X Plus

TL;DR – running review, good hardware, software needs work.

The NARWAL Freo X Plus is a sub $400 vacuum with a lift/drag mop and a 7-week onboard storage dust bin that can be either reused or tossed (separate bins included) and on paper it’s on par with my current favorite vacuum minus Google Home/Assistant support and a vibrating mop. This hasn’t replaced Rhonda, people who managed to turn these reviews around in under a month of use concern me for their attention to detail as I’m planning to run this like I run a long haired dog grooming shop.

The Freo X Plus features a tangle-free brush, 7800Pa suction, Tri-laser navigation and obstacle avoidance, LiDAR SLAM 4.0, and claims it will not be bumping into things. It also does mopping and vacuuming in one pass with a slightly retractable mop.

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The ultra quiet dust emptying solution is that you empty it when you feel like it. This unit does not have a docking station that empties. They reused a different unit’s format on Amazon listing it appears.

Narwal Freo X Plus specs

all specs lifted from press sheet / formatted like I receive them
Input power36W
Output power65W
Power supplyIn-built lithium-ion battery
Battery capacity5200mAh
Running timeVacuum and Mop: 1.7H
Vacuum: 3H
Mop: 3H
Charging time<3H
Clean water tank280mL
Dust bin800mL
Dust bag1L, disposable
Base StationDimension275*118*137mm
Input power65W (rated) 40W (actual)
Output power36W
Power supply100-240V~50/60Hz
Robot – CleaningMax suction power7800 Pa
Roller brushZero-tangling Floating Brush(*SGS zero-tangling certification)
Carpet recognitionIntelligent carpet recognition
Allowed carpet pile length<8mm
Dust collectionDust collection in the robot
Holds 7 weeks of dust
U-pipe design and hair compression
MopFlat mop pad
Downward pressure6N
Mop lift height8mm
Mopping areaMax 450m2
Mopping modeVacuum and Mop or Vacuum then Mop
Even mop wetting through four outlets
Noise levelVacuuming: 61dB
Mopping: 50dB
Vacuum and Mop: 62dB
Dust collection: 71dB
Obstacle climbing height≤20mm threshold with a round edge (5mm)
Robot – IntelligenceNavigation and obstacle avoidanceLDS laser navigation + dual-laser obstacle avoidance
MapQuick mapping: 150m2 in 10 minutes
Maps for multiple floors
3D map
Furniture managementD42
No-Go ZonesSet No-Go Zone in App
Intelligent CleaningFreo Advice
Button interactionsA total of three buttons (reset/start/recall)
for user-robot interaction
Intelligent carpet cleaningIntelligent carpet cleaning
The robot can automatically recognize hard floors and carpets of high pile and low pile, and take different cleaning strategies accordingly
Voice assistantSiri  
OthersCleaning report after a cleaning task is completed

NARWAL Freo X Plus unboxing and initial impressions

Due to a microphone issue the unboxing video I shot is going to be edited to be a silent film reminiscent of the 1920s inspired by the film Hundreds of Beavers and will be coming later. This was like every puck vacuum I’ve ever opened with the exception of the two disposable dust bins they include. The disposable bin’s bag, and the bags that surround items to protect them are the same thickness and I almost ripped through one as I thought it was stuck on a filter. Don’t rip anything. It’s not required.

There’s a nice thick manual you’ll never use, and pulling off the foam protector and two taped on shipping tabs you’re ready to go. My Freo X Pro was not initially. I could not get it to power on until after I plugged it into the dock. This may be in the instruction manual. I will look and edit this if it is, but it is something to note that I needed to put it on a charger the first time.

Registration requires an email address and that appeared to be it. A code is emailed, it shows up a minute or two later, enter that and you’re ready to go. The software warned me it only worked in 2.4ghz mode, but worked fine on my AP that handles both.

I was informed my firmware needed updated and then informed that the update failed almost instantly. A few attempts get it to download and update, but the app never registered that the vacuum had updated and I eventually exited the app and came back in.

I chose a room at my work that in theory was vacuumed recently but people keep going in there to scream (no, I really have no idea why.) Figured it would be a good first test. as the room looked fairly clean with one little piece of paper no bigger than a pinky fingernail sitting near a corner.

Now, the software looks a whole lot like the software I’ve used on Roborock so there’s a chance I just blew through something important but after a nice and short room mapping session I thought I was ready to go. I chose vacuum and mop, as I expected that maybe it would pick up the plastic chair protectors on the floor as a mopable surface, and said go.

NARWAL Freo X Plus tangled in its own cords
Should there be any question – standard office carpet

The very first thing the NARWAL Freo X Plus did was make a quick hard turn, grab the power cord, and proceed to spend about a minute and a half fighting, knocking the base around, and completely destroying the setup. It finally escaped and I repositioned the station directly underneath the power outlet and hung the cable up carefully so it could not do that again.

I wandered out, came back a few minutes later and it had docked and I got that the cleaning was complete. The little piece of paper was still where it laid.

I started the unit up again to clean, it came out about two feet, turned, went to the wall, turned, came back, turned and went to the docking station telling me it was done. I tried pressing the button up top, same results. I told it to mop only. Same results. Told it to vacuum only. Same results.

I decided to delete the map and try again. After my second quick mapping, on the first run I decided to stay for the entire thing. It drove to three locations in the room, turned around at each, and went directly back to the base unit.

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Everything discovered was listed as don’t go there. I had to edit the map

I went to edit the map and evidently everything it had mapped was listed as don’t vacuum/mop. Changing this to ignore resulted in the vacuum actually working although it does concern me why it would discover and then default to don’t clean here.

NARWAL Freo X Plus

I ran the unit again, the piece of paper on the ground was removed, and things looked pretty good. It vacuumed up a fair amount of dirt, about what I would expect our cleaner’s vacuum to have left. It also vacuumed up a spider that is alive and I can now never touch the thing again.

I decided to run the unit again and choose extreme power… whoo hoo. a while later (24 minutes if I remember correctly,) I got the notification that it was done and successful. I opened the app and noticed the puck indicating the vacuum was not at the base station. I went into the office and yeah, it stopped. No reason given. No error message saying something prevented it from returning to the dock. Just stopped. Appears to have done a good job, but it stopped. Worked once, then done. Screw it boss I’m taking a nap right here.

NARWAL Freo X Plus jus stops where it wants to
Exactly where I found it.

I have attempted to wipe and restart and there is no evident option to do this from the software.

Evidently I chose vacuum and mop assuming it would not mop my carpet. With however my map is set up however that was not the case. Maybe the carpet sensors are not detecting my carpet as carpet. I have now manually set it to carpet.

Thus far

Keeping in mind this review isn’t done

  • Software needs some work
  • Vacuum is fairly quiet compared to other less powerful vacuums
  • Doesn’t detect plastic floor coverings as a different surface – no mopping for them
  • Obstacle avoidance doesn’t appear to avoid low hanging wires
  • You have to remove the entire top to access dust and water containers. Attempting to access water container knocks it out of the charging dock.
  • Chairs, tables, etc do not appear to be recognized. They are avoided but this makes defining no go zones a bit difficult.
  • 3D view doesn’t show cleaning progress, no detected furniture or obstacles listed (maybe after more than 5 runs?)
  • No hair tangled on brush, but too early to go “whoo hoo!”
  • No recall / return to home from the app? (button works)
  • Does not recognize other maps automatically
  • Can’t be dropped in a room for cleanup without jumping through hoops
  • If someone was in the way for a second and moves it doesn’t appear to have any logic to go back

Wrapping up for the moment

NARWAL Freo X Plus

I can not manufacture time and enough dirt and hair to complete the testing this needs at this point but at the moment I speculate that a software and firmware update are going to make this an extremely good little vacuum, but at the moment due to the experience the NARWAL Freo X Plus is a bit frustrating and I consider just ok. We’ll see tomorrow when I throw it in a room it needs to mop and vacuum.

Early May

The Freo X is slightly better than any other vacuum I’ve encountered at being able to pull USB cables out of it while it’s running, but unfortunately it still will run over easy to spot obstacles which considering it doesn’t have a camera I guess is to be expected.

I notice it occasionally bumps into what I’d call the chair leg category. It’s great at avoiding chair feet, but if you have a thin vertical thing it will often whack into it. It seems to do very good at not whacking into walls, desks, desk chairs, but put a cast iron patio chair there and it can’t see the legs.

There doesn’t appear to be a consistent option for “just figure out and clean this room.” Most vacuums I’ve run across have a smart clean, but this when I pressed the power in another room worked once and then demanded it be returned to the base. Nothing would get it to try and work in another room.

The vacuum so far (11 runs two rooms) appears to work well. It does corners better than anything I’ve noticed, picks up dirt a stand up vacuum missed. It’s better than anything I’ve reviewed in the price range by far, but not as good as some of the higher priced units I’ve run across.

Needs a major software update on Android and a re-working of how things are done… since it appears to be the same software others are using, copy their workflow. Just clean the room you’re in if I press the power button. Gimme a “map new room” option without having to go through multiple menus.

I point out the flaws because it could be the best and so far a software update I think could make it the best and on par with robot vacs twice the price.

Late May

Every room I attempt this in the floor is listed as do not vacuum and I have to manually edit it. This doesn’t seem like it should not vacuum by default. Not having the option to take it to a room and have it clean is really a pain because there’s no button I can find for quick discover a new room.

Where’s the NARWAL Freo X Plus available?

You can grab a NARWAL Freo X Plus on Narwal’s website or on Amazon.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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