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Narwal Freo review: The best vacuum and mopping robot for 700 euros?

Narwhal Freo cover photo
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2024 TechnikNews)

Some time ago, the manufacturer Narwal, previously known primarily in China, introduced the Freo, a new vacuum and mopping robot that comes with a number of innovations and is intended to score points above all with its wiping performance.

Compared to the competition, the Freo should be able to score points primarily with its wiping performance and some features, such as automatic dirt detection. In comparison to its successor, the Narwal Freo X Ultra, it does without some features, such as object recognition and significantly increased suction power. You can read below how I liked the Freo review and whether I can recommend it to you.

tl; dr

With the Freo, Narwal has brought a really great vacuum and mopping robot onto the market. Overall, I really liked the robot review and was particularly impressed by its really good wiping performance and its many features. I also really liked the navigation, design and workmanship. I also liked the app and the setup using it and it is very simple. I wouldn't see the suction power as either a strength or a weakness, as although it is sufficient for most situations, it could be significantly stronger, especially for carpet cleaning. However, if you only have a few or no carpets, you should be able to cope very well with the existing suction power. My only major criticism of the Freo is the lack of suction function in the cleaning station. Thanks to a relatively large dust container, it was enough in our household to use it about once pro to be emptied every week.

I can recommend the Freo to anyone who is looking for a high-quality robot with strong wiping performance. It offers a really strong overall package for a relatively low price in the class of premium cleaning robots. I would still advise some people who have a lot of carpets or pets to buy the successor Freo X Ultra, as Narwal has improved a lot here. These include, for example, significantly increased suction power and object recognition. For many people, the “normal” Freo should be more than enough. You can buy the robot at all common electronics stores, as well as from Narwal itself for a price of around 700 euros.

Unboxing & scope of delivery

The Freo comes in simple packaging made of white cardboard, which contains the cleaning station and another box. The second box contains the robot itself and assembly instructions. A third box containing the cleaning agent and the side brushes can then be found in the cleaning station. Overall, the scope of delivery is very manageable and unfortunately does not offer another pair of mops or another cartridge of cleaning agent, which I think is a shame.

Initial setup & commissioning

After you have unpacked the robot, filled the water tank and removed all stickers, you should download the Narwal app onto your smartphone or tablet. This will then guide you through the setup process in a simple, step-by-step mannerprocess. First, connect the robot and its station to your WiFi. The robot then creates a map of the living space, which takes about 5 minutes. Finally, you should take a closer look at the app and adjust all the settings according to your own needs.

Design & processing

I really like the design of the robot and its station. Both are made almost entirely of glossy white plastic, which is only interrupted by a few matt gray details. There is a start-stop button and the LIDAR sensor on the top of the robot. There are two additional sensors at the front and on the right side that contribute to navigation and wall detection. On the underside you will find the main brush as well as the two side brushes and the two mops. The 2 crash sensors and a sensor for carpet detection can also be found there. The 5 milliliter dust container and a cleaning tool are located under a flap on the top. I also really liked the workmanship and it is at a top level. Nothing creaks or feels bad.

Navigation & obstacle detection

Like almost all other premium vacuum robots, the Freo mainly uses a LIDAR sensor for navigation. In addition to this, the robot also has a wall distance sensor and many other smaller sensors that contribute to navigation. Unfortunately, the Freo doesn't have any other sensors for obstacle detection, which is a shame. This means that obstacles are neither recognized nor avoided and can therefore only be perceived through the front bumper, which in turn can lead to them being pushed across the room. Nevertheless, I always really liked the general navigation during my test period. The robot always found its way around easily and navigated through the room quickly and reliably.

suction

With the Freo, Narwal relies on a combination of a main brush made of bristles and a suction power of 3000 Pascal. Unfortunately, on paper, the Freo is not exactly one of the strong vacuum robots, but rather one of the weak ones. In everyday life, I almost always found the suction power to be more than sufficient. The robot often reaches its limits even when the carpet boost is activated when there is relatively large amounts of dirt on carpets. The suction strength can be adjusted in several levels using the app. Personally, I found the medium suction level to be the best for daily use as it has the best compromeasure of suction power and volume.

However, the bristle roller didn't really handle hair well because it got caught in it. For this reason, after a while I bought the separately available rubber roller, which, due to its design, is much better suited to picking up hair. I don't understand why Narwal doesn't sell the robot directly with the rubber roller, as almost all competitors also supply this as standard. The suction power does not deteriorate as a result and you have almost no suction power ProI have more problems with hair wrapping. Overall, after replacing the main brush, I was really happy with the suction power of the Freo.

Wiping performance

The wiping performance of the Freo is at a very high level and is one of the best on the market. Narwal relies on triangular mops that fold 180 times pro Turn it for a minute and apply a pressure of 12 Newtons to the floor in order to reliably remove even stubborn stains. If the robot detects a carpet, it can raise the wipers by 12 millimeters to avoid getting the carpet wet, which is above average. The Freo was the first robot that could also wipe edges thanks to Edge Swing technology. This works by, when it detects edges, it turns the wiper slightly towards them. This always worked reliably review. However, many competitors now rely on an extendable mop, which is a little better at cleaning edges. But that doesn't mean that the result of the Freo is bad, on the contrary.

Thanks to a sensor built into the cleaning station, the Freo detects particularly dirty areas in the so-called Freo mode and cleans them until they are completely clean, which is a really useful and cool feature. I really liked the general wiping performance review. The Freo dealt with almost all stains pretty well and always removed them reliably. The intelligent dirt detection in Freo mode also worked really well and helped keep cleanliness at the highest level.

Charge the battery

Narwal uses a 5200 milliamp hour battery in the Freo. This is a decent size for a vacuum robot. Narwal states the cleaning time is up to 180 minutes. In reality, however, you can only achieve this time if you run the robot at the lowest suction level, which you should not do due to the poorer cleaning results. At the standard level you still get 2 to a maximum of 2,5 hours, which isn't a bad value either. Once the battery is empty, it will be fully charged again in about 2 hours, which is also pretty good.

Narwhal app

Of course, the Freo, like most other vacuum robots, has an app that can be used to control it. With the Freo this is rather simple and is limited to the important things, which I liked. Not only can you create multiple maps and schedules, you can also customize the cleaning modes. Of course, the robot can also be started via the app. During cleaning, the user is shown on the map where the robot is currently cleaning and which areas it has already cleaned. After cleaning, you will receive a report showing which areas were dirty and where the robot cleaned, as well as the time it was on the move.

Whenever the station's tanks need to be filled or taught, or a part of the robot needs to be cleaned or replaced, the app sends the user a message, which I really liked. Unfortunately, the app also has a few minor ones Proproblems like some translation errors or that it sometimes hangs and needs to be restarted. Nevertheless, the app was able to convince me overall because of its structure and simplicity.

Washing station

Like most other manufacturers, Narwal delivers its premium devices such as the Freo with a washing station, which is responsible for keeping the robot's mops clean during and after cleaning. In the case of the Freo, however, it offers some other exciting features such as a dirt detection sensor and warm air mop drying. However, it has a major disadvantage.

But let's start from the beginning. The design of the station is quite simple and modern. It is made almost entirely of white plastic with a high-gloss look and can therefore be easily integrated into the living area. The round LC display, which is located on the lid of the station, is really cool and also quite unique. This can be used to control all of the robot's important functions if you don't have the app at hand. The station then contains a fresh and a waste water tank, which are 4,5 and 4,1 liters respectively, as well as a 930 milliliter cleaning agent cartridge. Unfortunately, you'll be looking for a dust bag for a suction function in vain, which, in addition to the lack of object detection, is in my opinion the biggest disadvantage of the Freo.

During cleaning, the robot returns to the station to clean its mops often or less often, depending on the setting. However, this process is sometimes quite loud and can be a bit annoying. What's good, on the other hand, is that thanks to a sensor integrated into the station, it can also detect how dirty the wastewater and therefore the floor is in the previously mopped area and then wipe it again as necessary, which worked well in practice. After cleaning, the station dries the mops with 2 degree warm air for about 40 hours, which you can definitely hear, but I personally didn't find it really annoying. Overall, I really liked the station and its cleaning performance.

Narwhal Freo Station cleaning plate

Picture: TechnikNews

Cleaning & Maintenance

As independent as the Freo is when it comes to cleaning the mops, it still needs to be serviced after a certain amount of time. You should clean the mop's washing bowl thoroughly at least once a month, as some deposits and dirt collect here and can therefore worsen the overall cleaning results of the robot. In my personal opinion, you should also wash the mops themselves thoroughly by hand or in the washing machine once every 2 to 4 weeks, as they only last so long and stay really clean. The water tanks should also be cleaned thoroughly once every few months, as deposits form here and the dirty water tank starts to stink over time.

In order to maintain consistently good cleaning results, some parts must be replaced regularly. Unfortunately, the side brushes and the main brush also wear out and need to be replaced after about 6 to 12 months. The same applies to the mops, which I would replace about every 3 to 6 months depending on the level of wear. Of course, you also have to replace the cleaning agent cartridge if it becomes empty, which was the case for me after about 6 months of almost daily cleaning.

Prices & Availability

The Freo has a recommended retail price of 799 euros, but it now only costs around 650 to 700 euros, which I find quite justified for what is on offer. The successor Freo X Ultra, which offers some significant improvements, costs around 200 to 250 euros more. For people for whom obstacle detection and increased suction power are particularly important, this extra charge may be worth it, but in my opinion the “normal” Freo really offers a lot for the money. The robot is available at all common electronics stores, as well as from Narwal itself.

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Jonas Wilhelm

Jonas lives near Ingolstadt and has been with us for over a year TechnikNews. He regularly writes test reports and news for the site. In his free time, he likes to find out about the latest technology when he's not listening to music too loudly or watching series. He also often meets up with his friends and enjoys cooking.

Jonas has already written 31 articles and left 2 comments.

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