Ecovacs Deebot 711 full review
Ecovacs has become one of the staple names in the robot vacuum sector thanks to its line of Deebot cleaners, doing a particularly good job of packing some high-end smart features into vacuums that are more affordable than much of the competition.
The same is true of the Deebot 711, a robot vacuum that's smarter than some rival companies' flagships, at a fraction of the price. Here's how it shapes up to the rest of the robot vacuum market.
Price & availability
The Deebot 711 is available in the US right now, priced at $349, though you might be able to find it for less.
We can't find it on sale in the UK yet, though other Deebot devices are out here, so we expect to see the 711 eventually.
The headline feature of the Deebot 711 is what Ecovacs calls Smart Navi 2.0 - upgraded mapping software that supposedly helps the vacuum learn and remember the best routes around your home to ensure it covers the whole floor plan.
In practice that means it does its best to go methodically back and forth across the floor until it hits obstacles or walls. Obviously this works better in big open rooms, but I found the Deebot 711 did a fairly good job of navigating my oddly shaped flat, working its way around furniture without leaving any large areas uncleaned.
At the end of every cleaning job the Ecovacs app generates a cleaning map, so you can see how long the vacuum took, the size of the area it cleaned, and where it made it in your house - ideal for spotting any areas the vacuum may be struggling to get to, so you can identify obstacles you may want to remove. It's worth noting that unlike some higher-end rivals, you can't use this map to mark out areas for the robot to avoid though, only to see where it's been each day.
It's also worth highlighting one area the Deebot 711 did impress: object avoidance. While plenty of other robot vacuums drive around bumping into things, then turning around, the 711 did a good job of stopping before it hit furniture (or legs). It also seems fairly reliable at avoiding getting stuck on furniture, one of the most important features in any device that's meant to be low-hassle.
Other smart features include support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice controls, along with all the usual scheduling options. There are also dedicated Spot and Edge cleaning modes for when you need a quick clean on a specific area of the house, or want the Deebot to run along the walls and corners.
Finally, there's the option to activate a double power suction mode, ramping up cleaning mode - and in turn noise. I found the regular mode plenty powerful (though my flat is mostly hard floors, with some short carpet), and the Max mode distractingly loud when I was in the house. Still, it's great to have the option, though it will naturally limit the battery life slightly - which is otherwise an excellent 110 minutes on the regular mode.
So in terms of software and features, the Deebot 711 excels. The physical hardware design is a little more pedestrian, but that's really not the priority here - and forgivable at the price.
The Deebot 711 looks much like most of the Ecvovacs cleaners: a small black circular robot, with a glossy finish and a single large power button on the top. It's a plain, unobtrusive design - you probably don't want your vacuum to stand out too much after all - and the design has a low profile, so it does a good job of getting under sofas and chairs.
Round designs aren't ideal for robot vacuums, common as they are, and we usually recommend D-shaped cleaners, which tend to a better job of cleaning along walls and corners. Still, the 711 at least has long cleaning brushes on both sides of the body, which help it sweep up in trickier spots.
The bin seemed a little fiddly to empty at first, but once you get the hang of it it's actually pretty simple - and unlike with some others, fairly easy to empty directly into your main rubbish bin without getting a cloud of dust in the air.
Finally, Ecovacs includes a small remote control, meaning you can still control the vacuum when your Wi-Fi is down or you don't have your phone to hand.
The Deebot 711 isn't the smartest robot vacuum around, or the most powerful, or the quietest. But it is pretty good at all three of those things, with enough flexibility in different cleaning modes and options to suit most homes.
The Smart Navi 2.0 also lives up to its name, letting the vacuum navigate furniture and obstacles better than some substantially more expensive rivals. We'd love to see the ability to mark out no-go areas within the app, but other than that there's not much reason to spend any more than this on a robot vacuum.