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The Neato Robotics D701, also widely known as the D7, is a real heavyweight of the robot vacuum world. Priced squarely to compete in the same kind of area as the iRobot Roomba 981, we have immensely high hopes as we come into this review. We had a fantastic experience with the D4, which shone brightly on the back of great cleaning and outstanding mapping for the price. The only major drawbacks were the noise levels and the potential clunkiness of the D shape – the latter of which can potentially also play a part here given that the D701 utilises the same form factor. We already know that this is a popular choice among pet owners and we expect top of the range cleaning power and connectivity. Neato is, after all, a hugely reputable brand in the world of robot vacuums and, as one of their flagship models, we cannot see this one letting us down in any major way.
- Outstanding cleaning potential characterised by 2,000 Pa suction
- Large 0.7 litre dust box to comfortably handle larger homes
- HEPA filter to aid pet owners and allergy sufferers
- Virtual wall support with boundary tape and no additional hardware required
- D-shape ensures that no edges and corners are left uncleaned
- Mobile app and voice control to handle a huge array of features
The Neato Robotics D701 has clearly been designed as a powerhouse of the robot vacuuming world. From the moment we saw it, we immediately got the same kind of vibes that we had when we saw the Roomba 981 for the first time. To be fair, there were no concerns over this being a premium product, as it boasts the same kind of premium price.
This is to be expected, as Neato Robotics robot vacuums do not come cheap. Even the D402, which could be considered entry-level compared to this model, comes in significantly more expensive than the likes of the best Eufy Robovacs, for example. The D402 was a fantastic robovac when we reviewed it, and this one appears set to be even better. There is plenty to cover, so let’s get on with a closer look at whether the Neato Robotics D701 justifies the luxury price point.
The box contents give an excellent insight into what you can expect from the features here. The unit itself is hefty, and reassuringly so, weighing in at around 3.5 kg. The rest of the package weight comes from the base and charger, cleaning tool for the robot itself, a user guide that comes in very handy on such a complex model as this one, a spare filter and magnetic strips to keep the robot out of certain rooms and areas.
The main omission from this package at first glance is a remote control. This will not be an issue for most, and it seems to be the case that more luxurious models ditch the remote rather than include one as standard. What this means in practice is that you’ll need to use the mobile app to get the most out of the Neato Robotics D701. It is fantastic, but if you or the potential recipient of a new robovac do not own a smartphone, you’ll miss out on quite a bit of the functionality that you pay for.
The connectivity is the perfect place to start. Remote controls aside, it does not get much better than the D701. The Neato Robotics mobile app is among our favourite – while others feel basic and like a work in progress, this one rivals other apps on your device for functionality. It works with Android and iOS, and the D701 beats many other connected robot vacuums through support for 5 GHz Wi-Fi along with the more typical 2.4 GHz spectrum. The device can also be controlled with Amazon Alexa for voice control, and Neato is also among the best around for voice control.
No robot vacuum review would be complete without coverage of the cleaning power and, just as you might expect at this price, it will not let you down. 2,000 Pa of suction is as good as it gets at the time of writing, and there are not many surfaces that will get in the D701’s way. The nature of robot vacuums in general means that you might struggle with the thickest carpets, but we cannot mark this one down on that basis as every robovac is subject to the same limitation.
It will successfully make its way around even larger homes too, thanks to a strikingly powerful 4,200 mAh battery. That’s enough to keep up the outstanding suction for up to two hours, and it only takes 30 minutes longer than that to get the battery back up to full capacity. We often overlook charge time on robot vacuums as most will not be used more than once before they have the opportunity to recharge overnight. However, a key feature on the Neato Robotics D701 is return and recharge, which means that if it runs low on juice before the job is done, it will head back to base to charge up and then pick up where it left off.
The 0.7-litre dust box ensures that it has the capacity to get the job done, while the HEPA filter is the perfect inclusion for pet owners and anyone with allergies. The spare in the box ensures that you will be well covered for a long time to come, and a pack of genuine Neato replacement filters will work out at less than £10 each. It is telling that those filters have been available since 2014, while the Neato Robotics D701 itself has only been around since 2018. The filters are every bit as good as they need to be, and if you value filtration in your robot vacuum, they are the ideal option.
The Botvac D701 is also outstanding with regard to mapping. Your robot vacuum will use onboard sensors and lasers to map your home and display it within the mobile app. From there, you can draw out any areas that you would like the robovac to avoid. This could be an entire room, or you could merely block off pet bowls or an area with any dangling wires that could get tangled in the side brush.
Crucially, the D701 will also map every floor it covers – up to a maximum of three – so even if your upstairs and downstairs follow different layouts, this robot vacuum will soon work out exactly how to cope and clean efficiently.
Finally, if you are not familiar with Neato Botvacs, you may well have noticed the D-shape design. It is uncommon, to the point that only Neato uses it. While we pride ourselves on being ruthless reviewers that tell it how it is, we have to admit that we’re still on the fence somewhat. It is an excellent idea in many ways, not least the fact that the flat edge enables the D701 and other models from the same manufacturer to get up to walls and into corners like no other.
The drawback comes into play for anyone that has lots of furniture and clutter. The Neato D701 can get into places and occasionally find itself unable to get back out again as it cannot turn as effectively as round models for obvious reasons. If you keep things relatively minimalist, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, and you can always virtually block off particularly busy areas of the home.
Neato Robotics D701 – Pros and Cons
- Fantastic cleaning in any size home and across all but the thickest carpets and rugs
- Stores up to three floor plans to quickly and effectively clean multiple levels
- Suction, brushes and HEPA filter make this an outstanding pick for pet owners
- As with most Neatos, the D701 relies heavily on the mobile app for optimal performance
- The D-shape design means that it can get stuck in tight spots more than round models
- Relatively loud when in operation at around 65 dB
Neato Robotics D701 – The Verdict
We expected a premium robot vacuum at a premium price, and that is precisely what the Neato Robotics Botvac D701 is. For us, its primary customer base involves pet owners. That is unsurprising, as that has always been a key demographic of the Neato brand. With mapping, virtual walls, outstanding suction and runtime, a HEPA filter and a big dust box, it checks every single box that pet owners and allergy sufferers would seek in a robot vacuum. The unique shape means that errant hairs and dander stand no chance of hiding out in corners and along edges too. Given that we have long established that pet owners can expect to pay a premium for optimal quality, we consider this model as being ideally positioned in the market.
Neato Robotics D701 Review
As a premium model, we have to admit that the Neato Robotics D701 is not for everyone. As this review goes live, the Eufy RoboVac 15C MAX sits atop our list of the best robot vacuums out there. Its score benefits from a combination of quality, connectivity and overall value for money. This enables it to achieve mass-market appeal. We consider the D701 as being a more specialised piece of kit. Several factors make it superior to anything that Eufy has in the range, but at almost three times the price, you have to consider whether the additional investment is worth it. If you have a large home, own pets or simply want one of the best-connected robot vacuums around, then it is. If you are a robot vacuum beginner, are on a budget or simply don’t want to pay premium prices, we’d prefer to look elsewhere.
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