Superior suction at a steep price

Dyson helped pioneer the cordless vacuum space, and now it’s testing the waters of the robot vacuum arena. The Dyson 360 Vis Nav has been available in other parts of the world for a little while, but it recently came stateside to the tune of $1,200. The company claims a 360-degree vision system, complete with cameras and LED lights, along with suction power akin to that of its stick vacuums sets the 360 Vis Nav apart from competitors. But even if that’s true, Dyson is undeniably late to the party. Robot vacuums have gotten a lot better in the past three to five years, and there are dozens on the market — including some that offer much more in the way of features for a similarly exorbitant price. That said, did Dyson pull an Apple and shake up a product category despite its late entry to the stage? I spent some time with the 360 Vis Nav to find out.

Unboxing and setting up the 360 Vis Nav is similar to any other robot vacuum. In addition to the device, the box contains a charging cable and the vacuum’s base, a rectangular, purple unit with two black-and-white checkered spots at either corner. While it’s refreshing to see a gadget that doesn’t wear the typical black or gray uniform, the 360 Vis Nav and its dock stick out like sore thumbs among the other items and furniture in my home. There’s no semblance of “blending into the decor” with this robo-vac.


Dyson’s first robot vacuum may be late on the scene, but it impresses with excellent suction power and remarkable obstacle avoidance. However, its $1,200 will be prohibitively expensive for some.


  • Excellent suction power
  • Impressive obstacle avoidance thanks to 360-degree vision system
  • D-shaped design cleans room corners better
  • On-device display provides handy setup and cleaning instructions

  • Super expensive
  • No self-emptying base
  • No mopping capabilities

$1,200 at Dyson

Once docked for the first time, the Dyson 360 Vis Nav’s small onboard display prompts you to choose a preferred language and get connected via the mobile app. The screen doubles as a button, too, so you can press fully down on it to select options and move forward in the setup process. As I learned while using the machine, the display also shows helpful maintenance tips and accompanying graphics when you need to clean the robot’s sensors. The My Dyson app (on iOS and Android) provides all of the same information and more, and will guide you to connect the machine to your home’s Wi-Fi network, update the firmware if necessary and finish the prerequisites before you get to cleaning. Aside from waiting a few minutes for my review unit to update its firmware, the entire process took me only about 15 minutes.

To get the lay of the land, let’s revisit the few things Dyson claims set the 360 Vis Nav apart from other robot vacuums. The D-shaped design isn’t one of them, but it certainly helps the machine’s side-edge actuator when cleaning room corners. Dyson claims the actuator only opens up when cleaning corners like this, and it uses suction (rather than sweepers like other robo-vacs do) to capture debris from these hard-to-reach places. Along with that, the machine has a 360-degree vision system that helps it map our your home and clean around furniture and other objects, plus a sensor that detects the amount of dust present so it can kick up the suction when necessary and create a heat map of the dirtiest parts of your home. Those are the main differentiators, along with the claim that the 360 Vis Nav essentially has a similar level of suction power as one of Dyson’s cordless stick vacuums.

So how did all of that come together in practice? Pretty well, as it turns out. For the initial go-around, I had the Dyson 360 Vis Nav clean the main floor of my home, rather than map it out first. I did this mainly because I like chaos, but also because I wanted to see how the machine would navigate around coffee tables, couches and other furniture, plus small things like cat toys left in its path. Dyson states very clearly in the setup process that you should remove all small obstacles out of the way of the 360 Vis Nav before it cleans — I picked up a couple of reusable bags languishing from our last grocery run and the smaller cat toys, but I left some charging cables snaking on the ground because, let’s be real, most people aren’t going to clean before sending the robot they bought to clean for them out to do its job.

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