Neato Botvac D5 Connected Review
What is the Neato Botvac D5 Connected?
A slightly cheaper, less feature-packed version of the company’s leading D7 Connected robot vacuum, the Neato Botvac D5 Connected is still a powerful cleaner in its own right.
Excellent navigation, good cleaning and a sensible, easy-to-use app make this a no-frills but convenient machine for keeping your house clean without hassle.
Related: Best robot vacuum cleaner
Neato Botvac D5 Connected – Design
With its distinctive D-shaped body, the Neato Botvac D5 is instantly recognisable. The idea is that the D-shape helps the robot access corners and other areas with which other vacuum cleaners might struggle.
It’s a slim yet wide robot vacuum cleaner (100 x 336 x 319mm), which has both advantages and disadvantages. In the D5’s favour, the low profile means it can easily squeeze under furniture. In fact, I tested this model by keeping its charging dock under a sofa, which posed no problems. However, its wide body isn’t particularly good for getting through narrow gaps, such as a dining chair’s legs.
On its underside you’ll find a combination brush bar, designed to agitate and loosen dirt so that it can be sucked up. This will need to be cleaned out regularly, and there’s a neat tool included with a built-in razor for cutting away tangled hair. A side brush swipes dirt from edges into the path of robot. Replacement brushes are available (around £30), and replacing them every six months is recommended.
Inside the robot is a 0.7-litre bin, which lifts out for emptying. Annoyingly, the bin is in the same recess as the carry handle, making it all too easy to grab the wrong one. There’s a high-performance filer inside, which needs to be replaced every one-to-two months (the app lets you know when). Filters cost around £23 for a pack of two.
Neato Botvac D5 Connected – Features
Simple control of the Botvac D5 Connected is via the button on top. One press starts a clean, two presses start an area clean. However, you get more control via the smartphone app, which is initially used to connect the robot to your Wi-Fi network. Once configured, you can control the robot directly from the app.
There are two cleaning modes available: House and Spot. House cleans your entire home (well, as far as the robot can go before it reaches stairs). Spot is used to clean a 7-foot square area, which is handy for tackling specific spills.
For House navigation, you can also enable the Extra Care mode, which makes the robot a little more gentle as it drives around. If you’ve got delicate furniture, it’s a good choice.
There’s no cleaning power mode, and the Botvac D5 Connected runs at maximum power only, which resulted in a noise rating of 68.9dB. It’s a shame that the quieter Eco cleaning mode from the D7 isn’t available.
Although the D5 Connected maps out your home using its laser guidance, which also works in darkness, you can’t do anything with the map information. You can’t select no-go areas, for example. However, in the box you get some magnetic tape that you can use to prevent the robot going where you don’t want it. This could be useful for protecting a delicate bit of furniture or a prized rug.
Neato Botvac D5 Connected – Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT
Amazon Alexa support is available, with the skill letting you turn the robot on or off with just your voice. It worked perfectly in my tests and is a handy way of starting a clean without having to reach for your phone or the physical buttons.
Related: Amazon Alexa guide
Google Assistant support is available, too, although the option to add your robot vacuum cleaner isn’t in the Google Home app, but rather in the Google Assistant app (iOS and Android). Using the Explore option, you can search for and add the Google Assistant skill from there. This gives a similar level of control to Alexa and works just as well.
Neato also has IFTTT support built in. There are only actions available (start or stop cleaning, pause and resume cleaning, and return to dock). Even so, functionality is good; for example, you can pause your robot when you get an incoming phone call or start a clean when you go out.
Neato Botvac D5 Connected – How well does it clean carpets and hard floors?
Cleaning performance is very good. I started with hard floors, using a combination of flour and carpet-freshening powder, placing an X of the mixture in the middle floor and by the edge. At first, the Botvac D5 struggled to pick up everything, leaving big blobs of dirt behind; the robot didn’t cover the room very well.
It was a similar story with the carpet test, with the Botvac D5 Connected failing to cover the area sufficiently, leaving behind a lot of our spilt mixture.
However, a second go, with the robot’s map updated, proved the D5 to be a better performer. It smartly navigated itself around, removing most of the spilt mixture well. Edge performance was particularly good. As is typical for a robot vacuum cleaner, some traces were left behind, particularly those embedded in cracks in the floor.
Carpet performance was generally pretty decent, too. The robot tackled the entire cross of flour/carpet freshener, although it left some finer particles behind.
Still, as a maintenance cleaner, the Neato Botvac D5 Connected will pick up most surface dirt, leaving you to perform a full clean once a week or so. Battery life of around 90 minutes should suit most UK homes, with the D5 Connected returning to base, recharging and then continuing cleaning for very large areas.
Neato Botvac D5 Connected – How well does it manage obstacles?
Thanks to its laser navigation, the Botvac D5 navigates well. It easily found its way under sofas, cleanly returning to its dock, where it performed a little bum wriggle, as it made contact.
Around my house, it casually navigated around furniture, while its edge sensor made sure that the robot vacuum didn’t fall down. And, moving from hard floors to carpets proved no problem for this machine.
Tighter gaps, such as dining chair legs were more of an issue, and I had to space out my chairs to ensure the D5 Connected was able to makes its way through.
Why buy the Neato Botvac D5 Connected?
The Neato Botvac D5 Connected is a powerful and simple vacuum cleaner offering great performance on hard floors and carpets. It lags slightly behind the Dyson 360 Eye for carpet performance, but the lower price makes up for it. The bigger issue is that Neato has since released the Botvac D4 Connected and Botvac D6 Connected, which add extra features for similar prices.
I’ve not reviewed those models yet (reviews coming soon), but the more expensive D7 Connected performed better, and has more advanced options including programmable no-go areas, and a lower-power, quieter, Eco mode. If you can stretch to that machine, you’ll get better results.
A simple and well-performing robot vacuum cleaner that gets the essentials right.