Neato Botvac D5 connected review – smart cleaning robot

Neato Botvac D5 connected review

The Neato Botvac D5 connected review is not something I would normally cover, but as part of a piece, I am writing on how smart home technology can improve wellbeing and overall fitness I was sent a Botvac D5 on loan to use and decided to write this Neato review.

Editor note: This article was originally written on the 13th January 2018 and has been updated to include the virtual no-go lines, multi-floor plans and cleaning modes.

What is a robot vacuum cleaner

Robot vacuums are not a new technology innovation and have been around for a few years now and Neato is one of many manufacturers that produce them. A Robot vacuum cleaner is simply a vacuum that navigates your home and Hoover’s. Robot vacuum cleaners come in different designs ranging from the more common circle design or like the Neato a combination of a circle and square front. The technology also differs from model to model with the basic ones just simply “bump” around the house to find its way or the more expensive models like the Neato that use lasers and sensors to map your room.

In short, a robot vacuum is meant to save you time on the cleaning.

Must read review: Garmin Vivosmart 3 review

Neato Botvac D5 Connected review Key Features

  • 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Enabled Robot Vacuum
  • Combo Brush
  • Ultra Performance Filter
  • High Capacity Lithium-ion Battery
  • Boundary Markers
  • Side Brush
  • Extensive Smart Home Support
  • Cleaning Summary with Coverage Map
  • Cleans up to 4500 sq ft per cleaning cycle
  • Multi-floor plans with virtual no-go lines
  • Eco/Turbo cleaning modes

Neato D5 Connected review pictures

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Neato Botvac D5 Connected review – Design

  • D-shaped front which helps with cleaning in corners
  • Charging station included
  • Large dustbin at 0.7 litres

The Neato D5 connected stands at a mere 10cm tall, which means it can get under furniture more easily, I found this pretty useful when it came to my bath which has low sides at either end. Neato’s D5 connected has a 0.7 litres dustbin compared with Dyson’s Eye smaller 0.33-litre bin. The D5 connected comes with a D shaped front and a circle back which I found ideal for getting into corners. The D5 Connected weighs just 3.5kg which makes it easy to take up and downstairs when you want to move around for cleaning on different floors. If you flip the D5 over, you’ll see drop sensors and a roller brush along the flat edge, along with a tiny spin brush and two main wheels. and the entire unit is made of a strong plastic.

The Connected D5 has a charging station that plugs into a plug which is made of shiny plastic with 2 metal plates that the D5 backs into to start charging. The only issue I have the charging station is its made of a polished plastic which means it attracts dust and fingerprints. In addition to a charging dock and power cord, the D5 comes with a combo brush, filter, side brush, cleaning tool, and a roll of magnetic tape you can use to mark off boundaries

Neato botvac D5 connected design

Neato Botvac D5 Connected – Setup and App

  • App-controlled
  • Easy setup
  • Auto scheduling

Setup of the D5 connected is fairly straightforward and is all done from a companion app which is available for iPhone and Android. The setup process took around 15 minutes from opening the box to set it off on its first cleaning run. Out of the box, the D5 connected will probably need a firmware update and given Neato have now brought Coverage Maps to the D5 and D3 which was only previously available on the higher end models you might want to do this as I only did this after a couple of runs. During the setup process, you also have the option to give the D5 a name and I choose the name Winston

Neato botvac D5 connected app

The Neato app itself is fairly simple and gives you a number of options to either start a cleaning run manually and once it is running you have the option to pause and stop the Neato D5. You can also schedule the Connected D5 to start cleaning at a certain time in the day and on which days and when setting the schedule it started like clockwork each day with no issues. With the D5 Connected you have the 2 cleaning options, the first being a full house clean and in this mode, the D5 Connected completes a full house clean for available rooms it can access. The 2nd cleaning mode is spot cleaning and this cleans in an area and this is useful for if something has been spilt or you want to clean a smaller area.

Neato Botvac D5 Connected review – smart home

  • Works with Google Home, Google assistant and Alexa
  • IFFT enabled
  • Can be used with other smart home products

Neato has enabled the D5 connected to be used with a variety of smart home hubs. Whilst it works with Alexa and other hubs I only had the chance to use it with Google Home and Google assistant. To use the D5 connected to Google Home you have to enable it and sign in with the username and password you set up when you created your Neato Account. Once you have done the setup process in Google Assistant the D5 connected is ready to be controlled by Voice.

The commands that you can use are simple, but effective from asking google Assistant what the status of the battery is to start a cleaning run. I did find I used this feature when I was out rather than when I was in the home, but overall the Google Home integration is useful.

Neato Botvac D5 Connected- Features

  • Coverage Maps now available on the D5 Connected
  • Floor plans and virtual no-go lines add to the experience.
  • Room laser scanning for more precise cleaning

The D5 Connected uses laser scanning to find its way around and map out its environment as it cleans. The cheaper robot vacuum cleaners just bump around to find its path when cleaning. Because the Neato Connected D5 used lasers, this means it can operate at night in the dark, unlike the Dyson Eye which uses a camera. The laser is mounted in the circular housing on top of the D5 Connected and it builds up a map of your room(s) as it travels around.

As I have already mentioned the D5 is best used with the Neato App and whilst this is a basic app, it is pretty good for scheduling the cleaning runs and being alerted to things like when the bin needs emptying and if it gets stuck when cleaning. One of the biggest things I liked about the D5 Connected is the side brush and this spins to catch any dirt that might be close the edges like skirting or in corners and in my view, it really adds to the cleaning.

Neato botvac D5 connected side brushNeato has Coverage Maps to the D3 & D5 connected via a software update that was previously only available on the Neato Connected and the D7. Once the Connected D5 finishes cleaning it will send you a notification via the app that it has finished and presented you with the completed Coverage Map and you can then inspect it to see where it has been. I found the Coverage Maps useful as it showed you where it had been and you can then move things around the house the next cleaning room if the Neato is struggling to get into a location. One thing I would like Neato to enable is to display the coverage map whilst it is cleaning and shows you if it has finished with a room. I found that once it set off you were unsure if it completed a room and would often return later in the cleaning run to finish something off. So for instance, if you are doing a full house cleaning and you are waiting to mop in the kitchen you cannot really start until the D5 Connected as finished.

One other feature that is worth mentioning is the alerts both when it finishes cleaning or if it gets stuck. If the Neato D5 gets stuck it will send you a notification through your smartphone and show you the location on the coverage map. The D5 will also beep every 30 seconds until you go and retrieve it from where it has got stuck or accidentally sucked something up. When the Neato D5 finishes cleaning it will send you an alert to say its finished along with a coverage map to show where it has been.

Recently Neato updated the D5 Connected with multi-floor plans, virtual no-go lines and new cleaning modes. Let us check them out.

Multiple Floor PlansNeato D5 Connected virtual no go lines

As part of the update and to support the no-go virtual lines, the Neato D5 gets multi-floor support.. This means you can create and save up to 3-floor plans for different levels of your home including the No-Go lines and not have to worry about the plans being erased each time you move the D5 between floors.

So when moving the D5 between floors to start cleaning you will either have to make sure you put the base stand in the same place each time so it syncs up with the floor plan correctly, or purchase an additional base stand. Whilst some may see this has an additional cost, it’s a fair bit cheaper than buying a separate Neato Botvac for each floor in your home.

I have found using the multi-floor plans very useful and if this feature had been available when I first reviewed and then went out and bought my own, I would not have a need to purchase a 2nd Neato.

Virtual No go linesNeato D5 Connected floor plans

The virtual no-go lines allow you to mark on the floor plan the areas you do not want your D5 to go. This will bring a significant improvement over the physical magnetic strips as you only get one in the box.

Virtual No-Go lines can be added within the Neato app after the vacuum has created a map of the home. So if you want to block off entire rooms, under beds that have your kids toys under, then its simple as tapping 2 points on the map to create a virtual barrier.
Using the virtual no-go lines is a big step forward and saves you having to place the magnetic no-go strips around the home. This is useful if you don’t want the D5 to enter a room due it being renovated or if you only clean certain rooms on particular days.
Whilst the D5 virtual no-go lines feature is useful, it would be good if they expanded the feature to have multiple no-go line options to be used on different days. So, for instance, the D5 would clean certain rooms throughout the week, but then on a Sunday, for instance, it would do a full house clean, whilst you could still do this manually, it would be good to have this automated.Neato D5 Connected cleaning modes
Eco/Turbo Modes
Eco and Turbo modes have also been added to the Botvac D5 Connected’s feature set, which is featured in the Botvac D7 Connected and the Botvac Connected.

Using the Turbo mode in particular on the Botvac Connected offers a deeper level of cleaning than it does in Eco mode. But if you strip all the marketing back, the Turbo mode is just the normal mode that was shipped with the device and the Eco mode is a lower power mode.

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Neato Botvac D5 Connected – Performance

  • Battery performance is good
  • Takes a couple of cleans to see good results
  • Remember to clear the room as you would with a normal vacuum, it’s not magic

The Neato Botvac D5 has a High Capacity Lithium-ion Battery that the company says Cleans up to 4500 sq ft per cleaning cycle. What I found in real terms is that the property I tested it in was about 610 sq ft downstairs and 390 sq FT upstairs and it would complete the cleaning job still with about 40% battery. So whilst Neato’s claim for the battery performance is on the high side, I do think it performs really well and its more than enough for the average family home and for those of you with larger homes it will go back to the base station when low on power, recharge and then go back out and complete the cleaning job.

Neato botvac D5 connected cleaning under bathWhilst the Neato D5 Connected is packed with features and some great room scanning technology to enable it to navigate your home, it would be no good if the sucker was not great so I put it to the test both in a large house that had a mixture of carpet, wooden floor, tiles, marble and rugs. The Neato D5 Connected arrived just before Christmas so the house was full of decorations and a real Christmas tree.

The Neato was set each day to run at 9:30 and start the cleaning run and it would complete downstairs being a total of 610 sq ft in around 49 mins on average and then upstairs around 390 sq ft in around 30 minutes. So whilst some have commented to me that it’s not as fast as doing it yourself, remember you are not doing it yourself and you can just get on with your day whilst the Neato cleans for you.

Neato Robot vacuum on Carpet

The cleaning performance on the carpet was pretty good and would ensure that 90% of the direct and bits had been collected. What I would say is that I found the more it was used the cleaner the carpets looked over time and it was so surprised how much it would pick up on each cleaning run.

Neato botvac D5 connected features

Neato robot vacuum on rugs

I found that the Neato D5 was not as good on rugs and it would often leave cat hair or bits on the rug on its first couple of runs. However, over time, it would give them a better clean and if you put a cleaning schedule in place the D5 will keep on top of rugs, but don’t expect magic on the first run.

Neato Robot vacuum on wooden floor

The Neato D5 performed very well on wooden floor and would pick up everything I challenged it with. It would pick up toast crumbs in the kitchen and dried mud from the doorway in the house. One of the big challenges it would overcome is sucking up pines from around the Christmas tree. Having a real Christmas tree in previous years was a pain in the **** because of the pines that would fall off and then get everywhere in the house, however, the D5 would clean them up with ease and actually go under the tree due to its low profile.

Neato botvac D5 connected bathroom floor

Neato Robot vacuum on tiles and marble floors

As with the wooden floors the Neato D5 connected would clean tiles and marble floor with ease and again it would suck up anything I challenged it with. One of the biggest things I liked was again its low profile and the Neato’s ability to get under the sides of the bath and clean.

Overall I am impressed with the cleaning performance of the Neato Connected D5 and I would say the more it is used the cleaner the floors become. I found scheduling it every day keeps it on top of the cleaning and I did notice a big difference after it had been running every morning for a week.

Neato D5 navigation performance

As I have already said the Neato D5 Connected uses laser mapping to scan the room to determine is cleaning pattern. The first couple of cleaning runs it did seem to be all over the place, but after a week of use, it seemed to have an order of doing each room. It starts the outsides of the room and then would go up and down in a formation until it had finished. Whilst the Neato D5 has alerts if it would get stuck, I didn’t get many alerts and it would only get stuck or say it needed the brush cleaning if I had left things on the floor like towels or if I had not cleaned the room correctly.

How to use a robot vacuum cleaner

Before I wrap up the review, I just wanted to take a little time to give you my advice on how to use a robot vacuum cleaner and this applies to Neato, Dyson or any of the others. Whilst the majority of robot vacuum cleaners are good and use advanced technology to clean the home and navigate around, they are not perfect nor or robots magic. So my biggest piece of advice is always clear the floors of cables, clothes, shoes, screws, toys or anything that a normal vacuum would complain about if it sucked it up. You should also look to move any chairs out from under desks and ensure that the doors are open enough for it to move around your home. I found doing all of these things would limit the alerts that the Neato had got stuck or had sucked something up and shut down waiting for you to remove it.  The final piece of advice is to schedule the robot vacuum to clean every day, this way it keeps on top of the cleaning and you will see the difference and get the biggest benefit from your investment.

Should I buy the Neato Botvac D5 Connected?

Neato botvac D5 connected review

Neato’s Botvac is a great robot vacuum cleaner that has a great list of features, and it’s good at getting the job done. It is not the cheapest robot vacuum cleaners out there, but you get what you pay for with the D5 Connected.

The combination of the side brush and the combo brush ensure it can give your carpets and floors a good clean. I really like the coverage maps post cleaning as this gives you an idea of how you get help the D5 Connected navigate your home better and now the D5 Connected has multi floor maps with virtual no-go lines the robot vacuum really offers some great features

I was a little disappointed it struggled with rugs on its first couple of runs, but over time when the Neato was routinely cleaning them, the rugs would be fine.

Neato Robotics D6 Connected Laser Guided...
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Neato Robotics D6 Connected Laser Guided...
  • CORNER-CLEANING ‘D’ DESIGN -- Round robots can’t reach corners, and corners are where the worst dirt hides. Our industry-leading design gets you a complete floor clean
  • LASER SMART MAPPING -- D6 technology intelligently navigates and maps your home, cleaning in straight lines instead of a random pattern -- so you never miss a spot

The integration with smart home hubs like Google Home and Alexa is really good and over time I can see some further integration. I would like to see Neato bring the ability to see if the Robot had completed a room or at least to see where it had been so you can complete other tasks in a room.

Neato Botvac D5 connected review – smart cleaning robot
Should I buy the Neato Botvac D5 Connected?
Neato’s Botvac is a great robot vacuum cleaner that has a great list of features, and it’s good at getting the job done. It is not the cheapest robot vacuum cleaners out there, but you get what you pay for with the D5 Connected. The combination of the side brush and the combo brush ensure it can give your carpets and floors a good clean. I really like the coverage maps post cleaning as this gives you an idea how you get help the D5 Connected navigate your home better. I was a little disappointed it struggled with rugs on its first couple of runs, but over time when the Neato was routinely cleaning them the rugs would be fine.

The integration with smart home hubs like Google Home and Alexa is really good and over time I can see some further integration. I would like to see Neato bring the ability to see if the Robot had completed a room or at least to see where it had been so you can complete other tasks in a room.

Reader Rating0 Votes
Great on floors on carpets
Amazing navigation capabilities
Good battery life performance
Could be better on rugs

  • 66

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  1. Came here looking for information on the Fenix 5 and saw this. I have been considering getting a robot for sometime now. But I can’t decide between a neato D5 or the Neato Connected, what do you think between them both?

    • I have the Botvac Connected and will be completing the review shortly. But to help you out now. The Connected seems to be more powerful than the D5. The battery life is more or less the same. If you can get the Connected on offer via amazon and then go for it

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Jon Ratcliffe
I have a huge passion for technology having worked in the sector for over 18 years in a variety of roles. I cover Wearables, tech and smart home. My reviews and information will talk about how the product works in reality and not just what the marketing departments want you to think.

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