Review: Narwal Freo X Ultra

A clever little helper

If you want help keeping the dirt down, a robot is a great investment.

Published 2024-05-06 - 8:00 am
Narwal Freo X Ultra
Mikael Hansen

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s cleaning. But how do you get rid of the dust bunnies without resorting to manual labour? One possible solution is a robot vacuum cleaner, although it does have some limitations. The smart and quite expensive robots are sold as marvels, but the trees don’t grow all the way to the sky. I’ll come back to that. A giant box has landed on the test bench – all the way from China.

Narwhal Robotics has just introduced its latest flagship Freo X Ultra to the Scandinavian market. This is the true Swiss Army knife of robotic vacuum cleaners, as the little guy can both vacuum and wash the floors. The little white robot is packed with smart technology and, if your home allows it, can be largely automated to clean all by itself.

A giant box

As mentioned, the Narwhal Freo X Ultra comes in a giant box. There’s a good reason for that. The included base station is quite large, measuring 41.5 × 37 × 43.4 cm and weighing 8.5 kg. This is mainly due to the unit’s ability to wash floors, as the white plastic housing contains two containers for clean and dirty water respectively. Unfortunately, the base station does not also contain a container for the robot vacuum cleaner to empty its rather small container, as we have seen with other manufacturers. At the top is a small control panel with touch function.

The base station fills well thanks to its built-in containers for clean and dirty water. (Photo: Narwhal)

The robot itself is somewhat smaller and similar to most other models on the market. It’s chalky white in the purest plastic and has a small tower with a built-in LiDAR sensor on top. If you’re already familiar with Narwhal, it will look quite familiar as the design is almost identical to the previous generation (Narwhal Freo). The true innovation is to be found on the underside.

The Narwal Freo X Ultra boasts a maximum suction power of 8,200 Pa (Narwal Freo has a suction power of 3,000 Pa) and has been equipped with a redesigned Zero-tangling brush. The stronger suction power and new brush should make this model particularly suitable for dog/cat owners. When it comes to the vacuum cleaner bags that attach to the robot itself, a pair of disposable bags are included, as well as a reusable plastic dust chamber. Both disposable bags have built-in air filters and are easily replaced by removing the top of the robot, which acts as a large lid. If you choose to use the reusable plastic container, you must purchase filters from Narwal.

Narwal’s new brush head is perfect for homes with dogs and cats (Photo: Narwal)

As mentioned, the Freo X Ultra can also mop floors. For this, it uses two triangular mop heads, each of which can rotate at 180 revolutions per minute. The robot finds its way around via its tri-laser obstacle avoidance system with LiDAR SLAM 4.0 integration. Primary control is via Narwal’s own app, but you can also use voice commands via Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri.

Cumbersome map editing

Setting up the Narwal Freo X Ultra is straightforward and takes minutes. You install the device with Bluetooth via the app, which connects to your local network. Once this is done, you can set the device to scan your home – this is where it gets really smart. The robot now drives around and searches every corner of the available rooms. Along the way, it automatically detects the type of surface it is travelling over. The result is finally displayed with a 2D/3D map that can be edited manually if necessary.

Unfortunately, this is where I ran into a bit of a problem. I always thought that a robot vacuum cleaner wasn’t ideal for my old Copenhagen apartment. The space is a bit cramped, and one of the doorsteps between the rooms is a bit higher than the others. It was the latter that resulted in an alternative solution. As the robot couldn’t get from the living room to the hallway, I had to move it manually and create an extra map.

This is what the scan of my apartment looks like. The adjustment options are a bit limited and took some time to navigate. (Screenshot)

Unfortunately, the map editor doesn’t allow you to merge two maps together, so I have to switch between the different maps every time I need to clean my apartment’s zones. Of course, if you have a multi-storey home, you’ll run into the same problem.

It sucks in a good way

Once the scanning is done, it’s time to put the robot to work. From the app, you choose whether to vacuum, mop the floor or a combination of the two. By default, the vacuum cleaner is set to one of the lower settings. Here it’s not as noisy, but of course it doesn’t suck as hard either. The map function gives you good control over exactly which rooms need to be cleaned, and you can keep track of where and how far the vacuum cleaner is in the process. Most robotic vacuum cleaners have problems with carpets. With the Narwal Freo X Ultra’s 8,200 PA suction power, it does the job just fine, even if it does make more noise than a wooden floor. The unit can be set to adjust itself up and down according to need and surface. That’s smart.

The many built-in sensors mean that the Narwal Freo X Ultra can, in theory, elegantly steer around clutter and furniture, and the new Zero-tangling brush should mean that the robot doesn’t get stuck in free-hanging cables and the like. My impression is that it handles obstacles quite well for the most part, but you’d be doing yourself a big favour if you clean up and remove things from the floor before you start it up. I experienced a couple of times when the new smart brush stalled due to a thin cable, like an apron strap getting tangled in the brush head. When this happens, the robot stops and asks for help. The same thing could happen with a regular vacuum cleaner, so I wouldn’t blame the robot per se, but it does mean that I wouldn’t let the robot clean if I wasn’t home to rescue it if it got stuck in a cable under the sofa or something.

After each cleaning, Narwal Freo X Ultra returns itself to its base station, where a special cleaning function kicks in. This applies to both vacuuming and mopping floors.

According to Narwal, the 1L disposable bags can last for seven weeks of use (Photo: Narwal)

No automatic vacuum cleaner emptying

Unlike many other robotic vacuum cleaners, the Freo X Ultra has no container for vacuumed dirt in the base station. Instead, it compresses the vacuumed dirt. Both the disposable bags and plastic container hold 1 litre, and Narwal claims you can clean for up to seven weeks before the filter needs to be emptied or replaced. Of course, this depends on the size of your home and how dirty it gets. One thing’s for sure though – you can’t just go out and buy new disposable bags or filters, they have to be ordered in from Narwal. This can get expensive in the long run. A smarter solution would have been for the robot to transfer the dirt to a container in the base station, like the DreameBot L20 Ultra, which has a built-in 3.2-litre dirt collection bag in its base station.

Cleaning the mop after use

The mop part of the robot is more practical. After mopping, the dirty water is sucked up into the base station’s dedicated container and the mop heads are automatically cleaned and dried. The robot is then refilled with fresh water and detergent from the base station’s clean water and soap tanks and is ready for new challenges.


The Narwhal Freo X Ultra is a great invention that, with a few weekly trips around the home, can significantly reduce dirt build-up. However, as mentioned above, no tree grows into the sky and a robot will never be as flexible and efficient as an old-fashioned Miele vacuum cleaner or a more contemporary Dyson. Whether you should buy a robot depends on your cleaning needs and level of cleaning. Personally, I’ve grown to love the extra cleaning and see the Narwal Freo X Ultra as a great addition for those who want to keep dirt at bay and have more time for chores other than boring things like vacuuming and mopping floors.

Narwal Freo X Ultra

Powerful 8,200 Pa suction, good floor mopping and vacuuming performance, automatic mop head cleaning Gigantic base station, no dirt container in the base station.

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