At a Glance
- Camera with infrared
- Two-way audio
- Remote control via app
- Problems returning to dock
- Regularly overheats
It’s a likeable little device but it’s far from reliable. If you’re going to get one, bear in mind that you’re paying for its personality: it’s all about the fun factor, not its functionality.
Ebo Air is Enabot’s top-flight home robot. It’s marketed as a mobile home security camera and pet-friendly playpal, all rolled up into one little device.
Design and appearance
- 1080p camera with infrared
- Two-way audio
- Silent movement on caterpillar treads
Ebo Air is round, with a heart-shaped light where an eye would be and an aerodynamic plastic quiff for added character. It’s a bit bigger than a cricket ball and at 330g – which is about the weight of an empty mug – it’s extremely light.
It runs pretty much silently, thanks to its brushless motor, on a pair of caterpillar treads.
It comes with a small charging dock and one of its initially most impressive features is its ability to return and reverse neatly back into its spot. But (spoiler warning) after a while, it started having problems finding its way home.
The Air has a 1080p camera in front, with night vision. It also features a microphone and speaker that allow not only for two-way communication via Wi-Fi, but for Ebo to express itself with a joyful cry of “Ebo!” and the odd cheerful yip.
Once you download the Ebo app, which is free for Apple and Android, and charge your robot, Ebo Air is ready to play. However, it may take you a while to figure out exactly what it can do.
There are some things it does very well. It can move in any direction, which means it rarely gets stuck. It can get up again if it’s knocked over and it’s fairly good at avoiding obstacles, although it can’t traverse a shaggy rug.
Its camera provides decent footage in both daylight and low light and saves photos and video to an inbuilt 32GB SD card (although it has space for a 256GB card if you want to buy one), so there’s no need for a subscription and no security worries about having personal photos in the cloud.
Enabot suggests you use those features in one of two key ways: as a pet babysitter or as a home security camera.
- Can identify people and pets
- Pet play setting
- Can be remote controlled
If you’re away from home and feeling bad about the pet you left at home – and we imagine that guilt-stricken office returnees could be a major target market for the Ebo Air – you can talk and play with it remotely.
Alternatively, you can set Ebo off to find your pet, entertain him and even photograph their interactions.
You can schedule Ebo Air to come on up to five times a day, for up to five minutes each time. At the start of each period, Ebo will locate your pet and then try to entertain it with a series of moves and sounds.
You can also get Ebo to respond to people, rather than pets, and it does a good job of finding its target audience. But it’s hard to imagine that it’s going to keep a child amused beyond the initial novelty value.
I tested out its skills on my cat, who we’ll call Steve. We have cupboards full of toys that failed to hold Steve’s attention for more than five minutes. So I didn’t have high hopes for Ebo’s entertaining skills.
But Steve was fascinated from the start. Ebo’s movements are erratic and surprising, with various actions such as spinning, sudden reverses and wonky perambulations around the room. It even has a laser for a pet to chase.
Ebo did well in finding the cat – that is, initially. After a while, Steve got wise to his tricks. He started jumping up onto the coffee table whenever Ebo left his dock, coolly surveying from above as Ebo searched fruitlessly for him.
And that became a bit of a problem. As Ebo failed to find the cat, he’d just loop around and around until he overheated or his charge ran out, emitting a sad, long “Eboooo” as his battery died.
When we were at home, it was a bit depressing to watch Ebo endlessly expiring around the flat. And when we were out, we became accustomed to the plaintive alerts: “Please help me. Ebo got lost and could not find the charging pile.”
On the subject of notifications, there are other odd messages you may receive: “Ebo found pets infested during the cruise, go and check it out.” I’m still not entirely sure what this one means.
- Security patrol setting
- Will send alerts
- Can fail to return to dock
Ebo is equipped with a 1080p camera, with infrared capability. You can opt to use it in a fixed location, to view your home remotely while Ebo sits in its dock, or you can set it to patrol.
When patrolling, it can record its entire beat, or take a picture if it spots a person or pet, in which case it’ll send you a notification.
You can also drive it around your home, using controls in the app. This gives it a big advantage over a fixed security camera as you can take it into the kitchen to check that you turned off the oven, for example.
But there’s a corresponding disadvantage: if it fails to return to its dock for any reason, its charge will run down and it’ll be useless to you. So you can really only use it as a secondary security device.
Altogether, the security feature doesn’t feel particularly useful: it won’t replace any existing cameras you have and it’s much pricier than buying a new dedicated security camera.
Price and availability
Ebo Air is one of four Ebo models, two of which are available to buy from Enabot: the Ebo Air and the Ebo SE.
If the cat were writing this review, it might look a bit different. But as he is lacking keyboard skills and any kind of a work ethic, it’s up to me.
Essentially, the Ebo Air is a pretty charismatic camera on wheels in search of a function. If you’re thinking of buying one – and it is weirdly tempting – you really want to consider what you’re going to use it for.
If you’re away from home a lot and want a fun way to check in, you may find it’s a useful thing to have around. But I wouldn’t trust it with your home security.
You should also bear in mind that your pet may not love it. The cat was smitten but I’m confident that Ebo would only have bewildered and irritated my dog.
In the end, Ebo Air’s price makes it hard to recommend, especially when coupled with problems returning to its dock to recharge. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy having it around.
If you’re interested in other smart home products that double as home security cameras, have a look at our review of the Roborock S6 Max V, which features an accessible onboard camera. Or for more camera options, check out our round up of the best home security cameras we’ve tested.
Ebo Air: Specs
- 1080p camera with infrared
- Wi-Fi connection
- 16GB internal memory