Segway Navimow iSeries 105E review: an up-to-the-mark, wire-free mow-bot that cuts the mustard

Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your non-labours while the Segway Navimow iSeries 105E tends to your lawn

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E
(Image credit: Segway)
T3 Verdict

If you’re on the lookout for a highly competent and keenly-priced robotic lawn mower that doesn’t require an annoying perimeter wire on the lawn, give the new Segway Navimow iSeries 105E a whirl. Despite one or two fairly minor anomalies, the Navimow behaves remarkably well and leaves lawns looking swanky.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    No perimeter wire required

  • +

    Great overall performance

  • +

    Leaves lawns looking immaculate

  • +

    Good navigation

  • +

    Easy to use

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Won’t avoid small obstacles like dog mess

  • -

    Won’t cut right to the edge

  • -

    Annoying function light

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Segway doesn’t just make funky self-balancing two-wheel personal transporters and electric scooters, it also produces an impressive range of robot lawn mowers, like the new Segway Navimow iSeries we have here.

The best robot lawn mowers don’t just make light work of mowing the lawn, they don’t involve any work at all. And make no mistake, you will be amazed at the results once you’ve let one loose on the sward. Like a faithful servant it will duly leave its charging dock and regularly mow the lawn to whatever height you prefer, leaving it in an immaculate state that will have you wondering why you didn’t buy a robot mower earlier.

Of course the answer to this question is that you have always been put off by the huge amount of faff involved in burying a lawn perimeter cable so the robot doesn’t go off-piste and annihilate the azaleas. Well, you’ll be thrilled to learn that, like a few other high-end models on the market, the Segway Navimow iSeries navigates itself around the lawn, snipping here and there, without any perimeter wire whatsoever. Like the best robot vacuum cleaner, a robot mower will never moan about trudging up and down the lawn. Instead, it will just get on with the task as many times as you want it to – day or night – and in complete silence.

Read on for the full mow-down.

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E review: price and availability

For a self-guided wire-free robotic mower with smarts galore, the Segway Navimow iSeries 105E is available at Segway at a great price of just £949. Fancy jumping on the mow-bot bandwagon? Head over to Hughie Willett Machinery, Mow With Us and John Miller Garden Machinery.

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E review: design

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E

(Image credit: Segway)

I received the 105E model which is designed for lawns up to 500m². That’s a pretty big swathe given that the national average for lawn size is 255m² and a typical London lawn is just 140m². It’s good enough, in other words, for all but the most elaborate of rural swards.

The Navimow iSeries 105E measures 455×385×285mm and is much larger than you might expect when looking at online photos. It also weighs 10.9kg which isn’t especially light but still of no concern given that you only need to carry it once to its base station. The base station – which measures 715×450×300mm – is the only item that requires installation, including cabling to an outdoor mains outlet and connection to a GPS antenna.

The iSeries 105E is built using study plastics and sealed weather resistant materials with a high waterproof rating of IP66, which is more than enough protection against even the most vociferous of downpours. It runs in the direction of its well-treaded, big orange tractor wheels with two shopping trolley wheels on the rear for helping it make really tight turns.

Its cutting deck, meanwhile, is a moderate 18cm and that is very small when compared to a standard cordless mower like the excellent Kärcher LMO 18-33 which has a cutting width that’s almost twice the diameter of the Segway. Nevertheless, cutting width isn’t the be-all and end-all for robot mowers since they will always get the job done even if it takes much longer per mowing session than a human with a push mower. 

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E

(Image credit: Segway)

Most of the programming of the Navimow is done via the app, which is a good thing because the interface on the mower itself doesn’t make much sense. Yes, the interface shows battery level in big lettering but there’s nothing else on the control panel that you’d want to fiddle with in case you cock things up. Stick to the app, in other words. However, there is one brilliant interface feature on the Navimow and it’s the big cutting height dial on the top – but I’ll get to that in the next chapter.

Turn the mower over and you’ll see the business end of the bot which comprises a centrally-located rotary cutting section with three swivelling razor blades that do all the hard work. It’s the same system as used by most robot mowers though it’s true to say that when you see them for the first time you might wonder how these titchy blades could possibly cut anything at all.

Against all odds, they do the job remarkably well – but only if the grass is sufficiently short enough in the first place. Which is why you’re always advised to use a manual mower before you set a robot mower loose so you can get the grass down to a manageable height. Thereafter, you might never need to use your manual mower again.

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E review: features

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E on the user's lawn

(Image credit: Future)

First things first – this mower requires no boundary wire and therefore no kneeling down and faffing about with a long cable. Instead, the Navimow iSeries 105E uses GPS RTK+ Vision and AI-assisted Mapping to navigate its way around the lawn. However, there is one small small caveat – explained in more detail in the next chapter – which involves helping the Navimow map the perimeters of a lawn so it has a safe boundary to work within.

The Navimow is also fitted with a 180˚ HD camera, a VisionFence obstacle-avoidance sensor near the front bumper and a headlight mounted on the front – yes, most robot mowers can happily cut 24/7. And if you’re worried about security, the accompanying app provides an anti-theft feature which sounds an alarm on the robot if it’s lifted by any light-fingered ne’er-do-wells.

Speaking of which, there’s a large and rather attractive-looking circular LED lamp on the top of the Navimow that changes colour depending on whether it’s charging or in use. This lamp glows all day and night and that could be an issue for some owners with visible front lawns. Thankfully, you can change the lamp’s brightness via the app from high to low but you can’t turn it off, and that could be a problem for some users who might not want any attention brought to their expensive new toy. Hopefully Segway is aware of user’s concerns on various online forums and will provide a software update fix in the not-too-distant future.

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E at night

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E at night

(Image credit: Future)

As mentioned above, this mower has a cutting deck of 18cm and a clearly visible cutting height adjustment dial on top. Simply turn the dial and select between 2cm and 6cm. For my first cut I selected 4cm which was perhaps a bit low given the grass was about 7cm in length but thereafter I chose 3cm and it was a perfect cutting height for my lawn. The Navimow iSeries 105E can handle slopes of up to 16˚ (30%) and its chunky front wheels are very adept at traversing gnarly terrain.

The Navimow is fitted with a 2.55Ah battery that has an operating and charging time of around 90 minutes each. This means that the mower may have to head back to base mid session if it’s cutting a larger lawn. This is quite normal for robot mowers and shouldn’t be considered an issue since they will eventually get the task done. Just give it a day or two.

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E review: set-up

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E in the user's garden

(Image credit: Future)

The Segway Navimow iSeries 105E comes in a large box containing the mower itself, 10m of power cable, some soft ground screws, a GPS antenna and a large flat charging base that needs to be positioned at the edge of the lawn, preferably on a corner for both aesthetics and convenience.

Ideally you should make sure you don’t have more than about 15% of tree cover overhanging the lawn or the GPS may not function as well as it should. That said, you can always buy the optional extension aerial and site it in an area with a clearer line of sight to the myriad of satellites orbiting above us.

Despite the surfeit of accessories, the Navimow was actually very easy to set up, for both the physical parts and the syncing up between phone app and robot. It all went very smoothly indeed.

Although this robot mower doesn’t need any perimeter wire it does require some human input when creating a lawn’s boundaries. However, as you’ll soon discover, boundary marking is the fun part because you get a chance to drive the robot RC-car style around the lawn using the app’s simple computer games-style virtual joystick. I found this part particularly easy but that’s only because I’ve been driving RC cars and flying drones for years.

In essence, creating a perimeter map involves following the robot a few feet behind at a very slow walking pace. If you make a mistake by driving off course, simply hold the erase button on the screen and the robot will reverse along the same path it’s just made until it reaches the last good area. Now resume mapping using the control sticks.

My garden is an extremely easy example for the robot so I just followed it around and ensured the body of the bot hugged any stone borders as closely as possible without any touching.

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E review: navigation performance

Segway Navimow iSeries

(Image credit: Future)

I’ve been mostly very impressed with this robot’s navigation skills and pretty good obstacle avoidance which spots most items that are more than about four inches in height. Of course this height limit does mean that it will inevitably ride slipshod over most dog mess and possibly even cake its wheel treads in the stuff. But I hasten to add that this isn’t unusual for a robot mower so I would recommend clearing your lawn of dog mess on a more frequent basis, which can only be a good thing for aesthetics, the health of the lawn for those that use it. 

The Navimow iSeries 105E mowed my lawn a different way on each occasion – horizontal, vertical and two corner-to-corner cross-cutting sessions from opposite sides. This impressed me a lot since cutting in alternative directions is often recommended for a healthier lawn. The mower also kept to a logical up-and-down pattern no matter which direction it was mowing. It was certainly less frustrating to watch than your average robot vacuum which always seems to vacuum the floors in a haphazard fashion.

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E review: cutting performance

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E

(Image credit: Segway)

The first thing you notice about the Segway Navimow – and indeed any robot mower – is how quiet it is. And by quiet I mean near silent. In fact, even if you’re within just 10 feet of it the only thing you can hear is the wheels moving round and the gentle sound of snipping. There is absolutely zero chance of any neighbours hearing a thing.

According to the Navimow app’s completed map of my lawn, it's a modest 172m². My lawn also has the very simplest of layouts since it isn’t cluttered with any obstacles like trees or garden furniture. Hence I had no need to go into the app to create no-go zones. 

Also, because my lawn is a single swathe and not two or three lawns in close proximity to each other, I didn’t need to use the app’s clever pathway option which creates a virtual path for the robot to run along so it can trundle from lawn to lawn.

During the first cut, the Navimow didn’t have quite enough battery power to complete the whole lawn so it missed a small section along its farthest edge. But after 90 minutes or so of self charging, it went back to the exact spot and finished it off.

For obvious reasons of physics and weight, robotic lawn mowers don’t have grass collectors attached to them. Instead, they perform a mulching cut whereby the nitrogen-rich grass cuttings are fed back in to the lawn to fertilise it. 

Since I neglected to use my cordless push mower to bring the grass down to a more manageable height, the very first time the Navimow went out on a cutting spree it left quite a few visible grass cuttings behind it. However these cuttings soon disappeared and, by the second cutting session, there was hardly any evidence at all. That’s the great thing about robot mowers – they will go out every day if required and just trim a millimetre at a time.

However, I did notice that the Navimow sometimes didn’t exactly follow the mapped path I originally set. At times it would scoot about three inches away from the border leaving some sections of grass uncut. And that brings me to edge cutting in general. Since this model’s 18cm cutting deck is in the centre of the chassis with about four inches of space on either side, it doesn’t cut edges that well. Some mow-bots have an offset cutting deck which alleviates this issue to some degree but, in general, all robot mowers suffer from edge cutting issues. As a result, you’re advised to keep your grass strimmer to hand because there will be occasions during strong summer growth when you will need it.

In general, I thought the Segway Navimow iSeries 105E performed exceptionally well and the honest truth is that I don’t think my lawn has ever looked better. And all without lifting a finger.

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E review: Navimow app

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E

(Image credit: Segway)

All robotic lawn mowers use an app so you can create schedules and customise the mower and lawn space to your own needs. The Navimow app doesn’t appear to be quite as comprehensive as, say, the Worx Landroid app but it’s easy to negotiate and comes with most of the functions you’ll need.

For instance, you can easily add central boundaries around trees or garden furniture and even create a virtual pathway between two sections of lawn replete with automatic raising of the mower’s ride height when negotiating any raised pathways.

You can also edit individual sections of the map’s original border if, say, the robot keeps missing a corner section. However, I found this part a bit confusing and had to make several attempts before the map was rewritten. Other than that, I think the app is easy enough to use even if you’re a bit of a luddite in these matters.

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E review: verdict

Segway Navimow iSeries 105E on white background

(Image credit: Segway)

For the keen price, this is a cracking robot mower that performs exceptionally well. I enjoyed the mapping experience of steering it around the edges of the lawn and I never once had to dig it out of the borders. It just trundled off and did what it was supposed to do. 

No, it didn’t avoid dog mess which could be a big issue for some users, it didn’t cut right to the edge, the on-board interface was confusing and I wish I could have turned off the green circular light at night. But in the main, I was mightily impressed with the Navimow and consider it a top-performing contender for anyone after a wireless mow-bot that just gets on with the job.

Derek Adams

Derek (aka Delbert, Delvis, Delphinium, Delboy etc) specialises in home and outdoor wares, from coffee machines, white appliances and vacs to drones, garden gear and BBQs. He has been writing for more years than anyone can remember, starting at the legendary Time Out magazine – the original, London version – on a typewriter! He now writes for T3 between playing drums with his bandmates in Red Box (redboxmusic).