Narwal debuts new models J4, J4 Lite amid intensifying robot vacuum war

The launch of J4 has delivered a boost to Narwal in its competition with these market incumbents.

Narwal (云鲸智能), a Chinese robot vacuum and mop producer, released its new products J4 and J4 Lite yesterday, effectively extending its product line to meet differentiated user needs.

According to the Dongguan-headquartered firm, which is known as the first domestic company to combine sweeping and mopping in a single vacuum, J4 is its new flagship model while J4 Lite is a versatile entry-level variant.

In the view of Narwal’s engineers, hair tangle and inability to clean up thoroughly have been a shared problem of robot vacuums currently in the market.

To make up for these shortcomings, Narwal equips J4 with a 7,800Pa suction power, capable of removing up to 99% of dust clinging to wooden and ceramic tiles.

The vacuum also comes with a self-developed U-pipe cyclone system, which can suck in and dispose of garbage with ease.

At the same time, Narwal has developed a mechanism to prevent hair or dust getting caught in and blocking the roller brush.

This design could solve the issue of human hair or pet hair getting entangled in the vacuum.

J4 carries a triangular mop that rotates at 180 rpm as well as adds 7-12N of pressure depending on the texture of flooring.

This allows the device to scrubb off hard-to-remove smut while also protecting the floor.

Compared to J3, its predecessor, J4 is able to identify all the sections of a home that are particularly dirty and are in needs of repetitive cleaning.

Upon identification, it will settle into a continuous working mode to scrub these areas back and forth multiple times.

In addition to better cleaning performance, J4 also comes with technologies enabling better obstacle detection and avoidance.

It is the first among similar products to utilize a triple laser spatial sensing system, which helps the robot bypass hurdles with an accuracy down to millimeter.

Narwal has a smaller product portfolio than arch rivals like Ecovacs (科沃斯, 603486.SH), Roborock (石头科技, 688169.SH) and Dreametech (追觅科技).

The launch of J4 has delivered a boost to Narwal in its competition with these market incumbents.

A cheaper model for price-sensitive users?

Apart from J4, Narwal also released a bottom-of-the-line yet also versatile variant, J4 Lite, at the product launch yesterday.

Compared to J4, J4 Lite has a slightly inferior suction power, at 6,800Pa. But this is enough for it to cope with the cleaning of various types of floors, be they hardened, carpeted or seamed.

J4 carries a price tag of 4,299 yuan (US$589) and consumers who place pre-orders can get it for 3,999 yuan, a price equivalent to what would set consumers back on the “Double Eleven” shopping festival — China’s answer to Black Friday.

The robot vacuum is already available via the company’s WeChat mini-program, Tmall, and Douyin stores.

Meanwhile, its cheaper version J4 Lite retails for 3,299 yuan as a limited-time offer, which will begin pre-sale at 10am (GMT+8) on September 11.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at

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