Xiaomi had recently launched their Smart Vacuum, the Mi Robot in China. A product for your home that helps you keep it clean through the artificial intelligence on the product. It is not available in other countries apart from China but thanks to a commerce site we were able to get our hands onto this new robot. The product manufactured by Rockrobo (an ecosystem partner of Xiaomi) like the dozens of other partners who have been building amazing products later sold with Xiaomi’s brand name. The product launched on September 6th in China for an official price of 1699 yuan (Approx USD 250) can be easily imported. The product is controlled with your smartphone and can also be used without a phone to control it.
The Vacuum connects with the Smartphone through an app called as Mi Home giving you an array of options that helps you in not just controlling but also scheduling and also finding out the time to replace the spares that have to be purchased separately. We brought this all the way from China on a flight as hand luggage because batteries are not allowed for check-in & the robot features a 14.4v, 74.88Wh, 5200mAh Li-ion battery. It is not that small, while not that large either and the package can be easily carried, and in case you wish to move it around your house, you could do that too, especially if you are living in a duplex house and need to clean both the floors alternatively.
How & What does this do?
The product works on a simple principle of rotating the brush and picking up the dust while the vacuum creates a suction that pulls all the dirt and puts it in a small box that has a capacity of 400 grams or 420 ml. 12 different sensors navigating through your home capturing every location, making a note of any walls, moving objects and also saves the floor plan that’s visible on your phone’s app. It scans in 360 degrees and works on the Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) movement algorithm.
The first time you start the robot, it starts not just cleaning but also mapping the whole place & goes in straight lines ensuring that it does not clean on the same location again. The device algorithm remembers the charging base’s location and the unit come back for charging when its on low charge automatically. Once you start it the machine keeps moving around the place till its 100% clean and to find out if it has done something or not, you can check out the Mi Home App for the route or else the Dust Bin for the dust.
Setup Time & Cleaning Time
It takes a few minutes to scan and download the app on your Android Phone. You can scan the QR Code given in the documents provided within the package to access the official website for the APK. The next would be changing the location on the app to Mainland China and then logging into your Mi Account. Here you need to tap on the Add Device shortcut and then scan or else “add manually.” Tap on the Mi Robot also written as 米家扫地机器人.
The device takes upto an hour depending on the area and the dust it needs to pick up while cleaning. In our case, it took around 35 minutes for a living room that’s sized around 600 – 700 feet. Even though the application is in the Chinese language we just tapped on the “start” button and it started doing its job though to go through the individual options, we went through the Google Translate app. The vacuum has a suction power of 1800Pa which is more than the top-end Roomba model giving you higher performance over the price you pay for the Mi Robot.
You don’t need the application if you are a person who does not use a Smartphone because the robot starts cleaning by just powering ON the unit & the Home button takes it back to the charging base. It’s optional, but the application gives you the progress of the cleaning along the with battery statistics and the time it has been cleaning your home. The application also shows the life percentage of spares & an estimation of when you should be getting those. By default, the device works in the standard mode though you can also switch between the quiet and the strong mode in case you want to quickly dust your place, or else if you wish it cleaned the place silently without disturbing the infant. Below is a quick video that shows you a demo of how the cleaning works below the vacuum that picks up all the dust.
Battery, Spares & Maintenance
The robot comes with 5200mAh of battery that works for upto 2 hours of time though we did notice that it differs depending on the amount of cleaning required. The 14.4V lithium-ion battery is expected to clean a room sized upto 250 square meter area on a single charge and charges itself through an automatic sync to the straight pins. There is no standard connection required & the robot seeks for the base once the battery is below 20%. After using it for a few weeks at our home, that’s roughly 1800 square feets we found that a complete cleaning would take upto 30-35 minutes and around 20% of the battery used during this process.
The package does come with a Brush Cleaning Tool for cleaning the dust bin, but apart from that, you will have to buy the additional spares like the Side Brush, HEPA Filter or the bottom brush. Depending on the area of the office or the house and the amount of the dust you will have to replace the brush and this information will be available in the application itself. The current problem would be the availability of the spares because they are not easily accessible & you will have to rely on third-party websites & purchase from them.
- The robot keeps ignoring if there’s something for the first time and softly hits it though if there’s an infant around the place, the child will get a little frightened. This is where the sensors should detect if there’s a moving person around, it should just stop the product and wait for a few seconds. This is also important in case things around the place keep moving from the last scanned location. (Chairs around Dining Table)
- In case you have loose wires at your place, it is a big big problem because the robot starts pulling it and dangles itself when it walks over it. We tried it in our video studio room to only realize that the cables for the lights had to be removed or placed above the ground.
- If you have doormats or rugs at home, it won’t work efficiently with all of these because the moment it climbs over the same, it starts pulling the threads and the material. Sometimes it does get stuck on these or else keeps pulling it and you will have to stop the device and pull it out.
- Instead of avoiding the larger products it keeps trying to pull everything as you can see in the pictures below. There are ground nut shells and also some snacks that were pulled through by the robot.
Once the device maps the whole place, we just hope that it gave the option to tap on the map and bring the robot to that particular area. Let’s say that the kids had some snacks in the living room, and the robot starts with the regular route that’s almost clean instead of directly heading to the place we seek. We did upgrade the firmware from version 3.3.6_003014 to 3.3.6_003019 to 3.3.6_003021 which is the most recent software version & yet not able to find this option which is the most sought by us based on our personal experience.
What we Liked
The product is efficient unlike many other Chinese low priced vacuums and gives you the best for the buck you have invested in it. It’s beautifully designed & available to purchase unlike the highly buzzed Dyson’s $1000 vacuum that’s not yet available and clearly costs four times more than this model. We also liked that the unit works without the need of a Smartphone and the algorithm ensures that it does not over clean the same area and keeps an eye on all the locations.
Though the sound is little on the higher side, we cannot complain since we have not yet compared this unit with other products in the market. Overall at this price point, this is the best smart vacuum that you could buy. We have got this unit from GearBest who has also shared a coupon for you guys to get a discount if you buy one. Click here to buy one & get a discount of $ while you make the purchase. Would we recommend this to you? Yes, absolutely why not. It does its job efficiently and helps you keep your place cleaner all the time.