Xiaomi Robot Vacuum; does it suck or not?

Xiaomi_robot_vacuum_box1

Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum cleaner (first generation)

Introduction

I bought the Xiaomi Robot Vacuum product at GearBest and integrate it into my home automation system Domoticz. I already had a vacuum cleaner but a dumber one (the ILIFE A4 Smart Robotic Vacuum Cleaner). My goal for this article is to provide an overview of the functionality and usability of the product, integrate it in my home-automation platform and end up with a clean living room and a happy wife.

 

Where to buy?

Original Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum 1st Generation

I ordered on Gearbest on March 1 2018 and received it from DPD on May 13 2018. It was shipped through Hong Kong and didn’t have any additional customs costs.

I also ordered the accessories kit (Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum accessories kit). I will review this in another article.

Specs

  • Brand: Xiaomi
  • Cleaner Types: Vacuum Cleaner
  • Function: Suction, Sweep
  • Feature: Remote Control, Self Charging
  • Self Recharging: Yes
  • Dust Box Capacity: 0.42L
  • Suction (pa): 1800pa
  • Power (W): 55W
  • Input Voltage (V): 100 – 240V
  • Current : 2.2A
  • Working Time: 2.5h
  • Dust Bin: 0.42L
  • App Control: Mi Home app

Expectations

After having excellent experiences with multiple other Xiaomi products, I had high expectations of this Robot Vacuum.

When unboxing the product, you immediately notice the beautiful en slick design of the robot. We can expect a smart vacuum cleaner, with an app that can be used easily and is compatible with Domoticz.

Will it meet these expectations? Let’s find out…

Test

Is the app usable?
Is the vacuum really efficient and smart?
Is it possible to connect it with Domoticz and control it from there?

Let’s start with the review:

You can switch on the Robot Vacuum from the app, scheduled or by pressing 1 of the 2 buttons on top of the robot. The other button is to send the robot to his docking station for charging.
xiaomi_vacuum

When I first used the robot I controlled by using the app. After a firmware update the product was complete and ready to use. First thing I did was setting the language pack to English because I don’t understand anything of the Chinese voice.

When the motor switched on I immediately noticed that the suction was strong. According to the specs it is 1800pa, which is almost double the suction of the Ilife A4 (1000pa) but this is perfect for a robot vacuum.

Through the app I discovered that the robot scans the entire room, every detail was accounted for, until it has completely mapped the room. The robot starts with the corners and edges of the room, then it goes through the center of the room, covering every space. When finished, the robot goes back to his dock (home). During testing I put a box in front of the dock, and the robot immediately told me there was an obstacle located in front of the dock. I even received a push message on my phone, in which the robot alerted me of the problem. What a nice feature.

After a while I noticed that the robot collected some dust and was slightly scratched on the cover of the top sensor of the robot. This was caused by the sweeping under the furniture. It doesn’t effect the capabilities of the robot, but it’s something you have to accept when choosing for this product. The app monitors the amount of square meters the robot has cleaned.

The dust bin (capacity: 0.42 liter) is easy to empty  You flip open the top cover of the robot and take the dust bin out.

Packaging

  • Cleaning robot
  • Charging Dock
  • Main brush cleaning tool
  • power cable

Dimension & Weight

Product weight: 3.8000 kg
Package weight: 6.6500 kg
Product size (L x W x H): 34.50 x 34.50 x 9.60 cm / 13.58 x 13.58 x 3.78 inches
Package size (L x W x H): 56.60 x 43.30 x 15.20 cm / 22.28 x 17.05 x 5.98 inches

What’s in the box

Features

For me as a Domotica fan one of the biggest advantages of this product is the ability to control the robot from the app.

The vacuum has multiple sensors:

LDS sensor (laser Distance Sensor)this generates a digital map of the space that needs to be cleaned. Distances will be measured.
Wall sensormakes sure that there is a one centimeter gap between the wall and the robot (to avoided damage)
Dust bin sensorgives you a warning when dust bin is full and needs to be emptied
Collision Senorpredicts what object can be an obstacle for the robot
Utrasonic sensoranother sensor to avoid objects in the room
Electronic Compass Cliff sensordetects staircases and capes to make sure the robot doesn’t drop 
Gyroscope/Accelerometermonitors the movement, directions and stability of the robot
Drop sensorwhen the wheels of the robot are out, there’s no contact with the floor
Speedmetermakes the robot go slower when cleaning. The robot accelerates when going for a new spot
Fan Speed Sensormeasures the speed of the dust fan

 

Build Quality and Design

The device has a solid feel to it. One of the reasons for this is it’s weight. The wheels are steady en the protection rubbers feel durable.

The dock features the ability to store the cable and can be plugged into a wall outlet through the left or right side of the dock.

The design is what we expect from all Xiaomi products: simple but well thought out (It can be compared with the style of Apple products).

A small disadvantage that comes with this choice of style is that you van easily see the dust on the white and shiny surface of the robot. And, what I stated earlier, the sensor cover (placed on top of the robot) gets easily scratched when cleaning under furniture with a bottom of hard materal.

 

Power consumption

The battery is a 5200mAh (14.4V/74.88Wh) Lithium Ion battery which can deliver 2.5 hours of cleaning without recharging. But in my tests the cleaning was done before this time. When it needs charging it saves it last cleaned position and returns to that point after charging. I didn’t have a large enough house at my disposal to test this out.  But I can imagine that the vacuum is able to do this correctly because the mapping of the room is very accurate and therefore it is able to completely swipe the whole space.

Noise

I don’t have a professional db-meter, the only thing I can say is that the noise is depending from mode the vacuum is in. Sucking with an air pressure of 1,800 Pa  is about 64db. It is a bit louder then the Ilife A4 and therefore I only let it clean the room when I am not in it.

Portability / Mobility

Because of the small height (10 cm) of the robot, it cleans easily underneath your sofa, closets, and bed. Much better then the reach of an ordinary vacuum cleaner.

It’s also possible to pick up the robot and take it upstairs to clean other areas. You don’t have to temporary move the dock to this other location.

Usability

Now that we know how smart and easy to use this robot is, make sure you that the robot has the opportunity to clean the area without any unnecessary obstacles, like shoes, eliminate cables etc. So clean the room, So make it a robot friendly area 🙂

To eliminate lose cables you can use a magnetic wall strip.

 

Customizability

There are stickers for sale, which you can use to customize your robots appearance.

Complementary Products

Accessories kit (this is going to be reviewed in another post/review)

Magnetic strips as virtual walls

Alternatives

Ofcourse there are lots of alternatives. For example the much more expensive Roomba or the cheaper Ilife robot vacuums. I have also a Ilife a4. I don’t have any experiences with the new line of Roomba, but know the Ilife A4 is also a good player.

XiaomiIlife
Design+++++++++
Specifications++++++
Control++++++
Price+++++++

The Xiaomi is a design robot which I use automated in my living room. The dumber ilife I use at my attic (which is my master bedroom). I have also made my Ilife  compatible with Domoticz with the Broadlink rm3 mini, so I can start the robot from Domoticz. But that’s the only thing you can do with the Ilife A4: starting. The Xiaomi has the potential to be fully controlled and automated through Domiticz.

App

When adding the robot in the MiXiaomi_voice packhome app you can create a shortcut on your dashboard for the vacuum. After new releases of functionalities or translations also new material is placed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L194Hezyoo4 a video which show most of the options.

At first you needed hacked (translated) apk files of Mihome to get the app in English, but now the original app is available in English.

An important feature is the possibility to download language packs from within the app. It lets the robot talk to you in English, through it’s build-in speaker.

 

A few nice things you can do with the Mi Home app:

  • Notifications: clean dustbin, replace brushes, obstacle in front of the charging dock.
  • Scheduling the robot.
  • Check floor map that is mapped by the robot. Nice feature is that you can see what the path of the robot was.
  • Remote control
  • Change Speed fan mode
  • Consumable status (the status of the health of brushes and filters)
  • Locate my robot (find my robot, “Hi, I’m over here”)

Mi Home app you can found on the Apple store and on Google Play.

Home automation compatible

Yes, the default app is a great app to control the robot and let it do it chores. But I don’t like to have an apps for each device. My goal is to integrate the robot in my home automation platform (Domoticz) and control it from there. And of course not manually automated by scripts.


Pro’s / cons

Pro

  • Simple to control with the Mi Home app
  • Simple cleaning maintenance
  • Efficient cleaning
  • Great accurate sensors
  • Nice design for in home
  • High WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor)


Cons

 

Price quality

The price/quality is very good. I don’t know an alternative that is so smart for such a low price.

Despite of the launch of a second (newer) version of this robot, I think this robot still is the better choice. This version of the robot is cheaper. The differences are minimal. The extra option to mop your floor, is an option I would never use.

To buy this product with discount , click on this link: Xiaomi Mii Robot Vacuum and enter the following code: GB4thGW4017

And if you want the swap function, but don’t want to pay for it, here is a little hack:

 

Verdict

My advice to you.. Buy it! You won’t be sorry.  It makes vacuuming so much easier and more fun, because you have more time to do other things 🙂  And the fact that you can link it to home-automation platforms like Domoticz (for free!), you have yourself a Home Run!

  • Design
  • Quality
  • Usability
  • Home-Automation compatibility
  • Price
4.6

Summary

This product is a hype, because it’s a stylish and complete product. It does it’s job for a reasonable price. So it beats all competitors!

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