[New!] I’ve updated the review to include new observations, hiccups and surprises in my follow up post:HDIM Reviews Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum (FAQ)
I had a robot vacuum about ten years ago. It saved me so much time I didn’t mind the weekly surgery I had to perform on it to keep its internals clean. When I moved away, it didn’t come with. And that’s how we grew apart.
Fast forward to today, after a particularly busy period where I could barely find time to sleep, I did some research (aka asked other moms on Facebook) to enquire about the latest and worthiest of robot vacuum brands. Little did I know that Xiaomi had been making waves in the robot vacuum industry.
After a mom suggested I check Xiaomi out, I googled it and decided that this is worth looking into. A while later, I submitted my funding request via WhatsApp and voila, the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum became my first impulse buy of 2019. #theresmorewherethatcamefrom
Where To Buy The XiaoMi Mi Robot
I bought it on Lazada from the Official Xiao Mi store. It arrived via Lazada Express within 47 hours of my purchase. Yes, that’s a good delivery timeline judging how I don’t even live in the same city.
The device comes with a 1-year warranty, and will set you back a good RM1199. It’s also WiFi-enabled and you can control it with an app called Mi Home. We’ll look more into how this app makes this device quite interesting a little later on because first, we need to look at what a beauty this thing is.
Once you unbox it, you are greeted with this protective styrofoam and the user manual (in English!) in a card envelope that fits onto the styrofoam itself. Nice. The same instructions are also available from the app, some in video form. Double nice.
The robot is encased in a thin strip of plastic and is accompanied by a power cable, a cleaning comb and a charging base. I can’t help but notice that they put some effort into giving you an unboxing experience, much like when you unbox a phone. I got over it pretty quickly. #whohasthetime
Here it is at its charging base for its first charge. My unit comes pre-charged at 65% so I was making it work for my money within half an hour of receiving it.
Lift the lid and you will see an instruction leaflet atop the internal dustbin. The bin is easy enough to open and clear that I have entrusted this job to my 9 year old. (As for the manual cleaning, I’ll update this part after the first “service”.)
Booting Up The Xiaomi Mi Robot
You’ll need to register an account with the Mi Home app in order to punch in the password for the robot to connect to your WiFi.
It took a while for it to connect to my home WiFi and I had to reset not only the robot vacuum two times (long press both the power and the home buttons for three seconds), but also my router once.
Once it is connected however, a lot of the management comes from the app itself. This for me is a huge leap from that robot vacuum I got ten years ago (yeah, it deserves another post).
Scanning and Cleaning With the App
As you can see in the pictures above, it has like a little dome that protrudes from the top. That’s the scanner for the robot. And what it scans, it reproduces in the Mi Home app for you.
The yellow dot you see in the image is the robot vacuum, making its way around the perimeter of my kitchen. The white line is the path it took up to the point this screenshot was taken.
Also shown above is the cleaning area it has worked on, how much battery life it still has, and how much time it has spent cleaning. From the app you can also choose for it to GO, DOCK, CLEAN (paused) and do ZONED CLEANUP.
The good thing about the app tracing the robot’s path is that you can see how many times it has vacuumed over the floor, which areas have been cleaned and which areas have not.
The “spray patterns” that you see indicate the edges of the walls in the other rooms within its view. The scans will flesh out better once the robot enters that particular room and can do a much proper scan.
So How Did It Do?
Con: It’s Loud
During the start up, it literally sounds like a jet engine. During cleanup, the sound is still pretty loud. Noise is an influential factor when it comes to regular, daily house cleaning. Ask your mom.
The good news is you can adjust the suction mode on this robot via the CLEAN UP MODE setting. There are four settings: QUIET, BALANCED (default), TURBO and FULL SPEED.
But I’m sorry to report that even with the QUIET setting, this is pretty loud in my book. If you have pets at home, this is going to freak them out a bit.
Con: Still Needs a Virtual Wall
You need to purchase a virtual wall separately for this model. A virtual wall is something you “put up” to prevent the robot from going places you don’t want it to go, say, off the top of a flight of stairs.
Alternatively, you can put up a few laundry baskets or toy storage boxes to block off paths during a cleanup.
Second alternative, you set up the robot to do zoned cleaning. It’s where you find a squarish spot on the map and send the robot to do targeted cleaning in that area.
There doesn’t seem to be a limit on the size of the area you choose. The only drawback is the robot doesn’t work as hard on targeted areas. It spends less time and does fewer rounds on it.
Pro: It’s A Really Good Vacuum
I only realised after I’ve made my purchase that this model doesn’t come with the mopping function (it’s an impulse buy, leave me alone). The good news is it does such a wonderful vacuuming job that I’d be happy to do manual mopping myself. #squeakycleanfloors
The problem with vacuuming by hand is that sometimes you miss certain spots and it is while you mop that you notice what’s left behind. It’s a simple annoyance that now can be absolutely removed. #miniyay
And it does a good job under the sofa or with furniture your hand vacuum can’t normally go into without you crawling on the floor like Smeagol.
PRO: It Has A Soft Touch And Good Sensors
This robot is aggressive with cleaning but not aggressive with your
furniture. If your bedroom door is half open when you let the robot go in to the cleanup, when you are back, the door is still going to be half opened at the same angle.
I’m impressed with this because it shows just how sensitive the robot’s sensor is. It does well cleaning around the legs of tables, and tall curtains that go all the way to the floor. I thought the robot would snag on the feet of the curtains but you’re a clever little robot, aren’t you? #yesyouare
Con: The App Needs Improvements
The app is powerful but not very intuitive. For instance, the app allows me to log in a type of room. I thought that this meant it could “remember” the layout of a room so next time if I choose for it to clean the living room, all I got to do is click on the living room?
No. Wishful thinking. Either that or I haven’t figured how to work that part out yet.
That said, the app gives me a higher level of control over what this little robot can do. And that is a post for another day.
Leave me questions on what you want to find out about the robot vacuum, and I’ll feature your question and the answer in my next post.