In this review, we’re going to take a look at the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum. Now, Xiaomi’s been jumping into the tech market was so many different products these days and the minute I saw their highly reviewed a robotvac, I knew I had to give it a try. In the past, I’ve tested the top of the line Roomba 980 and the more affordable Bissell smart clean robotvac, and I want to see how the Mi robotvac stacks up to the competition.
In the box, you’ll find the Mi robot, power cable, cleaning tool, and the docking station. The Mi robot has a brushless motor, 5,200 milliamp hour battery, and a claim to 2.5 hour run time, which was confirmed in my tests. I did find out the minute it hits 20% battery, it goes back home.
The battery was almost enough to get through cleaning my entire 3,000 square foot home, though sometimes depending on cleaning the areas, carpet boost, and other factors, it would auto go back to the dock, recharge, and then head out to finish the rest of the house. It’s very nice it has this feature, though. It’s smart enough to resume its cleaning position.
It has a side brush to bring dirt towards the center of the vacuum and then the main bristle brush to pull dirt into the dirtbin. In the past, I’ve found bristle brushes are a huge pain to clean versus the rubber rollers on the 980 are much better. However, I found the bristles and rubber flaps on this one work quite well and their included cleaning tool is actually pretty helpful. It cuts through any wrapped up hairs and strings and then easily combs it all out.
As for the cleaning ability of the Mi robot, it uses a combination of suction and its bristle brush to pull any food or hair off your floor and into its filtered catch bin. It picks up all you’d expect it to: pet hair, food crumbs, and anything else laying around. You’d be surprised what it all finds from under furniture and in corners you don’t vacuum all the time.
It does struggle going up steep surfaces, like a thick shag rug, but it handles stuff like wires and close pretty easily. It seems smart enough to bypass those problem areas most of the time. The Mi robot has an awesome mobile app that allows you to control tons of different features. It has a status page showing you all the sensors and when they need to be cleaned, different cleaning modes such as quiet or turbo mode. It allows sharing to other users so they can manage the Mi robot as well.
And the coolest part: it has a live dynamic map that’s constantly updating as the Mi robot maps and navigates out your whole home. Seriously, I was watching this page for hours. After using so many different robotvacs, I’ve learned for a whole house cleaning the most important feature is its smart mapping technology, sensors, lasers, or cameras that allow intelligent navigation and routing paths. And let me tell you the Mi robot maps beautifully. It uses laser distance sensors and slam algorithm just like the Google maps cars to map out your home.
I don’t care how good a robotvac is that just clean a 6 by 6 foot room. What I want to know is can I just turn it on and let it vacuum my whole house efficiently. With the Mi robot, you can. Just turn it on and watch it navigate through each room covering every nook and cranny. All you have to worry about is cleaning the sensors and emptying the bin. When it’s done cleaning a room, it leaves behind these perfect and beautiful carpet vacuum lines for your enjoyment.
Here’s a few of my other favorite features. The Mi robotvac seems to recharge very fast. I like the clean, white modern design. Build quality seems fantastic. The spinning laser scans 360 degrees, 1,800 times per second, simply looks and feels futuristic.
Now, one thing that stood out to me is the speed of the spinning side brush. Other robotvacs spin that one too quickly and it shoots the dirt and crumbs away from the vac and out of its reach. The Mi robot spins much slower which actually funnels that dust, dirt, and debris right into the center vac where it should go.
Now, I do have a couple wish list items. The app is helpful and easy to navigate but it does appear to be buggy at times. The set up took me a lot longer than it should have. It had trouble connecting to it servers. Also, as I mentioned before the, Mi vac runs to 20% battery and then immediately returns to its base. I’m sure this is done to ensure that the vac gets home before dying. However, it’d be nice if it could finish a room before heading back if it was close to finishing.
Another small hick up, the light are on top sticks above the Mi robot and gets hung up on things occasionally. Having the vacuum detect if it was getting hung up on the light are sensor and stopping, that’d be a huge plus. Another feature request, the Mi vac doesn’t come with sensor towers, like the Roomba, to prevent cleaning certain areas or rooms.
But instead, this could be accomplished with simple blocking out areas on the digital map that the Mi vac creates. Let me draw on the map digital borders where it should and shouldn’t clean. Or maybe even advance scheduling, like on certain days do these rooms but then on others do the whole house. This would be awesome.
And lastly, I’m not sure if it’s because I have this brand new carpet fibers that the Mi vac is picking up, but I’d constantly be getting these errors. Looks like the main brush is blocked. Remove and clean. And thus the vac would stop in its tracks, often the brush wasn’t clogged at all, and I simply just needed to hit the resume cleaning button on the app.
But the issue here is if it’s cleaning at 2:00 AM or I’m busy, the whole point of the robotvac is to be autonomous thus constantly needing to babysit it or hit resume kind of defeats the purpose. Though, take note, my buddy Nick used the Mi vac in his house many times and it happened much less over there so your mileage will vary. Basically, a simple app or firmware update could easily fix this one. Let’s just turn down that brush roller sensitivity.
All in all, for the price you absolutely can’t beat it. Previously, the only robot vacuums that had whole house intelligent mapping was the Roomba 980 and 960, which were $700 to $900. The Mi robotvac is normally around $400. Not super cheap but still a good deal compared to the competition. However, there are often sales or offered coupon codes to bring the price away down. Just the other day, the Mi vac was available for $280, which is a steal. The Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum not a perfect robotvac by any means but incredible technology and cleaning abilities packed inside for the price.