The Xiaomi Mi Robot is an an autonomous vacuum cleaner - a small robot that will vacuum the floor of your house/apartment/flat/hut without any input from you other than turning it on. It has a long list of sensors and scanners which I've takenthe liberty of de-mystifying below. For the TL:DR version that means it is more effective and methodical at cleaning than all but the most OCD cleaners.
Specifications and what they mean
This vacuum cleaner is heavily specc'd so I'll try convert this our to what it means in practicality:
This is where I'll focus my advice because it can be challenging to set up but once that is done, everything takes care of itself.
Install the App and update
Although the vacuum can be run without the app, the app is very good and will keep you up to date with an english language pack and any software updates. The Xiaomi Mi Home App is available both in the Android store here and the Itunes store here. I used android and for the purpose of this review will assume they are the same. The steps to follow are:
Run the Vacuum!
Now for the fun part. First open all the doors to allow the vacuum access and remove any string or string-like material from the floor that the Xiaomi Mi Robot may catch on. No need to move chairs etc as the unit is very clever about moving around objects.
The Xiaomi Mi Robot can be started in one of 2 ways - either by a quick push of the round power button on the vacuum, or in the app. Either way the newly installed English Language pack will tell you it is starting. The vacuum will then move forward from it's charging station, scan the room and vacuum the floors. If you started in the app or go into the app after starting on the vacuum itself you'll really start to see the smarts. At first it will create a very basic image of the room/area and as it moves, cleans and continues scanning this image will get clearer and clearer. Using this map the cleaner will then create very methodical cleaning paths and will discover objects to clean around. I'd recommend spending some time watch the mi robot not because it will get in trouble but to see how clever it really is!
Surprising things I found after the first clean
The vacuum power is about the same strength as a good portable modern brushless vacuum. Not as strong as your mains-power unit BUT it gets places that I never get to - right up to the wall in corners, under beds and furniture as well as every bit of floor that doesn't look dirty (and so doesn't get attention). What this meant is that halfway into my first clean the mi robot stopped and told me the dustbin was full - emabarrasingly full. After emptying the dustbin and replacing I then pushed resume on the app and it went on it's merry way again. Needless to say when it finished its first run and parked itself neatly (and automatically) in the charging bay, the dustbin was full again. After the embarrassment wears off you do get a sense of satisfaction that the mi robot is getting places you usually don't get to and so even though it is less powerful than a regular plug in vacuum, it is much more methodical and so gets to more places.
Living with the Xiaomi Mi Robot
After the novelty wears off, this is still a really good vacuum because it requires so little input. There are 4 power levels of which we find the quietest is still too much at bedtime but we have a very open plan home and everyone's situation is defferent. It's easy enough that when you are out of the house that you can turn it on as you leave but with a cloud-connected App you can turn it on anywhere you have cell or wifi network. The app sends you notifications to let you know:
I was thinking that for a 2 storied house plus garage you'd need more than one unit but that it not the case. Every now and then I just carry the Mi robot upstairs without the charging dock and let it do its thing - there is no difference except that rather than returning to the dock downstairs it goes back to where it started.
The outtake for me that was after the slight complexity around setting up the App and understanding and figuring out the sensing, it just works really well. Ive tried to summarise why in key points below:
The bottom line is that the vacuum has not come out of the cupboard since we received the Xaomi Mi Robot and the floors have never been so clean. I had no idea the technology was so capable. If this were to be stolen from me tomorrow I'd replace with the exact same unit. The Xiaomi Mi Robot autonomous vacuum cleaner is available from Gearbest who ship internationally:
Click on the images below for an embiggened view.
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