When people think of the iconic brand for autonomous cleaning robots, the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum is not usually the product that comes to mind.
Thanks to a fun name and smart marketing on their part, almost any round, robotic vacuum cleaners are called “Roombas.” Like “Xerox machines” or “Kleenex,” it is a brand that is so closely associated with a product that the two are almost indistinguishable. However, once the technology is out there, competitors are bound to pop up, and it can be hard to make a name for yourself. Especially if, like Xiaomi, you are a company with a name that doesn’t flow as easily off the tongue outside of China as “Roomba.” Still, the folks at Xiaomi will not let that get in the way of their goals to become a global tech powerhouse. And the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum is one of their signature products. We'll take a look at the advantages of this sort of product and its disadvantages, households that benefit from this tech, and whether the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum is a worthy consideration.
A Bit About the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum
Of course before investing in a robot vacuum that is not yet a household name in the States, you'll want to know all about it. We've researched the company and product to bring you all of the important details you'll need to make a smart investment.
Who Makes the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum?
The Xiaomi company is known for being China’s largest producer of smartphones since 2014. Their first phone hit the market in 2011, and three years later they dominated. This led to an initial public offering for the company, that fell short of the $6 billion they hoped to raise. Still, already their stock price is starting to climb. While all this is an accomplishment in and of itself, the company’s leaders have their aspirations set on even higher goals. They want to be the global leader in connected, wireless technology.
The company aims to focus its future efforts on creating inter-connected smart home technology all branded with their signature product name “Mi.” The Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum is one of more than a dozen products in the Mi smart home line. Other devices include cameras, medical devices, and smart appliances. While not all of their products have been successes, the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum is a surprise hit. This little robot fares pretty well when compared to other robotic vacuum cleaners. You can control the robot using the Xiaomi app, though be warned that it does ask for a lot of permissions.
What Kind of Product is the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum?
When people think of a robot vacuum, they might think of Rosie from the Jetsons or maybe R2-D2 from Star Wars. However, these devices are not robotic friends who happen to clean, but rather autonomous robots designed to handle light cleaning on their own. They aren’t meant to replace all vacuum cleaners and can’t handle big messes due to their limited storage space. Still, they make routine vacuuming much easier by rolling around all day keeping the house as clean as it can.
Using sensors, algorithms, and other technological advancements, these robots can both follow pre-planned routes or simply roam free. The problem with the latter option is that these devices still struggle to move around certain obstacles, such as shoes or cables. The “Roomba,” the industry-leading robot vacuum made by iRobot, is the most popular brand, but it is not the best on the market. In fact, the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum is a worthy contender for the title of best autonomous vacuum based on its features and performance. Less than a quarter of vacuum cleaners today are robots, but as this tech develops and gets cheaper, that number is likely to rise.
How Did They Design the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum?
There are two majors concerns any robovac designer has to address. The first is that the device has to be small enough to be inobtrusive. The second is that all of the machinery inside works the way it is expected to. Variations on a round design, like a cross-section of R2-D2, seems to be the industry standard. So, the real trick is ensuring that all the high-tech innards fit inside. Some companies sacrifice function for design, but Xiaomi seems to have found the best of both worlds. The design is minimalist almost to the point of being simplistic, but the sensors, vacuum components, and battery are all more powerful than you might expect.
What’s most impressive is that despite the unique and high-quality design, Xiaomi is able to offer this product for a lower cost than other similar robovacs. It appears that they wanted to make a great product and found a way to do it that allows them to appeal to a number of different income demographics. Put another way, this works as well as similar products that are as much as twice the price. This means that people looking for robovacs on a budget and those with more to spend can both consider the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum for their home. If all of Xiaomi’s products are this well-made, they really might just take over the world.
How Does the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Work?
Like most products of its kind, the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum relies on a number of sensors and sophisticated programming to wind its way through your house and back to its battery dock again. This one features 12 sensors, including LIDAR, ultrasonic radar, cliff radar (to prevent it from falling down the stairs), an accelerometer, a brushless engine, and a gyropscope. All of these elements combine to make the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum what it is.
The internal power source, a 5200 mAh lithium ion battery, allows the robot to vacuum for two-and-a-half hours (or 2700 square feet) on a single charge. When the battery hits 20 percent, the device goes back to charge, and then resumes its mission from where it left off. You can track the device’s progress using the app, and even direct it to clean areas most in need of attention.
Typically, it will map the edges of the room first, establishing the outer walls of the area where it’s cleaning. Once that’s done, it will cover the rest of the floor in a zig-zag pattern. Once that’s complete, it goes to the other wall and does it all again, ensuring it covers the full area of the room. If the dust bin inside the robot is full, it will return to its dock, and the app will alert you that it needs to be emptied. It’s a remarkably powerful vacuum for its size, so if you have pets or lots of dust, you will need to be aware of that.
What Is the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Best Used For?
Unfortunately, the technology behind autonomous vacuum cleaners is not yet at a place where you can replace your big vacuum cleaner or your shop vac. You will still need those for big jobs and for tasks like vacuuming the walls. However, if your home requires frequent maintenance vacuuming, the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum may be for you. For example, let’s say you have pets who shed. You can run the robovac at night or while you’re at work, and it should take care of the loose hair on the floors. Again, when it comes to tight corners or furniture, you still have to do that yourself.
You will still have to spend some of your time vacuuming, but a product like the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum will help cut that down. So long as there aren’t a lot of obstacles or a huge mess, the robovac will clean the floors for you. Therefore, when it comes time for you to clean, that’s one less thing you have to worry about. Other autonomous vacuum robots even offer a wet-mop feature. While Xiaomi doesn’t yet, one has to imagine that they will soon, especially if they are serious about taking over all of these markets.
Who Needs the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum?
If you find that you are too busy to run the sweeper as much as you should, then a product like the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum might be your salvation. It can run whether you are home or not and keeps the floors relatively clean. If you spill some fine powder or something like that, you will still have to touch those areas up. Otherwise, anyone who wants the vacuuming to take care of itself will enjoy this product. Also, if you just love having the latest and best toys, this is a must-grab. For the price, this little vacuum packs in a lot of cool tech and Xiaomi is always updating their app.
Of course, this is not for everyone. If you have a lot of steps or uneven floors, that will limit the effectiveness of the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum. You can use it in select rooms, but you may feel that you’re not getting your money’s worth. The other reason to avoid this product is if you aren’t comfortable with tech, especially stuff prone to glitches. This is a global product, so the instructions can appear confusing. (Though, the manual in all available languages, including English, is found on Mi.com.) It can also be a headache to get repairs, because the company is located in China. Shipping time is the major concern there.
What Are People Saying Online about the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum?
As you can see from the videos above, people seem to really like the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum and are impressed with its capabilities. When the product works as advertised, most consumers are very happy. In fact, many of the negative reviews on Amazon say that the device operated well but only stopped working because of some fault that went unrepaired. Others say that the robot struggles with thicker carpets, but the cleaning sequence can be restarted using the app. Of course, this means that you have to check in on it, but nonetheless it does the job.
Alternative Robot Vacuums to Consider
The Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum is a great example of this sort of product, but it isn’t the only one that’s worth a look. We've identified a few worthy competitors for you to consider as you search the market for the best robovac.
1. Roomba 880 by iRobot
As mentioned above, the Roomba is the most well-known robovac on the market, and there are dozens of models available. Their top-of-the-line model is the Roomba 880. The device boasts iRobot’s aptly-named “iAdapt” technology that supposedly allows it to traverse a home of any shape or size. It also claims to have an extended battery life that allows for twice as much cleaning as other robovacs. However, it’s pricey. With the unit, two docking stations, extra filters, a remote control, and batteries.
2. Samsung Powerbot R7065
Like Xiaomi, Samsung is mostly known for other devices like smartphones or televisions, but it too is in the robovac game. It’s Powerbot is a more expensive than the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum, but it does have some key features that might make it worth the price. First, Samsung’s robovac has their “Cycloneforce” technology which they say provides 40 times more suction than competitors. There is also a specially-designed brush meant to better tend to corners. The final feature, however, is maybe the most appealing. This device can pair with Amazon Alexa devices, essentially allowing you to summon the vacuum should you need it. You can also tell it to put itself away if you need it to stop cleaning for some reason.
3. Vanigo Smart Robot Vacuum
This final alternative is cheaper than the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum, and it shows in some ways. As a vacuum cleaner, the Vanigo model does its job, making short work of small messes. However, the features and options are limited when it comes to tracking the robot. Though, you can use the handheld remote control to manually direct the Vanigo, which if not practical is at least fun. It’s a louder vacuum than the others, which might not seem like a big deal but could if you have a large place that requires it to run for hours at a time. The design is lovely as well, with a simple activation button and a case inspired by the artwork of Piet Mondrian.
The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum is a great, but a tough product with which to launch a global brand.
Despite the excellent design, and its record of working, the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum is not nearly as popular outside of China as other, more recognizable brands. This could make it difficult for Xiaomi to reach the global heights they hope to, especially after a lackluster initial public offering. However, the strength of this product cannot be denied. For the price, it is one of the best autonomous robotic vacuums on the market. Unlike many high-tech items, these devices are made to be repairable. It’s easy to disassemble (to a point), and many of the parts that could break are “plug-and-play.” The only problem is that Xiaomi doesn’t have locations in the west, like Samsung or other brands, meaning that getting the parts or sending it back can take a long time.
Still, with quality like this, Xiaomi is a company to watch. They already excel where smartphones, tablets, and laptops are concerned. Their foray into smart home technology is something of a risk, but definitely the direction in which the future of the tech business is headed. However, all you need to know, is that the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum does the job it’s supposed to do. Give it a try in your home, and see if it doesn’t save you a lot of time when next cleaning day.
What do you think? Does this sound like a product you’d want for your home? Share your thoughts, reactions, and experiences with us in the comment section below. And don’t forget to share the article online so your friends can get in on the conversation.
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