Xiaomi has been showing off earlier iterations of the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop for years, but it was only during the pandemic that they announced it for India by way of a crowdfunding campaign.
Often there are products that seem like they were designed for the world we find ourselves in. Xiaomi’s robot vacuum cleaner is one such product. As people have been working from home, and in India especially, with house help not being as widely available during the pandemic, it makes more sense than ever before. Now, Xiaomi has been showing off earlier iterations of the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop for years, but it was only during the pandemic that they announced it for India by way of a crowdfunding campaign. Xiaomi only started shipping the robot vacuum cleaner this month to consumers. I’ve been testing it since the end of July and I’ve found it so useful that I even ordered one for myself. For once, surely, this is a product that makes sense for Indian households though facilitated by only by a calamitous scenario as this pandemic.
In my 45 plus days of use, I’ve come down to the conclusion that it is a must-have for people who don’t have much house help or are working late hours even from home and have pets at home. I happen to be a dog lover and have more than 10 dogs of various kinds of shedding hair in my office plus studio space. The office space is also home to quite a few people who come in and out for work. Considering I tested the product during the monsoon season, usually, people are also carrying quite a bit of dirt inside. My office is also riddled with a lot of wires considering there is a lot of gear that comes in and out for testing purposes. In terms of wire management, it is an absolutely nightmarish situation. So it is quite safe to say I’ve given the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop quite the workout.
And I’m happy to report that Xiaomi’s robot has come out with shining colours. The Robot vacuum cleaner is a marvel that’s a derivative of smartly designed hardware packaged with intelligent software that improves itself as it understands your premises and furniture. The core hardware itself is a disk-shaped robot which has a miniaturised LDS navigation system, coupled with a 2-in-1 sweeping system and a bevvy of anti-collision sensors.
Perhaps the only pain point comes while setting things up.
The process to setup happens through the thoroughly painful Mi Home app which Xiaomi must improve. In my books, considering the anti-China sentiment and concerns around privacy it shouldn’t be fully dependent on a Xiaomi account. Google and Facebook are no paragons of data privacy but they are ubiquitous and widely used. Though it must be said Xiaomi claims to store all user data in India.
But once set up and configured on the WiFi network, Mi Robot Vacuum Mop presents you with two fundamental choices — one to sweep your floor of all the dust or sweep and mop. For sweeping, you use the stock container which is housed inside the top flap of the disk-shaped device. You also need to attach the brushes for sweeping. For mopping it does a combined sweep and mopping action. In this case, you need to change the container. There is an additional container which supports water. You need to fill the container to 50 per cent with water and fix it inside the main vacuum cleaner housing. You also need to attach the mop below the disk-like contraption on the front end.
It also comes with an intelligent wireless charging dock which should be placed near a power source. When you start sweeping, the robot vacuum cleaner will take a couple of rounds to understand your room. It will create a map of the room marking out furniture, obstacles and corners. If you’re in a room like mine which has bad cable management be prepared to place all wires above the range of the robot as otherwise the vacuum cleaner will get tangled in the wires and you run the risk of damaging a lot of gear. My laptop was almost pulled from a table because the vacuum cleaner got tangled with the charging cable of my MacBook.
But once these teething issues are past you, the magic of the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop starts to bear fruit. The Mi Robot Vacuum Mop reaches places where even the traditional “jhadhoo” will also not reach. For instance, it will go below the sofa and crummy corners of the room which is usually riddled with tons of dust. It will leave them squeaky clean. For the first time, the floor below the bed and sofas would be cleaner than other areas of the house.
From here it is smooth sailing. You can automate times during which you can automatically trigger it. While cleaning it will never run out of battery as it will automatically go back to its wireless charger to charge when it is running out of juice. You can even set it up for multiple different rooms which is a must. Handling the vacuum robot is also quite simplistic from the app. You can set it up at different speeds of different levels of effectiveness. That being said, if you use the fastest speed the vacuum robot can create quite a bit of a racket which mimics the sound of a miniaturised jet engine.
The most important thing of all is that it cleans really well. In the time I tested it for the first time my clothes didn’t have a lot of dog hair on them. I could walk barefoot on the floor and not worry about mud getting collected on my feet. It managed to even fully cleanse my floor after I broke a bottle on it. It didn't leave any remote shards of glass. It was so clean. At times it felt as if my flooring had been polished. Xiaomi also gives an extra set of bristles and a cleaning mop in case yours is rendered unusable.
And at Rs 21,999, this sounds like a steal, to be honest, considering the convenience and the effectiveness of the device. This one certainly feels like a device that many Indian households will adopt especially during the pandemic. Xiaomi needs to fix its shipping times which can’t be easy thanks to the India-China issues. But this is a real problem as even I haven’t received the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop that my mother ordered after seeing the effectiveness of the review sample.
One should also note this is not like for like a replacement for a vacuum cleaner by Dyson. The Dyson vacuum cleaners are way more involved and flexible. They come with a myriad of attachments to reach all kinds of corners in the house including the roof to clean cobwebs which this simply can’t. Though the Dyson will not do things on its own as it’s not a Robot. And that’s where the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop shines as it is the modern-day “poucha” and “jhadhoo” of the Indian household.