Last year, Xiaomi launched its Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P in India to help with the increased workloads during the hectic work-from-home situations. It was initially sold under a crowdfunding project at a very tempting price of Rs 17,999 but as Xiaomi announced commercial availability, the price was hiked to Rs 24,999 over the months. Price hikes aren’t good but considering what you have to pay usually for a robot cleaner, this one seems like a bargain. After all, this one can both vacuum and mop. Also Read - Top 5 smartphones with great battery life under Rs 20,000 in May 2021: Poco X3, Moto G60 and more
Since I am often categorized as a germophobic person in my personal circles, I was interested in giving my “kaamwaali bai” some competition for a few weeks. Hence, alongside her, the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P took on the duties to keep my house clean. After using a rather expensive robot cleaner from iRobot a few years ago, I had limited expectations from this one. However, similar to its entire range of smartphones, Xiaomi surprised me with what this mini package had to offer. Also Read - Xiaomi Redmi K40 Gaming Lite could be in the works, specs leaked
Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P: What’s in the package?
The word “robot” in the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P is meant to hint at the autonomous functions this small and rather cutesy clean packs in abundance. If you have seen robot vacuum cleaners before, the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P doesn’t look any different. It has got a flattened cylindrical shape with a raised radar kind of system that it uses to “see” around and avoid obstacles. In India, you get a single glossy black variant with radar elements painted in the usual Xiaomi orange. Also Read - This Qualcomm chip bug affects around 30 percent of phones globally: Report
The top half is a lid that gives easy access to the dust compartments. Xiaomi offers two compartments as standard with the package. You get a standard vacuum mode compartment and another vacuum-mop compartment in the box. The one for the mop functionality needs to be filled with water. Also, while employing the mopping services, you need to attach the mop housing unit on the underside. Xiaomi offers an extra mop cloth that be attached to the housing using Velcro straps.
Sounds complicated, right? Once you check this out in person, setting up the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P is an easy task. You also have to fit the nylon brush with three arms before you start it up. This brush is crucial for pulling in the dirt from nooks and corners.
As part of the package, you also get a docking bay that needs to sit in a preset space in your house and stay connected to power. After the first cleanup process, moving the dock can make your robot go haywire in finding its new home. Yeah, this is a budget robot cleaner and that means it comes with its quirks.
In my time with the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P, I found cleaning the robot tough. The visible glossy black surface is a dust and smudge magnet but you could restore its shine with a simple wipe. It’s the bottom that houses the all the suction components where cleaning could require patience. My Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P went over the broom and I had to spend an hour cleaning the wheels of all the hay as well as thread and other debris.
Convenience: Is it truly autonomous?
In a nutshell, yes. The Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P basically adheres to the mantra of “fill it, shut it, forget it”. However, you can only forget until the robot starts asking you to clean the compartment or seeks you to fill up its water compartment.
The way it works is simple. Every time you ask it to start cleaning, the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P detaches from its dock, turns on the triple-arm brush, switches on the suction unit, and starts looking around. The Laser Detect System (LDS) is acts as the eyes for this robot initially to create a digital image of your house in its mind. Once it registers a good enough image after a few cleaning sessions, it relies on its memory to go around, sucking and mopping.
The Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P follows either an S-pattern or the Y-pattern to cover the inches of your floor. The Y-pattern of cleaning is easier as well as faster for the robot, covering most of the surface. The S-patterns does leave some areas but I found it to be more effective in cleaning along the edges. Whatever is your preference, you can always alter the preferences from the Mi Home app.
On hard floors, the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P has no issues moving around, especially with its offroad-esque wheels climbing over doormats, carpets, and door mounts. This is one determined robot cleaner that is set to capture all the nooks and corners of you house, no wonder if something blocks it. If it can’t push around something, the front bumper makes it turn around and find an alternate path around that spot.
I always found the navigation part of the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P good – not great. With the LDS system and onboard memory, the robot knows its ways well. With a bunch of other sensors onboard, it can navigate its way around and event avoids drops from staircases and edges. However, the circular shape of the device means it struggles to reach corners. Many times, I found the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P struggling to find the docking station, despite the map showing an intact memory, i.e. saved map. In fact, it is during docking that I found the robot struggling to find direction and align itself correctly.
I found the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P often get stuck on slippers, brooms and cloth. Letting it go over the brooms is a disaster as it tries to suck the entire thing inside, and eventually ends up clogging its wheels as well as the suction fans. Luckily, it is easy to open the silicon suction fans and wipe away the dust as well as hay. For the wheels, you have to be patient and keep pulling the hay or cloth away.
I found the mopping function quite effective compared to some other expensive cleaners I have seen. The Mi Home app lets you choose three levels of mopping, with different levels of water levels. I mostly stuck to the medium setting for an efficient and effective cleaning process.
Similarly, you get three modes for the vacuum modes, i.e. silent, standard, medium, and turbo. While I mostly stuck to the medium mode for regular cleaning schedules, the turbo mode was helpful after a small house get-together. The Silent mode reduces the suction speed but it does reduce the effectiveness of the cleaning process. Sadly, there’s no auto mode in any of the cleaning modes.
Since we are discussing volume levels, the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P is pretty loud. The sound levels are normal for a vacuum cleaner but even in its silent mode, you might need to talk loudly or bump up the TV volume. The mop-only mode is fairly silent but you will eventually hear the clatter of the big wheels and the mop motors.
The 3200mAh battery inside the robot is capable of covering a small 1200 sq ft 2BHK apartment and leaving almost 83 percent juice. This figure involves the vacuum + mop mode with the turbo mode and all the highest suction speeds engaged. Charging takes its own sweet time but if your robot finds itself lacking enough battery power to complete the cleaning, it will stop the process midway, returns to the dock, get some charge, and resume cleaning from the point it left.
While it stays docked, you can take out the dust compartment and empty its contents. Opening the vacuum dust compartment is tricky and cleaning the filter even trickier. Xiaomi offers a brush to clean the filter as well as wipe away the debris from the corners. The mop compartment has an easier opening but the filter cleaning process is still tedious.
Mi Home app is crucial
All of the “robot” functions on the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P is courtesy of the Mi Home app. All the cleaning modes and scheduling settings can be changed from within the app itself. The app also lets you see the map that the robot creates in its memory.
Once the map is created, the robot figures out the room division and uses color codes to distinguish between the zones. You can either let it clean the entire house or select a particular room directly from this map. You can even create virtual walls and no-entry zones where the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P isn’t allowed. The robot avoids these virtual walls with great precision. That said, if you reset the map, you have to create your virtual walls and no-entry zones again.
The app also lets you clean along the edges of the rooms and as well as choose the cleaning patterns too. You can also check the battery levels but sadly, there’s no way to check the levels of dirt accumulation in the compartment within the app.
The Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P is a nifty little addition to your arsenal of house cleaning equipment. Those leading the bachelor life or having a newborn explore all the corners of your house will find this gadget of major help to keep the floor clean. At Rs 24,999, it seems fairly accessible to many middle-class households as well. Maintenance is fairly easy on a daily basis and replacement parts (such as brushes, filters, and compartments) are now more accessible.
The question is: should you buy it? While the cleaning process is efficient, your “kaamwaali bai” (house help) still has an edge with her/his “pocha” (wet wipes) and “jhaadu” (broomstick). In fact, the robot pushed my house-help to improve her cleaning performance (maybe I will give her a raise soon). Xiaomi itself states that the cleaner is meant for indoor cleaning only – it is advisable to avoid cleaning verandahs or driveways. The Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P can only be considered as an addition rather than a sole cleaning system to Indian households. The comparatively lower price, however, makes it worth a try for the tech-savvy homekeepers.