For a few days now we’ve been testing the very neat 2nd generation Xiaomi Mijia 1S Robot Vacuum Cleaner – I’ve provided a Banggood link here but I should say immediately that I’ve recently been told that Banggood cannot sell Xiaomi in the USA – so any USA-based subscribers might want to avert their eyes – or not – the link still has plenty of English-language resources and links for a good range of expendables).
The good news is that the vacuum WORKS – it has personality – Maureen loves it. The bad news WAS that I was supplied a version which I THOUGHT spoke Chinese only – despite having the latest update to the Xiaomi Home APP – the APP could not even FIND this model, never mind allow me to control it. I searched the web and found nothing helpful at first. The only bit I did understand was “Chinese blah” WiFi – which prompted me to look for a new access point appearing on my mobile phone – it did – but visiting 184.108.40.206 on the phone – did nothing.
THEN a very helpful reader piped up and told me to set “China” region in the APP – I did that and the APP immediately found the vacuum. The APP remained in English language – and I found a menu item to set the voice to English – SO the bad news wasn’t bad after all!
And NOW my Robbie has an English manual in the APP and the APP maintains a complete visual map of all the work it has done so far around the house. I won’t just repeat all the tech info you will find in the link above – but I must tell you that the 1S features both laser and visual sensors to build a map of your room(s) and to aid in positional accuracy. This is a FAR cry from the old HOOVER.
I plugged the charger stand into the mains at floor level and made sure the power (220v) was turned on – any excess cable can be neatly wrapped inside the base. After failing to understand a word when the Mijia 1S began to talk – and having failed to understand the Chinese-only instructions at first – I was ready to “throw in the towel”. There is a button on the vacuum which I pressed (after removing anything that looked like packaging) and with an attitude of “what do we have to lose” – I watched as the 1S came to life. It wandered around our (mixed carpet and stone as well as various obstacles such as our three cats, the odd chair, various cat bowls and stairs both up and down) living room floor with ease, cleaning up everything from dust to cat hairs.
This didn’t last very long as, out of the box, the internal batteries did not have a lot of charge. After strutting around the living room for a while, the 1S (Maureen was already calling it “Robbie”) magically (completely automomously) found it’s way back to the charging base and plugged itself in.
We left “Robbie” alone for a while to watch some TV then pressed the button on the vacuum to start it running. It really is quite uncanny if you’ve never had one of these before – and for the best part of an hour, we could do nothing but stand back and watch as the machine continued, seemingly with purpose, wandering around the room, cleaning up, surprisingly well.
Regular readers will know I’m no stranger to smart devices – I’ve used them, designed them, broken them, improved them and yet here I was, standing in amazement as the machine went about it’s business – ducking under chairs and cupboards and emerging in every case without assistance. Several times it approached stairs and succeeded in cleaning right up to the edge without falling down or tripping up. It DID manage to curl up the corner of one small carpet but no more than I do every day when the damned carpet gets in the way of my feet.
Meanwhile, the unexpected happened – my ex-teacher, not-particularly gadget-friendly wife absolutely loves this and has already informed people that it is one of the best gadgets I’ve had to date.
I guess all I can do for now is point you back to the Banggood link at the top of this page which has all the technical info in English and show you the video I took as Robbie was first cleaning the living room.
Ah, no – I can also show you the video I made for you of it’s second living room cleanup (once we figured out how to open the filter – and this photo of the results – clumps of cat hairs and all sorts of stuff – needless to say my recently reviewed air duster made short work of that mess and cleaned the non-washable filter A TREAT.
Just look at that stuff on the right – YECHHH. That came off our living room FLOOR, for heaven’s sake – and this was just a quick half-hour clean. Next time we’re off to the lake for a swim, we’ll just leave the robot to get on with it for as long as it takes (I think it has to recharge after 2.5 hours).
I honestly did NOT expect these results at all – had it not been for my patient wife, when I (at first) failed to get the APP running I’d have put Robbie in a dark cupboard for punishment. I’m so glad we persevered as now we have an English-speaking device with HOURS of fun built in – not to mention actually being a useful labour-saving vacuum. I even have a link for spare parts. Will stairs send it off to it’s doom? NO. We did discover that flimsy doormats tend to curl up – but then, they do that with any vacuum.
And here is the video…
Finally – is that a map of our living room I see?
Well, not quite – Robbie still has some way to go to finish off behind the centrally positioned furniture. The lake trip is off due to rain but we’re no doubt off shopping before long and I may just leave the vacuum to get on with finishing the job.
It isn’t that long ago that, in that prequel to ALIEN – Prometheus, this cave-scanning stuff was science fantasy – and now it’s in my living room – our home in Spain is a “cave-home” and could pass as a series of connected caves – just as in the movie.
See the map on the right (built up in the App, unassisted, by the robot itself) – top right of the blue living room section is Robbie on charge, You can see various obstacles near the centre such as the solid table – one chair only shows up vaguely, that’s because it’s structure allows Robbie to go underneath – what you are looking at is a map at ground level – not what is ABOVE the robot’s height as that is irrelevant. The vacuum figured out that it’s area of operation is two rooms with a doorway (but no door) between – hence the two colours. I can manually create no-go zones as well as schedules or just leave it to get on with the job unattended.
Since taking a screenshot of the map, I’ve manually added room names. Later on we gave Robbie access to my office (to the right of the orange hallway shown in the map) and that is now named too – hours of fun:-) I have a no-go zone for the office as I have phone charger cables hanging down to the floor.
What happens if you have more than one floor? Well, the unit keeps multiple maps and you can switch them. If you move floors you must take the charger with you and start and stop operations at the charger. Right now we’re sticking with the one floor and only once did we have to show Robbie where the charger was.
You just know what’s coming next… another model with auto-empty bin?
Meanwhile we’ve spent more time watching the vacuum than we used to spend DOING the vacuuming… the cats are still deciding but we love our new vacuum. I’ve also made an extended 4K version of my short video about the 1S.
“Starting targetted room cleaning..” – right – (orange) hallway only and I’ve left my office door open so now, weeks later it knows about my office and cleans that, too.