Review

Haier TAB Tabot vacuum robot: The best model against animal hair

TAB, the Haier subsidiary, has extended the crowdfunding for another month. Although the funding target has already been reached, it is still possible to co-fund for $469. In the trade, the tabot will later cost $499, so if you are interested in the model, financing may well be worthwhile.

We were allowed to test the new vacuum robot in advance and will tell you the status of the device (as of June 2020).

The Chinese manufacturer Haier is the world market leader in the field of large household appliances (e.g. refrigerators), but the company has also included vacuum robots in its product range for some time now. On Indiegogo a vacuum robot is now in crowdfunding, which could be a serious competitor to Roborock, Ecovacs and Co. We will tell you everything you need to know about him.

Technical data: Comparison to Roborock S5 Max

HaierTAB Tabot

Haier TAB Vacuum Robot

Roborock S5 Max

Roborock S5 Max vacuum robot suction power

Suction power 3200 pa 2000 pa
Navigation Laser space measurement Laser space measurement
App TATA Future (Android, iOS) Xiaomi Home (Android, iOS)
Operating Volume 60-70 dB 50-65 dB
Battery 5850 mAh 5200 mAh
Dust chamber/water tank 0.6 l/0.32 l 0.46 l/0.29 l
Working time 4 h 2,5 h
Charging time 5 h 5 h
Weight 3,7 kg 3,5 kg
Dimensions 35.0 x 35.0 x 11.1 cm 35,3 x 35,0 x 9,65 cm
Inclinations 20°, up to 2 cm 20°, up to 2 cm
CE mark no yes
Features
  • Live mapping with no-go zones and virtual walls
  • zoned cleanup
  • Wipe function (electric water tank with adjustable water quantity)
  • Voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Anti-twisting technology against hair
  • Live mapping with no-go zones and virtual walls
  • Room layout
  • zoned cleanup
  • Wiping function with non-wiping zones and electric water tank with
  • adjustable water quantity
  • Carpet detection (increases suction power)
  • Voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Floor storage

Packaging and scope of delivery of the TAB Tabot

From Haier, we had already got to know the “XShuai” product line, which was primarily designed for the Chinese market and which scored with good budget models such as the HXS-C3, the Xiaobao HXS-C1 and T370. All of them not outstanding, but with interesting features. However, that was a few years ago, which is half an eternity in the fast moving tech age. So now, the first vacuum robot from the Haier ecosystem, which wants to play at the top. And the race begins with the packaging.

The typical brown vacuum robot box.
Everything sorted neatly and securely.

TAB, the Haier sub-brand, was kind enough to send us a test copy during crowdfunding (thank you very much!). As the model is scheduled to be shipped in July 2020, there may still be some changes to the software and the scope of delivery. Our package with all its contents is similar to the Early Bird Perk, i.e. the scope of delivery that will be given to those who have quickly struck a deal and financed it. We have therefore received the following:

  • the Tabot vacuum robot (phew, luckily, would have sucked without)
  • Charging station
  • CN charging cable with universal adapter
  • 0.32 l water tank with microfibre cloth already attached
  • Hand vacuum cleaner attachment
  • small screwdriver (for what ever)
  • two brush heads (one must be mounted on the underside)
  • Chinese user manual
The scope of delivery of the Tabot.

Although an ominous looking “Worldwide Adapter” for the CN charging cable is included, I would rather not plug it into my power outlet.

Hmm, it doesn’t look completely wrong, but I prefer to stick to the old, tried and tested.

Design and finish

The version sent to us is a clear China version and not an international version. Accordingly there is no CE mark on the robot and other parts. But this will certainly change as soon as the tabot is officially on the market, because the international distribution for a Haier sub-brand is a matter of honour and will be especially difficult in Europe if this certification is missing.

On the underside you will find the exciting anti-coiling roller, but no CE-marking.

I must honestly say that I find the design of the Tabot extremely good. A good mix of modern, technical and good color choice. Also the workmanship can’t be criticized, the used plastic is of high quality. Nothing moves where it shouldn’t, everything is cleanly processed.

Visually the Tabot is very appealing.

But what you can criticize about the design are the dimensions of 35.0 x 35.0 x 11.1 cm. With a height of 11.1 cm one must of course also make concessions to the surface to be cleaned, after all the Tabot does not fit under all pieces of furniture. For example under the bed or the chest of drawers. There are only two possibilities: Either measure the furniture in question or raise it. Or of course buy a flatter robot. The height of the Tabot is probably related to the 0.6 l hand vacuum cleaner dust chamber.

With a height of 11.1 cm the robot is 1-2 cm higher than comparable models.

Dust chamber is also a manual vacuum cleaner

In addition to the typical vacuum robot functions, the TAB Tabot also wants to score points with an integrated manual vacuum cleaner. How so? An attachment with brush head is included, which can be placed on the removable dust chamber. It works like this:

1. remove the flap/window on the top.
There is the dust chamber aka the hand vacuum cleaner.
2. press the big button next to LDS.
3. remove the dust chamber, put the vacuum cleaner attachment on it, it locks into place.

Already we have a small handheld vacuum cleaner in our hands! Now some of you rightly ask the question: “Why shouldn’t I just order a $40 hand-held vacuum cleaner and take that one?” Right, absolutely possible and fulfils the same function. It is rather something that inspires vacuum robot testers like me, because we need fewer devices and can simply put the brush attachment on the charging station to save space.

Placed on the charging station, you always have your complete vacuum cleaner package at hand.

In fact, the handheld vacuum cleaner is nothing special, models such as the eufy HomeVac H11 or Xiaomi Cleanfly already have more suction power and better handling. But hey, they are not dust chambers that you can use as a handheld vacuum cleaner 😉 I am thrilled, but I know that it is just a gimmick in itself. Here you can see the vacuum chamber in short use:

Youtube Video Preview

Sensors, navigation and operation of the Tabot

Like most of the current top models, the vacuum robot works with a laser distance sensor (LDS) on the top side. The robot thus scans the premises and draws the outlines of the four walls on a map, which can be called up at any time from anywhere in the TATA Future (Android, iOS) app (live mapping). In this way, the robot can be started from on the road, for example, and it can be traced where it is located in the apartment.

The tabot navigates via laser distance sensor (LDS).

This is made technically possible by the installed SLAM algorithm (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping). This was provided by Google (latest version of Google Cartographer). Virtual no-go zones can also be drawn in on the map created (saveable). So you can tell the robot where it should not go for vacuuming/wiping. More on this app in a moment.

If you like, you can also control the robot using the three control elements.

Collision sensors prevent frontal collisions and crash sensors – as the name suggests – prevent falls from heights, such as stairs. This means that the robot can also be used to vacuum on a table. Just trying it out is certainly fascinating.

Youtube Video Preview

As you can see in the video, the Tabot first drives over the outer walls and obstacles, then over the inner area. In this way he does not leave out any area that is accessible to him. Remarkable is the high working speed of over 1 m² per minute (depending on the room).

He handles furniture and other obstacles very sensitively, almost a little too sensitively, only rarely does he dock on a piece of furniture or similar, but this also leaves the outer edges of it unabsorbed.

One brush head and 4 h working time

On the underside, a single brush head works, as we know it from the Xiaomi and Roborock models. It pushes dust and dirt towards the rotating roller in front of the feed hood. The vacuumed up content then passes through filters and ends up in the dust chamber.

A brush head works on the underside.

After a charging time of 5 h the Tabot is ready for a gigantic 4 h working time. On average, the working time of a vacuum robot is about half that of a normal vacuum robot, so the Tabot can also be used in rooms larger than 250 m². The 4 hours are only valid for the lowest suction level, on the middle level it is 2-3 hours depending on the premises, on the highest level approx. 1.5 hours.

Afterwards the robot returns autonomously to its charging station, which it always manages to do thanks to its intelligent navigation (provided that you do not move the charging station during cleaning).

Attachment on the top, roll up the charging cable on the back.

Keyword firmware updates: These can only be carried out on the charging station including app connection. Since the robot is not yet on the market, TAB has some time to work on the software.

Continued cleaning, i.e. returning to the charging station when the battery level drops, charging the battery and continuing at the last point, is not possible. But you can select Twice Clean in the app, which causes the Tabot to run twice over the entire four walls.

Anti-twist technology against animal hair | extreme test

Vacuum robot owners know the problem: the long, curly hair of your girlfriend, which you love so much when she appears in front of you freshly showered in her bathrobe, is not only beautiful to look at, but also spreads throughout the entire apartment. You also love your dog very much, but in summer man’s best friend (understandable from his point of view) becomes a walking ball of fur that turns your four walls into a hair salon.

“Can’t you clean up your own stuff here? Maybe with a cordless vacuum cleaner?”

What makes the Tabot stand out from the crowd next to his dust chamber hand vacuum cleaner is the novel anti-wind technology against animal and human hair. This function is made possible by small blades on the plastic hybrid roller with v-shaped brush elements.

The anti-winding technology promises less trouble with hair.
Normally you have to cut out the annoying hair with a knife after a few cleanings.

Well then Tabot, let’s see! My dog-owning friends were very irritated when I asked them for hair of their loved ones – and by that I mean both their dogs’ hair and their own. I also donated some hair for the test myself – because I don’t want to go to the hairdresser because of corona. First the razor worked, then the tabot.

“Dude, I thought we were friends!”

Perfect against animal hair

Vacuuming the hair did not pose a particular challenge to the Tabot, rather the quantity. So the dust chamber was perhaps a little too optimistic for the amount of hair I distributed in the apartment. But let’s first look at how he puts the fluffy vacuum robot boss in its place:

Youtube Video Preview

The whole thing was done on the highest suction level, ergo with 3200 pa suction power. So the suction was no problem. Only the size of the dust chamber, which was already quite generous with a potential filling quantity of 0.6 l, had adjusted to less. Unfortunately some hairs slipped out of it. But as I said: That’s on me.

The crammed dust chamber.

Other powerful models also succeed in vacuuming the hair, but not in avoiding coiled hair on the roller. TAB’s anti-winding technology with small knives has done a great job. I checked the roller several times, but could not find any hairs wrapped up except for many, isolated hairs. That must be the way it is!

No long, tangled hairs to be seen! Yeah!

So TAB, or Haier, is the first manufacturer on the market who has found a solution for the winding/tangling problem. Congratulations!

Obstacle Overcoming and Carpets

Vacuum robots should be able to enter any room, and accordingly they must be able to overcome door thresholds or cable covers. The Tabot overcomes obstacles of up to 2 cm without any problems, up to 2.5 cm for rounded obstacles. These are good values that further advocate the autonomous use of the robot.

Door thresholds or cable covers up to 2 cm high are no problem. Even more is possible when rounded.
Even thick carpet edges do not scare him.

It overcomes carpet edges just as easily as door sills. He also dares to walk on my dark, viscous carpet. The software package does not have a carpet boost, which automatically increases the suction power on carpets. Problem? No. Due to the long battery life, you can simply let the robot always work at the highest suction level with 3200 pa. Then it is not particularly quiet (70 dB at the highest suction level), but it does pull some dirt out of the carpet.

Even without carpet boost the work on carpets is worth mentioning.

App control via TATA Future

The core of every top vacuum robot is the associated app. For the Tabot, the app TATA Future (Android, iOS) is available. After downloading the app, registration via e-mail address is required. As long as you don’t forget your password, you will never need the mail address again, accordingly you can also use a spam/disposable mail address.

You should receive a confirmation code, which you enter to register. But I never received a code and after restarting the app three times, the registration works even without a code. Hmm. Then you select the server on which you want to use the tabot and other devices. In our case Europe.

The registration works – but not necessarily at first go.

After successful registration it is necessary to integrate the robot into the WLAN and the app. Note: With a few exceptions, vacuum robots can only be integrated in 2.4 GHz networks, not in 5 GHz networks. Like most routers today, my router offers both networks and without switching off the 5 GHz network, this step was done on the first attempt.

The integration into the WLAN is fast and uncomplicated.
The robot is already integrated and is waiting to get its own name.

Owners of the Tabot expect a clear interface with some functions and settings. Not as many as with the Qihoo models, but besides standard settings, there are also some interesting ones.

The interface is tidy, but there are also robot apps with more functions.

To be honest, I had expected – as I did with the Narwal vacuum robot – to have to try out a half-finished or immature app due to the still ongoing crowdfunding. But no, no lags, no crashes, everything works already.

Functions and settings

The most important functions and settings are listed:

  • DND (Quiet Mode): Time during which the robot is not allowed to work
  • Twice Clean: Robot can run everything twice (also only zones)
  • Adjusting the water quantity
  • Edge mode (also wall mode): Robot moves selectively along walls and all outer areas
  • Download and install firmware updates
  • Save map (one) and reset
  • Locate the robot (reports with melody, so you know where it is)
  • virtual remote control (strangely enough, it does not vacuum while using this)
  • Schedule working hours (one time, all weekdays adjustable)
On the left the remote control, in the middle and on the right the planning of working hours.
  • Tracing the cleaning process/history
  • Zero Calibration: Recalibrate robot on straight floor
  • “Turn up the robot’s “voice
  • assign a nickname for Tabot (mine is called TeleTABbie)
  • Draw virtual no-go zones on the map (areas that the robot should not drive over)
  • Go-To Zones: Allow robots to work only in certain areas
On the left no-go zones, cleaning process in the middle, calibration on the right.

Unfortunately no carpet recognition and selective room division, but the most necessary is included in the software package.

The Mapping

The live mapping in the app, ergo the virtual map, makes it possible to see where the robot is in the four walls at any given time while on the move. In addition, it is particularly easy to see that the tabot does not leave out any area. It doesn’t get much more precise than that, the laser room measurement via LDS does a great job here. It divides rooms into smaller sections than other models, which is not a disadvantage.

The live mapping is detailed and clearly arranged.

Once I made the mistake of lifting the tabot during a cleaning process. Result: map gone. This also happens to other models, but industry standard is a working relocalization even in such cases. But it can be tolerated.

What I find more disturbing is that you can’t draw no-go or go-to zones on the virtual map during the first cleaning. So you have to remove cable corners, toys or anything that cannot be recognized by the robot before the first ride. Once the vacuum robot has completed a completely autonomous tour (without external influence) from the charging station through the four walls and back, the corresponding zones can also be drawn on the stored map.

The wipe function

Like many models today, the Tabot is a hybrid model that can both vacuum and wipe. Following industry standards, TAB uses an electric water tank to regulate the amount of water in the app. The owner can choose between 50, 80 and 110 ml, which can be dripped onto the microfibre cloth (the mop, so to speak) on the bottom.

The electric water tank of the Tabot with a potential filling capacity of 0.32 l.

Haier aka TAB has been involved in the production and has installed a comparatively large water tank. The Roborock models offer about 0.1 l less potential filling capacity. This means that the robot, with its long working time, can also wipe for a long time. All right, not as long as it can vacuum, but an area of up to 180 m² is possible. Depends, of course, on the particular conditions in the premises.

With an attached wiper attachment in the form of the water tank and microfibre cloth, the Tabot can start cleaning.

I am (like probably everyone else) a friend of the fact that individual processes can be handled smoothly. This also includes the attachment of wiper attachments. The Tabot is particularly smooth to handle. See for yourself:

Youtube Video Preview

Well, if only the wiping function were superior now. But it’s not. Workload reduction yes, replacement for manual wiping no. The sentence is a bit worn-out by now, but so often true: Like most hybrid models, the wiper attachment of the Tabot does not apply enough pressure to the floor to remove deep-seated stains. On the surface, this fits so far, but no comparison to pure wiping robots or wiping mops with human power. So purely because of the wiping function I would not buy the Tabot – but neither would other hybrid robots.

Good, but not ingenious: the wipe function.

Preliminary conclusion: Buy Haier TAB Tabot?

The robot will be shipped to the supporters of the crowdfunding campaign in July 2020. The robot will cost around $600 in retail stores, so if you’re interested, financing it with crowdfunding is a good idea.

In itself the Tabot is a clear top 5 model. Navigation, suction power, handling of obstacles, workmanship and material – all excellent. Even the anti-wind technology works as advertised. The dust chamber hand vacuum cleaner is cool, but certainly not the ultimate incentive to buy.

But what does the Tabot lack to play at the top? Functions and features. Floor storage, voice control, and carpet boost are bearable from my perspective. Especially the selective room division (division and targeted control of rooms) is a must-have for every new LDS model. Fortunately a function that can be added via firmware update. Then the Tabot is in my opinion one of the best models on the market. Maybe Haier’s subsidiary TAB will make it to the delivery of the model in July. I will keep an eye on all upcoming developments for you.

Haier TAB Tabot vacuum robot design
For dog owners, this is a recommendable model, for everyone else, one or two features are missing.

Those who can do without the above-mentioned functions should not think too long about whether or not they would like to buy the tabot at the crowdfunding price. The status quo is already very good, can only get better in the future – but not the price. Dog owners listened up!

What do you think of Haier’s new flagship model?

  • no rolling up of hair in the roller
  • high suction power
  • detailed mapping
  • highly sensitive obstacle detection
  • Operating volume could be quieter
  • a few functions are missing for a top model
To the gadget
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Why doesn't this affect our review in any way?
Profile picture from Tim

Tim

I'm interested in Gadgets, that make our life at home easier - especially when it comes to cleaning the floor or the windows. I was able to test about fifty robot vacuum cleaners since now.

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Comments (6)

  • Profile picture from Turner
    21.03.20 um 11:21

    Turner

    Got one looks cheap battery life is crap

    • Profile picture from Guest
      15.04.20 um 19:19

      Anonymous

      how exactly do you get one when it's in the middle of crowdfunding??

  • Profile picture from Guillermo Carrion
    08.06.20 um 19:22

    Guillermo Carrion

    Some of my furniture is as low as 11.5-12cm height. The 11.1 height is considered from the floor to the highest part of the robot? Meaning that it should fit under my 11.5-12cm furniture.

    • Profile picture from Tim
      09.06.20 um 10:10

      Tim CG team

      Hi Guillermo Carrion. Correct, but it should be a bit higher so the robot doesn't recognize it as an obstacle. Like 12,5 cm would be safe. Maybe you can uplift your furniture a bit?

  • Profile picture from Ben
    17.07.20 um 04:00

    Ben

    How much space needs to be left on both sides of the docking station so it can dock successfully on its own? Does the manual give guidance on this? I know my current one that I'm replacing recommends 6" on either side.

    • Profile picture from Tim
      21.07.20 um 10:59

      Tim CG team

      Hi Ben, usually it's said you should have a space of 50 cm (about 20 inches) to the left and right, in fact you can also have a bit less, like 30 cm (12 inches) are also okay usually

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