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.
- HaierTAB Tabot vacuum robot
- at Indiegogo from $469 in Crowdfunding
- Shipping of the model from July 2020
Technical data: Comparison to Roborock S5 Max
|HaierTAB Tabot||Roborock S5 Max|
|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|
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.
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
Although an ominous looking “Worldwide Adapter” for the CN charging cable is included, I would rather not plug it into my power outlet.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
- 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
Unfortunately no carpet recognition and selective room division, but the most necessary is included in the software package.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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