Tested: ILIFE A6 Vacuum Robot – the designer model for $195.99
The ILIFE A6 vacuum robot competes directly with the in-house ILIFE A4 in terms of suction performance – but the A6 is still trimmed for stylish design. You can read in the review how strong the ILIFE A6 is compared to other cheaper models and what else it has in store besides its stylish design.
|Suction Power||1000 pa|
|Noise level||65 dB|
|Working time||160 min|
|Charging time||5 h|
|Dust chamber||0,3 l|
|Dimensions||30.5 x 30.5 x 8.0 cm|
|Features||remote control, virtual wall, replacement brushes, e.g.|
Scope of delivery
As usual from ILIFE, the scope of delivery includes all the necessary accessories that can be expected for a vacuum robot in this price range. The A6 even has a virtual wall here. The scope of delivery in the overview:
- Charging station with charging cable
- the typical ILIFE remote control
- middle roller (1x spare)
- Brush for cleaning brush heads
- Virtual Wall (Yes!)
- two replacement brush heads (2x replacement)
- HEPA filter (1x replacement)
- Batteries for virtual wall
- Manual in English
Besides the virtual wall as a special, everything you need is included in the delivery. Even inexperienced users of vacuum robots do not need the operating instructions in English, the handling is self-explanatory.
Design and workmanship
The ILIFE A6 vacuum robot should not only convince in terms of its suction performance but also in terms of design. It is not for nothing that a vacuum robot stands in the living room and is allowed to make an appropriate impression. The robot is designed in black, the clean button lights up in different colours and silver elements can also be found in the design of the vacuum robot. In particular, the charging station and the virtual wall adapt very well to its appearance.
When it comes to processing, the A6 is in no way inferior to its ILIFE colleagues. Everything is solid and clean and does not destroy the good impression of the design. The metal clean button stands out as a small, extravagant accessory on the robot. All right, it’s still a vacuum robot, but a particularly stylish one that a vacuum robot fan can only like. 😉
Of course, the underside of the vacuum robot is not as beautiful as the view from above. The A6 works (unlike the ILIFE V7S Pro, for example) with two brush heads at the front and a roller in the middle. To move around and overcome obstacles, it has two tyres that are significantly larger than those of other models. A small wheel is located at the front of the sensors.
The vacuum robot starts its work from the charging station and automatically returns when the battery is low to recharge. Like all ILIFE models, the A6 can only be charged if the vacuum robot has been switched on beforehand. The charging station of the ILIFE A6 vacuum robot reminds less of a charging station than of a start ramp – very stylish and can be combined to match the vacuum robot in colour.
Ideally, the charging station should be mounted on a wall so that the vacuum robot can drive straight towards the charging station and recognize it early instead of curving around in its back. The distance from the charging station to the sides should be at least one meter and to the front two meters to an obstacle. This allows the vacuum robot to park out without problems.
During the charging process, the button on the surface of the vacuum robot lights up orange; when the battery is fully charged, it switches the light off and puts itself into sleep mode. Since the lighting of the charging station could be somewhat disturbing at night when falling asleep, it is recommended to set up the charging station outside the bedroom or simply cover the signal lamp of the station.
After a working time of almost 160 minutes, the vacuum robot automatically returns to the charging station when the battery runs out, which it always managed to do in the test. This can take a few minutes, depending on the size of the apartment.
Performance of the ILIFE A6 vacuum robot
Only a few preparations have to be made before the (first) start of the vacuum robot. Remove cables from the area to be cleaned (from the floor), delimit (seat) corners either with the virtual wall or rearrange them. The dust chamber must be inserted in advance and the vacuum robot must be fully charged before the first start-up.
After a loading time of 5 h the vacuum robot is ready for operation. This is quite a long time, but the vacuum robot can also be charged overnight and hangs at the charging station most of the time either way. Nevertheless, 5 hours for charging the 2600 mAh battery is quite a lot. Depending on the size of the apartment, it may not need to be fully charged.
Operation and Mini-Room-Work-Mode
By scheduling a start time with the remote control, pressing the “CLEAN” button on the vacuum robot or manual start via remote control (Play button), the vacuum robot starts its work in the household.
It detects obstacles in front of it and the charging station via several IR sensors installed at the front of the robot. It also recognizes depths and heights and can thus escape the fall from the stairs. Strong: The A6 can cross gradients of up to 15%, which means that carpet deposits and the like are no problem.
When the “Auto” button on the remote control is pressed twice, the vacuum robot switches to the “Mini Room Work” mode, which means that the vacuum robot no longer concentrates on the entire room but only on part of a room. It does this approximately within a radius of 15 m². This is useful if you only want to vacuum at a selected location in your home (e.g. in the corner of the dog/cat etc.).
Dealing with obstacles
Dealing with obstacles in the areas to be cleaned is one of the most important factors in the evaluation of a vacuum robot. Here the ILIFE A6 vacuum robot delivers a good, but still somewhat expandable performance. It detects obstacles very early and slows down the pace. But unlike the ILIFE V5S Pro, the A6 still docks onto the obstacle. This has the advantage that the pieces of furniture or the like are vacuumed more precisely but are touched. The vacuum robot does not mind, but sensitive furniture may suffer.
What makes the A6 better than the V5S Pro is the recognition of corners and curves. In most cases he notices that it is possible to turn around when he is not at a straight line but at a corner or an obstacle. It then moves around it in round movements and removes the dust so efficiently. These movements are comparable to the spot mode, which can be set manually on the remote control. Here, the vacuum robot rotates around its own axis with a larger radius and thus selectively vacuums a “spot”.
Controlling with the remote control and volume
The vacumm robot can be started, steered, returned to the charging station, timed and set to different suction modes via the supplied remote control. However, these will only be used very little, as the vacuum robot has a very good automatic mode. However, it is worth increasing the suction power of the A6 by pressing the “MAX” key (arrow key downwards). Here it unfolds its complete suction power. However, this also means that the battery will wear out faster.
Usually the dealer already indicates a volume, which I then adjust with an app for volume measurement. With the ILIFE A6, this was not stated in the technical data in advance, the app comes to 65 dB. The vacuum robot is not as loud as the ILIFE A4, but also not quite as quiet as the V5S Pro. It moves in a pleasant way, the operating noise does not disturb even if the vacuum robot is vacuuming in the same room as you are in.
Timing the vacuum robot
Like all known vacuum robots of the ILIFE brand, the A6 can also be timed. This means that it starts its service automatically – when you want it. For example, you plan the working hours for the vacuum robot using the remote control:
- Press the Plan key (left below MAX key)
- “up”-arrow key changes the time by one hour forward
- “down”-arrow key changes the time one hour backwards
- “left or right” arrow key changes from hour to minutes (and vice versa)
- Press the Plan key again to save
The planned time at which the vacuum robot is to start can be discarded by switching off the vacuum robot. However, this means that the vacuum robot must remain switched on continuously if it is to keep to your selected working hours. When not in use, however, the vacuum robot consumes very little power, so it’s no problem to leave it standing next to the charging station.
Alternatively, you can set the planned time to 12 o’clock, so that your previously set time expires and you can choose it again. Unimportant fact: The vacuum robot cannot be started at 12 o’clock on the dot, but only at 11:59 o’clock, 12:01 o’clock etc.
The individual suction modes of the ILIFE A6 vacuum robot
In addition to automatic cleaning, the A6 also includes the Spot function (vacuum robot rotates around itself in increasing circles) for removing large piles of dirt and Wall (vacuum robot moves straight walls and corners). These can be set in the manual control via the remote control. In the test these worked very well, but they are more of a gimmick than a big advantage. However, anyone who has just received and unpacked their new vacuum robot will be very happy to use it for the first test drives.
The virtual wall
A virtual wall can be used to define areas that the vacuum robot should not move. The vacuum robot recognizes the virtual line via the built-in sensors and makes a turn. In my opinion, virtual walls are the most practical accessories you can have for a vacuum robot.
The virtual wall of the A6 is – clearly – adapted to the stylish design of the vacuum robot and is much easier for the user to understand compared to other walls. On the top of the wall, for example, there is a clear label showing where the “prohibited area” for the vacuum robot is located and where the area to be cleaned.
The signal for the ILIFE A6 vacuum robot comes from the side of the wall, so it is recommended to place the boundary for the vacuum robot on a wall. Because the signal does not work in either direction. The virtual wall is placed as in the following picture:
The ILIFE A6 vacuum robot recognizes the virtual wall already half a meter before the line imaginable for us and immediately makes a 180° turn. It works optimally and the forbidden area remains untouched. All that can be said about the virtual wall is: Everything done correctly with perhaps the most important accessories of a vacuum robot.
Signals and sounds
Until now, unfortunately, we didn’t have a vacuum robot in the office that could express itself in our language to let us know how it was doing. The ILIFE A6 vacuum robot responds via beeps and various colour signals. However, the beeps only signal the start of a suction process or confirm the charging process at the charging station. In general, the A6 gets by with very few signals. Here is an overview so that you always know what your vacuum robot is doing:
|Orange light shines again and again||Vacuum robot is charging|
|All lights off||battery is fully charged, then quickly switches to sleep mode|
|green light is on and off||Suction mode selected|
|Continuous red light||Error, vacuum robot has a problem|
|Continuous orange light||low battery level|
|Continuous green light||Vacuum robot is in automatic cleaning mode|
For slightly newer models we can recommend the ILIFE A8 or ILIFE V8S, but they do come with a higher price. Competing models from Xiaomi are the Xiaomi Mi Robot, the second version, the Xiaomi RoboRock or the budget vacuum robot Xiaomi Xiaowa.