Roborock S7 with liftable mop attachment: The best hybrid robot?
It is better to do everything right with one model than to do almost everything right with ten different ones: Roborock wants to build on the great success of the S5 Max and presented its latest creation at CES 2021. With the Roborock S7, the Chinese manufacturer fully relies on the wiping function and is the new technological pioneer. Our test shows whether it is the best hybrid robot ever.
- Roborock S7 vacuum robot
The S7 will initially only be available in white, but in the course of the year it will also be available in black. Since there will be an optional Extraction Station in 2021 that will only be available in black, you should consider this in your purchase decision for design reasons. The Extraction Station will only be available for the S7 and not for other models from the manufacturer. It is conceivable that you will be able to buy the robot vacuum cleaner with Extraction Station as a combination package in the future.
Technical specs: Comparison to Roborock S5 Max
Roborock continues to focus on a wide variety of products. The S6 MaxV detects small obstacles like cables or toys, the S5 Max is the all-rounder, and the S4 is for those who do not need a wiping function on their vacuum robot.
|Roborock S7||Roborock S5 Max|
|Suction Power||2500 pa||2000 pa|
|Navigation||Laser room measuring||Laser room measuring|
|App||Xiaomi Home (Android, iOS) and Roborock (Android, iOS)||Xiaomi Home (Android, iOS) and Roborock (Android, iOS)|
|Volume||67 dB on highest suction level||50-65 dB|
|Battery||5200 mAh||5200 mAh|
|Dust chamber/water tank||0.47 l/0.3 l||0.46 l/0.29 l|
|Working time||3 h (without mopping function)||2,5 h|
|Charging time||5 h||5 h|
|Weight||4.7 kg||3.5 kg|
|Dimensions||35.3 x 35.0 x 9.65 cm||35.3 x 35.0 x 9.65 cm|
|Gradients||20°, bis zu 2 cm||20°, bis zu 2 cm|
Scope of delivery of the Roborock S7
The scope of delivery includes:
- the typical Roborock charging station with charging cable (a bit short) without cable management
- 0.3 l water tank (firmly integrated in the robot)
- Mop attachment with attached microfiber cloth
- small cleaning tool under the flap of the robot
- User manual and instructions for connecting to the app
The scope of delivery is – as usual for Roborock – kept minimalistic and accordingly only includes the essentials. Of course, the water collection mat of previous models is not needed when the S7 reliably detects carpets and can lift the mop attachment.
Design and workmanship: An optimized S5 Max?
Visually, the S7 is a bit more appealing than the S5 Max. The white surface with the metal edge is quite impressive. Roborock would not be Roborock, however, if they had not come up with another design treat: Above the three controls, there is a slot designed in the form of an open bracket (depending on where you look, also a closed bracket), through which LED lights shine in different colors.
For example, the light that looks like the “robot’s smile” shines in the color of blue when it docks at the charging station and green when the battery charging process has reached a good level.
Also cool/beautiful/modern (take your pick) are the neatly incorporated waveforms around the laser tower, which give the laser distance sensor (LDS for short) a kind of pulsating background noise. It’s like throwing a stone into the water (maybe even intended by the designers → RoboROCK), which then creates waves. Also quite possible that this visualizes the sonic mop technology. More likely that 😉 The Roborock logo can be found on top of the laser tower and the Roborock lettering at the bottom above the water tank.
Roborock typical underside? Not quite.
The underside, on the other hand, is almost identical to that of the S5 Max, but the main brush on the underside has also been replaced compared to the previous models and is now completely made of rubber. This is said to make it more suitable for (pet) hair and to adhere better to the floor.
The water tank is integrated directly into the back of the robot vacuum. This means that you only have to attach the attachment with the wiping cloth on the bottom to use the wiping function and let the robot wipe.
Roborock remains true to itself and everything stays the same with the dust chamber, which is located under the flap on the top. 0.4 l potential filling volume is not necessarily a house number, but it is sufficient for a cleaning trip with normal dirtiness of the four walls.
Of course, there is also a CE label on the underside, which means that nothing stands in the way of the S7’s Europe-wide distribution. With dimensions of 35.3 x 35.0 x 9.65 cm, it is equal to the S5 Max, and those interested should include the height of 9.6 cm in their purchase considerations. After all, it does not fit under all pieces of furniture like chests of drawers and sofas.
Familiar and new controls
Less exciting, but also new, is the child lock, which can be switched on via the left of the three control elements (button with lock symbol). This means that small children, as well as pets, can’t interrupt the cleaning run too easily. This button is doubled with the mini-room work mode. This mode includes the area in which the robot is currently located in a certain m² number.
In addition to the parental control button, the buttons for starting, stopping, turning the robot on and off (in the middle) and “back to charging station” are also included (on the right), as usual. The center power button is able to glow light gray, which makes it invisible from a distance.
Wow, a really nice vacuum robot that is also made of high-quality material (plastic paired with metal elements). The light elements and waveforms on the top are only design elements without any special added value, but the round household helpers are allowed to look good.
Sensors, operation and navigation
Besides the wiping function, which is touted as particularly good, the S7 is functionally on the same wavelength as the S5 Max: live mapping with selective room division (separate control of the rooms), floor storage (several virtual maps can be stored), voice control via Alexa and Google shortcuts, and continued cleaning (continues cleaning if 3 h of working time should not be enough) are just a few buzzwords.
Like its predecessors, the robot proceeds as follows after starting automatic cleaning:
- 360° rotation for orientation with the LDS, meanwhile the suction power is ramped up.
- Survey the outer walls/obstacles/corners with the Wall function.
- “Fill in” the surveyed areas with the Z-Shaped mode (in straight paths).
It is extremely sensitive and does not dock anywhere. Almost too sensitive for my taste, since it leaves out some dust and dirt in corners and on edges. Either or – you can’t please everyone.
Fortunately, it is less squeamish about chair legs. He doesn’t recognize glass doors as an obstacle either, but he remembers where they are and then ignores them after the first exploratory trip through the four walls. A smart little guy. Probably irrelevant for most, but only briefly mentioned: The S7 can work as well in the dark as it does in the light.
Suction power, carpet detection and noise level of the Roborock S7
Except for the mopping function, the S7 and the S5 Max are very similar, but the S7 inherited the suction power of 2500 pa from the S6 MaxV. This is particularly noticeable on carpets; on hard floors, there is no reason to worry about the suction power failing above 1800 pa anyway.
On carpets, the S7 benefits from the carpet detection or carpet boost that can be switched on and off in the app (more on that in a moment). If this is active, the robot automatically increases the suction power to the maximum within seconds as soon as it notices a carpet underneath. And it does this absolutely reliably, especially when it already knows the layout of the four walls.
The sound level meter is also merciful in its judgment at a distance of one meter and still indicates a tolerable value of 65 dB even at the highest suction level. We humans converse at an average volume of 60 dB; 65 dB is roughly between road traffic noise and a motorcycle. So it’s no longer necessarily pleasant, but still bearable. In fact, you don’t even need the highest suction power and the associated volume on hard floors. Levels two and three are also sufficient here, if the dog and toddlers did not just come back from the playground together. Apart from that, vacuum robots are also supposed to work while we are on the go 😉.
App control: Which app should it be?
Roborock, as a company, still belongs to the Chinese tech giant Xiaomi by about a quarter, but they seem to be increasingly detaching themselves from the “Apple of China”. Now, Roborock also knows that many people already have the Xiaomi Home App (Android, iOS) on their smartphones, but do not want to use a separate app for the round household helper. Accordingly, the Roborock S7 can be integrated into the Xiaomi app as well as into the in-house Roborock (Android, iOS).
Since it is conceivable and based on experience that Roborock prefers to roll out new features on its own app, we have initially opted for this app, but we will provide a feature comparison of both apps here.
After downloading the app and successfully registering via a disposable e-mail address, turn on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on the smartphone. Of course, the correct Wi-Fi password must be entered and the robot must be in the same network as the smartphone. Via “Add device”, the app automatically finds the robot within milliseconds (see screenshots). Pressing the power and home buttons on the top at the same time lets the Roborock set up a new network.
Settings and functions within the app
Before starting the robot for the first time, it is recommended to make a few settings or check whether they are set. After all, everything should work properly right after the first cleaning run. The most important functions and settings within the app are listed below:
- Mapping: Virtual map of the premises is displayed.
- Map storage of up to three floors: can be switched on and off.
- Selectable whether to map only one or multiple floors -> less potential for confusion for the robot.
- Draw no-go zones and virtual walls on map.
- Pin-and-Go: Send the robot to a specific area.
- Selective room division: Divide rooms yourself, connect them, determine suction power and wipe function separately for each room.
- Only possible once robot has autonomously driven through all rooms with set map storage.
- Carpet mode: Detects carpets and increases suction power on them.
- Dealing with carpets with the wipe function attached.
- Indicate when a carpet is incorrectly detected.
- Change language within the app and the robot vacuum cleaner as well as voice (German, English etc.).
- Change the volume of the robot’s voice (10-100%).
- Access, download and install firmware updates.
- determine one of four suction levels
- determine one of four wiping levels
- Thorough mode: suction power is turned down and wiping intensity is turned up
- DND mode (Do-Not-Disturb mode): set time when the robot is not allowed to drive.
- Track condition of the robot’s individual parts: Filter, brush heads, main brush, water tank, sensors.
- Locating the robot: reports its whereabouts vocally.
- Remote control as buttons or joystick
- Pin-and-Go: Let robot clean specific area.
With the S7, the wipe function is the most exciting point, but for an optimal workaround, you should know the live mapping beforehand.
Live mapping of the Roborock S7
If you want a complete map, you should not interrupt the S7 during its maiden voyage, but simply let it do it autonomously. In order to be able to use the strong features like map storage and selective room mapping, it is mandatory to start cleaning from the charging station. Roborock also provides this hint itself in the app. At the bottom of the interface, there are controls to start and stop cleaning, as well as send the robot back to the charging station.
Commonly, a flagship robot in my test arsenal starts directly at a carpet so that it has to show what it is capable of right from the start. This is where the carpet detection of the S7 makes itself felt. Not only does it automatically increase suction to the maximum of 2500 pa on the first of several carpets, it also records it on the virtual map. This gives you the option later to put non-sweeping zones on the map over the carpet areas, playing it safe to make sure that no short pile carpet really gets wet.
The live mapping is really live and works without any “jerking or stalling” of the map image, as it happens with many other models. And it is also highly precise. You can completely recognize your four walls including the outlines of the furniture.
Also practical: The map is updated by the robot when the environment changes (chair is moved, etc.) and is not completely re-recorded. As we are used to from Roborock Laser models, the S7 also finds the charging station within seconds after finishing cleaning. It drives straight to it and “parks”.
Not a jack of all trades, but not a problem either
However, the S7 is not an S6 MaxV and therefore does not have an implemented AI or 3D obstacle detection like the Deebot N8 Pro+. That is, it does not recognize particularly small obstacles such as socks or cables. Or shoes, as you can see well here:
However, we simply do not expect that from the S7. Moreover, we are pretty sure that we will see an AI version of the S7 later this year.
The S7 provides its owner with the most important information, such as when the cleaning is complete or if it has a problem. Conveniently via push notification.
The first trip is always also the most important and complicated trip for a robot vacuum cleaner. From then on, so many safety precautions can be made in the app that you can let the robot drive autonomously when you want. And from here on, things get suitably exciting.
Selective room division
Selective room division enables the targeted individual control of rooms. For example, the cleaning sequence can be defined and vacuuming or wiping can be targeted in a room. The corresponding suction or wiping intensity can also be specified. The individual rooms are recognized by Roborock S7 independently and displayed in color on the visual map.
In my apartment, the four rooms are quite easy to recognize for a robot vacuum cleaner, as there is a wide hallway from which all rooms can be reached and are easier to recognize due to door thresholds. Should you not agree or be satisfied with the division of the S7, you can divide or merge the rooms.
But now everyone has an area at home that they don’t want the robot to travel through. The solution here is to draw no-go zones and virtual walls on the map. In addition, no-wipe zones can be drawn in so that you know even the high-pile carpets are safe from wetness.
Handle each room in the way that suits you best
But what is special compared to the room layout of the predecessor S5 Max? User definition! The wiping intensity and suction level can be set for each individual room. So far, we only know this from the new Ecovacs Deebot N8 Pro+. The difference to the N8+ is – roughly speaking – only that you cannot assign icons to the individual rooms in the S7. However, those who recognize the rooms well on the map do not necessarily need this.
It is very interesting to see how in action it changes the suction power and amount of water as soon as it crosses the border with another room. This is handy, for example, if you have multiple floor types in your home and don’t want to water the oiled parquet.
As if that wasn’t enough, we also have floor storage included in the software package. That is, the ability to save and name multiple cards. Clever: To prevent the robot from getting confused, you can specify whether you want the S7 to work on one or more floors. This ideally prevents complications with different cards.
Wiping function of the Roborock S7: VibraRise technology and sonic mopping
However, since the mopping function is used a lot in hybrid models consisting of vacuuming and mopping and was not really implemented convincingly by any manufacturer in the past, Roborock is now taking several technological steps forward. For example, the new S7 can automatically raise its wiping module to avoid wiping short pile carpets. It detects these using new ultrasonic carpet detection technology. This only works on short pile carpets, not on high pile carpets. We have not yet been able to determine where exactly the limit is.
Roborock plausibly calls the automatic lifting of the mop “Mop Lifting”. This makes Roborock the first manufacturer in the world with this technology.
In the app, we can set how the S7 should deal with carpets. Surfaces that are incorrectly recognized as carpets can be corrected on the virtual map. However, this was not the case in my apartment.
There are several scenarios in which the S7 lifts the mopping module – by itself, of course:
- on the way back to the charging station after wiping
- at the charging station (therefore no water collection mat is included)
- in complex environments (for safety)
VibraRise makes drawing non-swipe zones on the virtual map more or less obsolete, but the feature remains with the S7 in the Xiaomi Home App (Android, iOS) and Roborock App (Android, iOS). Since the S7 “only” detects short pile carpets and can avoid them with the wipe function, owners of high pile carpets can still use the feature. Due to the many setting options, everyone should find their optimal workaround for their four walls here.
Four times better than the S5
Using a vibrating water tank, the S7 pushes the mopping module onto the floor twice as hard as the S5 Max or S6 MaxV. This also removes more dried dirt from the floor. Roborock calls this “Sonic Mopping,” and lifting the mop module in combination with the vibrating water tank is called “VibraRise.” Based on Roborock’s internal testing, the S7 mops four times better than the 2017 S5.
The wiping intensity can be preset in the app: 1650, 2300 or 3000 times per minute. In addition, a “Thorough mode” can be set, in which the suction power is lowered and the wiping intensity is raised, as well as wiping twice in one pass. Also new: The wiping route is now also displayed in the app.
Conclusion: buy Roborock S7 Robot Vacuum Cleaner?
The Roborock S7 is an S5 Max with smart and very good wiping function. And a few more advantages. Now you can find that good or bad. The most noteworthy advantages of the S7 compared to the S5 Max again briefly listed:
- 500 pa more suction power
- significantly better wiping function, especially due to the liftable wiping module
- optimized selective room division allows user-defined cleaning of rooms.
Does this make the Roborock S7 the best vacuum robot on the market? After all, the S5 Max currently resides at the top of the winner’s podium of our best list of all vacuum robots worldwide. Yes, with a “but”: We still have a few models that could challenge the throne …
Nevertheless, the S7 cannot be called anything other than a really strong high-end hybrid model in the individual ranking. In short: The vacuum robot with the best mopping function ever so far. If you have the money to spare for the S7, you absolutely can’t go wrong here.
When Roborock does something, they do it right. You can tell that the Chinese manufacturer takes the customers’ wishes seriously and seems to “listen”. An S5 Max with a strong wiping function is what many – no, very many – wanted. So it is no wonder that the robot was already sold out within a few hours after the sales launch. We are also very curious about the still pending Extraction Station and will update this review to that effect.
How important is a wiping function on the robot vacuum cleaner to you?
- Carpets are no problem with the wiping function
- generally top wiping function
- umpteen app functions, very detailed mapping
- Navigation, mode of operation and dealing with obstacles
- very high-quality workmanship + modern design
- could handle obstacles a little less sensitively (complaining on a high level)