Xiaomi Mi Robot 1C Vacuum Robot for $299.99
Meanwhile, Xiaomi is launching new home helpers in a cycle that can almost be compared to the rhythm of new smartphone releases. This year there were already two vacuum robots, a wiping robot and a window cleaning robot. Then the Mi Robot 1C was launched. Do you really need another Xiaomi vacuum robot?buy the Xiaomi Mi Robot 1C at Geekbuying for $299.99
Technical data: Comparison with Mi Robot 1S
|Mi Robot 1C||Mi Robot 1S|
|Suction power||2500 pa||2000 pa|
|Navigation||Dual gyro sensor with TOF sensor||Laser room measurement with TOF sensor|
|App||Xiaomi Home (Android, iOS)||Xiaomi Home (Android, iOS)|
|Operating Volume||50-65 dB (depending on suction stage)||50-65 dB (depending on suction stage)|
|Battery||2400 mAh||5200 mAh|
|Dust chamber/water tank||0,6 l/ 0,2 l electric tank||0,42 l/ no wiping function|
|Working time||2 h||2.5 h|
|Weight||3,6 kg||3,8 kg|
|Dimensions||35.3 x 35.5 x 8.15 cm||34.5 x 34.5 x 9.6 cm|
|Inclinations||15°, up to 2 cm||15°, up to 2 cm|
Scope of delivery of the Mi Robot 1C
We wanted to secure a test object for ourselves as quickly as possible, which is why we hit the jackpot with the China version. This means that we have a Chinese operating manual and a Chinese plug included in the scope of delivery. You don’t need the manual anyway, but you definitely need an adapter. In addition to the robot itself, the scope of delivery also includes:
- a brush head (which you then attach to the underside)
- Charging station with CN charging cable (adapter required)
- 0,2 l small water tank with attached microfibre cloth
- small cleaning tool
- Instruction manual in Chinese
From my point of view, the scope of delivery could be more opulent, even if you are used to minimalism from Xiaomi packages. But one or two brush heads and microfiber cloths as spare parts would have been nice.
Whether there will be an international version of the robot is unclear so far, perhaps we can expect a back and forth like with the Mi Robot 1S, for which there is still only the China version. Although the vacuum robot can also be used here without any problems, Chinese servers must be used with the app. This is a problem if you already have several devices on other servers in the Xiaomi Home App. Both can only be used with one trick: Use two app versions (keyword Dual Apps).
Design and workmanship: Flatter than ever
“Wow, he’s white.” That was my first reaction when I took the robot out of the package. Really an optically very appealing model, the shimmering white surface in combination with the optical sensor on top (the black lens) really makes a difference. What not only Xiaomi fans notice at first glance: The Mi Robot 1C is especially flat compared to the previous models of the manufacturer. With a height of 8.1 cm, it fits under most pieces of furniture, also because there is no LDS (laser distance sensor) on the top of the robot.
When it comes to processing, we are dealing here (it is slowly getting boring) with the usual high Xiaomi quality (not called the Apple of China for nothing). Nothing jolts, wobbles, jams or anything else. Opening the flap on the upper side is smooth, removing the dust chamber is easy and inserting the water tank (snaps into place) is almost sensual. Yes, it sounds exaggerated, but you have to be allowed to praise it when a manufacturer makes such an effort.
Unfortunately there is no CE mark on the underside. If you are concerned about insurance issues, you should wait for an international version. The individual parts and therefore the accessories are compatible with those of the other models – as it has always been. This means that owners of another Xiaomi suction robot can apply their purchased accessory packages directly to the new model and do not have to buy new ones.
As already mentioned: The Mi Robot 1C has no laser space measurement, which represents the current ultimate in navigation methods. But how does the robot find its way around the four walls? And how is it possible that it still has the live mapping function with no-go zones?
Navigation and working methods
The Mi Robot 1C primarily navigates via a dual gyro sensor in combination with a VSLAM algorithm (Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), enabling the creation of a visual map. We already know the system from the Xiaowa models launched by Roborock. Since Roborock produces the Xiaomi robots, they will have been based on the technology used at the time. A total of 15 sensors work simultaneously in the small robot.
Gyro sensor technology works as follows with vacuum robots: The household helper measures the rotary movements from the charging station. He remembers obstacles in front of him as a “dash” on the map, which enables him to determine his route and the premises well. Nevertheless, navigation via a gyro sensor currently occupies second place in the ranking of the best navigation methods after laser room surveying.
As you can see on the following screenshots, the robot uses the Z-Shaped cleaning principle, according to which the 1C moves in straight paths through the rooms.
We already know the black lens on the top from the Mi Robot 1S. It is a TOF sensor (Time-of-flight). With this optical sensor the Mi Robot 1S detects doors and passages much more accurately and can orient itself even better in the four walls. From a technical point of view, the vacuum robot measures distances with the TOF using a transit time method (speed + distance). Optical sensors are devices that use light to detect objects and should not be confused with cameras.
So anyone who panics about words such as “lens” or “optical sensor” should be told that the robot does not take photos, videos or anything similar.
By means of the wall sensors installed on the side of the robot, the robot knows what is next to it and understands accordingly when and how far it can turn without docking. Collision sensors prevent frontal collisions and falls from heights such as stairs. A CortexTM-A7 quad-core chip operates inside the robot. In terms of obstacle overcoming, 2.0 cm is the limit, but this is a solid value and is sufficient to overcome most carpet edges and door thresholds. The robot cannot reverse.
Performance without App
On the underside works – as usual from Xiaomi robots – one instead of two brush heads, which is not a conditional disadvantage. This pushes the dust towards the middle roller, from where the dust ends up in the 0.6 l dust chamber. In addition, at 2500 pa it has the current maximum suction power, so the robot can also be used well on carpets. The 1C docks obstacles only slightly with its bumper and then turns around. A good, but not excellent working method including navigation.
If you do not want to use the app for data protection reasons, you can also operate the robot using the two operating elements on the top. However, most of the features are not available and no settings (suction power, language packages, operating volume) can be made.
If you’re worried about your data, you can use a trick: Under “Additional Settings” in the settings, press “Add Home screen shortcut” and a shortcut will be created on the start screen of the smartphone. Now you can remove all permissions from the Xiaomi Home App in the smartphone settings and use the robot only via the shortcut.
Control via Xiaomi Home App
Oh well, the Xiaomi Home App for Android and iOS again. A good old friend meanwhile, after all we here at China-Gadgets have already integrated dozens of Xiaomi and subsidiary gadgets. So everything as usual: Switch on WLAN and Bluetooth, find robot, enter network password (only 2.4 GHz) and connect device. If that doesn’t work, go through the steps under “Add manually”.
The robot offers some settings, especially the english language package should be downloaded and installed. Also the volume of the voice, with which the robot announces what is bothering it at the moment, can be turned down (and maybe you should turn it down for self-protection).
Compared to the other robots in the Xiaomi and Roborock universe, the Mi Robot 1C’s setting options are manageable. However, a remote control for manual control of the robot, the setting of working times and four suction modes can be found in the app. The four suction modes including the suction power and the respective operating volume are listed briefly:
- Silent: 1,500 pa, 50 dB
- Standard: 1,800 pa, 55 dB
- Medium: 2,000 pa, 60 dB
- Turbo: 2,500 pa, 65 dB
For comparison: We humans talk at an average volume of 60 dB. Accordingly, the operating volume is acceptable and does not disturb immensely compared to other robots or vacuum cleaners.
Of course, the robot is also supplied with firmware updates, but too large function updates are not to be expected. Rather bugfixes and possibly other languages.
Unlike in the application of the robot at the announcement, one can do relatively little with the map. Although this is implied on pictures, virtual walls, go-to or no-go zones cannot be drawn in after a map has been created. Thus one has a map with the approximate premises, can however do nothing else with it. Maybe a case for firmware updates. You also don’t know what exactly is or could be where. Do you recognize anything here?
After all, the robot finds its way around the premises so well that the autonomous retrieval of the charging station (via the infrared signal with the infrared sensors) is no problem. However, the 1C must be started from the station. These can be recognized on the map (who would have thought it) by the green-white lightning symbol. This criterion shows very well that Xiaomi understands this as a budget model. Also the working speed could be a little higher, the battery power of 2 h is sufficient for a maximum of 100 m² living space.
But this has to be emphasized positively: Once the robot has completely moved away from the surface to be cleaned, it automatically switches to edge mode and specifically moves all outer walls and corners again. Cool!
Wiping function of the Mi Robot 1C
Anyone considering the purchase of a new vacuum robot often wonders whether it should be a hybrid model of vacuuming and wiping. Unfortunately, Xiaomi did not install an electric water tank in the 1C, where the app could be used to regulate how much water should land on the microfiber wipe from the tank. Vibration is also not possible, so the 1C cannot exert pressure on the floor and remove coarser stains.
After filling the 0.2 l small water tank, you bring this together with the attached microfiber cloth (washable in the washing machine) to the bottom. It snaps in immediately. It will be a pity if you see the wipe function in use: Another model that only pulls a wet cloth behind it. Suitable for very superficial dirt, but that was it.
Well, at least everything is cleanly processed and easy to plug in. But everybody has to know for themselves if all that is worth the price.
Conclusion: Buy Xiaomi Mi Robot 1C?
The price for the new hybrid model at the launch in China was only 1299 Yuan ($184.72), the price in the China shops is slightly higher. Practically, the lack of an LDS pushes the price down, for ~$300 you get a lot of built-in technology. Nevertheless, a price around $200 would be more reasonable. And it’s also a model that you can do a lot with in the four walls, not least because of its dimensions and good orientation. You don’t do anything wrong if you know what to expect: A very good budget model as soon as the price drops even further.
One often reads that there is great interest in flat models, but this should not be at the expense of navigation. With the Mi Robot 1C this is not too dramatic, the navigation works better than expected. But it must be clear: laser space surveying is much more precise. Price-performance could be really good with the 1C, with a price around $200, even if it is technically outperformed by its older brother, the first generation of the Mi Robot. With or without wipe function, which would have been a good reason to buy.
Hopefully the price will drop in the near future, because then you get a very good budget device.To the gadget