Review Review: Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum robot (2nd gen.) for $329.99
In 2016, the Mi Robot of Xiaomi was the gadget par excellence and found rave sales. Millions of copies went over the counter and made Xiaomi a serious competitor for Ecovacs, ILIFE and Co. Now the long-awaited successor has arrived. We tested the Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S.
- Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot
Technical data: Comparison with predecessor and RoboRock S6
|Mi Robot 1S||Xiaomi Mi Robot||RoboRock S6|
|Suction power||2000 pa||1800 pa||2000 pa|
|Noise level||n.a.||67 dB||n.a.|
|Battery||5200 mAh||5200 mAh||5200 mAh|
|Dust chamber/water tank||0.42 l/ no wiping function||0.42 l/no||0.48 l/ 0.16 l|
|Working time||2.5 h||2.5 h||2.5 h|
|Weight||3.8 kg||3.8 kg||3.6 kg|
|Dimensions||34.5 x 34.5 x 9.6 cm||34.5 x 34.5 x 9.6 cm||35.3 x 35.0 x 9.6 cm|
|Inclinations||15°, up to 2 cm||15°, up to 2 cm||25°, over 2 cm with larger tyres|
As can already be seen from the technical data: The differences to the first generation are greater than expected. In fact, the Mi Robot 1S is rather an internal competitor to the newly announced RoboRock S6. Let’s take a closer look at the differences below.
Xiaomi or Roborock? Who is behind the vacuum robot?
It is still a widespread misconception that Roborock belongs to Xiaomi, or at least co-finances the models, but this is not the case with every new model from the Xiaomi sphere. But the truth is: Xiaomi invested in the still young company in 2014, but Roborock is now independent of Xiaomi. Strictly speaking, not even the Roborock S50 belongs to Xiaomi, the same applies to the new S6 and the Xiaowa models that have existed for a few years.
Roborock also produces for Xiaomi. The latter brings the models under the Xiaomi brand onto the market via its own sales channels. This includes the first-generation Xiaomi Mi Robot and the new Mi Robot 1S. Roborock functions as an “ODM”, i.e. “Original Design Manufacturer”.
Scope of delivery of the Mi Robot 1S
The scope of delivery is – as usual by Xiaomi – deliberately kept minimalistic, only the most necessary items are included in the package. Apart from the vacuum robot we have here:
- CN charging cable (adapter required)
- charging station
- small cleaning tool
- User manual and Quick Start Guide in Chinese
You don’t need much more to use a vacuum robot with so many app functions. Sure, a few spare parts would have been nice.
Since the 1S has not been on the market too long, there is no international version of the robot yet. This will be available shortly and will include an English operating manual and an EU charging cable. In addition you will be able to use the European servers with the Xiaomi Home App, more language packs are also expected.
The charging station
By now, most people should know the function of a charging station: The vacuum robot starts from there and returns autonomously to the charging station as the battery level decreases. The 1S has no problems finding the battery again due to its laser room measurement. Only a matter of seconds (depending on where the robot is located).
The 1S docks there for a loading time of 3-4 h, and is then ready for operation again for a working time of 2.5 h. Optically, Xiaomi has made use of older charging stations.
The charging cable can be rolled up (as always with Roborock products) on the back of the station. This way it is not in the way and there is no danger of tripping for the human being or the robot.
The “parking” of the 1S looks very funny, finally it docks backwards to the charging station. Since he still has to leave a mini hill behind him, he pushes himself backwards to the charging contacts.
That’s what it looks like in action:
Design and workmanship
In its white housing the robot looks modern, especially the curves on the housing complete the valuable impression. Not that we really worried about it, but the workmanship is flawless again. Nothing jolts where it shouldn’t, all individual parts are solid and cleanly processed with each other. Not a plus point, but a prerequisite for testing a product from the Chinese tech giant.
With dimensions of 34.5 x 34.5 x 9.6 cm, the robot has remained the same from this point of view compared to the first generation. The weight of 3.8 kg is also identical. If you place the first and second generation next to each other, you can see that not much has changed on the surface.
Visual comparison to the predecessor
The buttons are a bit bigger, there is a new sensor on the top. When it comes to design, Xiaomi thought: never stop a running system.
Just like its predecessors, the 1S comes with a brush head on the underside, the individual parts and accessories are compatible with those of the other models – as always. This means that owners of another Xiaomi vacuum robot can apply their purchased accessory packages directly to the new model and do not have to buy new ones.
The Mijia logo can be seen on the laser distance sensor (LDS) on the top of the robot, and the robot is therefore part of the Mijia product range. On the top of the device there is a kind of black lens. This is an extension of the sensor range. More about this now.
Sensor technology of the vacuum robot
This black lens on the top 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 uses the TOF to measure distances using a transit time method (speed + distance). Optical sensors are devices that use light to detect objects and should not be confused with cameras.
Via the wall sensors on the side, the robot knows what is next to it and accordingly knows when and how far it can turn without docking. With the help of the laser distance sensor, the robot scans the premises. Inside the robot, an AI and a SLAM algorithm (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) are used, enabling the creation of a visual map. The collision sensors prevent frontal collisions and falls from heights, such as steps.
A gyro sensor is also on board.
Mi Robot 1S: Improvements compared to the first generation
If you look at the RoboRock S6 as an optimized RoboRock S50, you can look at the 1S as an optimized Mi Robot. However, the 1S has strong features that should also make the S6 a new top model (see comparison table above). The improvements of the Mi Robot 1S in the short overview:
- Time-controlled single and multi-room cleaning
- with automatic room partitioning
- card storage
- more powerful Quad-Core Cortex A35 processor from ARM
- optical sensor for more precise orientation in the household
Especially surprising is that Xiaomi has also programmed the killer feature of the newly announced RoboRock S6 into the Mi Robot 1S. The time-controlled single and multi-room cleaning and automatic room recognition were just as unlikely in the new model as the new model itself.
Xiaomi does without the wiping function and can thus offer the vacuum robot at a comparatively lower price. The wiping function would probably be retained as the unique selling point of the more expensive models.
Operation and navigation
The 1S works with only one brush head (as always with the Xiaomi/Roborock models) and on the underside with a main brush, which works with rubber lamellas and bristles alternately. The front brush head pushes the dirt to be sucked in the direction of the main brush, which is located above the intake hood. The 2000 pa suction power has been given to the 1S as well as to the new S6 and is the current maximum on the scoreboard.
To create a visual map in the app, the robot should always start from the charging station so that it has a local reference point. The Mi Robot 1S works (even without App) as follows when you start the vacuuming process:
- If it turns briefly around itself, it orientates itself with its sensors (especially with the LDS).
- It first moves around the outer area (walls and outer furniture).
- If the rooms are divided into quadrants, these then travel in straight tracks.
In this case, “to go off in a straight line” means: After he knows where the outer edges of the room are, he goes straight on until he meets an obstacle. Then he turns 90°, travels a few centimeters and turns 90° again to drive straight to the next obstacle. In the app you can see this on the visual map:
The dust chamber, with a potential filling volume of 0.42 l, is quite small, as is the case with the predecessor models.
Obstacle detection and operating volume
No matter how many laps I let the Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S turn, one thing becomes clear: It detects every obstacle early, brakes before and docks it only slightly with the bumper in front. Only with sliding glass doors does he sometimes has difficulty recognizing them. Since he recognizes early if there is no obstacle in front of him, he increases the speed like a racing driver on long straights.
Within the app you have the choice between four suction levels. Here with volume and suction power information:
- Quiet (50 dB, 1200 pa)
- Balance (55 dB, 1400 pa)
- Turbo (60 dB, 1800 pa)
- Max (65 dB, 2000 pa)
On “Max” the battery will of course run down faster than on “Quiet”. The size of the room must be taken into account when selecting the suction stage. If the apartment is under 100 m², you can have the robot work at the highest suction level without hesitation, from 150 m², “turbo” is more suitable, which is completely sufficient in terms of suction power. You only choose “Quiet” if you are in the same room and don’t want to be disturbed by noise. All values were measured directly at the back of the blower.
Since vacuum robots are supposed to work while their owners are on the move, the operating volume plays a subordinate role, but even at the highest suction level the 1S with 65 dB is still very quiet compared to other models. For comparison with us humans: We talk at an average volume of 60 dB.
And one thing I can assure you: With over 50 models that I’ve tested so far, I NEVER felt so sure to let a vacuum robot drive autonomously while I’m not at home. A frequent concern from interested parties that is understandable, but in this case unfounded. Only cables should be brought to safety before (or excluded with a virtual wall in the app, more about that later).
Connection to the Xiaomi Home App
The Xiaomi Home App (Android, iOS) should be familiar to most gadget users by now, many of you probably already have the app on your smartphone. After downloading the app and successfully registering via your disposable email address and selecting Mainland China, you switch on Bluetooth and WLAN on your smartphone. In addition, you have to give the app one or the other authorization, which is (unfortunately) not uncommon nowadays.
As always at this point, we would like to point out that vacuum robots can only be connected to 2.4 GHz networks. Anyone whose modem transmits at 5 GHz must change this accordingly. Of course, the correct WLAN password must also be entered and the robot must be in the same network as the smartphone. Via “Add device” the app automatically finds the Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S within seconds (see screenshots above).
If the connection with the robot should cause difficulties, you can reset the WLAN – as with the first generation – by holding down both buttons at the same time (for example 3 seconds). If you encounter any difficulties, just tell us your difficulties in the comments and we will help you.
European countries cannot yet be selected as the mainland, but this will be possible with an outstanding international version. So far only the English language (for the app and the robot) is selectable. The volume of the language of the Mi Robot 1S can be muted, if the voice comments disturb you.
Controlling the Mi Robot 1S via the Xiaomi Home App
If the vacuum robot is integrated in the app, an extremely clean interface awaits us on the smartphone. Although the vacuum robots from the Xiaomi universe all use the same app, this is the most elegant version.
If you wish, you can control the vacuum robot via remote control, send it back to the charging station via the app and adjust the suction power.
The functions within the app are listed briefly:
- Mapping with single and multi-room cleaning as well as map storage (still beta)
- Drawing in no-go zones and virtual walls
- Remote control (buttons or joystick)
- Spot mode (robot rotates in circles around itself)
- Adjusting the suction power (four levels)
- Localization of the robot (reports “I’m over here”)
- Condition of wear parts and sensors
- Scheduling working times
- DND mode (Do Not Disturb, time in which the robot does not work)
- Adjusting the volume of the robot’s “language
- Installing and Using Voice Packs
Of course, firmware updates can also be downloaded and executed (docked to the charging station).
Mapping the Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S
I let the Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot work in an angled room with many chairs, glass doors and objects in the way. The 1S doesn’t seem to mind. Within a few minutes the robot knows the rooms inside out, all this can be seen live on the map in the app.
Its fast pace of work is also noticeable: 25 square meters divided into five areas required 20 % battery power. That sounds a lot at first, but it has to be said that there were only very short straight lines here. If the robot had found empty rooms with more straight lines, that would have been a different story.
The vacuum robot does not leave out a single area, everything is cleaned cleanly.
Gradually, the Mi Robot 1S can also optimize routes, which can be found in rudimentary form in some other models in the software package. It also updates the map when changes are detected.
The robot automatically detects when it has finished cleaning and returns to the charging station. If the battery is empty before the round helper has been everywhere, he drives back to the station, charges the battery and continues his work where he left off.
Individual working times for each room
An innovation of the recently introduced Roborock S6 is also included in the 1S: The Mi Robot 1S automatically divides the recorded rooms into different living areas. Individual working hours can be planned for each of these rooms (e.g. living room at 9:30 a.m., kitchen at 12:20 p.m.).
This is an extremely exciting feature, but it is still in its early stages. The same applies to the card storage, which is still a beta version. But as we know Xiaomi, this will be fixed within the next weeks. Keyword firmware updates. Up to three maps including virtual walls and zones will be saved in the future.
No-Go zones and virtual walls
Every one of us has an area at home where you don’t like to let the vacuum robot drive or not at all. Be it the cable tangle corner or the baby bed. For this purpose, virtual walls and no-go zones can be drawn on the previously created map. Practically speaking, even meter data are displayed, so that you can determine even more precisely where the robot should not drive. You can also zoom in with two fingers.
This also worked perfectly in our test phase, not even once did the 1S drive into forbidden areas.
Conclusion on the Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot: The new top model?
Although it makes a tester very unhappy, the Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot has almost nothing to criticize. No matter on which surface (wood, laminate, carpet, etc.), the 1S does not have to hide behind any other household helper. As soon as the card storage has been completed, there is hardly any reason to go for the first generation. After all, the prices of the two models are already very close.
If you don’t need a wiping function and are looking for a pure vacuum robot, this is the best model currently available. Even the direct comparison to the Roborock S6 does not mean that the 1S has to shy away, on the contrary. In terms of navigation and app control, the 1S even leaves the S6 behind. Since it is even cheaper, I would rather recommend to buy the new Mi Robot.
What do you think of the new Mi Robot 1S?
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