Review Review: Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum robot (2nd gen.) for $329.99

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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 design model

Technical data: Comparison with predecessor and RoboRock S6

Mi Robot 1S

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Saugroboter

Xiaomi Mi Robot

Xiaomi MI Robot Vacuum Robot Model

RoboRock S6

Roborock s6 vacuum robot model

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
Features
  • Laser room measurement
  • Room division (single and multi-room cleaning)
  • Card storage of several floors
  • mapping
  • Voice control via Xiaomi AI Speaker
  • carpet detection
  • Laser room measurement
  • room arrangement
  • mapping
  • carpet detection
  • Laser room measurement
  • Room division (single and multi-room cleaning)
  • Card storage of several floors
  • wipe function
  • mapping
  • Voice control via Xiaomi AI Speaker
  • carpet detection

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 Xiaomi Logo
Roborock produces the Xiaomi vacuum robots.

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”.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum robot all Roborock models
Above the two Mi Robots, below the Roborock S50 and S6: All were produced by Roborock.

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
Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot packaging
Everything is very finely packed again.
Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum robot Scope of delivery
The scope of delivery is kept minimalistic in the Xiaomi style.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum Robot Charging Station Comparison Roborock
On the left the charging station of the Roborock S50, on the right the charging station of the Mi Robot 1S.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot loading station cable reel up
The charging cable can be rolled up on the back of the station.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot loading station dock rear side
The vacuum robot is charging via the rear.

That’s what it looks like in action:

Youtube Video Preview

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Comparison Design Mi Robot
Compared to its predecessor, the outer edges have been rounded off even more finely.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Comparison Mi Robot Optics
Opinions are divided about the black lens on the top, but the 1S is clearly more stylish than its predecessor.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot bottom side
The bottom looks like all other Xiaomi/Roborock models.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot optical sensor
The optical sensor on the top is the most striking optical innovation.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Sensors with marking
The individual sensors of the Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot LDS
The robot scans the premises with the aid of the laser distance sensor (LDS).

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
Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Comparison Mi Robot
The Mi Robot 1S brings some improvements in terms of navigation and software.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Performance
The 2000 pa suction power is also noticeable on carpet.

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:

  1. If it turns briefly around itself, it orientates itself with its sensors (especially with the LDS).
  2. It first moves around the outer area (walls and outer furniture).
  3. 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:

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum robot Mi Home App Mapping
The map shown in the app clearly shows how the robot works.

The dust chamber, with a potential filling volume of 0.42 l, is quite small, as is the case with the predecessor models.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum robot flap
Under the flap on the upper side is the 0.42 l small dust chamber.
Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Dust Chamber
The dust chamber of the Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S with integrated washable HEPA filter.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum robot Obstacle detection
The obstacle detection is the current ultimate.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Navigation
The operating volume of 50-65 dB is completely within the range.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum robot Mi Home App Integration WLAN
The vacuum robot is quickly connected to the app via Bluetooth.

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).

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Mi Home App Integration
The integration into the app and the connection with the WLAN works as usual very fast.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot WLAN connection Buttons
Press and hold for 3 seconds to reset the WLAN connection.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Mi Home App Modes
There are again a lot of setting options.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Mi Home App Settings
On the left the condition of the replacement parts, in the middle the settings and on the right the start screen.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Mi Home App Remote Control
On the left the remote control, in the middle the adjustable suction power, on the right the interface.

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).

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Mi Home App Firmware Updates
Firmware is up to date.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum robot Mi Home App Mapping Navigation
The beginning of the mapping. After a few seconds, the 1S knows what it looks like around it.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Mi Home App Mapping Settings
The suction power can also be varied during the cleaning process.

The vacuum robot does not leave out a single area, everything is cleaned cleanly.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Mi Home App Mapping
Closing time for the Mi 1S: After the work is done, it returns to the charging station (see right).

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.).

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum robot Mi Home App Mapping Wiping function
The rooms can be divided into different areas.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S Vacuum Robot Mi Home App No-Go Zones Virtual Walls
Walls and no-go zones can be drawn on the virtual maps.

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.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 1S vacuum robot Roborock models
The Mi Robot 1S does not have to hide from any vacuum robot.

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?

  • high suction
  • App Functions
  • Exemplary navigation and working methods
  • very high-quality workmanship and modern design

 

  • Card storage still in beta phase

To the gadget
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Why doesn't this affect our review in any way?
Profile picture from Tim

Tim

I'm interested in Gadgets, that make our life at home easier - especially when it comes to cleaning the floor or the windows. I was able to test about fifty robot vacuum cleaners since now.

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Comments (10)

  • Profile picture from Gerald
    08.06.19 um 11:49

    Gerald

    Hi,
    thanks for this very detailed review. I am really considering buying it but I still have a doubt on one aspect: can I use it easily for 2 floors house? I would love to be able to take it to the 1/F and let it go and understand where it is…

    • Profile picture from Matt
      09.06.19 um 21:23

      Matt

      @Gerald: Hi,
      thanks for this very detailed review. I am really considering buying it but I still have a doubt on one aspect: can I use it easily for 2 floors house? I would love to be able to take it to the 1/F and let it go and understand where it is…

      I'm thinking exactly the same, want to go for this but need to make sure it works on multiple floors (And can remember the no go zones, rather than re-doing them every time)

  • Profile picture from Rising Star
    28.06.19 um 22:07

    Rising Star

    @Matt:yes of course be perfect

  • Profile picture from Sammy
    01.07.19 um 11:42

    Sammy

    Why is there no zoned cleaning, only spot cleaning.? This is available on the 2016 version.

  • Profile picture from Yew Loong
    04.07.19 um 13:55

    Yew Loong

    Hi Tim, u got a very nice review. Well i just bought a xiaomi robotic vacuum 1S, I just can't link it to my xiaomi app. Kindly advice. Fyi i am on android phone. Many thanks.

    • Profile picture from Tim
      04.07.19 um 15:01

      Tim CG team

      @Yew Loong Hi Yew, thank you, I appreciate that. Did you try to change the mainland/region to or from china to another? That should make it work. Kind regards Tim

  • Profile picture from Scott
    13.09.19 um 21:23

    Scott

    What region did you choose for the Mi Home app to use in order to configure the 1S? I had to choose Mainland China to even get the 1S as an option. I'd rather find a more US friendly alternative. Is this model sold in any other region?

    • Profile picture from Tim
      17.09.19 um 10:13

      Tim CG team

      @Scott Hi Scott, actually the progress of integrating the 1S in other servers than the chinese ones is a long one. They work on this problem, but it could still take some time

  • Profile picture from Rutger
    14.10.19 um 21:09

    Rutger

    Hi Tim, i have bought this robot, And I have a question on the map saving option.

    It saves 3 maps, but overwrites an existing map when I run it again. And when I add names to my rooms, it saves it as yet another map, again overwriting one of the 3.

    If I leave ‘map saving mode’ on then it overrides the map if I e.g. bring it to another floor. When I turn map saving mode off, it deleted all my maps.

    I would like to be able to ‘hard save’ the map I’m happy with, one for each 3 floors.
    Am I missing something or are these beta issues in your opinion? Any tips?

    Thanks!

    • Profile picture from Tim
      23.10.19 um 10:14

      Tim CG team

      Hi Rutger, it is not possible to save three maps at the same time, only one. You will only be able to use the robot on one floor to have one "hard" map.

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