Review Review: Xiaomi RoboRock S50 vacuum robot for $399.99
Xiaomi launches the successor of the first, extremely successful vacuum robot on the market. The official name of the new vacuum robot is Xiaomi RoboRock Sweep One S50. Despite the “RoboRock” in the name, the same team was at work as for the first model. We tested the new flagship from Xiaomi for several months.
- Xiaomi RoboRock S50
- Xiaomi RoboRock S55 (identical model in black)
Mi Robot vs. RoboRock Sweep One: The direct comparison
The Mi Robot was the most popular product among the vacuum robot models in 2017 and continues to enjoy great popularity. The RoboRock goes one step further in terms of technical data and functionality. Here is the overview:
|Xiaomi Mi Robot||Xiaomi RoboRock Sweep One|
|Suction power||1800 pa||2000 pa|
|Noise level||67 dB||65-67 dB|
|Battery||5200 mAh||5200 mAh|
|Dust chamber/water tank||0.42 l/no||0.48 l/0.48 l|
|Working time||2.5 h||2.5 h|
|Weight||3,8 kg||3,5 kg|
|Dimensions||34.5 x 34.5 x 9.6 cm||35.3 x 35.0 x 9.9 cm|
|Inclinations||15°, up to 2 cm||20°, over 2 cm with larger tyres|
|Modes||Automatic Mode, Shift Programming, Mini Room Work||Automatic Mode, Shift Programming, Mini Room Work|
|Features||laser room measurement, room layout, mapping||laser room measurement, room layout, wipe function, carpet recognition|
Scope of delivery
It is interesting to note that the packaging is not as bulky and gigantic as with other vacuum robots. And this despite the fact that the RoboRock with the dimensions 35.3 x 35.0 x 9.9 cm is slightly higher and wider than other models. Minimalistic, we think. The individual package contents are all very valuable and well processed. Only the wiping mop had a short plastic odour. But this disappears quickly.
Xiaomi launches the successor of the first, extremely successful vacuum robot on the market. These include parts such as the brush heads, HEPA filter and middle brush. The scope of delivery includes in addition to the vacuum robot:
- Charging station including charging cable (without EU plug)
- Wiping mop with 0.48 l water tank for the wiping function
- additional HEPA filter
- Transparent protective mat (ensures stable hold of the charging station and catches any escaping water)
- Operating instructions in Chinese (a pity)
The HEPA filters are washable, so you don’t have to buy new ones. In addition, there is also a base in the scope of delivery, whereby the floor does not get completely wet when using the wiping function as with other models. If you order the international version of the RoboRock, you will find a CE mark on the back of the vacuum cleaner:
Xiaomi RoboRock Accessories and Spare Parts
Where there is suction, you have to expect some wear – that is clear. That’s why Xiaomi also offers the most vulnerable accessories for purchase. Since some parts are identical to those of the Mi Robot Vacuum vacuum robot, they can also be used. The service life of the individual parts depends of course always on the individual use. The following table will give you an overview:
|Accessories/spare parts||Available at||service life (approx.)||How to replace?|
|HEPA filter||150 h||Remove the dust chamber from the suction robot, remove the HEPA filter and insert a new one. Duration: 1 min.|
|Brush heads||300 h||Unscrew the finishing coat from the underside and screw on new ones. Duration: 2 min.|
|middle brush/roller on the underside||300 h with careful cleaning in between||Simply remove the cover for the roller and remove the brush. Insert a new brush. Duration: 1 min.|
|Wiping mop||5 years depending on use||Remove plain cloth from back and replace. Duration: 15 sec.|
|Cover for roller||does not need to be replaced||does not need to be replaced|
|Replacement battery||With normal use, a few years||unscrew the front flap, remove the flap and remove the battery from the wire. Rewire the battery. Duration: 15 min.|
|Magnetic tape||does not need to be replaced||does not need to be replaced|
|LD sensor||does not have to be replaced||Is only rarely broken, but if: Repair instead of exchange.|
These are mainly the moving parts, which wear out relatively fast. If the RoboRock has already completed some rounds, one should consider to reorder the appropriate spare parts. In general it is worth to have the spare parts in stock. Here you will find even more accessories and spare parts.
Design and workmanship
Unlike the first Xiaomi model, there are three controls placed side by side on the upper side. In comparison, the first model has only two controls at the front. In addition to the power button in the centre front, which is familiar from the predecessor model and other vacuum robots, there is also a button with a charging cable symbol to the right. Pressing this button triggers the command to return to the charging station and charge the battery.
To the left of the power button, there is a button that can be used to set the vacuum robot to the area in which it is currently located. We already know this Mini Room Work mode from its predecessor and from the ILIFE A6. The vacuum robot then only processes part of the room within a certain radius – very practical.
Xiaomi has fortunately stuck to the design philosophy of its predecessor: Everything is in plain white-grey and the workmanship is extremely solid compared to other models. No shaking, sometimes even metal has been used and the laser sensor and the LED controls on the top are simply sexy.
The charging station
The charging station is a good match for the vacuum robot in terms of appearance. From here the RoboRock starts its work and returns to the station when the battery level drops. After a charging time of almost 5 hours, the vacuum robot is ready for operation for a working time of 2.5 hours. With such a value, the vacuum robot is definitely not only suitable for apartments, but also for larger houses. At least on a single floor.
Docked to the charging station, firmware updates from the manufacturer can be downloaded. The vacuum robot needs a lot of battery to download and process the updates from time to time, so downloading at the charging station is unavoidable. A transparent protective mat is included as an accessory for the charging station to secure the station to the wall. This prevents the charging station from slipping when the vacuum cleaner returns to the charging station at a slightly higher speed.
Performance of the vacuum robot
The vacuum robot can also be used without an app, in which case a map of the premises is also created. Logically, however, this map cannot be viewed without an app. But the automatic mode also works absolutely smoothly, RoboRock moves much more purposefully through the home than the IMASS A3S, for example, which navigates with a gyro sensor. The vacuum robot does this as follows:
- Brief orientation with the laser sensor increases the suction power during this time.
- Move the outer walls with the wall function.
- Fill in” the measured areas with the Zigzag mode.
The vacuum robot is switched on via the middle of the three operating keys. The RoboRock then slowly increases its suction power until it reaches its maximum – comparable to a normal vacuum cleaner. Here the 2000 pa suction power is noticeable, a noise level measurement resulted in 65-67 dB (corresponds approximately to the volume of the human voice). So you cannot completely ignore the operating noise of the robot, but you get used to it after a short time. With a remaining battery power of 25%, the vacuum cleaner reports with its Chinese voice. More about this later.
Interesting fact for the owners of the predecessor: The HEPA filters supplied are compatible with both models.
Dealing with obstacles and door thresholds
Right from the first test drives it becomes clear that the handling of obstacles is absolutely exemplary due to its laser sensor on the upper side. He recognizes obstacles before the collision and drives them off in round movements. Nevertheless, the vacuum cleaner has a rather stable bumper at the front, as it docks the pieces of furniture slightly every now and then when the pieces of furniture are moved down exactly. In general, the RoboRock has quite a high speed when driving down the premises.
The improvement in handling gradients compared to the predecessor model is also evident in the first test laps. The RoboRock has no problem with carpet edges and makes it very easy on carpets or over door thresholds.
I was impressed by crossing the 2.5 cm high leg of the laundry rack (see picture below). Here, most vacuuming robots don’t even try their luck, the RoboRock overcomes the obstacle without a second run.
What negative can be said about the performance of RoboRock? Thanks to the good obstacle detection, which it uses to detect a piece of furniture, for example, it turns away in front of it at an early stage. On the one hand, this is good because the vacuum robot does not cause any collision accidents, but on the other hand, some corners remain untouched due to the fact that the docking does not take place lightly.
I prefer to remove the charging cables lying around before operating the vacuum robot, otherwise they won’t survive in case of doubt. Otherwise: Nothing to complain about. And that, where I like to search until I have found a mistake.
Performance on carpet
There are also exciting innovations for the handling of carpets. The Xiaomi Roborock can detect carpets and immediately increases the suction power as soon as it is on a carpet. For this purpose, there is a sensor on the underside with which it detects the carpet. This is a very practical function, since all models (including the predecessor) have had a hard time on carpets so far.
However, because the Xiaomi vacuum robot then increases its suction power on the detected carpet to the maximum, the carpet also becomes significantly cleaner at a suction power of 2000 pa. On three different carpets ( simple, thick and thin) he showed a good performance and recognized the carpet under him within a few seconds. However, it should be noted that the vacuum cleaner with the wiping function set to ON does not recognise the carpet and it gets wet accordingly.
The Mi Home App
Many of you will already have the Mi Home App (Android, iOS) on your smartphone. Every product that belongs to Xiaomi’s smart home (almost everything by now) is controlled by it. After downloading the app you have to register by mail and set a password. The language can be changed to English in the settings. Here are a few screenshots that visualize the process:
Fortunately, the connection between the vacuum robot and the app is extremely simple. After you have entered your WLAN settings (password) in the app, the app automatically recognizes RoboRock and connects to it when you select it in the app. If you have problems connecting the RoboRock to the app, this is due to the WLAN connection, which causes problems.
In this case you just have to press the left and right button on the surface of the vacuum robot (see screenshot below) and try the connection again. The connection takes a few seconds with a good WLAN connection. Before the first ride I recommend to change the “Cleanup mode” to the desired suction strength (Quiet, Balanced, Turbo, Max). Depending on the set suction power, the battery of the vacuum cleaner will of course drain at different speeds.
As with the Mi Robot, firmware updates are fed in via the app. To download and perform updates, the vacuum cleaner must be located on the charging station.
It is of course annoying that the app (again) cannot be used without Mi-Account. But: If you have entered your disposable / spam mail address, a lot of fun and above all amazement comes to you – promised. I have already tested a lot of vacuum robots, in the following you can read, why and how the RoboRock was able to knock me off my seat.
Laser room surveying including mapping
With many vacuum robots, which mostly drive around without orientation in “chaos mode”, it is advisable to design the four walls in advance to be “vacuum robot-friendly”. In other words: place laundry stands in the storage chamber, make seating corners tidier and remove cable clutter. Due to the laser room measurement that the Xiaomi RoboRock brings with it, which has been announced as so strongly, I refuse to do this during the test phase. If it really navigates so well, it can cope with all events – at least that’s the idea.
First, the vacuum cleaner rotates along the outer boundaries (walls, etc.) for one lap, then it moves along the “squared” areas in Z-Shaped mode. In this case, the Z-Shaped mode means that it travels the premises linearly, in straight lines. The principle is very efficient and time-saving. The room measurement also allows him to step on the gas on a straight line if he does not recognize any obstacles in front of him.
Real time space measurement
It is extremely exciting to follow the creation of the real-time map of the rooms – the RoboRock actually represents everything exactly! But see for yourself:
By the way, the circle on the screenshots is not a fountain, but a large, round seat cushion 😉 . Practically, the maps can also be saved and called up afterwards for the vacuum robot. Great: RoboRock speaks English and many other languages!
The voice output can be muted in the settings and thus completely disabled if someone is annoyed by it. But if you think that’s a good thing: Various voice packs can be downloaded, for example you can turn the pre-installed female voice into a male voice. Even if it’s unlikely: We in the editorial staff would be happy about an R2D2 voice. 🙂
A point on the card can also be selected and the vacuum robot moves towards it while vacuuming. This is useful, for example, when the sugar has fallen down again and the vacuum cleaner can simply be sent there to be cleaned.
The room layout
One of the biggest innovations compared to the predecessor model is the possible room layout, which caused a lot of sensation in advance (rightly so). In the rumour mill, it was said here that certain rooms could be excluded, which the vacuum robot would then not travel through. In fact, however, it’s exactly the other way round: the Xiaomi RoboRock can be pre-set to areas that it then travels through – and ignores all other areas. Setting this is simple.
The squares can simply be drawn on the map created in advance using a smartphone. A large number of areas (squares) can be specified here, the RoboRock remained in this area in each of the many test drives. If several areas are drawn, it makes sense that they overlap, otherwise the robot will drive through undesired areas.
The room layout is an extremely fascinating and smart function that makes it possible to leave out rooms such as the play corner of the child with toys or the kitchen from the vacuuming process. This function has now also been fed into the predecessor model.
Vacuum robots have always been there to vacuum the floor while we’re on the move. Zoned Cleanup means that the vacuum cleaner also works when we are there. An example: You dump something at breakfast, but are too lazy to bend down. Zack, zone given by a nearby smartphone and the stain on the floor is removed by the RoboRock. Top!
No-Go zones and map storage through firmware update
We waited a long time for RoboRock to be able to save maps created in the international version as well as the Chinese version. Now it is possible to draw no-go zones on these maps, i.e. zones the robot is not supposed to move. This is especially useful if you don’t want the S50 to leave the gaming corner because there are too many cables lying around (just one example).
Unfortunately only one map can be saved so far, but if you don’t own several floors, you can be happy about it. For all others there will be one floor which can be called up. The update at the charging station can take a good five minutes or longer, so don’t panic if the update process takes a little longer.
Robot draws map diagonally? Problem solution
Every now and then we could read in various forums and groups that the robot draws the map diagonally and that drawing zones is therefore not very possible. This is very rare, but in most cases it is because the robot loses orientation or the LD sensor moves through an obstacle.
It has been an interesting discovery that the first scan of the environment (the start) is very important for the robot. According to this, the robot must recognize the first obstacles as straight in order to draw the map straight and not diagonally. We sketched this scenario with boxes placed around the starting point of the S50:
If that doesn’t happen to you for that reason: Normally the problem solves itself after a few trips. If not, however, there are still the following measures and solutions:
- Switch the vacuum robot off and on again (we know this from the computer, can always help).
- You can check the maps to see if there are places where it took longer than usual. There he probably gets stuck, traps himself or loses his orientation. This happens particularly often under the sofa or bed. This happens increasingly in dark areas where the vacuum cleaner cannot find a wall for orientation.
- Unusual, but also possible: the vacuum robot scans mirrors or glass doors incorrectly, turns the card. Can you also check whether the robot “duplicates” the map in the app, i.e. overdraws the old one? Then it can be due to reflections, even something like glasses and bottles standing around can be the cause.
- See in which room the problem occurs, or whether the robot draws the map diagonally from the beginning. If the latter is the case, the LD sensor must be realigned, i.e. moved/turned manually.
If all this does not work, the LD sensor is probably defective and must be replaced/repaired. A corresponding spare part can be found at AliExpress.
Further functions and setting options in the app
- Carpet Mode: Vacuum robot increases suction power on carpets, can be turned on and off.
- DND mode: The RoboRock does not make any noise and does not vacuum in an adjustable time window.
- Find RoboRock: In a huge flat/house: Let RoboRock call “I’m over here”.
- Remote control: Steering the vacuum robot.
- Care: Condition of the sensors and brushes as a percentage.
- Timer: Planning of the vacuum times (several timers possible)
Now also with Google Assistant control
Owners of RoboRock and Mi Robot can now control their round household helper with Google Assistant and Google Home (also on the EU servers). No tinkering or special programming is necessary. Also iOBroker is no longer necessary, only the “Mi Home Action”. Which for Alexa the Skills are, are for the Google Assistant Actions . You have to activate this on your Google device.
The commands to control the RoboRock are:
- [Robot name ] start
- [Robot Name ] stop
- [Robot name] pause
- [Robot name] (Recharge) charge (return to charging station)
You shouldn’t be too creative when naming your vacuum robot, otherwise the Google Assistant might get confused. Simply ” vacuum robot ” is suitable approximately very well. “Vacuum cleaner”, for example, is less suitable because the Google Assistant searches for a shop where you can buy vacuum cleaners with the command “Load vacuum cleaner”.
Meanwhile, owners of Amazon’s Alexa can be happy about being able to control RoboRock via this control. Currently it is only possible to switch the robot on and off by activating the skill “Roborock Home”. After all: We have tested it and it works.
The wipe function of the Xiaomi RoboRock
The second vacuum robot from Xiaomi can wipe. Another advantage over the first Xiaomi vacuum cleaner – as long as the wiping works well! After all, we already had enough vacuum robots in use where the wiping function was only one way for the manufacturer to push up the price. Is that different with RoboRock?
Preparation of the wiping function
A mat is also supplied as an underlay, which prevents the floor from getting completely wet when the wiping function is used. This is often the problem with vacuum robots with wiping function. Using the wiping function is quite simple. I’ll show you the preparation before the first use in a picture gallery:
The water from the water tank is distributed very evenly on the mop and accordingly also on the floor. Because the RoboRock drives several times over the already wet areas, one can actually speak of a wiping function here. However, I recommend removing carpets from the area to be cleaned beforehand if they are not to get wet. The RoboRock does not recognize carpets under itself when the wipe function is switched on. Of course, the mop only has to be attached to the vacuum cleaner if you really want to wipe, otherwise not.
The first convincing wipe function
Swinging the mop manually is still more efficient due to the pressure on the mop, but the wiping performance of RoboRock gets very close – and we can lounge around in the meantime. This makes the floor much cleaner and relieves you of a lot of housework. In fact, the RoboRock is the first model in this respect that convinced me that the wipe function is really worth the extra charge. The only drawback is that the water tank is quite small and could go empty before the wiping process is completed in very large rooms.
Mi Robot vs. RoboRock: The differences in detail
Compared to its predecessor, the RoboRock’s dust chamber has grown somewhat, but only by a few milliliters. Logically, you hardly notice the difference of 0.06 l, depending on the soil and dirt, the dust chamber does not have to be emptied during a suction process. If it doesn’t look like absolute chaos, the size is sufficient.
There are also some differences in the charging stations. For the Mi Robot it was still very practical to have a cable storage compartment so that the cable could be rolled up in the base station and led out on both sides on the back of the charging station (see picture below). So there were no problems with cable clutter.
The RoboRock’s charging station is visually very appealing, but the cable is plugged in at the side – as usual from other stations – and can therefore also serve as a trip hazard. This time, however, the cable is slightly longer and offers more flexibility in positioning the charging station in the home.
Looking at the undersides of the two Xiaomi vacuum robots, there is hardly any difference. Of course, there is only a difference when the mop and water tank are attached to the underside of the Xiaomi. The tires of the RoboRock are slightly bigger, which makes it easier to overcome obstacles.
Laser Distance Sensor (LDS)
The RoboRock also works slightly faster than the Mi Robot, but this is more due to the central LDS and faster space detection than to the tires.
Advantages and disadvantages of RoboRock compared to its predecessor
The RoboRock Sweep One currently costs even more than its very good predecessor. So what are the advantages of the new flagship model that justify the more expensive price? And where is the Mi Robot ahead? Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the RoboRock compared to the first version:
With the Mi Robot, Xiaomi had set new standards for vacuum robots, and the RoboRock Sweep One achieves just that: The navigation in the rooms is exemplary, the wiping function and obstacle overcoming is top and the suction power is second to none. The possible room layout is also an absolutely exciting feature that makes the competition look pretty old. The biggest drawback of the RoboRock is the still quite high price, which is somewhat higher than the predecessor.
But: If you compare the features of the Xiaomi vacuum cleaner with the higher-priced models from Roomba, Dyson or Vorwerk, the price seems absolutely okay, only for a vacuum robot from China the price is quite high. A purchase recommendation purely from the product side I can pronounce here without hesitation. If the vacuum robot is too expensive for you, you can also use the predecessor, not for nothing the Gadget 2017.
What do you think of the new Xiaomi?
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