Xiaomi Mi Robot 2017

Xiaomi's primarily known for its phones, but the Chinese manufacturer is increasingly looking to the lifestyle segment to drive future growth. Xiaomi collaborates with hundreds of Chinese manufacturers for its Mi Ecosystem label, through which it sells everything from rice cookers to scooters, luggage, screwdriver sets, and more. One of the earliest products to come out of the Mi Ecosystem line was the Mi Robot vacuum, a $250 robotic vacuum cleaner with LIDAR and automated cleaning routes.

I bought Xiaomi's Mi Robot vacuum on a whim back in 2016, and it turned out to be one of my best purchases. The vacuum has a powerful 1800Pa motor, 5200mAh battery, a total of 12 sensors that allow it to navigate the inner confines of your house, and an intelligent routing algorithm through which it can determine the most efficient cleaning routes.

The one downside of the Mi Robot vacuum was that it doesn't have a wet clean option, but that's changing with the second-gen variant. The new model comes with a mopping pad at the front, allowing it to sweep and mop in one go.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 2017

Although Xiaomi sells the vacuum from its retail stores, it is manufactured by Roborock, just like the first-gen model. However, the main difference this time is that it comes with Roborock branding.

As far as initial impressions go, there's plenty to like. The process of setting up the vacuum has been vastly simplified by the fact that it has an English language pack installed out of the box. And there's even a manual in English that gives you an overview of all the vacuum's functions.

Like its predecessor, you'll be able to view the Mi Robot vacuum's charge level and cleaning time through the Mi Home app. You can set automated routines, get a real-time view of the robot as it cleans your house, and see the remaining battery.

The Mi Robot has the same design aesthetic as the first-gen variant, but it has a bulkier body to accommodate the water tank that's required for the wet clean option. Because there's a mop up front, you get a pad that can be hooked up to the charging base that prevents the robot from leaving stains across wooden surfaces whenever it's charging. And yes, it still looks like a cylon.

Xiaomi Mi Robot 2017

One of the main features that made the first-gen Mi Robot stand out was its affordability. Sold for just shy of $300, the robot punched significantly above its weight, offering the same performance as $900 vacuums. However, the second-gen model retails for $499 because of the added functionality.

I started using the second-gen Mi Robot a few days ago, and will share my findings on the vacuum's performance in a few weeks' time and see if it's worth the asking price. In the meantime, the first-gen model continues to be brilliant, and is available for $276 with coupon code XIAOMIVAC.

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