This is our first test of robot vacuum, it must be a start. We decided to start with the Xiaomi Roborock S50, a very popular robot vacuum cleaner that can be found between 350 and 450 euros.
The S50 is the second generation of Xiaomi Roborock. The product is officially sold in Europe since August 2018, it works in French on all interfaces, even the voice interface.
Regarding the S50, it's a new-generation robot vacuum cleaner. The first generation of vacuum cleaners was designed to avoid obstacles only. They were traveling in a straight line until they touched something, then went off again at a random angle. In a way, it worked, but it was not particularly effective.
Second-generation models have better trajectory planning for more methodical cleaning with a distance sensor. They are able to progressively produce a map of the space and the path taken. This S50 is a new generation robot: it does it all very quickly and the generated card can be used to plan area cleanings, from the mobile application wherever you are and even by voice with a connected assistant (Alexa and Google Assistant).
Released in 2018, it is still a must-have in 2019. In addition, it is now officially distributed in France and enjoys regular rebates.
Background of the test: the model is a loan directly from the builder Roborock, it was used for 6 weeks in a flat of 60 square meters on two floors. This is a terrible place for a robot vacuum cleaner: cluttered with 2 dogs and 2 long-haired cats, the daily passage is almost mandatory, the robot has made more than 50 passages over the test period.
Who is Roborock?
Roborock was founded in 2014 as a designer and manufacturer of vacuum-type intelligent cleaning devices. Xiaomi has recognized the potential of this start-up and has become a major investor. Shortly after, Roborock produced the first Xiaomi robot vacuum cleaner.
Since the success of the original model, Roborock has positioned itself as a distinct brand. However, Roborock devices are still part of Mi Home's (MiJia) Intelligent Product Ecosystem, products from the Xiaomi family.
Getting started with the Xiaomi Roborock S50
As you can see, the Roborock S50 is rounded. With a height of 6.5 centimeters, it is surmounted by a laser rangefinder (a laser distance sensor), which is reminiscent of Neato models. In total, it contains 12 sensors, including an ultrasonic sensor, a gyroscope, an accelerometer or a compass. These are all sensors that will allow him to move independently.
On the top, there are three keys: the first for a targeted cleaning (left), switching on and off (center) and return to the base (right). It's a way to control the robot, but you can also do it remotely from the Mi Home mobile app or from a connected wizard.
For cleaning, there are four cleaning modes that correspond to 4 levels of suction power: silent (minimum power), balanced (average power), "Turbo" and "Max" (maximum power).
Xiaomi Roborock S50 performance
To control it, everything is done from an Android and iOS mobile application. You have to download Mi Home, the application of the connected universe of Xiaomi, and add the robot vacuum cleaner.
Mi Home is the essential application if you are a fan of Xiaomi products.
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An app for all your Xiaomi products
Manage all the servants in your house since Mi Home
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Once configured, you can use it in different ways: from the mobile application, but also by voice (Google Assistant works, but also Amazon Alexa) and from the buttons on the robot vacuum cleaner. Finally, it is possible to plan the start in advance.
Oky does not even take care of the robot vacuum cleaner
Without any software update, the S50 was already able to map a space and clean it efficiently, but it was removing the cards after each cleanup session and rebuilding them from scratch each time. After the various software updates that are done in minutes, he can now save the cards he creates and use them to improve his cleaning habits. You will now be able to give him no-go zones as you will see later.
Xiaomi could have gone further by including the possibility of naming the pieces discovered. Afterwards, you could have asked him to go clean a specific room or directly the bathroom.
Watching the S50 clean a soil is a fascinating experience
Watching the S50 clean a soil is a fascinating experience, and it differs enormously from a non-mapping robot vacuum cleaner. Instead of randomly crisscrossing the piece until it runs out of steam, the S50 adopts a logistical and predictable pattern, much like a lawn care professional cutting a pitch before a sporting event. He will clean a whole room before going to the next one and if his battery is weak, if it is blocked (it happens from time to time) or if his basket fills up before the end, he will remember where he has stopped and will return to this location once his problem is fixed. It's very satisfying to see him doing his job and if you run a cleaning cycle, its predictability means that you can move safely without really having to worry about hindering it.
It works in two phases each time: it determines the contours of the room or the floor thanks to its sensors, the map is very faithful to the plans of my apartment, then it passes meticulously to the center via a precise diagram.
Its mapping capabilities not only ensure that the Roborock S50 cleans the entire floor before giving up, but it also allows it to clean faster and more efficiently because it already knows what it's done and what's left make.
For the 37 square meters of my apartment, about 22 square meters of free space, the robot vacuum takes 20 minutes or about 20% battery. This gives an idea of the total space that it can clean with a single load: over 100 square meters in Turbo mode. Count double in balanced mode. As a reminder, its battery capacity is 5200 mAh.
Of course, like all robot vacuums, it gets stuck from time to time, but its frequency is much lower than any other model I've tested. This can happen under the dryer (which I can understand, the metal rod gets stuck at the laser range finder) or under a chair. He managed to enter, but can not come out again. After a while, he pauses and sends me a notification to go off.
He knows how to get on the mats, he detects them and automatically switches on the turbo mode, and thanks to his raised wheels he can pass small obstacles, he also knows how to release himself from many situations.
On carpets and rugs, a sensor that is supposed to detect carpet hairs, automatically slow down the roller, be more efficient and thus less damage it.
It can also pass a small mop with tank that contains only 140 ml of liquid. This will wash about 23 square meters of space, it will fill the tank beyond.
In mop mode, avoid sucking up water. The vacuum cleaner robot will suck at the same time as it passes the little mop. It will not replace a big cleaning, but I must say that the mop has always come back dirty … it must work.
To prevent it from happening in certain areas, you can install black strips on the floor, or simply use the virtual wall system or a prohibited area from the application. Just save the map of your home and draw the bypass areas. The other method is to draw the spaces where the robot must pass through the zone cleaning.
Regarding its maintenance, I invite you to clean the sensors every week or so, it takes literally 10 seconds.
From the Maintenance tab, you can check the level of wear of the filter, the main and side brushes, but also the sensors (11 sensors on this device). Some components will need to be replaced every 6 to 12 months. Fortunately, they are found on Amazon, but also on most Chinese e-merchants like Aliexpress (the complete replacement kit costs 10 euros maximum).
Price and availability
The Roborock S50 is officially available in Europe, so you can find it on Amazon France around 450 euros. You'll enjoy Amazon's customer support and a product shipped by Amazon.
If you want to save some money, go to other marketplaces. You can turn to Darty around 350 euros and Fnac, Rakuten and Gearbest.
The Roborock S50 is an impressive robot vacuum cleaner with unique features that you will not find on cheaper models and especially on older generation models. It is effective, especially for its price. It is a very good product thanks to its intelligent cartography and its important autonomy. Among the weak points compared to a more upscale vacuum cleaner, one will note the weak capacity of the trash, it will be necessary to empty it regularly. The application may seem complicated at first glance, but it is complete and available in French. We also appreciate the ecosystem integration Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.If you plan to buy your first robot vacuum cleaner, you will not regret it.
French language in the application
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
Low capacity of the trash
Can stay blocked from time to time