Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P review: Xiaomi wipes the floor with its budget vacuum competitors


Xiaomi has a reputation of offering great value across its vast product verticals, often without compromising on features (or quality, for that matter) — something you can also say about its first smart vacuum cleaner launched in India. The Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P, as its name implies, is a versatile device that can do both sweeping and mopping, and spoiler alert: It’s pretty good at both. It’s got plenty of smart features to make your life a bit easier, but it goes without saying that you’ll have to make do with a few of its limitations as well, which may even turn out to be trivial based on how you plan on using the robot.

Design, hardware, what’s in the box

Xiaomi’s robot vacuum is a typical oversized black puck, with a stand-out orange accent for the laser mapping sensor that peeps through a short tower up top. The top cover that lifts to reveal the dust and water containers has a shiny gloss to it. However, you don’t need to worry about it getting easily scratched as the vacuum is adequately protected with rubber bumpers on all its sides, especially from the front.

The Vacuum-Mop P is lined with an array of sensors all around its edges and bottom, including an IR sensor at the front, to avoid any possible collision and keep it from falling off the stairs. When you flip it over, you’ll find the central roller brush and a single side brush, along with a couple of grooves for the mop attachment. FYI, you can clip the mop bracket on without having to turn the device upside down. In general, the materials used for both the vacuum and in-box accessories seem sturdy and high quality.

Left: All the included accessories, Right: The charging dock.

Inside the box, you get one large dust container, one dust + water container (with both getting their separate HEPA-like dust filters), two side brushes, a full wet and a semi-wet mop, an attachment for these mops, and finally the charging dock and its adapter. A good thing here is that both these dust and water containers have connectors that let the robot (and the app) know which one’s attached, so you don’t always need to reach out to the robot and manually check it — and to make sure the robot doesn’t run without a container.

Software, performance

Setting up the robot requires Xiaomi’s Mi Home app, which has so far offered a pretty solid and polished experience, though it still suffers from some minor hiccups. While setting up the robot, the app couldn’t automatically find the device and asked me to put it in pairing mode manually; however, a quick second try did the trick and the robot was good to go in a couple of minutes.

Generally, with smart vacuums, the first run takes the longest, and the story wasn’t all that different here. While mapping my house, the robot ran in and out of all the rooms several times in what seemed like a random pattern. But at the end of it all, the map it created was rather accurate and required minimal tinkering.

The companion app has some neat tools to divide, merge, and label rooms as you please. It’s also quite feature-rich, giving you options to pick among various cleaning modes, vacuum speeds, and water outflow levels on the main page. The settings page is a deeper dive into more intricate options like setting up virtual walls, restricted areas, scheduled timers, mopping patterns, and a whole lot more. The app remembers your map by default, so you don’t need to worry about setting that up before the bot’s first run.

Through a week of testing, the vacuum malfunctioned once when it recognized the dust + water tank as the dust-only bin, forbidding me from using the mop function. But it got quickly fixed by power cycling the bot. While that was a minor hiccup, a more pressing issue is that the app doesn’t track consumables like the filters, which is a shame considering the Mi Home app does that for my air purifier. However, the voice announcements from the vacuum came in pretty handy in knowing when it was done cleaning.

Mi Home
Mi Home

Assistant integration

The Mi Vacuum-Mop P can be easily integrated with your Google Assistant smart home setup. The pairing process is straightforward in the Google Home app; all you need to do is connect your Mi Home account to the Assistant. The vacuum’s interface in the Home app is fairly barebones: You can only start cleaning the entire house, not a particular room. (If you have a Nest Hub or other smart display, you may get more controls, though.) No matter what your Mi Home settings are, asking Google Assistant to start cleaning will always run it in the default mode (based on the installed container). You also have the option to ask if the robot is docked, and if it isn’t, you can tell the Assistant to do so.

Assistant’s use is so limited that I didn’t once use voice commands to run the vacuum, other than for testing it out for this review. A home screen shortcut to take me straight into the vacuum’s settings page was my go-to option. I did encounter a glitch that would momentarily start creating a new map after giving a voice command, but the original map returned in a few seconds. Not a big deal, but surely something for Xiaomi to fix with the next firmware/app update.

Vacuuming

The first round of cleaning wasn’t on point as expected, but the device got much more efficient from the second day onwards. It now follows a pattern, starting with the kitchen, where it’s stationed, then going about with other rooms in a fixed sequence.

Right from its first cycle, the vacuum sucked in more dust from my house than our usual method of brooming ever did, quickly filling up its dust compartment. Running it on standard did a fine job, and I never felt the need to go for higher suction powers (you’ve got Silent, Standard, Medium, and Turbo) that peak at 2100Pa, but your mileage may vary. The vacuum’s noise remained under 60 decibels with the standard mode, and it was not that difficult to talk over it.

The Mi robot after vacuuming the full house with its dust-only box.

It does a decent job of maneuvering around to pick up dirt from the corners — where it can reach, that is. In areas with a lot of furniture, the vacuum had a hard time reaching every nook and cranny, leaving some scope for manual scrubbing on Sundays. Though if your furnishings have enough ground clearance, the bot will go under to get the area cleaned. And if you’ve got a lot of rugs in your house, the bot can tidy them up as well with its ability to climb things and obstacles up to 2cm (0.8 inches) in height. Plus, the roller brush underneath does a good job of catching any human or pet hair, but a few still ended up inside the dust compartment.

The Mi robot, however, did try to climb onto a weighing scale and even managed to get stuck there. While it struggled to get down, the scale told me how much the vacuum weighs, and the wet mop soiled the scale completely… it was utter mayhem. The lesson learned here is that you should put anything like that away from the bot’s path to avoid having to attend to it like a clueless puppy.

Mopping

The Y pattern for mopping in action.

For mopping, the robot follows two patterns — the standard S mode, where it moves from one corner of the room to another in a straight line, and another called Y mode, where it moves back and forth making a Y pattern while marching to the other end to mimic the manual mopping technique. As a general rule, the S mode is more power efficient, takes less time, and uses less water, but the Y mode is excellent for more thorough cleaning.

On most days, you should be good with the S mode, then occasionally switch to Y for secondary or spot cleanup. In my home, the kitchen was that one place that almost regularly required a follow-up mopping job. And while the Y mode is more effective, you’ll still need to pull up your sleeves for stains that just won’t go without a rigorous scrubbing.

Left: The pattern selector, Center: Results of the Y mode, Right: In the S mode.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know when the water tank is empty and the robot is just dry mopping the remaining area. It shouldn’t be an issue if you don’t have a large cleaning area or use the mop function with low/medium water flow on the S pattern, but if your use case is different, the lack of a low-water warning is the biggest downside of this device. Keeping an eye on an automated mopping robot defeats its very purpose.

The Mi robot upside down, with and without the mop attachment.

Once the task is done, the mop returns to its dock, thanks to its good sense of direction, while announcing (along with a couple of app notifications) that you need to remove the container, which I found to be pretty neat. Using the vacuum + mop combo was more time saving than running the two functions separately, at least for my house. For larger homes, you may need the more spacious dust-only container, requiring you to run the mop separately. While the robot cleaned the house quite well without almost any toil, you still can’t entirely avoid weekend cleanups to attend to the edges and corners that it cannot reach.

Cleaning the vacuum

The knife and brush combo tool.

Xiaomi has done a decent job of making the process of cleaning the Mi Robot as painless as it can be. The device comes with its own nifty little tool that has a cleaning brush on one end and a blade on the other to cut loose any hair in the roller. You can use the brush end to clean the dust box and the cavity for it. The robot’s glossy top also catches dirt and fingerprints pretty quickly, making it another thing to clean and maintain.

While that may sound like a lot of cleaning, it’s nothing compared to having to vacuum then mop the entire house manually.

Battery life

The available cleaning area around all the furniture in my home is limited, so the Mi Robot’s battery didn’t run out on me, not even once. The lowest it went after a cleanup was 51% when it mopped the whole house in the Y pattern, but with the S mode, it only dropped to 70%. These numbers could be different for you if you run the vacuum and mop functions separately or if your floor area is much bigger.

The good thing is that the device can rush back to its dock when it’s low on power and continue its task from exactly where it left off. However, don’t expect it to charge rapidly as it takes its own sweet time to juice up its 3200mAh cell. This shouldn’t be an issue if you want to set it to automatically do the job while you’re away for the office.

Should you buy it?

Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P

8.5/10

Yes. Like nearly all other Xiaomi devices, the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P is hard to beat at its retail price of ₹24,999 (~$340), considering many of its reputable rivals currently available in India offer fewer features or are priced significantly higher. While cheaper models from Roomba don’t offer the mopping function, other budget alternatives lack stuff like laser mapping, smart integrations, or just aren’t as versatile.

While I do have some complaints about some of the Mi Robot’s peripheral features, I don’t think any of those should keep you from picking one. The robot is consistent and efficient at its job — it’s like a helping hand that takes over your basic cleaning chores and saves you an hour of manual labor every day — and its robust companion app is not complicated even for first-time users. It does leave out a few hard-to-reach corners to be manually cleaned during the weekend, but given all the time it saves during a workday, I’ll take the deal.

Buy it if:

  • You’re in the market for a budget robot vacuum.
  • Both vacuuming and mopping are a must for you.
  • You want a clean and reliable app experience.

Don’t buy it if:

  • You have A LOT of things lying around and just a tiny bit of empty space.
  • You’ve got a big house and can’t attend to the bot when the water runs out.

Where to buy

The Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P is available from mi.com in India for a price of ₹24,999.

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