March 15, 2019
1 month Update:
So, I've owned this little robot (we named him "Rocky") for 1 month now. A few observations:
- The app is awesome. It gives you a notification when he starts up every day and you can watch him as he cleans the house. I've only noticed a couple bugs. First, when I was trying to show him off to some relatives over dinner one evening, I realized we had had the bedroom door closed that day so he didn't clean our bedroom. So, I set up a zone cleanup for our bedroom. He started up, backed away from the dock, did a few circles for a few minutes and finally just went back to the dock. I tried several times all with the same result. I tried a different zone in the house and he cleaned that just fine but he absolutely refused to go to the bedroom. I think perhaps since he couldn't get into the bedroom during the normal cleaning that day that area was technically "off the map?". I don't know, but that's the only time I've seen that happen. 2nd, we moved our couches (actually just laid 2 of them on their backs and moved the 3rd one to a different part of the room) and again I started him up for a zone cleanup in that area so he'd clean under the couches. Boy did he get confused. He actually strayed completely out of the zone and started trying to clean a whole other area. I think moving most of the large furniture in the room really confused him. I sent him back to the base and tried it again and he did better the 2nd time.
-Maintenance: So I still wish they'd come out with a main roller brush that had removable caps. The hardest part of cleaning it, as others have mentioned is getting the hair that's wound around the inside of the caps off. Strangely enough, the very first time I cleaned the brush, it had many long hairs wound around the entire brush, making it quite difficult to clean, just like my first generation Roomba. Unlike the Roomba though, it was just that first time. I just cleaned him up after neglecting him for a couple weeks and while there was plenty of hair wound around the end caps, there was almost none wound around the rest of the brush. Other than that, maintenance is very easy. The app reminds you when it's time to perform various maintenance tasks, which is very helpful. Once again, cleaning out the dust bin is far easier than any other vacuum I've seen. So while the dust bin is smaller than some other robots, it's easier to get to and easier to clean.
-Most spectacularly, since I have the map all set up now and I now have the red barrier tape lines (the little red lines you can draw on the map using the app) exactly where I want them, can you believe that in a month's worth of cleaning he's never gotten stuck even once? I knew the few places where roomba would always get stuck and predicted where Rocky would also likely get stuck, just drew in barrier tape to prevent him from getting to those problematic locations and poof, no more getting stuck. This part of the app appears to work flawlessly.
So, overall, I am still extremely satisfied with this little Robot and I'm still happy to give it 5 stars.
Someone said something about fake reviews on this product. This is not a fake review. I'm a former Roomba owner (several generations of Roombas, actually) and got tired of various Roomba problems (described below) and so went searching for a different option. I'll leave my first impressions here, since this amazing little robot has completed a couple cleanings now, and will update this review in a couple months if any problems crop up.
1. The foreign thing. Yep, it's definitely a Chinese robot. The manual has some awkward typos, typical of Chinese products, although not as bad as others that I've seen. I was a little concerned about quality, and customer service, since it's an overseas company, and still am, and will update in future months if this becomes a problem. On the flip side, you can change the language the robot speaks in the app. It's silly, but fun, because there are about a dozen different chinese voices you can choose from, one of which sounds an aweful lot like one of those giant transformer robots. I can't understand a dang thing it's saying, but it's fun. Changing it back to English is super easy as well. Just one click inside the app.
2. The setup was a little odd. Connecting to my home's wifi network wasn't explained very well. I downloaded the Mi Home app and expected it to tell me to connect to a wifi provided by the Roborock (like the Roomba 960 does) and then use that connection to configure the robot, but it didn't. I have no idea how it works, but after I downloaded the Mi Home app, it just asked me to move closer to the robot and then asked me for the network and password and next thing I know, Roborock is announcing that it was connected to the wifi. Somehow, the Mi Home app on my phone was able to communicate with the robot without me ever having to establish a connection between the two. Scary? A little? Oh well. Moving on.
3. Updating the firmware: Ok, don't get impatient with this. Since this was the first thing I did after getting the robot connected, I got a little impatient at how long it was taking to update the firmware and exited the app. I went back into it and restarted the update. Thankfully, that didn't screw anything up and the 2nd time I just waited it out. It took, no kidding, like, 10 minutes. Long enough to make me sure it wasn't going to work, but eventually, it did. I'd advise being patient here, because interrupting a firmware update in the middle can cause serious and unfixable errors.
4. That's another odd thing about the app. Several times now, when I've tried to do something in the app (like setting up the "Timer" (you know it as "The Schedule", they call it "Timer", in another example of the somewhat awkward Chinese syntax in some places) I got an error from the app that I didn't have a network connection. I did, of course. I tried it a little later and it worked fine. As I said, that has happened a couple different times in a couple different places in the app. Not sure why, but trying again a little later has always worked.
5. Finally, performance. Ok, so problems and quirks out of the way, here's the good parts. Man I love this little Robot. First off, it maps out your home using it's magical little laser. This way, it knows where everything's at. Then, as its approaching, say, your expensive dining room table leg, instead of ramming into it at full speed like Roomba loves to do, a few inches from the leg, it will slow to a crawl and very gingerly, bump the leg. Can't even really call it a "bump". It more just touches it. Very, very gentle. I LOVE that. I hated the way Roomba treated my furniture like a bull in a china shop (Roomba has literally knocked TV trays over rampaging around the house the way it does..) and I'm pretty sure that's one of the reasons I was constantly having to repair it.
Also, it moves at a more stately pace than Roomba does. I see this as a very good thing. We have tile floors in the kitchen and Roomba rumbling across those tiles sounded like a truck unloading a ton of bricks. You can still hear Roborock click clacking across the tiles, but it's much, much quieter about it, either because the wheels are softer or because it's moving more slowly. Not sure, but I'm just happy it's so much quieter and I imagine that will result in less wear and tear on the machine as well.
Speaking of quiet, it is. It does sound like a vacuum cleaner, just far quieter. Someone else mentioned it's about as loud as a microwave. I dunno if it's that quiet, but it's certainly tolerable. You can have a conversation in the room with it while it's cleaning, although you'd probably have to turn up the TV a tad to hear it. I guess it's about as loud as my wife using her blow dryer in the next room. You can hear it, but can still function completely normally. You don't feel like you have to leave the room, or the house.. Not bad at all.
Finally, that app. Ok, so I am in love with the map and the ability to edit it. Someone in one of the many, many reviews I looked at before I bought this little guy said that this is the wave of the future when it comes to robo vacuums and I totally agree. Screw magnetic tape, and invisible wall towers and all that other junk. After this little guy maps out your house you can edit the map and just draw little lines on the map where you don't want it to go. For instance, referencing the pic I've attached to this review, see the longish red line in the bottom right hand corner of the map? That's our bathroom. We have tile floors in there too so my wife has a big throw rug in front of the bathroom cabinets because her feet get cold. Unfortunately, Roomba, in the rare moments it actually made it into our bathroom, would get stuck on top of that rug and under the cabinets. Like, not occasionally. Like, every. Damn. Time. They make these robots just the right height to fit under cabinets and that rug meant it was just tall enough to get wedged under the cabinet and hopelessly stuck. Same thing with RoboRock. It got in the bathroom and while it didn't get stuck, it struggled to free itself in the same spot that Roomba would always get stuck. So, I just drew a line across the front of the cabinets and voila, now it will stay a few inches away from the cabinets. Also, see the "U" shaped red lines in that same bathroom? That's our closet. Roomba would go in there and get hung up on my wife's long dresses. So, for Roborock, I drew that little U so that it will go into the closet, clean a little in the middle of the closet where there's nothing it can get hung up on, but stay out from under the clothing. Just brilliant.
Finally, the cleaning pattern is also brilliant. It will box out a little section, outlining it and determining where everything is, then clean inside that section, then move onto the next. It's extremely efficient and works amazingly well. That solved yet another frustration with Roomba. So, while I'm sitting at my desk, working from home, Roomba would come along and butt into my chair. I'd move and it would clean under the desk. 5 minutes later it'd be back, butting into my chair ... again. And again. And yet again... Roomba very nearly got tossed across the room a few times when it interrupted me, multiple times, in the middle of doing something important. More often, I'd just turn the damn thing off and our floors wouldn't get cleaned. Roborock, however, will venture into my office and when it does, I get out of the way. I can do so because I have the app pulled up on my phone and can see where it will be heading to next. I get of the way, it cleans under my desk, efficiently, going over everything exactly once, and the away it goes, not to be seen again. Puuuuuurrrrrfect.
So, long review, I know, and I don't usually post such long reviews, but after years of frustration with Roomba, this little guy has solved so many of them. I couldn't be happier. If that changes, I'll be sure to post an update.
Oh, one other thing. Others have mentioned the dust bin is small. It is. And that is a bit unfortunate. It fills up pretty darned fast. Fortunately, it's far easier to access and clean out than even the Roomba 960s was. Emptying Roombas was a whole process. It was narrow and the door barely hinges open. Then, there's no way to really "tap" the filter clean, so you have to remove that and bang it against the inside of the garbage can. It just kinda takes a little while to do it and it's annoying. Roborocks is far, far easier. Open the little door, tap a few times on the filter with the palm of your hand and bam, clean. Much, much faster. Anyhow, the first cleaning, I cleaned the bin out 4 times and it was full every time. Hopefully, since it covers 100% of the house every time, it'll accumulate less stuff in there and I can go back to just cleaning it out once a day. Also, we have relatives visiting, and they brought their 2 huskys with them, so the amount of dog hair Roborock has to clean up should go down significantly after they leave. I'll post an update in a couple weeks letting you know how that's going.