Gone are the days when you had to pay at least $300 for a decent robot vacuum.
This product I’m going to share with you has some similar features to the more popular Roomba 700 robotic vacuum cleaner and costs a fifth of what you’d pay for a Roomba.
Let me introduce the Chuwi ILIFE A4 smart robotic vacuum cleaner.
In this review I’ll show you full information on the features, a demo on how to navigate and test the cleanup, so be sure to scroll down and read the entire review.
Among the 9 robots in ILIFE Automated Vacuum Production Line, A4 will be a great choice for carpets and rugs because it has the most strength.
It also has a motorized brush and a wider cleaning path compared to the X5 brush I wrote about earlier.
Quick look at the features
- Equipped with an anti-collision system sensor that detects and avoids potential roadblocks (you’ll see in the video below how this feature works in real time, so be sure to scroll down)
- One shipment can cover 180-200 square centimeters
- You can schedule this robot to clean your house at a specific time every day
- 1,000pa suction – ILIFE’s 7 most powerful
- The remote control has an LCD screen for easy scheduling and operation
- One of the most affordable robotic vacuums that can clean bare floors and carpets
- Easy to remove dirt box and motorized brush
- Low profile (only 2.99″ high) allows cleaning under more furniture
- Do not hit wide solid objects (such as a wall)
- It lacks the advanced navigation system of the Roomba 980 or the Dyson 360 Eye but that’s hard to expect from a robot at this price range.
- Prone to bumping into furniture legs – something to think about if you own expensive furniture
- There is no virtual wall
What do you expect from ILIFE A4?
In terms of looks, I like the elegant design of the A4. The charcoal gray color gives it a modern look and the interface is as simple as can be – just one button that also acts as a battery indicator light (more on that later).
While the top looks simple, underneath is what makes this thing go. You will notice that it has a motorized brush that works better on carpets due to the extra agitation.
Just a warning, if you have hardwoods that are sensitive to scratching easily, you may want to opt for the X5 as it doesn’t have any brushes plus you can take advantage of the squeegee feature.
What comes in the box?
I must say that ILIFE is generous in terms of what they include with their products
You’ll get an extra piece of every team’s clothing and gear which means you’ll get an extra pair of side brushes as well as an extra HEPA filter.
There is also a remote control as well as two AAA batteries. I suggest you invest in a rechargeable AAA battery (I personally use Eneloop).
Finally, the charging base – this is where the robot docks when it detects that its batteries are low.
Make sure to leave at least 2 to 3 square feet of space so the robot doesn’t have trouble docking. Also, be sure to place it on the wall so it doesn’t move.
You can stick double-sided tape under the charging base so it doesn’t wiggle – only do this if you don’t move it around the house.
HEPA filter is not washable
Before I go ahead, I would like to mention that the HEPA filter is not washable. I confirmed it with GearBest and they told me the exact same thing. What you can do is click on the filter in the dirt basket and then use the brush to get rid of the excess dirt.
Here is a picture of the dirt box with some dirt (this is after the initial run)…
Dirt container with 3 disassembled filters (below) …
I love the way they designed the dirt container. As you can see in the image above, it has 3 filters – the primary fine mesh filter, the secondary foam filter, and then the HEPA filter.
The fine mesh filter blocks larger particles of dirt but fine dust will still seep through, so be sure to clean your HEPA filter regularly to extend its life.
The HEPA filter is not washable and needs to be replaced every 3 to 6 months.
Here is a short video I made on how to empty the dirt bin…
Just a warning, you may hear a squeak.
The first time I used this I heard some squeaking and as it turned out it came from the squeegee underneath.
This shouldn’t be a problem on most hard surfaces just be sure to wipe it down well with a damp microfiber towel after each use so dirt doesn’t build up. Do not use any alcohol as it can dry out the rubber.
A4 has a really low profile. It measures a smidge less than three inches (about 0.04 inches shorter than the X5), so it will easily pass under a lot of furniture and overhangs.
The A4 scheduling feature has improved somewhat compared to the X5. Instead of counting the number of minutes or hours from when you set it, you can actually set the bot to clean at a specific time.
For example, you can click on a plan and set it to clean at 9:45, it will clean at 9:45 am but you will have to set the time first for this to work.
Remember that ILIFE uses military time here, so if you want the robot to clean, let’s say it’s 3:30 PM, you have to program it to clean at 15:30.
On the X5 if you set it at 1:45 – it will clean up after an hour and forty-five minutes and not at 1:45 am.
See the difference?
Another thing, when scheduling, you can only set the minute portion in 15 minute increments.
Much like the X5, the A4 has a navigation system of a similar type and is a cross between Neato and Roomba. It’s not completely random but it’s a criss-cross pattern and then it goes into a wall cleaning mode and then back.
This pattern wouldn’t be the most effective but since this robot simply runs until the battery is low and then docked it’s supposed to cover pretty much most of the area but there are a few things you need to know before you start using this.
To maximize your A4’s cleaning versatility, you’ll need to do the following…
- Arrange any loose wires on the floors
- If you own a large house, consider cleaning one room at a time
A4 is fully capable of cleaning multiple rooms but lacks sophisticated navigation to remember which areas it has cleaned.
It will run in random directions until the battery runs low and then try to find the charging base.
When you clean one room at a time, you’ll be sure not to miss fewer places and get home safely and more often.
Backlog is another problem point for this robot.
It tries to move itself but there are cases where it just stays on but don’t worry when it detects a problem with the engine shutdown.
This comes with a motorized brush that allows cleaning of carpets on its floors.
The main beater bar on this robot has bristles for irritation on carpet but works well on bare floors.
Maintenance is a must to keep it running at its best. GearBest recommends cleaning them after each use.
From experience, I would say you can extend the clean interval to one use every three uses, but it depends on whether or not you have pets. If you have pets, you will need to brush them often because they will pick up a lot of hair.
One option might be to buy a V brush (the standard brush for the V7S) and open it in A4. This brush design is suitable for cleaning pet hair and the added mop makes cleaning easier as well.
There is no virtual wall
Unlike the X5, the A4 does not come with any virtual wall.
If you don’t know what a virtual wall means, it acts as a wall that “blocks” the bot’s path from entering an area you don’t want it to go into.
bare floor performance
Against rolled oats
As I expected, the side brush scattered the large oats out of the way, but managed to pick up the other pieces that didn’t get in their way.
These side brushes did a very good job of getting through dirt but they tossed around the larger brushes.
The good news is that the robot eventually cleans up most of the dirt in its path.
A hand-held vacuum or wand will be an essential partner of the tag team for this robot to clean the dirt stuck in the base plates.
Now let’s see how A4 works on smaller bits of debris – this time a mixture of some rock salt and ground pepper.
Here is ILIFE A4 versus oatmeal and baby powder MI Robot Vacuum…
The MI robot vacuum obviously won the head-to-head cleaning test but it came close.
With its more advanced laser-guided navigation system, it did the job much faster than the A4 but you have to remember that the Xiaomi robot costs almost 3 times as much as the A4 and the cleaning performance doesn’t reflect that price difference at all.
|Battery Type||lithium ion|
|charger type||charging base|
|Shipping time||Approximately. 5 hours|
|Dirt Capacity (Dry)||0.45 liters|
|the show length||110 – 120 minutes|
|net weight (with battery)||4.85 EGP|
|Purchase Weight||8.7 EGP|
|bin full indicator||
|Cleaning sessions per week||7|
|brush cleaning tools||1|
|Accessories included||charging base
Remote control (AAA batteries included)
1 extra HEPA filter
1 brush cleaning tool
2 extra side brushes
Where can I buy this?
Modern Rosie would be a good choice for people who can’t or don’t want to cough for a high-end robot like Roomba or Neato.
In terms of cleaning performance, it does a pretty decent job in my tests on hardwood. For daily cleaning this machine will do the job but you will have to do your part for this machine to run at its best.
This means removing all wires, cables, slippers, toys, and every possible roadblock that could disrupt the way he travels.
I mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t expect high-end navigation from this. It will only sequence the navigation until the battery runs low, so the best way to use this device is to let it run one room at a time and then move to the next.
This way you will ensure complete coverage with few missing spots.