When Neato was discovered behind the scenes in 2010, he aimed to take down the Roomba with a better navigation system that uses laser navigation.
Instead of going in a random direction, the laser-guided system went in a predictable back-and-forth pattern.
It has proven so effective that the Roomba has since ditched random hopping in favor of a more efficient style in its 900 Series.
While Neato is a great robot, buying one will cost a lot.
Xiaomi may be the best budget alternative to Neato yet.
They both use the same LDS sensor and SLAM algorithm that make it one of the most efficient robot cleaning devices we have right now.
I will be comparing these two products in this article to help you out just in case you are torn between these two bots.
Xiaomi Robot Vacuum vs. Neato BotVac: Top View
One look and you will immediately notice how different at least these two products are on the outside.
Neato retains the D shape they’ve used in all of their products since they came onto the scene.
In the center is a round box with the “Neato” logo. This includes an LDS sensor that detects obstructions and maps the shape of the area to be cleaned
The dirt box is in the middle with the clean and home buttons on the bottom.
Neato has a small LCD screen next to the LDS sensor that allows you to schedule and check the status of the robot.
The color is charcoal/dark gray I like because it’s easier to clean and not prone to staining.
Xiaomi has not copied Neato’s exterior design. Instead of using a D-shape, product designers chose a circular shape similar to the Roomba.
But like the Neato, it has the same circular casing in the middle that covers the LDS sensors. It does not have any screen as all of its functions can be accessed through the application.
The dirt bin can be accessed by opening a door at the top. There are also two buttons – home and clean.
An all-white finish looks beautiful but will be prone to staining. If that’s a concern, go with Neato.
View from the bottom
Flip the robots and you will see more differences.
The first and most obvious is the width of the motorized brush.
Neato has a wider brush that is over 10 inches wide. The Xiaomi brush is just over 6.5 inches wide.
In terms of design, they both have the same bristle/mop combo that works well on carpets and bare floors. It actually works best on bare floors and struggles in terms of cleaning finer dirt on carpets.
They both have one side brush with the longer Xiaomi brush. But I don’t think this will have any effect on edge and corner cleaning performance.
The Neato’s wide brush helps in terms of efficiency thanks to the presence of a wider cleaning path.
Navigation differences between Xiaomi Robot Vacuum vs. Neato Botvac
If you look at the spec sheet, both Neato and Xiaomi have the same navigation that combines a laser distance sensor (or LDS) and SLAM algorithm.
This means that it will have the same navigation pattern that starts at the periphery and works its way toward the middle of the room and back to the base of the house.
Here’s how Xiaomi navigates …
You’ll notice that when it starts, it does a quick 360-degree spin to scan its surroundings and then start cleaning the room’s perimeter.
After finishing the edges, the middle part of the room is cleaned.
Do this course twice. But you will have to update the app for this feature to be enabled.
Out of the box, the program will only ask him to walk around the room once.
Here’s how Neato navigates…
Here’s a pet hair test interval. Most cleaners have a very easy time with them on wood floors. pic.twitter.com/pRPr5tFwkh
– rycrist October 26, 2015
The early Neato was efficient, and very effective for their good as it was about sweeping through walls and then covering the center of the room in one pass back and forth. It lacked the accuracy of the Roomba random animation.
Neato has upgraded the software in the connected BotVac. Instead of sweeping around the walls and center of the room once, it goes through them multiple times. It will circle the walls more than once and the middle part of the room in rows and columns.
This gives it more accuracy and picks up dirt that you might have missed on a previous pass. It won’t be effective but it will pick up more. I will gladly take this as it will leave my room cleaner.
Both of these robots are ready for the 21st home thanks to the smartphone app.
This means that you can control the robot even when you are not at home using this technology.
But this will only work inside homes that have a router. This device is the link that connects the application to the robot and without it it will not work.
These apps are compatible with both iPhone and Android devices.
Neato . app
Connecting to the Neato app is easy. After you connect the app and your home WiFi, it will ask you for a name.
After each cleaning cycle, it will notify you through the app.
Neato app is very simple. It allows you to decide when to clean and clean your house and even control the robot manually.
I like the idea of controlling the robot manually but the novelty wears off eventually. It is best for you to use only the default cleaning mode.
The app also allows you to record the robot’s serial number and take a picture of it just in case you need to claim a warranty.
There are also two power modes – normal and turbo. In normal mode, the robot will work longer – up to 120 minutes but the suction will be weaker.
The suction will be weaker, making this setup more convenient on an open floor. Turbo mode activates the engine’s maximum power but runtime will drop to 90 minutes. Use this only when cleaning rugs or carpets.
While I like the idea of controlling the robot remotely with this tool, I found it lacking in features.
The app does not have any features such as showing a map of the area being cleaned, how long it took to finish cleaning or details of the problem if something goes wrong.
You will have to look at the LCD screen of the robot to see what the problem is.
The app is simple and powerful which means it won’t crash. But I hope Neato will add features like maybe a map of the area being cleaned, battery status, cleaning history, etc.
Xiaomi . app
The Xiaomi app is not straightforward to call. After downloading it, be sure to select “Mainland China” as the default language to access all the features you see here.
You will need to register for an account and then log in. When you log in, you will see something like this…
Click on “My Devices” then the “+” button at the bottom and then select the robot vacuum icon. When the app detects the WiFi signal of the robot, it will ask for the username and password of your router.
And once connected, you’ll see all the good things the app brings to the table.
To summarize this what the MI Home app can do…
Unlike the Neato app where you can only schedule it to clean once a day, the MI home app is able to schedule more than once. And all at different times for each scheduled cycle. This gives you a lot of flexibility.
You will receive a notification in your phone as soon as the bot is finished.
It also records at least the last 8 to 10 cleaning cycles of your phone. This includes the size of the room and the time it took to clean.
Once you hit the clean button in the app, you will notice that it will show you a map of the area the robot is cleaning. It shows you exactly where the robot is.
Below the map, you’ll see room size and duration, all of which are updated in real time.
When should parts be replaced or sensors cleaned
Under the Care section, the app tells you the condition of the filter, side brush and main brush – when these items need to be replaced. It also tells you when to clean the sensors.
You can also control this robot using the app like RC. There are two options – use the arrow keys or the joystick.
This setting tells the vacuum when the robot should not clean or play voice prompts. You can set this while you are sleeping or your child is sleeping because this robot is very noisy.
During the early stages of the application, the voice prompt was only available in Chinese. Now you can choose different languages - I have my own in English.
Although I haven’t tested the BotVac Connected, consumers liked its performance especially on hard floors.
In a test by CNET, it picked up cedar, pet hair, and more than 90% of the sand on hardwood. But it will struggle with pet hair because it doesn’t have enough suction to pull it from the brush roll.
You’ll still have a hard time scrubbing the sand off the carpet with the turbo on. From a scattered 1.25 ounce, pick up only 0.47 ounce.
They also struggle with cleaning plush carpets, so if you have one at home, it’s best to have an upright on hand for deep cleaning tasks.
I have tested this bot several times, before and after the firmware upgrade.
This was my first test ever…
Without the updated firmware, the bot only ran around once, leaving a lot of paper and baby powder in its tracks.
At first I was disappointed though that this bot is a good alternative to Neato.
After upgrading the firmware, here’s how it performs…
The upgraded firmware improved performance twice. Of the 71 grams I sprinkled on the ground, I was able to pick up about 67 grams which is a huge improvement over the first test.
I also tested this in a big race and here’s how to do it…
Despite not getting past the black parts of the rug, it did a pretty good job getting 34g out of a 40g. Cleaning black carpets will not be a problem not only with this robot but with all robots that have a cliff sensor.
This means that Neato will also struggle in this field in addition to the ILIFE robot.
|Brand||xiaomi robot vacuum cleaner||Neato BotVac Online|
|Cleaning sessions per week||
|the show length||
Eco mode: 120 minutes.
Turbo mode: 90 minutes.
Where do you buy these robots?
You can buy Neato BotVac Connected on Amazon for $600.
Xiaomi is also available on Amazon. If you are in a hurry, get the product on Amazon and you can have it in a couple of days if you join Prime.
Unfortunately, the Xiaomi robot is not compatible with Alexa. If you need something compatible with this, go with Neato.
While the Neato Robotic Vacuum Cleaner is one of the best robotic vacuums of the moment, Xiaomi is no slouch. It has better application, longer uptime and cleaning performance in line with Neato.
Both of these products have a similar build when you look beyond the differences from an aesthetic point of view. Each has the same mobility, brush design, and a single-sided brush.
Everything about Xiaomi shouts Neato. Except for the motorized narrow brush and the shape.
And the best part is that you’ll save a few hundred dollars if you buy this from GearBest. The only thing Xiaomi lacks is Alexa compatibility.
If you have any questions, please share them in the comments section below.