Today I will compare two of them.
I will be comparing Xiaomi (or MI robot vacuum) and ILIFE A4.
These two products are just as different as Neato and Roomba before Roomba decided to improve the navigation of the robot and Neato decided to add a side brush.
We will compare every aspect of this bot from features, mobility, what comes in the box and finally the cleaning performance.
But first, a little history lesson…
The Xiaomi robot is the brainchild of MI Ecosystem based in Beijing, China which manufactures a lot of electronic things like smartphones, fans, tablets and even a smart rice cooker.
MI derived cues from Neato BotVac in terms of features. But it doesn’t have the same D-shaped design that made Neato famous.
It uses the same laser-based navigation as the Neato algorithm as well as the SLAM algorithm.
It also has an app-based control system that allows you to control this robot even from a distance – when you are not at home.
Many Xiaomi products have WiFi capability which allows you to control many devices within your home using the MI Home app.
A4 is one of the 9 robotic vacuum cleaners in the ILIFE product line which varies from purely robotic cleaners to mop/vacuum hybrids.
This vacuum cleaner features a bristle brush and infrared-based navigation system similar to the previous generation Roomba, so it cycles through a random pattern.
It has a remote control where you can make an appointment, control where the robot goes and run a virtual cleaning cycle.
ILIFE has released a new robotic vacuum cleaner – A4S and A6. These two robots have upgrades aimed at improving efficiency and uptime thanks to the Gen 2 motor that now uses a brushless motor. Both also have a small room function to clean a smaller room without draining the battery.
The A6 comes with a new bristle-free rubber brush that will require less maintenance and an elegant piano black finish that looks amazing. Click the links above to learn more about these two products and my YouTube channel to watch them in action.
What are the differences?
Before I complete this article, I would like you to watch a video I recorded about the differences between these two products.
In terms of size, the MI robot vacuum is much larger and heavier due to the larger 5200mAh battery plus the laser sensor and all three processors inside.
This weight is actually good because it helps the robot on surfaces like carpet to really dig in and allow the motorized brush to do its job and pick up the dirt.
Unlike the Neato robotic vacuum cleaner inspired by this robot, it has a round shape and a matte white color. As much as I like the color, any smudge is visible immediately and will need to be cleaned frequently to keep it looking pristine.
In the middle of the top is a laser distance sensor that acts as “eyes” that sees obstacles and creates an internal map that keeps them in memory.
Below the LDS is a huge door housing the dirt basket and the two main buttons – home and clean.
Press the two buttons together and it will reset the internal WiFi.
Like Xiaomi, the A4 also has a round shape with a single button in the middle that activates the default cleaning mode.
But the dirt box trend is different. A4 uses a pull-out tray type bin.
View from the bottom
Below the MI robot vacuum, you’ll see that it only has one side brush to compliment the main motorized brush in the middle.
On top there is a swivel wheel responsible for steering.
It also has about 4 cliff sensors that detect any cliff points such as stairs. Unfortunately, these shelf sensors will not pass over a black carpet. If your rug has black accents – you may want to use a vacuum cleaner to clean these areas as Xiaomi will not bypass them.
A4 has a similar design except that it has two side brushes surrounding the main cleaning brush in the middle. You’ll also notice two shiny silver bodies on either side of the caster wheels that are the two charging points.
When the robot is docked at the charging station, these two points pass over the pins on the charging dock.
The Xiaomi motorized brush is much larger than the A4, not only in width but also in overall diameter.
Another difference is the design of the motorized brush. The A4 uses only bristles while Xiaomi has a mix of bristles and a mop design that is similar to the Neato BotVac.
This design has been proven in tests at least on the Neato to perform very well at picking up things like hair on bare floors and carpets.
But make no mistake, the A4 brush also works well—it’s capable of picking up fine things like powder to larger things like rolled oats with equal ease on a bare floor.
Navigation and cleaning performance
I brought these two together because they go hand in hand. How the robot navigates will determine its effectiveness and how it will require cleaning a particular area.
Here’s a cleaning test between these two robots on a bare floor…
The top shot gives you an idea of how these two robots differ in terms of navigation.
You’ll notice that he cleans the edges first before going through the middle of the room. She goes through this cycle twice. But you will need to upgrade the firmware to enjoy this feature.
Here is the first run I did with Xiaomi …
And here’s the second…
You’ll notice that during the first round, he only walked around the room once and then struggled to perform the cleaning. Since the first cleaning test I have upgraded the firmware and make profit from how to clean this bot.
For A4, it’s really spinning in a random pattern that affects efficiency.
It took longer for A4 to complete the job, but remember that the price difference between the two is fairly large, so if you don’t mind the inefficiency, go with A4.
In terms of how much it picks up, the difference is negligible—just a few ounces.
Only the A4 comes with a remote control that looks like this…
This one lets you turn on the default cleaning mode or use spot and edge cleaning as you need, but for me, I turn on the default and let the bot decide.
You can also schedule your A4 to be cleaned once per day at a specific time of your choosing using the remote control.
The Xiaomi phone does not come with any remote control but you can download an app inside on your smartphone which allows you to control the robot even if you are at work as long as you have an internet connection.
It also shows you a map of the area being cleaned…
Plus some other goodies like scheduling, history…
The great thing about this app is that it allows you to schedule cleaning more than once! If you are the obsessive-compulsive type of person who hates the dirt piling up in your house, you can schedule this 3 times if you want.
This is a video I recorded when connecting the app and the robot…
For more detailed step-by-step information on how, you can read our full Xiaomi review here.
Battery and runtime
The MI robot vacuum has a very large 5200mAh Li-ion battery that works for 2.5 hours which means this robot can clean areas of up to 250 square meters on a single charge.
The A4 has a smaller battery – a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 2,600 mAh which also works about 2.5 hours because it has a smaller motor compared to Xiaomi.
You also have to remember that Xiaomi also uses a very advanced navigation system consisting of 3 microprocessors, a constantly rotating laser sensor and a SLAM algorithm behind the scenes – combine all this and it will take any juice that the battery provides.
The great thing about laser-guided navigation and SLAM would be efficiency. He’s not wondering about aimlessly going in a random direction but he’s navigating with a purpose.
Xiaomi would be better suited to cleaning a larger home due to its efficiency.
The A4 does not come with any kind of containment, in fact the only variant in the ILIFE product line that has a virtual wall is the X5 and you cannot use it on A4.
As for the MI robot vacuum, I have good and bad news. The good news is that it comes with a virtual wall or it’s called by GearBest but it’s actually
This is the magnetic stripe similar to the tape on the Neato BotVac that looks like this…
This 78 inch long magnetic tape blocks the robot’s path but the bad news is that you won’t get it out of the box. This piece of tape will cost about $16 at GearBest.
Watch how this magnetic tape works in this video here…
Despite the difference in size, both robots have the same volume of about 0.45 liters.
Another different between these two is the dock design.
First, let’s have a look at the Xiaomi charging base.
Again, this design resembles a Neato charging station with rectangular pins.
This design reminds me of iPhone products in terms of simplicity and color. Again it comes in all white and actually has storage for the power cord which is very stylish.
The A4 dock is much simpler with pins facing upwards designed to connect with metal pins on the bottom of the robot.
Also because this device emits an infrared signal and in a certain radius, the robot will not come close during the cleaning cycle and if there is any debris anywhere near the box, you may have to use a handheld vacuum cleaner to clean it.
|Battery Type||2600 mAh Li-Ion||Li-Ion|
|Shipping time||5 hours||5 hours|
|the show length||150 minutes||150 minutes|
|dry dirt capacity||0.45 liters||0.45 liters|
|net weight (with battery)||4.85 lbs.||8.4 lbs.|
|Diameter||12.2 inches||13.58 inches|
|Height||2.99 inches||3.15 inches|
Application based control
|Cleaning sessions per week||7||Unlimited|
|containment||Nobody||Magnetic tape (not included)|
|brush cleaning tool||
|Guarantee||One year (click here for more details)|
Where can I buy these bots?
Both of these bots are available from Amazon if you want the best deal.
- If you prefer the ILIFE A4, you can buy it from Amazon.
- Xiaomi is also available on Amazon where it will cost under $400 with free shipping.
Both products are great choices for any home that is looking for a robotic vacuum cleaner. Choosing one depends on your budget and cleaning preferences.
If you want an efficient cleaning tool capable of cleaning a larger area with a highly advanced app-based control system, then the no-brainer option is the Xiaomi robotic vacuum cleaner.
The SLAM-based navigation system scans the room and based on that indoor map determines the most effective cleaning pattern even without a virtual wall, and which sector areas to clean to increase coverage and efficiency.
Just remember that if you have a black carpet, avoid Xiaomi as it will not bypass it.
A4 is a no-nonsense choice for cleaning floors and carpets. It lacks advanced navigation but costs almost three times less!
Unfortunately, ILIFE will discontinue A4 production and replace it with A4S. The latter has a brushless motor which will run longer compared to the A4.
ILIFE also has the A6 also with an upgraded motor and battery as well as the new motorized brush without any bristles.
Be sure to check out my detailed ILIFE comparison guide to learn more about this brand.