Mi Robot, you carpet: Xiaomi's new $255 vacuum sucks for less

The Chinese phone maker has more lines than the London Underground. Its latest product is a robot vacuum.

Aloysius Low Senior Editor
Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.
Aloysius Low

From water filters to drones to electric bicycles, Xiaomi isn't shy about plunging its fingers in every pie. Its new Mi Robot Vacuum is the latest example of how the Chinese phone maker plans to take over homes and make them smarter -- for less than its competitors.

Looking very much like a Roomba, the round robot vacuum boasts 12 sensors. Its laser distance sensor scans its surroundings 1,800 times per second, then maps out your home to clean it efficiently.

Key specs

  • 12 sensors, including ultrasonic radar, cliff sensor, gyroscope and accelerometer
  • Three processors for real-time mapping and positioning
  • Main brush with adjustable height for uneven surfaces
  • 5,200 mAh battery

Made by Xiaomi's ecosystem partner Rockrobo, it features a Nidec brushless DC motor and claims to be ultra quiet. Its 5,200 mAh battery promises 2.5 hours of cleaning. It goes on sale on September 6 in China for 1,699 yuan, which is approximately $255, £195 and AU$340. By comparison, CNET's pick for best affordable robot vacuum, the Neato XV Signature Pro, costs around $420 or £300.

Like its other ecosystem products, don't expect Xiaomi to officially launch this around the world, though some products, such as its Mi Air Purifier, have been sold in countries like Singapore. Watch the video below of the Mi Robot Vacuum to see it in action, as it goes head to head with another similar robot vacuum in cleaning up cereal.