In this video, I check out Smartmi A1 Dry & Wet Robot Vacuum.
You can bag a bargain and buy the A1 for less than half its final retail price of
$899 for $439 from its currently running IndieGoGo campaign here → https://bit.ly/smartmia1. This price campaign ends in 9 days, and there are only 10 perks left for the cheapest $439 price.
This vacuum is the first of its kind that effectively vacuums away both dry and wet debris whilst it is also able to self-cleaning the mop once at the end of its cleaning task. It features a full-width brush roller, a separate clean water tank and a dirty water container, 4000PA of suction power, and it integrates with its own smartphone app, which means it can also also be commanded by your Google or Amazon home voice assistant.
Unboxing & Features
In the box, you get a plug adapter that’s suited for the country you’re in, a base plate for the docking station, a paper instruction manual and quick start guide, a happy panda face to stick onto the vacuum, a spare dust filter, a separate container lid for dry cleaning, and a charging cable and EU wall plug. There is also the A1 vacuum itself, and the charging dock to charge it.
The Smartmi A1 is definitely the nicest-looking vacuum design I’ve seen. It’s mostly white in colour with its LiDAR sensor up top, infrared sensors on the front, sides and underneath the vacuum, and a full-width sweeping brush at the front.
Inside the top opening lid, you’ll find a huge multifunction container that features a dust compartment, a 600ml clean water container and a separate 360ml dirty water container. You can replace a section of this container with a dry functioning container and filter if you don’t wish to use the vacuum’s mop function.
Underneath you’ll find the usual floor detection sensors and its five individual moving wheels. You’ll also notice, underneath, a big difference to more common robot vacuums, in that the A1 doesn’t have any side rotating bristle brushes, instead, this vacuum comes with a wide 23.8cm sweeping brush that’s similar to a regular stick or stand-up vacuum. The pre-installed multi-surface nylon and microfiber sweeping brush will spin at up to 1600rpm and can tackle most home floor surfaces, including small pile carpets or rugs, whilst its second, much softer sweeping brush, is aimed at more delicate floors and surfaces.
The Charging Dock
Its rather large charging base is where the A1 will dock and recharge itself, and whilst doing so, it will spin its sweeping brush at a faster 2000rpm to air-dry the brush, ready for its next cleaning task. You’re also prompted to empty any debris or dirty water and refill its water container so that the A1 can continue to clean efficiently the next time.
Due to the dock’s large size, I found it a challenge to find a discreet location for it to sit. Usually, I have my vacuum’s charging stations placed underneath my four-leg sofa, but this is the first vacuum dock I have reviewed that didn’t fit behind or underneath my sofa. So for some of you in the same situation, the vacuum and dock may have to take a more prominent and visible placement in your home – it’s a good thing that both the dock and vacuum look quite good in their overall aesthetics.
The dock’s bulkier size is mostly due to a top opening compartment that houses the spare soft roller brush, a cleaning rod and a plastic comb to help remove or unclog any hair. Personally, I would rather have had a smaller dock and an easier way to place it around my home.
Connecting the A1 to my local network via the Xiaomi Home App was quick and easy. Having had a previous Xiaomi vacuum I was already accustomed to its Home app, however, the A1 offers more functionality and this was also shown reflected in the app. With room mapping functionality, I was now able to edit the generated map and set no go walls and zones to prevent the mop from mopping thick carpets to avoiding small pet food trays and bowls. I was also able to divide and separate what the vacuum thought were rooms, as well as label them correctly.
The app remains clear with plenty of ways to customise the vacuum to your liking. From setting schedules, seeing how much life is left on the battery and in the various brushes, filters and sponges, to applying firmware updates and viewing the vacuum’s cleaning progress and live cleaning path, as well as viewing its past cleaning history, so you know where it has and hasn’t cleaned.
The Smartmi A1 robot vacuum will retail for $899, however, during its crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo you can pick up the A1 for as little as $439. Which is a very good price considering the tech you’re getting and the features it offers you.
My time with the A1 though hasn’t all been a clean sweep. I found at first the A1 vacuum to be a little disappointing when comparing it to my tried and tested 2-year-old Xiaomi Mijia 1 vacuum.
My first issue is the general size of the vacuum and its dock. The dock was just too bulky to hide it away discreetly under any furniture, I could only place it under my desk or in a very visible area of my home that is also an area where people would be walking around it quite often.
At just under 13cm, the height of the vacuum also hindered how and where it could clean around my home, compared to vacuums that were shorter. This can be a common issue with LiDAR-based vacuums, as the sensor can add extra height to a vacuum. Particular areas such as underneath floor-standing cupboards and beds, to sweeping between and around dining chairs and tables, all became uncleanable zones for the A1, due to it being just too high to pass under them or its width too wide to pass between chair legs and tables.
The next issue I found was its general intelligence. During its first few cleans, I found its speed, its tracking, calculating time and the cleaning paths it had decided to take weren’t as good as the Eufy X8 I reviewed last month. However, over time, this did improve greatly as it began to learn its way around my home. I noticed that its sensors seemed to struggle with full-height wardrobe mirrors, in that it would see the reflection and map these rooms as being bigger than they actually were. Something other vacuums didn’t seem to struggle with.
If you have the vacuum in a quiet environment, such as an office space, I found whilst the vacuum is docked, I could hear a constant humming noise coming from the vacuum which continued to idle for some time after cleaning. Lifting the vacuum up to interrupt its cleaning cycle seemed to stop this noise from the fans inside the A1, but it feels like the process of cooling the vacuum’s processor didn’t end or timeout whilst the vacuum is recharging.
And finally, I found the path and route planning of the vacuum wasn’t that much better than any LiDAR vacuums I’ve tried before it. It does do edge perimeter and fill cleaning, which I do prefer, however, at times the A1 can decide to do something totally left field, which can question any form of reasonable logic out the window. Luckily this behaviour is rare, and the majority of the time the A1 navigates and cleans where I tell it to in the app, whether it’s a full house clean or cleaning a selected amount of rooms. No-go zones and walls work well, however, there are areas where the A1 did get stuck underneath, even though one of its features is height detection. Usually, this issue occurs once and it rarely gets caught under the same furniture again.
With its wide, fast spinning front-facing brush, its high 4000PA suction power and its ability to mop and vacuum the floor without contaminating the water stored on board, it gives me a great level of assurance that the vacuum will be more sanitary than most other robot maps that are out there, who have to return to their dock to self-clean, or share the same water tank or drag a moist pad around the floor.
As robot mops go, the Smart A1 is one of the best that I have tried. If you can look past its bulky size, and hope that its maker continues to improve on its software with better route planning and path intelligence, then I am sure the A1 will serve you well around your home.
0:00 – Brief overview
0:35 – Unboxing
0:59 – Design & features
2:17 – Charging dock
3:27 – Mobile app control & settings
4:20 – My Impressions