Hands-on review: Roidmi F8 cordless vacuum cleaner
Image credit: Roidmi
With looks like this, and up to an hour from a single charge, you won’t want to consign this elegant vacuum to the back of a cupboard.
You know you’ve probably reached peak 2019 when you’re trying to set up a Bluetooth connection with a pair of smart sunglasses and find that one of the options your phone offers is a vacuum cleaner that you’d forgotten was sitting charging in the corner of the same room.
Until recently, the drawback of a cleaner as slimline and unobtrusive as the Roidmi F8 would have been that battery life wouldn’t have been up to doing a proper job of more than a couple of rooms. Getting almost an hour out of a full charge will be plenty for most homes, and coupled with the slightly gimmicky ‘intelligence’ puts it at the vanguard of the latest generation of vacuums.
Roidmi’s parent company Xiaomi is developing a smart-home ecosystem focused on its own mobile handsets and various intelligent devices including cleaning products like the F8. The stated goal of providing “the ultimate user experience” might sound a bit overblown when you’re talking about giving your carpets a quick vacuum, but there’s a chance that if you’ve stuck with a bulky mains-powered cleaner this might offer enough difference to persuade you to make a change.
A lot of thought has obviously gone into the design and this is a domestic appliance that, in clean white with a discrete red trim, you might actually want to have hanging on your wall using the nifty magnetic bracket that comes with it.
Never mind how it looks; the backs of cupboards in homes all over the world are littered with unloved vacuum cleaners. What’s it like in use?
Initial charging of the high-performance lithium battery takes between two and three hours, with a series of lights indicating progress. That gives you 55 minutes of use in ‘standard mode’ from a 100,000 rpm brushless DC motor that coped admirably with the carpets in a busy family home. Roidmi estimates that as being equivalent to 350 square metres.
The first thing we noticed and appreciated was how light it is at just 1.5kg. It doesn’t quite glide effortlessly across the floor but you definitely don’t feel like you’re having to push. For tougher jobs there’s a ‘max power’ mode, which slashes battery time to ten minutes. Intelligent power management ensures the battery is used at its best possible performance.
Our one minor gripe would be that the slimline look is achieved by limiting the size of the dust container, which was full after ten minutes of use. It only takes a few seconds to remove and empty, but you’re probably going to need to do that after every couple of rooms. Maybe it’s a reflection of our aversion to pushing one of these things round when there are other things to do, but we reckon most people’s routine use will involve zipping round rooms one at a time in turbo mode for a deep clean before emptying and recharging then dealing with another later in the day rather than slogging round the whole house in one 55-minute stretch.
A striplight across the front is a nice touch. Not something you’d expect to get much use out of and not really noticeable until you venture into a dark corner, but very useful when dealing with furniture that’s raised off the floor. Forget shoving a nozzle under your Ikea units and hoping for the best; the equivalent of a headtorch means you can see what’s lurking along the skirting board and deal with it before it accumulates.
Another thing that’s rarely an issue with this sort of device is the quality of the air that comes out of it. The Roidmi F8 is equipped with a four-layer filtration system that intercepts hair and dust, absorbing participles as small as PM0.3 and claiming a purification rate of “up to 99 per cent”.
Some cleaners come with a multitude of attachments, of which you often only end up using a couple. Roidmi sticks to the essentials with a carbon-fibre brush for carpets, a soft woven nylon roller for wooden surfaces that dusts and polishes at the same time, a brush nozzle, special head for mattresses, and a flexible hose for hard to reach spaces. All click on and off in seconds and we used all of them in cleaning a typical home, although the bendy attachment would probably get least mileage, being so flexible that you need to guide it into place.
And the Bluetooth connection you probably never realised you needed? With the Roidmi Intelligent Life app, you can check the battery power and cleaning time, and receive alerts for cup cleaning and filter changing. If you’re interested, it’ll even tell you how much energy you’ve used doing the cleaning. And like any self-respecting smart gadget, you can use it to run a firmware upgrade on your Roidmi.
Vacuum cleaning isn’t an application where most people will be worried about the prospect of a robot coming to take their job. Until they do, this is one gadget that’ll make the experience just a little less arduous.
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