News 2018: ILIFE W400

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News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby piokrza » December 14th, 2018, 1:44 pm

ILIFE is probably the second in the world after the brand iRobot which has recently launched a floor wahing robot cleaner (no) similar to Scooba. W400, however, has a microfiber roller instead of a bristle brush. Quite similar technology has been popular for a few years in standard, manual vacuum cleaners for wet floor cleaning, which are offered by popular producers (Karcher, Bissell), but only now appeared in the robot version. The model works in a similar way: successively moistens the floor with clean water using nozzles, scrubs it with a rotating microfiber brush, and then collects and squeezes the water into a separate container using a rubber squeegee. The vacuum cleaner is similar to the Dyson 360 Eye due to the brush module protruding from the body. It is equipped with a removable module of transparent tanks with 0.85L water for clean and 0.9L for dirty water, a battery that allows work for up to 80 minutes, a remote control, a stand for drying and charging, and a spare brush. Its dimensions 282mm * 292mm * 118mm Power of the 26 watt. The current price on aliexpress is $ 299. The manufacturer boasts RoHS and CE certificates so it will probably be available outside China.

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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Brett » December 14th, 2018, 10:13 pm

Lets hope this is a good machine that finally cracks the mopping robot gap...

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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Botty » May 24th, 2019, 11:31 am

did anyone ever get one of these? considering it at the moment.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby glnc222 » May 30th, 2019, 6:01 pm

Lists on Amazon U.S. $350 for comparisons (but $228 for U.S. on Aliexpress, at least in this holiday period). A smaller capacity iRobot Braava Jet 240 is $170 when on sale (or even cheaper with coupons), $200 list, not as capable. When iRobot acquired Mint renaming it Braava, they discontinued their Scooba mopping line.
Last edited by glnc222 on May 31st, 2019, 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Botty » May 30th, 2019, 6:19 pm

Ordered a W400 from aliexpress on Friday for £180 including delivery. Arrived 4 working days later!

Ran it last night.
First impressions:

Set up is easy and quick, as is disassembly. Interface is a bit more inelegant than an iRobot but not terribly so.

Not as aggressive as a scooba, much much more effective than any of the braavas. Nice thing is that i can use it on my wood floors as well as tiles, which i couldn't do with a scooba as there was too much water.

The brush is a soft fabric. Would be much better with stiffer bristles, but serviceable as is.

Water tank holds a lot. Almost a litre. Collected an entire tank of dirty water by the end, way more than I’ve had out of any scooba.

For a dumb robot the navigation is good. Cleans in an orderly grid, no random bouncing, so area coverage is comprehensive and relatively fast. Much more so than a braava.

Runs pretty quietly. Quieter than most vacuums, and not an unpleasant sound. Mostly white noise.

Battery life is great. Been running for over an hour already and not showing any signs of stopping. Stated run time is 80 mins.

Production quality seems ok, if a little plasticy.

Overall it seems like good value. Longer term use will reveal the truth but I’m very happy with this so far. On the basis of first impressions I’d def recommend over a braava.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby glnc222 » May 31st, 2019, 1:48 pm

With one Aliexpress offer for U.S. delivery $228, not much comparison with the less capable Braava Jet 240 listing at $199 regularly, apart from occasional discounts (and more for their larger models). IRobot's advantage is distribution in stores for returns etc., compared to mail order from China.
One thing to note is the iLife has an up to date lithium ion battery which will last longer than the old NiMh batteries used in robots until a few years ago.
The W400 does not seem to be in stock yet at Amazon, which could be handy for any returns, if you can get Amazon fulfillment.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Botty » May 31st, 2019, 2:19 pm

Luckily they have several centres across Europe, so my unit came from Spain, but yeah I wouldn’t have bought from aliexpress unless I was prepared to blow the money on nothing, it’s a fair point.

As I mentioned, assuming it doesn’t die in a matter of days I’ll def be using this over any of my braavas from here on in, so it’s worth the extra cost imo, if you insist on buying new.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Botty » May 31st, 2019, 8:26 pm

Ran it on another floor of my house this evening in two large rooms that are normally mopped with braavas and hand mops. Good results. Ended up with two full tanks of filthy water, so god knows how long I’ve been unwittingly just pushing the dirt around the floor with the braavas and mop.

Although I said it’s not aggressive as a scooba, I have to say it’s much easier to use and clean afterwards and therefore doesn’t feel like as much of a mission. So I’m much more likely to run this every day or two, whereas my scooba might only be a weekly thing when I can be bothered faffing about with them.

Couple of short vids below to give you an idea. You can see it’s cleaning in grid lines. Dumb, but thorough. The video makes it sound way louder than it is. If you leave the room and shut the door behind it you can barely tell anything’s on in the room.

Notice the water water collection tank at the rear of the unit. The amount you see there was after it had cleaned about a third of the room.

If you want any specific videos just say what you’d like and I’ll record and upload.

https://youtu.be/NqRoIXMFT34

https://youtu.be/BzRWyhvQoZs
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Botty » May 31st, 2019, 8:39 pm

Here’s a video of its very first run, in my kitchen. Gives you a better idea of how straight its working lines are.

https://youtu.be/dtkyAuTu3j8

You can see two grey bands running horizontally across the front of the unit. These are soft rubber and cushion any impacts on furniture (even though the machine is already very gentle).

Also I forgot to mention with width of the cleaning roller. It’s pretty wide, so that together with the grid cleaning contributes to the fast completion time, which in turn reduces wear and tear on parts / battery etc.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Botty » June 1st, 2019, 10:02 pm

There is one failing which is that the w400 doesn’t get close enough to walls. Imagine the result from a roomba without the side brush and that’s what we’ve got here. It leaves about 1-1.5 inches from the edges uncleaned whereas the braavas get right up to them without missing a millimetre.

Still, tonight it cleaned my bathroom in about 15 minutes flat, where the 240 would have taken about 40 minutes, and the w400 did a better job.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby glnc222 » June 2nd, 2019, 6:24 pm

Does the "forbidden zone" feature work? Seems similar to Braava boundary which I have found unreliable at least in two units tried.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Botty » June 2nd, 2019, 7:10 pm

I haven’t tried that yet. I’ll try it tomorrow for you and find out. I was confused about how that was supposed to work before I bought it, but turns out it cleans 25sqm in front of it but not behind, which I guess is similar to the 240’s virtual wall.
Anyway, I’ll give it a shot and report back.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Botty » June 5th, 2019, 4:32 pm

Ok, the zoned ‘forbidden’ cleaning works pretty much the same as the no-go line on the braava 240. The W400 somehow creates a line right behind it when it starts and as it cycles up and down the room it stops at that line and won’t go past it. Not sure how it’s doing it. Given it cleans so methodically it might just be counting units of distance. It’s absolutley accurate enough to do that.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby glnc222 » June 7th, 2019, 7:15 pm

The one issue I have found it is about 1/2 inch too tall to fit under the common overhang of kitchen and bath cabinetry in the U.S., so that bit of the edge is not cleaned. I am not sure there is anything better though, so may decide to keep it (or may have to, not sure of the return policy on direct orders Aliexpress; it was delivered supposedly from China by Fedex within a week, similar to domestic supplies).

All these water machines warn against using detergents, seemingly for concern over clogging the spray mechanism. I have never seen a spray pump on a detergent bottle get clogged. They are also concerned about chemical wear on the mechanism, from solvents of any kind. Oddly the iLife has a warning not to use distilled water; maybe they want chlorine in it to avoid spreading germs. In Taiwan, the public water supply is not safe (or was years ago) and has to be boiled, for Hepatitis I heard when there; teapot-like devices common for this, like a coffee percolator. A German hotel had its own still and a third water tap in the sink for distilled potable water.

The W400 did a 10 x 10ft kitchen in 20 minutes, very quiet, picked up a lot left by a Braava Jet running an hour.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby glnc222 » June 8th, 2019, 5:19 pm

I did find the "Area Clean" (with boundary) working, recognizing the boundary, but note this robot drags the cleaning brush in the rear, similar to Dyson's vacuum robots, compared to units with front pushing brushes.
[edit] Like the Braava Jet, the bumper is so low it is engaged by even a 1/4 in. molding between carpet and hard floor, or any threshold, so the boundary is not needed for those cases at least; maybe for dividing larger areas.

These simpler robots use "inertial" guidance, mainly monitoring the drive wheel rotation, to control location and movement. Some cheaper vacuum robots have appeared with similar simplicity, compared to units with fancy camera or lidar mapping of the floor. Perhaps such expensive additions are more needed for devices traveling through multiple rooms and doorways, over longer distances, where a more accurate map is necessary. The iLife seems to navigate pretty well in straight lines, and with bumping to locate edges small errors do not matter -- it still covers the floor.
Last edited by glnc222 on June 10th, 2019, 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Botty » June 8th, 2019, 5:30 pm

What do you think of it in comparison to the braavas?
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby glnc222 » June 8th, 2019, 8:10 pm

First I would add it is fascinating the floor is very dry after passage of the cleaner despite it clearly doing a lot of washing given the amount of discharge water.

I have posted separately about recently trying a Braava Jet 240 with dissatisfaction with its boundary recognition a bit weak, but after running that three times, with a washable pad, the iLife picked up a lot of dirt in the discharge water. It may depend on the floor type being cleaned, as this was vinyl tile kitchen flooring not cleaned in a long time, though not heavily used either. The Braava being smaller does fit better under the cabinet edges, and can get into tighter spaces in bathrooms. The smaller 240 also has a limited area capacity, with its small water tank. It is priced, though, not all that much below the larger iLife.
I tend to view the Braava (originally MInt, bought by iRobot), like the oldest Roomba vacuums, very limited in cleaning power and more a demo of robotic navigation -- as the Wall Street Journal viewed all these products, kinda toys more than real appliances.

To really settle such matters measurements are needed of the cleaning effectiveness, some of which I have performed on vacuum robots reported elsewhere here, over substantial periods of time and with instruments, focused mainly on carpet cleaning which challenges these low power, battery devices compared to easier to clean hard floors. I notice with the iLife washer that with a second run, much less dirt was extracted suggesting it actually had achieved some degree of completion.

The Braava strikes me as a high luxury device with its idea of disposable cleaning pads presenting considerable operating expense, if not using washable pads -- which are not supplied with the unit packages.

It is interesting that iRobot, which had developed its Scooba washers in house, did not invent the roller-squeegee-suction mechanism now appearing in floor cleaners and adapted in the iLife bot. Yet they had never developed the guided cleaner introduced by Neato with lidar mapping, either. The innovations are scattered around.

[edit] One thing we will not see is a battery powered carpet washer, as it takes the kilowatt suction of large vacuums to extract water from carpets.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Botty » June 8th, 2019, 8:47 pm

Yes I agree with that. The first couple of times I ran my iLife the water it collected was very dirty at first, but now it’s relatively clean all the time. So it does seem to be pretty effective. Just wish it got right up to the walls like the braavas, but overall I think it’s a much better value machine for price vs performance.

By the way, if you need them you can get spare rollers very cheaply here > https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/c51M8Y3Q
They arrived here (uk) in 6 working days from China, which is pretty impressive.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby glnc222 » June 9th, 2019, 12:27 pm

Comparison to Scooba
For comparison this video shows the old discontinued iRobot Scooba and the Braava Jet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQqyL3iIb4Y. So the Scooba extracted dirty water similar to the iLife but used a bristle brush instead of the sponge brush in the iLife and some stick vacuums now.
For severe cases I can imagine using a hand bristle brush on the floor with chemical cleaners and using the iLife to mop up.
The Scooba video also shows a cleaning fluid sold by Clorox for the robot, I think showing just some white vinegar on a rear label.
Bristle brushes on hard wood or laminate flooring compared to tile or vinyl flooring might be a dubious idea, with possible scratching.
The Scooba employed random navigation patterns similar to Roomba's, compared to the newer straight patterns implemented with or without scanner room mapping -- a product of advances in power of microcomputing parts.
While iRobot has a lot of distribution in U.S. retail stores, I noticed the Chinese Ecovacs Deebots in stores here now, along with quite a few other brands in vacuums, Bissell, Hoover, Shark, Dyson, besides Neato. Once the market is big enough, competition does appear.
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Re: News 2018: ILIFE W400

Postby Botty » June 9th, 2019, 12:38 pm

One definite improvement would be a small fan in the charging base that blows air through the w400 to dry it after cleaning. The water hangs around in the tank for a long time.
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