Reviewing the iLife V5s – What’s to Like and What Isn’t

The Roomba has been the most recognizable name when it comes to robot vacuum cleaners.  Newcomers and challengers to the throne would need to have something special for consumers to take notice.

But because most people find the Roombas expensive, other robot vacuums try to offer the same features and the same level of functionality at a more affordable price.

ILIFE V5s is one of the contenders that try to corner the market with a great set of features while keeping the cost down.  You can buy the V5s for less than $200 as of this writing (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), but is that price too good to be true?

ILIFE V5s: An overview

The ILIFE V5s looks very similar to the Roomba.  For one, it takes the same circular form as the Roomba.  It has a minimalist look at the top, which is made even more elegant with its gold color.  You simply touch the CLEAN button on top and it will start running and doing the cleaning on its own.

Underneath, you have two fixed and two rotating wheels that allow it to go through the hard floor.   It can also automatically go back to its charging station when its battery runs out of charge.

The ILIFE V5s makes use of a wide variety of sensors to help it move around the room.  Its infrared sensors allow the robot vacuum to cover the entire floor area without crashing into walls and other obstacles.  It also has cliff detection sensors that prevent it from falling off stairs.

The robot vacuum has a touch surface, and all you need to do to start cleaning is to press the “CLEAN” icon on its face.  The LED indicators will confirm that the vacuum is indeed in operation.

There are different operating modes to choose from, including:

  • Auto clean
  • Spot clean
  • Wet clean
  • Edge clean

The automatic cleaning mode directs the robot vacuum to clean your entire floor while the spot cleaning mode tells the ILIFE V5s to concentrate on a particular area.

In spot cleaning mode, the power vacuum moves around in a small circle that gradually gets bigger, making sure those hard-to-clean or really dirty surfaces get more attention.

Meanwhile, the edge cleaning mode directs the robot vacuum close to the edges of walls, so that you can have cleaner corners and baseboards.  Without turning this mode on, the V5s will avoid the walls, only coming within 6 inches and then turning away.

This setting will direct the vacuum to find the nearest wall and then stays on it to cover all the edges and walls in the room.

Without specifying any of these modes, the V5s will go through its automatic cleaning mode, spot cleaning mode and then the edge-cleaning mode.  This means that you can just leave the V5s on and still be sure that the entire floor has been cleaned.

All of these modes take advantage of the Smart Route Planning technology that allows you to clean more than 99% of your floor area.  The robot vacuum also has a rated suction power of 850 Pa, which is more than enough to leave your floors clean.  It can negotiate uneven floors that have slopes of up to 150 degrees.

Battery.  The ILIFE V5s uses a 2600 mAh lithium-ion battery, powering it for up to 150 minutes to clean a floor area of around 1,600 sq. ft. before needing to recharge.  To get the most out of your V5s, be sure to charge for at least five hours on the first time.

You can choose between two charging modes: manual and automatic.  The V5s can go back to the charging station by itself when power runs low.

Remote controller.  The V5s comes with a remote controller that is very easy to use.  Some of the functions you get from the remote control include telling the robot vacuum to go back to the charging base when it runs out of battery juice.  You also use the remote to schedule the cleaning, start the cleaning or turn on the Max mode, which allows it to clean more powerfully.

Mopping Mode. What sets the ILIFE V5s Robot Vacuum is the mopping feature.  After vacuuming the floor, you will need to take out the dustbin to empty it and replace it with the water tank.

The feature allows you to mop your floors and covers the same area as when you are vacuuming.  Allowing you to get cleaner floors using just one device.  You no longer have to mop after having your floors cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.

The ILIFE V5s has a 300 ml water tank where you can store the water that the robot vacuum uses to mop the floor.

Scheduling. You can schedule your cleaning with the appointment cleaning mode. You also have the option to schedule your ILIFE V5s everyday at the same time.

What’s inside the box?

  • The ILIFE V5s Robot Vacuum
  • Charger
  • Remote controller
  • Extra rotating brushes
  • Extra HEPA filters
  • Extra mop pad
  • Cleaning brush to clean the parts.

Is the V5S Better Than a Roomba?

Since we are talking about robot vacuum, a comparison between ILIFE V5s and Roombas cannot be avoided.  The ILIFE V5s is definitely a lot cheaper than any Roomba available out there, but this is not the only advantage.  Where else does the ILIFE V5s win over Roombas?

  • Dimension Comparison: The ILIFE V5s Robot Vacuum has a diameter of 11.79 inches and a height of 3 inches.  The V5s is smaller than any of the Roombas, which measure more than 13.3 inches or wider.  It is also shorter than the Roomba 500 series through 900 series, all of which have a height of 3.6 inches.  That means the ILIFE V5s Robot Vacuum is able to get into tighter spaces than a Roomba and even get under more pieces of furniture.  It is also lighter than a Roomba, with the V5s weighing only 2.05 kg, almost half the weight of the 900 series Roombas.
  • Noise Comparison: In operation, the ILIFE V5s Robot Vacuum is also quieter than a Roomba.  For instance, the more expensive $900 Roomba 980 produces 70 decibels of sound, as do the Roomba 880.  Both of these are considered the quieter Roombas.  In contrast, the ILIFE V5s makes use of a silent technology that limits the noise level to around 55 dB.  That noise is further reduced when you are wet cleaning.
  • Battery Comparison: The battery you see on the V5s is also much more superior to the ones you find on most Roombas.  Most Roombas, such as the 880, 870, 770, and 650, have a nickel metal hydride battery.  The lithium ion battery that the V5s uses gives you longer cleaning sessions and is more durable than the Ni-MH batteries.
  • Price Comparison: In addition, the much cheaper V5s has its own remote control, a feature that you can only see on the Roomba 770 and 880.
  • Remote Control Comparison: The Roomba 960 and 980 may be remotely controlled using a mobile app.

Comparison with other ILIFE Robot Vacuums

If you find all these things about the V5s impressive, then you should know that there are also other ILIFE vacuum models already available in the market.   These robot vacuums, including the A4 (link to review), the V3s (link to review), theV5, and of course the V5s, are all under $200.  Each one comes with top-notch features such as scheduling, pet hair care technology, automatic charging, and navigation sensors.

Here is a comparison of ILIFE robovacs:

V3s V5 V5s A4
Lowest Price on Amazon (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)
Scheduling Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pet Hair Care Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes
Self-Charging Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dry Mop Optional Yes Yes No
Scheduling Yes Yes Yes Yes
3-Step Cleaning System No No No Yes
Water Tank No No Yes No
Max Mode No No Yes Yes
Navigation sensors Yes Yes Yes Yes
Color Pearl White Light Gold Gold Titanium Gray

ILIFE V5s: What could be better?

The V5s might not be a good buy if you have carpeted floors.  It can easily be stuck on the edges of thick carpets, charging cables, electric wires, and other items you may have left on the floor.

Having a fully carpeted floor also means that you would not be able to make full use of your V5s’ mopping features.

Another area that needs improvement is the V5s’mopping duration.  When in mopping mode, the ILIFE V5s has enough battery power to run for hours, but the water tank can only hold enough water to mop your floor for 45 minutes or so.

This means that you cannot schedule a mopping for more than 45 minutes.

A bigger water tank or a more efficient use of the water could have allowed the ILIFE V5s to mop for a longer period.

In addition, the manufacturer recommends that you put only water in the water tank when mopping.  They should make the ILIFE V5s safe to use with hardwood cleaners, disinfectants and other chemicals that consumers are already using on their floors.

This way, owners do not need to spray or apply these themselves and save time in the process.

Further, the dustbin and the water tank occupy the same slot.  That means that you would need to switch one to the other to go from vacuuming to mopping mode and vice versa.

The company should come up with a design that would allow users to use both without the need to switch, while still keeping the current capacity of each to hold water or dirt and dust.

Another thing that you might notice with the dustbin on the ILIFE V5S fills up rather quickly, so you find yourself needing to empty it every so often.  A bigger dustbin and, consequently, a bigger water tank would help make the ILIFE V5S’ 2.5 hours running time make more sense.

The final verdict

The V5S is perfect for homes that have bare floors without any carpeting as it can pick up dirt, pet dander and hair, and dust with not problems.  After that, you can use it to mop your floors, ensuring a cleaner clean.

Note, however, that you cannot mop and vacuum simultaneously and these have to be done separately, one after the other.

The V5S is also very quiet, but if you want to have a quiet run, you would have to give up some of its suction power.  The robot vacuum can run silently but suction power goes down to around 500 Pa.  In normal operation, you can get as much as 850 Pa but it is considerably noisier.

The ILIFE V5s Robot Vacuum is a godsend for those people who want to have a Roomba but are turned off by the price tag.  In fact, with its vacuuming and mopping features, you would need to buy both a Roomba and a Bravaa.

The Bravaa Jet sells for about $199.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) while the Roomba 650 sells for about $374.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).  You shell out $575 for both systems and you still would not have some of the features you get from the ILIFE V5S.

Overall, the ILIFE V5S Robot Vacuum is a solid – if unspectacular – buy.  It gives you almost the same clean as some of the most expensive Roombas at a fraction of the price.  In addition, you get the most important features you see on more expensive Roombas as well as some additional features such as the mopping function and remote control thrown in. It’s not perfect in execution, but it’s intriguing enough to be a great value.

Bottom Line: Most Roomba knock-offs are not worth the money. The iLIFE V5s doesn’t follow this pattern. It’s surprisingly good, despite not quite being on the same caliber as the latest Roombas orBotvac’s.