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Neato Botvac and Roomba are probably what most people think of first when you mention robot vacuum cleaners. That is not surprising, considering that these two brands have been in the market for quite some time now and have consistently come up with robot vacuum models that deliver efficient and thorough cleaning for your floors.
Most people, however, would balk at the Botvac’s and Roomba’s price tag. Both of these brands may have an excellent line of robot vacuums, but they are also very expensive. Over the years, we have seen several Chinese-made robot vacuums entering the market with more budget-friendly prices. Some of these robot vacuums even sell for less. However, they usually have less features and less suction power. They also have lousy navigation and it seems like they are just randomly going over your floors, missing a number of spots.
The iLIFE A8 comes from a Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer (Check out the latest rates here!). Is this like most other budget robot vacuums? Or will it give Roombas and Neato Botvacs stiff competition?
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The iLIFE A8
The iLIFE A8 is a black-colored round robot vacuum that measures 12.20 inches in diameter and 2.83 inches high. This means that it can easily go under your furniture while being able to cover a wide area in a single pass. Compared to a typical Roomba robot vacuum, the iLIFE A8 is narrower and shorter.
The iLIFE A8 comes with a dustbin that can accommodate 0.3 liter of dirt, dust, hair, and debris. On top, you would find a single physical button that you can press to manually start cleaning.
iLIFE A8 features
For a robot vacuum at its price range, the iLIFE A8 is surprisingly features-packed. It also has some premium functionalities that you can only find on more expensive brands.
The notable features of the iLIFE A8 are:
- Panoview navigation. The iLife A8 scans your entire room to create an accurate map that it can use to know where to go. This helps ensure that the robot vacuum can give your room a comprehensive clean, without any area being missed! This navigation system uses a live vision camera to do the mapping, as well as utilizes three processors to make the entire mapping process really fast.
- Two alternate brushes. The iLife A8 has two brushes that you can use. It has the bristle brush for those times that you want a thorough clean for your floors, and it has the rubber brush, which is good for hardwood floors and for picking pet hair. The rubber brush does not have bristles, which means it would not get tangled when picking up pet hair.
- Three-part filtering system. This robot vacuum uses a high-performance filter that traps the dirt and dust inside the dustbin. It makes uses of a primary filter, a sponge, and a secondary filter to make sure that the only fresh, clean air is circulated back.
- Cleaning modes. The iLIFE A8 has four cleaning modes. Auto mode is for automatic cleaning, where the robot vacuum runs in parallel lines to cover your floors. Spot cleaning mode is great for cleaning a smaller area. Edge cleaning mode sends the iLIFE A8 to follow along the walls and clean the edges of your room. Lastly, you have the Max mode that is just perfect for those times you need a more thorough cleaning.
- Battery. The iLIFE A8 uses a lithium ion battery that can power the robot for up to 90 minutes of cleaning. When the battery runs low, the robot vacuum can automatically find the charging dock. It will spend around five hours to fully recharge. After recharging, the robot vacuum will automatically resume cleaning where it left off.
- CyclonePower cleaning system. The iLIFE A8 uses the CyclonePower cleaning system. It has two side brushes, a rolling brush, and powerful suction to give your floors a thorough clean. You can choose between a brushless rubber brush or the main brush to clean your floors, while the side brushes can effectively clean corners and edges. The vacuum then sucks up all the dirt and sends them to the dust bin.
- Tells you what it is doing, or if it needs help. The iLIFE A8 has the iVoice technology, which tells you about its status. No more grappling with error codes and figuring out what they mean.
What’s in the box?
- iLIFE A8 robotic vacuum
- Charging base
- AC adapter for the charging base
- Remote control
- 2 extra side brushes
- 1 extra main brush
- Cleaning tool
What you would like about the iLIFE A8
If you have different types of floors, you would appreciate the large RoadRover wheels that the iLIFE A8 uses. This allows the robot vacuum to climb over obstacles and clear carpet edges. The robot vacuum has a gradability rating of 15 degrees and that is enough to cross obstacles half an inch high.
For a mid-prized robot vacuum, you are getting a vacuum cleaner that cleans the same way as the more expensive brands do. For one, the three-stage cleaning using the main and side brushes and the powerful vacuum is similar to how the Neato Botvac and Roomba clean. The visual mapping technology is also a feature you can find on these more expensive robot vacuums.
What’s more, you can just leave the iLIFE A8 to complete its work because it can resume cleaning automatically after charging. You can start a cleaning session, and then go to work or do your grocery shopping. Given enough time, the robot vacuum would be able to clean the entire level even if you have decided to leave the house.
What could be better
At only 0.3 liter, the dustbin is on the smaller side. This means that you will need to empty the dustbin more frequently. The battery is also a bit on the weak side, delivering only 1.5 hours of operation while needing 5 hours to charge.
However, this is not much of a problem because the robot vacuum can automatically charge itself and then resume cleaning after charging.
If you are looking for a robot vacuum that you can control using your smartphone, then you would need to look elsewhere. Because for all of its nifty features, the iLIFE A8 does not have Wi-Fi connectivity.
Then there is the scheduling. The iLIFE A8 can only handle basic scheduling. This means that you can program this robot vacuum to start cleaning only at the same time every day. You cannot, for instance, set a different schedule for weekdays and weekends.
The iLIFE A8 does a good job at picking up dust and dirt, and it does have a camera-based navigation system. However, for some reason, its algorithms are not good enough when it comes to calculating cleaning routes. Tests with the iLIFE A8 shows that it tends to miss some spots. It tends to get lost in the middle of the room, and edge cleaning is not as thorough as you want it to be.
This is probably the biggest downside to the iLIFE A8: the algorithm that fails to ensure comprehensive clean and lays to waste the visual mapping technology it has on board. Hopefully, this is something that iLIFE can correct with a firmware update, and soon.
iLIFE A8: Comparison with the Roomba 980 and final recommendations
The iLIFE A8 has most of the technologies that people have come to love about the more expensive Roomba 980. Camera-based visual mapping and locations? Check. Three-stage cleaning? Check. Auto charging and resume? Check. You can even argue that the MAX mode could take the place of the Roomba 980’s carpet boost feature. The iLIFE A8, however, costs a decent price on Amazon (Check out the latest rates here!), which is less than the Roomba 980’s price tag.
And while the iLIFE A8 does not have Wi-Fi connectivity to enable you to control it using your smartphone, you can still use the included physical remote control to operate it. The only thing you cannot do is to manually start a cleaning session while you are out of the house. Naturally, it does not have the cleaning maps that the Roomba 980 offers, along with other smart features. You also cannot control it using Amazon Alexa.
However, the lower price of the iLIFE A8 means sacrificing a comprehensive coverage of your floors. The robot vacuum misses some areas that even when it finishes cleaning, you would still need to do a second run. The bad news is that there is no option for you to set two cleaning passes.
So, should you buy the iLIFE A8? Yes, if you are looking for a capable robot vacuum that is easy on the budget. However, if you are the type who likes efficient clean and assured complete coverage, you might want to pay a little bit more for a Roomba 690, (Check out the latest rates here!). The Roomba 690 might rely on sensors to find its way around, but it can still deliver better coverage. You can also consider splurging on a Roomba 980 or one of the new Neato Botvac models, if you want the visual mapping feature.
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Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!