This is not the first RoboVac that I have tried. We have a smaller and less expensive model already from another company and it was interesting to see how the two compared. The JISIWEI I3 is currently not showing a UK Amazon price but is available in the USA for $269.00.
In essence perhaps this is two devices in one. It is a remotely controlled automated vacuum cleaner that will roam the house cleaning as it goes until it senses the battery is becoming depleted whereupon it will return to the docking station to recharge. It can be left to clean unattended or it can be controlled by the supplied remote control or through an iPhone or Android app. In addition, once successfully configured, it can use the built in camera to operate as a security camera and send in-app or email alerts with pictures and video. Using the app it is possible to guide the RoboVac through the house viewing the live image from the camera as it goes along. It has two very bright status LEDs on the front. One for charging status and the other for network status. These are supplemented my voice announcements some of which are largely inaudible when the device is in operation.
Build quality seems first rate and this does not feel like a budget machine physically although the lack of some features found on similar devices makes me suspect that to an extent this is what it is. It comes with two spare brushes, which can be easily clipped in place when needed. The supplied User Guide is large, very large in fact, and well printed in colour but annoyingly vague when dealing with some aspects of device operation.
Let’s look firstly at how well it fares as a vacuum cleaner. Before using my first RoboVac I did not expect too much from it. I thought that this sort of vacuum needed a hard uncluttered surface to work best and would be unable to pick up much more than dust. I was wrong both my first machine and this one work fine both on tiles and thin pile carpet and both machines pick up dog hairs and all sorts of lightweight detritus. Don’t expect this or any sort of RoboVac to pick up anything more substantial than dust, coffee grounds, string, broken biscuits etc or to work on thick pile carpet. Touching on that I noticed that unlike my first machine this one lacks a beater bar – the revolving brush used my vacuums to get inside carpet pile – but this seems to have had little effect on how well it cleans and in fact both machines are the same in that respect. This one wins over as it has an easy to access and quite substantial refuse bin. I have found in normal use it needs to emptied only once every three or four days unlike the other machine which needs to be emptied daily. I have found that the vacuum will operate for about two hours before returning back to the charging base which is rather less cleaning time than my other machine. Also, the large size of this cleaner makes fitting under furniture or into tight corners a problem. The device will also work on wet floors and has a water receptacle and removable cleaning cloth on the underside but this I have not yet tested. This machine us let down somewhat by the lack of a scheduled cleaning routine. The handset has a button which will start the cleaning routine after a two hour delay but there is no provision to set a daily automated cleaning cycle at a preset time.
Turning now to the wifi capabilities of the device here I encountered an seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Try as I might I was unable to connect the device to my wifi network using the official Jisiwei Android app. Three methods are listed in the User Guide, I tried them all using three Android phones on two separate networks but with no luck. The problem seems to lay in the ‘binding’ process whereby the Vacuum is linked to the app. The phone app could scan the barcode on the Vacuum base successfully and show the Vacuum as binded (sic) but then when I tried to move on up would pop an error message saying that no vacuum was binded. Without an initial binding it is not possible to further configure the software.
Here’s the workaround I found.
1. Connect your PC to the wifi Hotspot built into the vacuum camera. No password is needed.
2. Whilst connected use the PC application SYSM Monitor to input your home wifi login and password details to the vacuum camera.
3. Reboot the vacuum and the camera should then connect to your home wifi.
4. Use the SYSM Monitor app or Android phone app SYSM to configure the camera alarm settings as well as to stream or record live video and pictures and steer the vacuum around.
Looking around on the internet I see that others have encountered this same issue but I should add that for most users there were no problems at all
The vacuum will serve as a security camera with a motion sensor that will email alerts. You can steer the vacuum remotely to monitor activity in the house. The big problem is that when in the charging dock the camera faces into the dock not the room and is rendered useless. When positioned off the dock it is will work only as long as the batteries last although if the vacuum is not actually cleaning then this may be for several hours.
This is an excellent vacuum and performed far better than I expected it or any Robovac to do. It requires infrequent maintenance once up and running. It is well made and robust and hopefully should be good for years of use provided that spare brushes and HEPA filters are made available. I found the wifi based features to be problematic and hard to access but that may just be my bad luck. It has some basic features missing, scheduling and an LCD display being the most important, and the battery life was less than I hoped for. All that said, this is still an excellent machine and I would be quite happy to recommend it.
Good build quality
Large capacity waste bin
Excellent User Guide
Security camera feature
Easy to empty waste bin
High quality Camera images and video
Camera can be accessed remotely
Hard to configure app control
Buggy Android app
Over bright LED’s
Voice messages in audible when device operating
Camera unusable when docked
No Beater Bar
Noisy in operation
No LCD display
Large size makes accessing tight spaces awkward