Roborock E20 Review: Cheaper Alternative to the Roborock S5

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When the Xiaomi introduced their robotic vacuum last year, it changed my view on Chinese robot vacuums.

The quality and performance that it had is a notch above other Chinese brands. And the best part is that it’s cheaper than its direct competitor, the Neato BotVac.

Next up was the Roborock S5 that comes with a few choice upgrades that extend its functionality. It also comes with a zone cleaning feature that allows consumers to clean spot areas minus a virtual wall.

One issue with the Roborock would be price. This second-generation will cost around $500++ more or less depending on where you buy it.

Roborock S25 is an option that fall in-between the first generation and S50 in terms of price.

I must admit, I thought that this robot was a Xiaomi copycat but after doing some research that isn’t the case.

This robot is a Xiaomi with a random navigation pattern if that makes sense. It does not have the Laser Distance Sensor so it won’t have the same predictable pattern.

 

A quick look at the features

  • Uses the same MI Home App that has similar functionality as the S5 and first-gen Xiaomi
  • Adaptive random navigation relies on external sensors to map and choose the best cleaning path
  • Large capacity 640 ml dust box that allows you to clean more without emptying as often
  • Comes with a 2,600 mAh Lithium Ion battery that will run for 120 minutes
  • It’ll take 2 hours to recharge
  • 1,600 Pa suction
  • 1-year warranty

Pros

  • Cheaper than the Roborock S5 and S6
  • Decent dirt bin size that has enough capacity to clean multiple rooms without having to empty
  • Long run time
  • Decent suction
  • Good performance around furniture
  • The app allows you to control this robot remotely

Cons

  • The lack of an LDS sensor means it won’t be as efficient as the first gen or S5 RoboRock
  • More expensive than the first-gen Xiaomi

 

What to expect from the Xiaomi Xiaowa robot vacuum?

Please watch this video where I unbox and show the different features of the Xiaowa robot vacuum. Please watch the video till the end because there is a cleaning test at the latter part.

At first glance, you’d think that this robot isn’t a Xiaomi product.

It lacks the familiar LDS sensor that the first generation and S50 RoboRock come with which means this robot will not have the same efficient navigation.

But he Xiaowa retains the same color scheme and minimalist design.

 

Top View

If you look at it from the top, the interface is simple.

On the upper part are three buttons that give you access to the spot cleaning, default cleaning, and docking functionality.

The all-white design is a typical Xiaomi design that looks classic but it does get dirty quite easily. So that’s a heads up if you live in a dusty area.

Like the previous Xiaomi robots, the door is also at the top where the bin is stored.

Bottom View

Flip the robot upside down and you’ll see a familiar layout with the side brush on the left.

This robot comes with the same beater bar as other Xiaomi robots.

Two rubber wheels flank the brush and is spring-loaded. You can use this robot on the carpet and bare floor.

Navigation

This is where the Xiaowa is different from the first generation Xiaomi and the Roborock S5.

Since this variant does not have the LDS sensor, don’t expect it to go in a predictable back and forth pattern.

It does not have the high tech S.L.A.M. navigation that the other two Xiaomi robots have.

Instead this robot uses a series of IR sensors that Xiaowa calls “Adaptive Random Algorithm”.

Technical jargon aside, if you look closely at how this robot navigates, it just goes in a random direction.

The good thing about this navigation is that it’s through and will generally do well at cleaning corners and edges.

Smartphone app

This is one of the very few robot vacuums in this price range that has an app that’s as good (if not better) than a Neato Botvac.

I’ll share some screenshots below so that you’ll get a feel on how the app looks like.

It won’t have the same features in the S50 that has the zone cleaning and real time map updates. But it’ll get most of the other features such as scheduled cleaning and status updates of the consumable parts.

It also has the carpet boost mode that turns up the power to the max for maximum performance on surfaces like carpet.

Take note that a robot vacuum will not deep clean carpet so please set your expectations in order. You will need an upright vacuum for such a task.

Power

This robot has the least amount of suction versus the Roborock S5 and first-generation Xiaomi at just 1,600 Pa. It won’t be a big deal when cleaning the bare floor but it does factor in when cleaning rug and carpet.

If your home has carpet, you may want to consider the S50 since it comes with the most power.

2,600 mAh battery

Another thing that was downsized was the battery. To put things in perspective, the first generation Xiaomi and S50 both have a monstrous 5,200 mAh Li-Ion battery.

So don’t expect this to run as long (only 2 hours max). And it’ll take around 2 hours to recharge.

Dirt bin

Xiaowa comes with a 640 ml dust bin that big enough to pick up dirt in a small to medium-size home. One potential issue would be the design. The narrow opening makes it a bit tricky to empty.

Warranty

Xiaomi backs this robot up with a 1-year warranty.

Cleaning performance

Before I give my commentary, let me show you some before and after photos…

Overall this robot did a pretty decent job. The powder residue was a bit concerning for me because this shows the lack of power.

But it did pick up 36 out of the 50 grams of dirt that was on the floor. Another plus of this would be edge cleaning though there was one area it left a lot of powder residue.

It also did well cleaning dirt under and around the chair legs. I didn’t see too much residue on that area.

Where can I buy this robot?

You can purchase this robot from Amazon for less than $300 and it’ll be eligible for their free shipping if you subscribe to Prime.

To wrap up

This robot is basically a Roborock S5 minus the predictable navigation.

It is a stripped-down version of the Roborock S50 since it does not have the LDS sensor, S.L.A.M. algorithm, large motor and battery.

So don’t expect this to perform as well but the difference isn’t as big as you think.

The good news is you’ll still have access to the MI Home App that will allow you to turn on and schedule this robot remotely.

If you don’t mind the lack of the efficient cleaning pattern, large motor and the other premium features in the S50 then save yourself a lot of $$$ with the Xiaowa.

A Budget Xiaomi Robot Vacuum
  • Usability - 91%
    91%
  • Surface Cleaning - 72%
    72%
  • Quality - 91%
    91%
  • Design - 92%
    92%
  • Value - 89%
    89%
87%

Summary

The Roborock S25 is a good alternative to the S5 or S6 if you don’t want to spend as much. It didn’t do as well in the initial cleaning test that I did, but consumer reviews have been favorable so far. I’ll do another round of testing to see how it does and update this article.

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