by Garrick Dee
Updated November 6th, 2018
Over the past few months I’ve been given the opportunity to test a number of robotic vacuums from GearBest. Out of the (almost) 20 robots I’ve tested, the Xiaomi would by my favorite.
It’s one of their bestselling products that have the tech and performance to challenge the giants, Roomba and Neato.
Samsung has been a leader in consumer electronics – mobile phones, air conditioning unites, washing machines, you name it Samsung has a product for it.
But not a lot of people know that they manufacture robotic vacuums.
And the PowerBot R9040 is one of their earlier variants that utilize a camera for navigation.
Editor’s note: Editor’s note: Right now GearBest is selling this robot vacuum for a ridiculously low price if you use the coupon code “XIAOMIVAC” or “XMIVCHK”. Get more great deals for Xiaomi products by visiting this page.
My brother is a fan of Samsung. And when I found out that he bought this, I immediately texted him and asked if I could borrow it for a week.
And here’s part of the result of those tests.
To help guide you through this review, I’ve created a table of contents section…
Before anything also please watch this video so that you’ll get an idea of the difference between these two.
Immediate difference you’ll notice is the color. Samsung comes has a black matte finish with blue accents. Xiaomi has an all-white finish.
The Samsung PowerBot has the same D-shape as the Neato but that’s where the similarities end.
Samsung is taller and wider than Xiaomi due to product design. The middle part is where the motor and bin sits.
Unlike most other robot cleaners that use a paper element filter, Samsung utilizes cyclonic filtration with a washable filter at the end.
The bin is one of the largest bins at 0.7 liters which contributes to its massive size.
You won’t be able to pick this robot up with one hand unlike ILIFE.
Xiaomi is much shorter, measuring just 3.15” tall. Compare that to Samsung that measures 5-5/16″, it’s like David and Goliath in terms of height.
Being shorter in this case is good because it will allow it more reach underneath furniture. And Xiaomi is also narrower by around an inch so it’ll fight tighter spaces better.
Flip both over and this is where you’ll really see the size different. Everything in the Samsung is bigger – motorized brush and wheels. It also has more wheels – a total of 6 if you include the two wheels in front of the brush.
Both these robots have cliff sensors on front that prevent it from falling off areas like stairs. The downside to cliff sensors is that it’ll not be able to clean dark colored flooring. If you have black carpet, these robots will not go over it.
One big difference would be the presence of a side brush in the Xiaomi.
Another difference would be the width of the motorized brush. Samsung literally dwarfs Xiaomi’s brush.
Both have a similar bristled and squeegee type design that works well on pet hair.
It’s pretty close to the edge but there’s an inch gap on the left side. The lack of a side brush hurts it in terms of edge cleaning.
When I first saw the PowerBot I thought it had a similar navigation as the Roomba 980 because it had a camera but I was wrong.
Even with the camera it wasn’t as smart as a Roomba. Yes, it goes in a predictable cleaning pattern but it isn’t smart enough to know the areas it has cleaned.
Watch this video to see what I mean…
You’ll notice that it goes in a predictable back and forth pattern and does cover a lot of ground.
The predictable cleaning pattern looks efficient but it isn’t. In several cleaning tests I did, it took a long time (close to an hour) to clean the same amount of dirt that an ILIFE will take 20 minutes to do so.
So the navigation isn’t a good justification of the price difference between these two products but that’s for another article.
Another potential downside to a camera based system is it needs light for it to work. In pitch dark conditions this robot will have trouble tracking its position.
Xiaomi utilizes a much different approach. Instead of using a camera, it has a laser guided sensor similar to the Neato BotVac. In addition to that laser guided system it has the S.L.A.M. algorithm that helps it track its position.
This is the same technology found in the Google self-driving car so this is high tech.
Its navigation is simple, first thing it’ll do is clean the edges then move towards the middle and it does it twice. Make sure that you update the software to get this feature.
This product is an exact clone of a Neato BotVac but it looks much different with the round shape and much narrow brush.
If you’ve watched the whole video above you probably know how these two robots compare to each other.
For each of the cleaning tests, I scattered 50 grams of dirt that contained oats, dust, power and hair.
And the results are pretty close.
Here’s a before photo of the Samsung cleaning test…
And here’s what it did after almost an hour of cleaning. Despite the predictable cleaning pattern, it was not efficient.
If there’s one thing that it struggled with it’s edge cleaning because it lacks a side brush. You’ll see in the latter two pictures above that there’s a lot of dirt left.
In terms of performance, it did a pretty good job, cleaning 45 out of the 50 grams. But it’s very inefficient in doing so taking almost an hour.
Xiaomi is much more efficient. First let’s look at some screenshots of the video…
And here’s an after screenshot.
It’s much more efficient than the Samsung thanks to the laser-guided sensor and S.L.A.M. algorithm. The laser-guided sensor helps it detect obstacles in it’s path and maps out the outline of the room.
It does not have the acoustic sensors that detect dirt found in the Roomba 980 but it “remembers” the areas it has gone over thanks to the S.L.A.M. software.
Out of the box this robot will go around the room only once so you’re buying this robot make sure to upgrade the software through the app.
Upgrading the app will give you access to a better navigation system that will go through the room twice and pick up more dirt.
The navigation software also allows it to clean multiple rooms with little risk not returning to home base.
Xiaomi comes with a paper element HEPA filter that isn’t washable. Samsung doesn’t have a HEPA filter but it’s washable. So that somehow makes up for the lack of filtration.
Samsung’s bin is also easier to empty while Xiaomi has more tight crevices that make it a little more difficult to empty.
|Xiaomi||Samsung PowerBot R9040|
|Dirt capacity (dry)||0.45 liters||0.7 liters|
|Run Time||2.5 hrs.||60 mins.|
|Net weight||8.4 lbs.||9.9 lbs.|
|Width||13.58 lbs.||14 7/8 lbs.|
|Height||3.15 in.||5 5/16 in.|
|Accessories included||Charging base|
Brush cleaning tool
|Warranty||1 year||1 year|
The bottom line is the Xiaomi is a better product overall. If you compare the spec sheet, Xiaomi has the better navigation, better app, is smaller and the more efficient cleaning robot.
Samsung looked promising but as spent time testing and knowing its quirks, it didn’t live up to the hype and lacked some features that could have made it more competitive against the top brands.
Even with the camera, it was less efficient than an ILIFE that costs much less. The app also was a disappointment because it was bare. It pales in comparison to the Xiaomi app that has tons of features. The only features is has is scheduling, RC control and allow you to turn on the robot remotely but that’s about it.
It will not tell you battery status and won’t allow scheduling multiple times a day which is a big con for me. If Xiaomi is able to pull it off, a larger company like Samsung with millions spent on R&D should be able to have at least the same features.
And with the nearly $300 price difference between these two, I’d go with the Xiaomi anytime of the day.
Another thing that hampers Samsung would be the size. It measures 5 5/16 inches tall which is more than 2 inches taller than Xiaomi. This size prevents it from going under a lot of furniture. Obviously if the furniture you have under your home has lots of clearance.
The only reason I can think why you’d buy a Samsung PowerBot is brand loyalty and it’s compatibility with Alexa.