Some of my friends might say I am old-fashioned. I prefer doing things the classic way. I am a cautious person, I don’t like taking chances, but every once in a while I love to test new things. That is way I postponed reviewing the iLife A4 robot vacuum until now. I had to make sure I get my hands on most of the entry-level vacuum cleaners out there, to have a good comparison basis. I’m happy to announce that the wait is over, and today I’ll be presenting you a robot vacuum with one of the greatest price/quality ratios I’ve seen in my life. For reference, I’d like to add that Gearbest.com offered me the product for free, for testing purposes. As a side note, check out what these guys have prepared for their fall promotion. Let’s get to it, here’s what you’ll find out in a few moments:
- what are the full features of the A4
- how is it like, performance wise
- how it compares with the iLife V7S (it’s main competitor from the same producer)
- from where to get a good deal for it
Bare with me, I hope I’m getting better at photographing:
and video-shooting things:
Usually, when talking about robot vacuums, suction is one of those things one can never get enough. This robot can work in 2 different modes. In the “standard mode”, it sucks around 700 Pa, and in the “Max mode”, suction can reach 1000 Pa. With this value, the product is on top of any other robovac produced by iLife. Of course, the noise produced is different between these 2 modes. As you can see in the picture gallery, I’ve measured with my phone the sound in standard mode, which is 62 db. At the highest suction, it makes 70 db on carpet.
Input Power and Battery Life
All iLife vacuum cleaners come with very good 2600 mAh Li-Ion batteries. So far, these batteries are among the best in robotic vacuum cleaners. The only unit which can work longer is the V7S, and don’t worry, I have compared these two a few paragraphs below. Li-Ion batteries are virtually everywhere these days. You can see them in smartphones, laptops, smartwatches, tablets and so on. The alternative (Ni-Mh) would have a higher lifespan, but this comes with weaker results and a much more difficult maintenance. The A4 can function up to 150 minutes in the standard cleaning mode, and around 90 minutes with the super suction enabled.
At 15 oz., I consider the bin large enough to store a satisfying amount of dirt. By comparison, the V7S stores 17 oz., so the difference is really not that big. The great thing about it is that it can be removed easily from the unit itself, and the emptying process is also simple and straightforward. You just need to press the button which you see in the left image. The bin also accommodates the filters, which we’ll discuss shortly.
At this price, there’s no way you could get a SLAM capable robot. But here’s a fun fact: you don’t need it. The A4 comes with 4 movement sequences: spot clean, edge clean, tight place clean and auto clean. It’s trivial what each of them means, but I’ll still remind you that spot clean guides the robot in a circular manner, edge clean enables it to follow walls, tight place cleaning is automatically enabled when the robot detects it is caught in a particular area with no apparent exit path, and auto clean is actually the semi-random movement mode preferred by the majority of its users. Using the LCD remote control, you can also schedule the robot to start cleaning at a certain hour (preferably, when you’re away). This means you will rely on the auto-recharge IR induction-based function, which I noticed it can work from almost 10 ft. away. However, if you have a big house (over 2000 sq ft), you may want to consider cleaning one room at a time. One more thing worth mentioning here, the product has a good anti-collision system, based on 5 IR proximity sensors. 3 cliff sensors prevent this iLife from falling down the stairs.
3 layers of filtration ensure this unit is safe to use even around newborns or sensible persons suffering from allergies or asthma. We have a standard filter which is handling the biggest particles, and then we have a thin black foam layer which is protecting the HEPA filter. The filters need to be cleaned on a regularly basis. I would advise you to clean them at least once per week (depending on the usage). The standard filter and the foam layer can be washed and reused, but the HEPA filter can only be shaken or blown upon (go outside when you do this, it will get dusty). You should replace the HEPA filter once every 6 months. Luckily, the package comes with an extra HEPA filter, so you’re all set for the first year.
Weight and Dimensions
Weights only 4.85 lbs, has a diameter of 12.2 inches and a height of 3 inches. It’s small enough to fit through most tights spots you may have in your home, and under most of the furniture.
The package contains:
- the robot
- the charging dock
- the adapter
- the remote control with 2 AAA batteries
- 1 extra HEPA filter
- 2 extra side brushes
- 1 cleaning brush
- the user manual and the quick start guide
The iLife A4 has 2 suction modes, a 3-layer filtration system and a remote control with LCD.
The unit can work directly out of the box, but I still recommend you to charge it completely before its first go. The remote control is very easy to use. In standard mode, the noise produced is decent. The AAA batteries provided for the remote control are of good quality, but I still recommend you to get a rechargeable set. This vacuum works on both carpet and bare floors. Accessing the brushroll is also easy. You should remove the entangled hair every once in a while, using a pair of scissors.
Believe it or not, the best part about this robovac is its price. You can almost always find a good deal for this product at GearBest.com. Or if you’re willing to buy from Amazon.com, its price might be a bit higher.
iLife A4 vs iLife V7 vs iLife V7S
|Dry mopping/Wet mopping|
- high suction power
- good filtration
- good batteries
- good dimensions
- easy brushroll access
- made of quality materials
- moves semi-randomly
- doesn’t come with a smartphone app
- doesn’t support virtual walls
Final Words and VGMrv
I hope my piece answered some of your questions about the quality and the efficiency of this robot vacuum cleaner. In my opinion, this product will not even be affected by the upcoming Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum, which is set to cost more than twice as much. The price over quality ratio is IMO unbeatable at this moment. The VGMrv below reflects my thoughts:
VGMrv table for iLife A4
|Weight and Dimensions||10|
(VacuumsGuide.com Mark for robo-vacs)
So, what do you think about this iLife? Are you planning to get one? Own one and want to share? Still have some questions? Use the form below.