Realme TechLife Robot Vacuum Cleaner Review: A clean home is a smart home

There is the understood wisdom of good timing when it comes to launching new products. Realme, a brand that you probably better remember for Android smartphones, TVs and the recently launched Realme Book (Slim) laptop, is making a big bet into the smart home space in India. This is under the company’s TechLife umbrella, the first products of which are on sale now.

The festive season is here, and that means an endless saga of sales and discounts will continuously entice us for the next few weeks. And while we keep talking about the best work from home (WFH) gadgets, not many have a robot vacuum cleaner’s utility and the unattended wherewithal to get things done without bothering us.

Our experience with the new Realme TechLife Robot Vacuum Cleaner does indicate that there is a solid foundation to build on. That said, the competition isn’t getting any easier.

The convenience is worth every penny

Robot vacuum cleaners are catching some attention. Some of it is because of the temporary change in lifestyles because of the way the last couple of years have been. Most homes would gladly welcome an automated system for cleaning and mopping the floor without much need for their intervention.

This is a robot vacuum that also does wet cleaning, hence the vacuum-mop categorization. First things first, the Realme TechLife Robot Vacuum Cleaner, currently available for ₹19,999, has a significant price tag advantage over its closest rivals. The iRobot Brava series that also does wet cleaning is priced upwards of ₹27,900. The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P is now priced at ₹19,999 against ₹29,999 that it started with initially. Perhaps a reaction to the new competition? Mind you, the Mi Robot vacuum mop has been around for a while now.

Lot of sensors to see where it is going

Realme TechLife Robot Vacuum Cleaner Review: A clean home is a smart home

The basics are very much in place. There is the LiDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging scanning technology which it’ll use to map your home and subsequently navigate it every day. All around the circumference of the robot vacuum are 38 high-precision sensors that do a variety of things—detect dust, identify objects around it and gain a positional sense. In our experience, the Realme TechLife Robot Vacuum Cleaner does a fairly good job of finding the right elevation and thrust to switch from the floor to a carpet. A lot of its predecessors struggled because the mobility power just wasn’t enough. However, the carpets cannot be too thick though.

It does take a couple of runs to get an overall hang of your home’s layout and where exactly every element of furniture and appliances might be placed. It has a mopping run pattern that isn’t exactly straight and parallel lines, bit more of a slightly sideways direction while intersecting with the lines it has previously created. The latter to reduce the chances of islands of dust. We were not able to test this with stair detection.

Dry cleaning and wet mopping, all in one

The 300ml water tank gets consumed at four different speeds or presets— ‘minimum’ is ideal for bedrooms, ‘normal’ should be good for living rooms and ‘maximum’ which you may want to use if someone has dragged in mud-laden shoes. The 600ml dustbin is large enough to get through multiple cleaning cycles for most homes before you need to empty it. An automatically emptying dust compartment would have been welcomed. The battery life is claimed to be up to 5 hours for the longest possible run—in most homes, the Realme TechLife Robot vacuum cleaner will get the job done under that time frame. The base station is its home, when not in use. It’ll find the way back and dock itself up for charging once a scheduled or manually selected cleaning job is done.

As smart as robot vacuum cleaners are expected to be

You can use the Realme TechLife Robot Vacuum Cleaner with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, something easily configurable with the Realme Link app (free for Android and iPhone). You can also configure as many as 5 maps for your home, specifically for rooms and the sort of wet or dry cleaning you may want. For the most part, this effortlessly glides around as you may be on a meeting call during work from home. That itself is worth the money you may spend on the Realme TechLife Robot Vacuum Cleaner.

There is the option to set predefined cleaning times for different zones at home, for instance, timing it at the time of parents’ evening walk to get their room cleaned. The app, if your home Wi-Fi is powered on, can be used to remotely ask the TechLife Robot Vacuum cleaner to start working, hoping it’ll be done before you get home.

Should you splurge on the Realme TechLife Robot Vacuum Cleaner?

The answer isn’t a simple yes or no—it almost never is. But Realme does make it relatively more convincing with the price tag, which undercuts most rivals, and features. It is hard to say at this point how long the rolling brush will last, particularly if there is more abrasive pick-up, such as human hair and pet hair getting stuck around it. The side brushes, flanking either side as the robot vacuum cleaner makes its way forward, have a wide diameter and can direct more floor dust towards the suction. Long enough battery stamina for most home sizes, the ability to do a wet mop and the plug-in with smart assistants add more to the convenience. Remember, the physics of robot vacuum cleaners dictates that wall corners will not always be reachable, and it may not be able to get beneath all types of furniture.