We still have years, many years, until we have a robot named Jimmy who cleans our house, dusts, does the laundry and has us all like the jets of gold. But while that arrives, a proper robot vacuum cleaner can help us keep dust, crumbs and hair at bay. Alternatives are out there and Realme, a young brand that until now had only launched mobiles, watches and headphones, has just put its on the market.
Like the entire Realme catalog, the Realme TechLife Robot Vacuum is committed to offering interesting features at a contained price. It vacuums, scrubs (or rather, it can scrub), connects with Google Assistant and Alexa, and mounts no more than 38 sensors. But how does it behave on a day-to-day basis? Well, in Technoeager we have already had the opportunity to try it and this has been our experience.
Realme TechLife Robot Vacuum Specifications
|DIMENSIONS||350 x 350 x 100 mm|
|SUCTION POWER||Silent: 500 Pa|
Normal: 1,200 Pa
Turbo: 2,500m Pa
Maximum: 3,000 Pa
|SOLID TANK CAPACITY||600 ml|
|WATER TANK CAPACITY||Solids: 350 ml|
Water: 300 ml
|CONNECTIVITY||2.4 GHz WiFi|
|APP||Yes, Realme Link|
|COMPATIBLE WITH||Google Assistant, Alexa|
Design: no surprises and a detail
We begin by talking about design, a section in which we do not find any surprises. Realme’s robot vacuum cleaner is rather big, at 35 centimeters in diameter, and really (how many times can you make this joke without the police coming?) Short (four inches). From the floor to the top there are about ten millimeters, which allows the robot to sneak under some sofas like the one in my office. It is, to give us an idea, similar to the Roborock S7.
It is shiny black in color and unfortunately gets dusty just by looking at it. At the top we have the centered laser viewer and two buttons, the one back to the base and the power button. In the front we have the classic shock absorber, in the rear part the access to the tank and the filters (all in one) and in the lower part the central brush, the plates for the load, the omni-directional wheel and the two wheels of movement.
The tank that is included in the box is 600 ml and only for solids. And yes, it is true that the Realme robot vacuum cleaner can scrub, but for this you will have to buy the mop and the solid and liquid tank separately. Therefore, we have not been able to test these capabilities in this review. The tank is extracted from behind, by pressing on a button and pulling out. It’s easy and doesn’t put up much resistance.
As we can see, we have nothing to write home about, except for the fact that the Realme robot vacuum has two side brushes. Why? Beyond to make it symmetrical, because one of the problems that circular vacuum robots have is that they do not get along with the corners. By putting two brushes, the robot manages to push the vacuum cleaner a little more in the corners, although it is true that they are not its strong point.
As for the charging dock, you can tell that Realme has had to cut back somewhere to keep the price low and I personally have appreciated it on the cable. It is too ductile and not very resistant. However, it is not something that we are going to be moving and using all the time, but we will manipulate it once to place the base in a corner of the house and that’s it.
The base does not have much mystery. It’s relatively compact, lightweight, and locks well to the ground, although I would have appreciated having some sort of glue or base with more friction than the silicone pads that are pre-installed. Something that I liked is that if we remove the bottom cover of the base we will access some supports to wind the remaining cable once connected. Very good, especially for those who do not like having cables lying on the ground.
Configuration and commissioning
Before starting to use the robot vacuum cleaner, we have to link it with the mobile through the Realme Link app ( iOS / Android ). The experience is similar on both operating systems. Realme Link guides us through the entire configuration process, which is nothing out of the ordinary, but we leave you a small summary here below:
- We make sure we have removed all packaging and protectors from the robot and the base. As a general recommendation, try that the base is not too narrow, but that there is space between the base and the nearest obstacles, such as a meter or so. It is not strictly necessary, but it is recommended.
- From the Realme Link app we begin the configuration process. We click on the upper “+” button, in the huge module that says “Tech Trendsetter” and we select the robot.
- We enter the password for our WiFi network (important: we have to be connected to the 2.4 GHz band and not the 5 GHz band, because the robot is not compatible with it).
- We turn on the robot and press and hold the charging and power button at the same time for three seconds until we hear the voice prompt. We release the buttons and click on next.
- The app will search for the robot and find it. Click on the button that will appear, configure the WiFi network and wait for the link process to be completed. In total, just over a minute.
We already have the robot ready to use. Now we simply have to click “Start” in the app and wait for the robot to complete the first recognition pass. It’s really cool because we can see in real time how the robot maps the house. When finished, the map will be ready and it will divide the rooms automatically.
My personal recommendation as a user who has tried several robot vacuum cleaners and who uses one in their day to day: leave the house as it normally is. For example, if you have a table with four chairs, do not raise the chairs and leave them in their place, where they normally are. That way the map will be more faithful to the house.
How is cleaning
First of all, the context. My apartment has about 60-70 square meters of which useful are about 50 and the floor is parquet. I don’t have rugs because I live in Córdoba and it’s summer and I don’t have pets that shed hair. How long does it take for the robot to complete the full cleaning? One hour, minute up, minute down.
Could you with bigger houses? Sure, but it will probably cost you a bit more. The device has a 5,200 mAh battery and when I finish cleaning my house in normal mode it returns to the base with 65% battery. More or less, one charge goes for two full passes. After that, you will have to wait no more than about six hours until it is fully charged.
With that said, let’s get down to cleaning. From the app we can see at all times the trajectory that the robot has followed. It always does the same thing: little loops from top to bottom with slight partings between them. It is a known system and used by many robots on the market, and the truth is that it works.
The robot works hard to get between the chairs and into the gaps where it thinks it fits. It does this on some occasions, although it also tends to pass by and skirt the chairs. You don’t usually get stuck or trapped, although you can. I’ve ever had to go after him because he was stuck with a curtain or a cable, but it was not the norm.
The problem is with the corners. It does not rush enough, especially when they are small corners. The robot makes a trajectory with a certain curvature, so yes or yes it leaves edges without aspirating. It is true that the two brushes (whose rotation speed increases when navigating close to a wall) help to minimize debris, but they do not work magic.
Realme includes a pre-installed filter and a replacement filter in the package. Each filter consists of three layers : a coarse filter for large particles, a sponge for medium particles and a HEPA filter that filters 99% of PM 2.5 particles, according to Realme. The latter is washable.
As for the power modes, as we said before it has four: silent, normal, turbo and maximum, in addition to a function that automatically increases the power when it detects uneven ground. The optimum is normal. It is the one that I have used the most and I have not noticed that it leaves crumbs, dust or debris after making a pass. If you have pets, it may be interesting to use the turbo or maximum mode to avoid leaving hairs.
During this analysis I have noticed that the robot increased the power automatically despite the fact that, as I said, the floor is parquet and I have no carpets. I understand that it is not as regular as a completely smooth floor, but what I do not understand is that the robot turns up the power automatically for no apparent reason. It gives the feeling that it detects some kind of irregularity in the ground and raises the power, but there is no irregularity. It is something that must be polished via software, without a doubt.
The central brush is made of bristles and not silicone. The hairs get quite tangled and, from time to time, it is necessary to do some maintenance. Fortunately, Realme includes in the box a comb with a blade that we can use to clean the filters and easily cut the hairs from the brush.
The navigation is accurate and the robot moves with ease (something has 38 sensors scattered throughout its chassis, of course). He has never been lost and has never had erratic behaviour, such as crashes out of the ordinary or trying to get into a place where he knows he does not fit. Returning to the base when you finish cleaning is also accurate.
However, it has ever happened to me that, even without having gone through all the rooms, the robot, which still had a battery, considered the cleaning completed and returned to the base. My partner’s office, my office and the kitchen were left on the way, although I had completed, curiously, the most distant rooms (the bedroom and the main bathroom), the corridor (which leads to the two offices) and the bathroom guests.
From the application, which we anticipated before, that divides the rooms automatically (quite precisely, by the way), we can modify the distribution of rooms in the house, do selective cleaning by rooms, areas and zones, establish restricted areas and configure the mode scrubbing.
But as we said before, Realme does not include the scrub kit (mop and water tank) in the package, so we cannot rate it. Yes we can say that the robot can make movements in the shape of an S (saves energy) or Y (more precise, but with higher consumption), but we cannot enter to analyze its performance.
In any case, and as a summary, the Realme robot vacuum cleaner has left us with a good taste in the mouth in general. It’s not the best on the market and it does have some corner issues, but it will serve us well to keep dirt at bay. It will never replace, neither this robot nor any, to a thorough manual cleaning, but it will help us to get rid of crumbs, dust and dirt on the floor in general.
How is the app
The app we use to control the robot is Realme Link. It is a very simple app, with the right and necessary options to control the robot and establish certain routines. It is not very complicated, it works relatively well, and for an inexpensive robot, we have been satisfied.
On the main screen we have the map of our house with the rooms separated and differentiated with colors. Above we have a summary of the cleaning session, below the modes and below the action buttons. Everything is done with one or two taps, so no complaints in this regard.
We can modify the name of the rooms, separate them, combine them, modify the colors, etc. The problem is that the app only accepts English characters, so nothing to use the “ñ” for “bathroom”. In fact, if you do, the window closes and, at the same time, the app crashes and restarts. It is a trifle, but it is worth commenting on it.
What options does the application give us? We can schedule a cleaning (so that it happens every day at that time throughout the house or specific rooms), activate do not disturb mode, use the remote control (to control the robot at will), search for the robot, manage the maps (up to five), modify the scrub path, activate the custom mode (so that the robot cleans in the order we want) and activate or deactivate the automatic impulse (for carpets and uneven floors).
We can also access the cleaning history, voice and volume settings (Chinese, English woman or English children) and the status of the consumables. This last section includes the filter, the side brush and the main brush, whose estimated useful life is about 150 hours. If we change them we will have to reset the counter.
The maintenance of the Realme robot vacuum cleaner is very simple. What we will do more frequently is clean the solids tank, something that depending on how dirty the floor is we will do more or less. It has a capacity of 600 ml, which is not exactly small, and in my case I have emptied it every three days, although it still had space to store dirt.
The center brush is easily removed and cleaning is as easy as using the accessory that Realme includes in the box. We simply have to use the blade to cut the hairs and pull them. I do this every week for a routine matter, but it will depend a lot on whether or not you have pets.
The HEPA filter of the filter can be washed with water, as long as we let it dry well before putting it back on. In the same way, it is advisable to regularly clean the TOF sensor on the front, the drop sensor, the obstacle sensor, the LiDAR sensor in the upper area and the contact pins. For this, we can use a dry and soft cloth.