Xiaomi Viomi V3 robot vacuum review
Quick verdict: Vio-mi, Vio-my
True to its name, the Roborock S6 Pure was a noble companion; a beacon of hope in a galaxy littered with dust bunnies and pet fur. Its short-lived tenure in my home was frictionless, beginning to end. When I unboxed Xiaomi’s Viomi V3 robot vacuum, I expected much of the same. It was different in many ways from the Xiaomi-funded Roborock but also shared a lot of similarities in its design and features. But I sensed much anger in the Viomi V3 when I first unleashed it on my home and before long, the cracks started to show. Compared to most robot vacuum cleaners, the Viomi V3 is defined by its power; its superior suction, capacity and mopping features but its ability to clean doesn’t make it intelligent and intelligence is one area where the Viomi V3 needs work.
- Dustbin and water tank options
- Electric water control
- Great price
- Powerful suction
- Glossy black finish attracts fingerprints
- Not as smart as other robots
- No carpet boost or no-mop zones
- Louder than you’d like
- Hates me, specifically
Price: Low end of the midrange
The Viomi V3’s $499 price tag is one of its biggest selling points. Considering its powerful specs, it’s telling that the V3 started at $799 but seems to have been permanently reduced to $499. That makes it a little bit cheaper than the Roborock S6 Pure but a little pricier than the Deebot U2. It’s available through Xiaomi’s online store, Catch.com.au, Dick Smith, Kogan, Amazon and more.
For all the features and attachments you get, it’s a great price but there are still reasons to spend more. The Xiaomi Viomi 3 only released in early 2020 but the reduced price tag could also be a sign that an upgraded Pro model isn’t far off.
Navigation and docking
Docking: Crash landing
Rather than the up-ramp dock of many robot vacuums, the Viomi V3 has a compact, magnetic charging base that’s level with the floor. It’s a simple design that doesn’t take up too much space and it would be my preferred option if it wasn’t for the fact that the Viomi V3 can often come in too hot for docking, moving the charger from its original position, thereby confusing itself. Unlike the near-faultless docking of the Roborock S6 Pure, the Viomi 3 took a comically long time to find its way home. To be fair, it’s cooled its jets over the past few days but still tends to get thrown for a loop when it approaches the charging dock every now and then.
Navigation: Attack of the drone
Heading home isn’t the only direction the Viomi V3 struggles to follow. Despite having the same LiDAR-based mapping and LDS (Laser Distance Sensor), the Viomi V3 seems to struggle with navigation a lot more than the Roborock S6 Pure did in our tests. The map of my house in the Mi Home app is a little more abstract than Roborock’s rendition.
In the screenshot above, you’ll see that the Viomi V3 has split one bedroom into two because the bedframe in that room goes all the way to the floor. Other robot vacuums I’ve reviewed have been smart enough to figure that out. In fact, if you take a look at the Roborock S6 Pure’s version of the map, you’ll see it’s a lot cleaner and more detailed.
The Viomi V3 also appears to struggle with some of its regular routines. Take, for example, its hesitant approach to cleaning the kitchen. Some days it will roll into the kitchen and sit there like it’s forgotten why it went there in the first place before exiting to the dining room and repeating the same pattern a few minutes later. Some days, it’s just fine.
Neither the S6 Pure nor Viomi V3 has an objection recognition ability (you’ll need to spend a little extra on something like the Deebot OZMO T8+ for that feature) but still, the Roborock S6 Pure knows when to cut its losses after colliding with an object. The Viomi V3, less so.
The Viomi V3 and I crossed paths one night while I was cooking, holding a tray fresh out of the oven. The Viomi V3 bumped into my feet once and turned tail, or so I thought. Two seconds later it comes rushing towards me with more momentum than before; my life flashed before my eyes as the murderbot came back to finish what it started. Overall, the conflict was brief and hasn’t happened again but I have been sleeping with one eye open ever since.
Despite the odd navigation inconsistency, the Viomi V3 still does a solid job of cleaning my house. It’s just not as meticulous as other robot vacuums we’ve tested at a similar price. After giving it a few days to get to know the house, I still find dust and debris gathered in easily accessible corners.
Cleaning and performance
Look, by now it’s probably no secret that the Viomi V3 really pushes my buttons. Besides the subpar navigation, there are other finicky issues with the setup and app that simply aren’t as intuitive and reliable as other brands we’ve reviewed. But that’s where (most) of the bad news ends because, for all its faults, the Viomi V3 is a powerful machine for its price range.
Powerful 2,600pa suction
Powerful suction isn’t everything, the quality of your robot vacuum’s cleaning is also influenced by its filters, beater brush and side-brush attachments but it still counts for something. The higher the suction Pa (Pascal) rating, the stronger the suction and the Viomi V3 has a higher Pa rating (2,600pa) than that of far more expensive robot vacuums. I’ve thrown everything from flour to granola to rigatoni pasta shells at the Viomi V3 and it hasn’t struggled to pick up a thing. Its beater brush also makes short work of finer embedded particles, like flour on the carpet and does a good job of cleaning pet hair too.
The Viomi V3 doesn’t have a carpet sensor (an overdrive feature other robots use) but its baseline suction power seems efficient enough to cover both hard floors and carpeted areas with ease.
Big dustbin with generous options
One of the nicest inclusions of the Viomi V3 is the range of dust and water tanks available. Many robot vacuum-mop hybrids have a combined dust and water tank, effectively splitting the capacity for each job. The Viomi V3 does a 2-in-1 tank for dust and water but if you’re more interested in one or the other, there’s also a standalone 550ml dust bin and a separate 550ml water tank. I could take or leave the Viomi V3’s mopping so it’s nice to have the option to hand that space over to the dust tank for the small convenience of emptying it less frequently.
If mopping is more important to you, switch to the 550ml water tank.
I’d go as far as to say it’s a good option for someone who’s interested in robot mops but isn’t ready to commit. If you don’t like it, you can always switch back to the bigger dustbin.
Mopping with the Viomi V3
If robot vacuums do half the job a human with a stick vac can do, then robot mops do about a tenth of the job that a human with a mop can.
The Viomi V3 makes a splash in a couple of ways. There’s the previously mentioned 550ml water tank but it also has a motorised water flow mechanism and three levels of… wetness? Both are advanced mopping features to have at this price point and for small spills, it’ll do you just fine. The biggest problem is, the Viomi V3 can’t detect carpet so it won’t hesitate to mop over your fancy rug if given the opportunity. This is the same for the similarly priced S6 Pure but at least with that you can set specific “no mop” zones and you couldn’t depend on it to navigate around those areas. You can’t set mop-specific areas (outside of the scheduling feature) with the Viomi V3 and even if you could, I wouldn’t count on it to play by your rules.
I tested the mop with some tomato sauce and a splash of Greek yoghurt that I let dry on my wooden floors (the things we do for these reviews) and, to be honest, the results were much the same as they’ve been with other robot vacuum-mop hybrids; it just sort of pushes the mess around. At least with others, they return to finish the job but I returned thirty minutes later to the Viomi V3 to see it had left the job half done.
Battery and runtime
Noise levels: More power, more noise
With great power comes a great racket. The first time you start up the Viomi V3 you and everyone else in your house will realise one big downside to all that power – the noise levels it pumps out. In our tests, the Viomi V3 operated between 70 and 73 decibels on average. That’s not quite as loud as a traditional vacuum cleaner but still a lot louder than many of the robot vacuum cleaners we’ve tested.
It’s not unbearable but it’s just another thing to chuck on the annoying pile.
Design: Fingerprint magnet
At first glance, the Viomi V3 looks super slick. A little evil maybe, but slick. The glossy black sheen and turquoise accents make it look like a futuristic bit of kit. White robot vacuums are prone to scuffing when they hit boundaries so black seemed like the best option for a device that likes to get down and dirty. But after a single day of use, the glossy sheen can go from super slick to super ick. The glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet, plain and simple. This is true for any dark, glossy piece of tech but there’s something extra irritating about needing to regularly clean a device whose sole purpose is to clean.
|Xiaomi Viomi V3||Specs|
|Mopping||Yes, electric water flow|
|Object recognition (camera)||No|
|Auto dock and charge||Yes|
|Side brush||Yes, 1|
|Battery life||150 mins|
|Battery size||5 hours|
|Charging time||5 hours|
|Dustbin capacity||550ml (or 275ml via 2-in-1)|
|Water tank capacity||550ml (or 275ml via 2-in-1)|
Is the Xiaomi Viomi V3 worth it?
Xiaomi is hands-down one of the best brands for budget tech and the Viomi V3 is a powerhouse in its mid-range price bracket. It’s a powerful vacuum with versatile dust-bin and water tank options and advanced mopping features.
I just can’t move past how finicky the whole experience has been. From the initial set-up to the lacklustre navigation, to a Mi Home app update that wiped my maps, to the noise and design, there’s just a lot about it that I find irritating after having such a carefree experience with some of its competitors.
It’s curious because, on the flip side, the Xiaomi-funded Roborock S6 Pure performed flawlessly which leads me to wonder if there’s much life left in the Viomi tank or if Xiaomi would be better off banking on Roborock.
Despite the reduced price of $499 (down from $799), I wouldn’t recommend the Viomi V3 over the competition, even if it is an impressive machine on paper.