It is a fact that the market for robotic vacuum cleaners and scrubbers is now full of alternatives. And products like the Proscenic 850T or VIOMI V3 make it even more evident that it is now possible to buy robot vacuum cleaners and floor cleaners at figures suitable for all budgets and for all needs. But how can one product stand out from the other? Based on the price of course, and based on the quality of suction and washing it offers, this is certain. But nowadays these two factors no longer base, because users have begun to understand that to consider a particular product when choosing the best robot vacuum cleaner for your needs it is now important to make sure that a smart device really is.
And it is precisely the balance between these three factors (price, performance, smart functions) that makes the VIOMI SE different from most robots that wash and vacuum: this time the Xiaomi division dedicated to robot vacuum cleaners has managed to produce an extremely balanced device, which not only has excellent hardware characteristics, but which fits perfectly into the Xiaomi ecosystem and which integrates a series of advanced (and decidedly more functional) modes such as V-shaped washing and excellent management of the virtual floor plan of the house.
Viomi SE review: it is cheap and well balanced
Although outwardly it might seem rather spartan, as well as in all Chinese robot vacuum cleaners and scrubbers the packaging of the Viomi SE it is full of blinders. In the box with which the product will be delivered there are, in addition to the robot, three tanks (one for suction only, one for washing only and one combined), two cloths for cleaning the floor, a plastic support to which they can be connected using a velcro, a multipurpose comb for cleaning the brushes, and clearly the charging base with Italian plug and complete manuals.
Design and construction materials
Made with an unusual white and gold color, the Viomi SE integrates a laser turret on which a polished brushed aluminum surface has been placed and already from the materials with which it was produced it is clear that, despite being an inexpensive robot vacuum cleaner, it is a solid product with attention to all its details. The whole structure is made of plastic with the typical circular shape, but the white color tends to get dirty very easily.
The resistance of the structure and the shock absorption mechanisms allow the Viomi SE to withstand any touches with obstacles and furniture without any problem, and its not too bulky thickness means that the robot vacuum cleaner and floor cleaner is able to slip into areas where other members of the category may have difficulty. Excellent wheels that, as we are now used to with the company's products, thanks to the very powerful motors and a certain "stubbornness" of the navigation algorithm of the Viomi SE, they are also able to climb small steps as long as they are no higher than 2 cm.
The internal structure, on the other hand, is typical of Viomi products. The containers are inserted in the upper part of the vacuum cleaner, which must be opened and which also integrates the on and off button, the one for returning home and the reset of the device with which you will also have to connect to the home WiFi network (using the Xiaomi Home application).
However, the problem relating to the charging base continues to be present. Because despite being very compact, functional and "drives" the Viomi SE in the "return home", it is actually produced with materials and structure that are too light, which could cause a slight displacement if the robot bumps it during the cleaning phase, with consequent difficulties in completing the cleaning process.
Advanced application and functions
The complete management of the VIOMI SE is entrusted, as usual, to the best Xiaomi Home, that is, that app with which the Chinese company has decided to centralize all the devices of its ecosystem. And it is Xiaomi Home that gives that extra edge to Viomi's robot vacuum cleaners.
After connecting to the wireless network and the first mapping of the house, which I recommend to do by eliminating all the obstacles that the robot vacuum cleaner might find in its path, the control of the different washing and suction modes, all the integrated functions in the robot vacuum cleaner they can be modified and managed with extreme simplicity (alas, it's still all in English).
The management of maps and rooms, which are created completely independently, is identical to what we have seen in the other Viomi robot vacuum cleaners and floor cleaners: and will allow you to rename each of the rooms in your home (in order to make the zone cleaning) and add up to 5 maps for cleaning multi-storey houses.
It is also possible to activate up to 7 programmed cleaning programs, each of which can be customized according to the cleaning modes, the areas to be cleaned and - clearly - at the time, and it is possible to decide to proceed with the traditional S-shaped cleaning and washing method, or through a Y movement that emulates the rubbing action of manual floor washing: it is a surprising mode that, although slower, ensures an exceptional cleaning system.
Like the VIOMI V3, the VIOMI SE it does not integrate any sensor for the carpets, but it allows an excellent management of the virtual walls and the exclusion zones: in this way it is possible to avoid that the robot goes to clean beyond a certain border, or in a particular area of the floor. And yes, the precision with which the vacuum cleaner from Xiaomi follows these directives is centimeter. Good job.
Also via the application, you can also control it state of wear of some of the components of the vacuum cleaner, such as the filter, brushes and so on, and you can choose between six different cleaning and washing modes: the suction power can be set on four levels, while the levels of water sprayed on the floor are three.
Suction power and cleaning quality - VIOMI SE
In short, so far the VIOMI SE it would appear to be the certified copy of its older brother, the VIOMI V3. In reality, however, in addition to the color, there are also differences with regard to the suction power: according to the suction mode chosen, the VIOMI SE it is able to guarantee a suction power that can vary from 600 Pa to 2200 Pa.
But despite not being at the levels of the V3, the new economic robot vacuum cleaner and scrubber still guarantees a good quality of cleaning, especially thanks to the 15000 rpm motor and thegreat LDS system which manages the navigation of the device.
All this is then assisted by 12 distinct sensors, which will allow the VIOMI SE to complete the wash as quickly as possible, avoiding obstacles, stairs and so on, and choosing to always use the best pattern available, in terms of cleaning time and battery management.
Good also the washing mode, which, however, is clearly more suitable for polishing and disinfecting surfaces than for removing stubborn stains, but which will totally eliminate that annoying dusty layer that is created on the floor and which, among other things, could tend to slide if you are careful.
If you install the drawer with the water container, you can decide whether to vacuum and wash, or whether to disable the suction but, unfortunately, It is not possible exclude areas in the app for washing only, as some competitors do.
What I absolutely didn't like is the tank management, to which a single compartment is always dedicated and which therefore, when the combined one is used, could be decidedly undersized for very large environments: in maximum suction mode and with the container for water and dust, the amount of liquid is sufficient to clean a 40 sq m if set to maximum. Which makes things, perhaps, too cumbersome. It would also have been interesting if the vacuum cleaner had been able to spray more water, but in this case the problem of the size of the liquid tank would have become even more evident.
The point is that, with the method conceived by VIOMI, it also becomes uncomfortable fill the liquid tank: in the combined version there is always the risk of wetting the filter or letting water droplets enter the section dedicated to the dust (with obvious, disgusting results) and in general the filling hole is always uncomfortable and poco functional. Ok, it has a retina with which you avoid the entry of foreign bodies to the liquid, but I found the vent system too small, which makes it much more likely that water will leak out during the refill phase.
Another huge difference between the Viomi V3 and the VIOMI SE lies in the battery: the new model of the Chinese company integrates a 3200 mAh battery, much less capacious than the 4900 mAh one of the company's top-of-the-range version. In any case, by setting the vacuum cleaner with the average suction power, I was able to use it for about 1 hour and a half, more than enough time to clean an apartment of about 150 square meters.
If the battery is discharged during cleaning, the robot will return to the charging base to reach 100% and then it will pick up where it left off.
Price and considerations
The price of VIOMI SE is 435,24 euros, but through our coupon (found below) you can take it home to 251,10 €. Of course, it is not one of the best exponents of the category, and on the market it is possible to buy more performing products, but it still has an excellent laser navigation system, difficult to find in this price range with such high precision.
If VIOMI had thought of a way to expand the capacity of the containers and had inserted a second side brush, it would have been the icing on the cake.
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