ILIFE V7 Review - Does Chuwi Have a Flagship Now?

ILIFE V7 Review – Does Chuwi Have a Flagship Now?

I will admit that I have been quite harsh on the previous ILIFE V series robots. Partially because they want to market a vacuum and mopping robot while removing the key components for vacuuming. However, I do like the company and I think they have great potential. This is proven with the ILIFE V7.

Chuwi, the parent company behind ILIFE, has constantly made advancements in each product model (including inter-series models) with every release. A company that is willing to update their ideas constantly is one worth keeping an eye on. So let’s take a look at the V7 and see what they have added this time.

Who is the ILIFE V7 For?

We all want a robot that is going to do a specific task and do it well. The V7 is a good fit for homes that need:

  • A robot that can vacuum and mop without too much effort.
  • Hard floor cleaning between regular mopping days.
  • More control than just a remote or a push button.

Who is the ILIFE V7 Not For?

Like anything else, what works for one person may not work for the next. The V7 may not be a good fit if you:

  • Need a vacuum with HEPA filtration for allergies.
  • Require a true wet mop robot.
  • Need to schedule specific times on specific days.

Dimensions, Features and Options

ILIFE made some huge improvements over the V5 series when they released the V7 series. They also took a couple of backward steps. Let’s get a closer look at what has happened with the V7 series robots.

The Combo Brush Roll Has Returned, The V Series Can Now Actually Vacuum

One of the most important factors of combo robots that want to vacuum and mop is the ability to do both at least somewhat decent.

Most machines that attempt to take on the dual role can’t do either really well. However, previous attempts from ILIFE failed miserably at the vacuum portion, focusing on hard floor cleaning with a suctioned sweep and a dry or wet mop ability.

The V7 regains some carpet vacuum value as ILIFE has returned the combo brush roll to the units. When you flip the little guy over you will see that there is a twin bladed V-Brush, part bristle, part rubberized blade.

The brush roll will agitate carpets as well as sweep hard floors. There is something more though! Even the A series robots were only rated for low pile carpet, leaving those with thicker carpets and higher piles out of the loop.

The V7 is rated for low pile and medium pile carpeting. It is also rated for all floor types. With the larger wheels introduced in the V5S Pro, the V7 can traverse different piles of carpet and clean them better than before.

You will also notice that there is one less side brush now. All ILIFE machines prior to the V7 series had two side brushes to attack baseboards and corners. Now there is only one. This speaks to an improvement in the navigation, which I will cover in a moment.

The V7 does not have a water tank. Instead, you are left with a microfiber mopping pad. There isn’t a true wet mop option, but you can spray the pad with floor cleaner for a damp mop. Using this on the hard flooring with the sweeping suction and the rubberized blades of the brush roll keep floors pretty shiny.

The brush roll and ability to cover low and medium pile carpets already makes the V7 the most innovative advancement in the entire ILIFE series so far. But we have only scratched the surface.

The Battery Has A Large Upgrade Allowing For More Productivity

The ILIFE V7 kept the larger cell battery pack that was introduced in the V5S Pro. This 3000mAh battery was redesigned though and it lost a little bit of its luster.

Now, instead of three to four hours to fully recharge, the V7 takes nearly five hours. In all fairness, though, you probably won’t notice the extra charge time. The runtime of up to 140 minutes should allow enough time for the robot to run through your entire home in one charge.

If so, it will return to the dock on its own and recharge while it awaits the next cleaning cycle. The next cycle should be at least 24 hours away, which is plenty of time for the robot to fully recharge.

As many of you who follow my articles know, the runtime minutes specified are not what you are going to really get. The V7 comes the closest so far, though. Because there isn’t a water tank, there isn’t a need for the i-Dropping technology or extra sensors.

That means you can expect up to about 100 to 110 minutes of cleaning time. Because it will do better on carpet that the previous models, it will take longer to clean homes with a lot of carpeting or rugs.

If you have a standard home with carpet and hard flooring mix, you can expect the V7 to cover about 1400 to 1600 square feet. Less if you are more carpet than hardwood, and more if you are mainly hard flooring.

ILIFE still hasn’t implemented entire level cleaning, though. So once the battery drops below 15 percent, the robot will return to the dock to recharge and then sit there. You will have to tell it to go back out and finish manually.

Luckily, there are now more control options available.

The Controls Also Have An Upgrade. How Is Your Mandarin?

ILIFE has stuck with the basic forms of machine control since their first model in 2015. You have the option of local or remote control.

With local control, you are pretty limited in what you can do. There is one button on the machine that will send the robot off to clean using the predefined “automatic” mode. It will navigate your home cleaning the floor space and return to the dock to recharge or when the job is complete.

The remote control is what you will use most of the time. The remote control has gone through a little upgrade too and has a new look and button layout over the V5 series robots.

It still has the four main cleaning modes and you can still create a schedule. What you will notice though is that there is now a down arrow (used in manual mode) and no longer a “max” button.

The V7 no longer has a maximum mode that speeds up the motor to produce more power and suction. This allows the unit to utilize the 3000mAh battery for longer periods as it isn’t being drained with higher draws from the motor.

Side Note: The brushless motor has been maximized already and only runs in one speed. This speed has a higher output than normal mode of the V5 series, but less power than the max mode. It is a happy medium.

You can set a schedule, which is still the same seven day period of 24, 48 or 72 hours cleaning cycles. You can set the time of day (or night) for the machine to run and then select if it should run at that time every day, every other day or every third day.

When the week is over, you will need to set a new schedule all over again.

The four modes you are left with are:

  • Automatic – The same mode as pressing the cleaning button on the machine itself.
  • Manual – You can send the robot off to clean and then steer and drive it using the arrows on the remote control.
  • Edge – This sends the robot to the wall to run the perimeter of the home concentrating only on the edges and corners. It will dock when complete without venturing out into the middle of the rooms at all.
  • Spot – This mode puts the robot in a tailspin of spirals around a centralized spot on the floor for a deeper clean in that particular area.

In all previous versions, this would be the end of this section. I would tell you that there isn’t a wireless receiver and that you can’t use a mobile app or voice controls to program and use your robot.

The V7 does not have a wireless receiver, and it cannot use voice commands or other smart home integrations. However, it is Bluetooth enabled and there is, now, a mobile app. The mobile app is a generic digital representation of the remote control.

It is available for a free download from the Google Play and Apple Store for your devices. There is one small catch though: it is currently only available in Chinese.

Since there isn’t a lot to the app though, its interface is pretty intuitive. Turn the app on (making sure Bluetooth is enabled on your phone) and then turn the robot on. You won’t be able to read what it is doing (unless you know Chinese) but it has an empty white box that will be populated with the robot information when it is detected.

Click the robot information and you will then be presented with the mobile version of the remote control. The icons are easy to distinguish. The plug is to send the robot to the dock to recharge, the square arrow is for edge cleaning mode, the spiral is for spot cleaning mode and the clock is to set a schedule.

When setting a schedule, you will see a familiar dial style timer, much like most Android alarm setting screens. Spin the dial to the desired time. Press the button on the left to set it, or the right to cancel.

The main screen is presented again and you can use the clean button and the arrow keys to control the V7.

One small note for the physical remote control, you can place the remote in the cup holder style hole in the top of the docking station. It doesn’t do anything except hold the remote (meaning it won’t recharge batteries or anything) but it gives you a place to store it, so it doesn’t get lost in the couch.

Since The V7 Actually Vacuums, The Dust Bin Has Also Been Upgraded

Every previous version of the ILIFE robots has used a pretty small collection bin. Both water tanks and dust bins have had a capacity of 0.3L.

In the industry, this is pretty small. It means that you will most likely have to empty the collection bin after every cleaning cycle and on the models with a water tank, it may need to be refilled prior to completion of the job.

The V7 has a larger collection bin that has a capacity of 0.5L. Half a liter is more of an industry standard and it is the difference between emptying the bin after every use and every other (or even every third) cleaning cycle.

Unless you have a lot of pet hair to pick up or heavily soiled floors, you can easily get away with emptying the collection bin every other cycle. Keep an eye on it though, if it becomes full, the robot will become ineffective at picking up anymore, and the chances of clogging the air ducts increases greatly.

I will mention here that the filtration has undergone a sort of downgrade. Previous models including all of the A series and the V5 series used HEPA certified filters. HEPA certification means the filter can collect up to 99 percent of in-home allergens.

The V7 filter is not HEPA certified. It is a high-efficiency filter, just not HEPA certified. When you open the collection basket the filter is two parts, a prefilter that is a mesh screen and can be washed off.

The second filter is the paper filter that collects the dust and pollen and pet dander. It still does a decent job of preventing allergens returning to the floors or air in your home, but it may not collect all of them.

If you suffer allergies, you may need to look for a model with HEPA certified filters.

Specifications and Features Chart

I made a thing! You’ll love it! Take a look at the chart and see what the V7 has to offer (or what it lacks).

ILIFE V7
Dimensions 11.8×11.8×3 inches
Weight 4.5 pounds
Battery 3000mAh Lithium-Ion
Battery Runtime Up to 140 minutes
Battery Charge Time 5 hours
Automatic Recharge Yes
Wireless Communications No
Mobile App Yes (Bluetooth)
Voice Control No
Remote Control Yes
Local Control Yes
Scheduling Yes
Cleaning Modes 4
Navigation Sensor Based Mini-Room
Containment No
Extraction Method CyclonePower Generation 2
Filtration Two-Stage High Efficiency
Side Brushes 1
Floor Types Hard Floors, Low – Medium Pile Carpeting
Collection Bin Capacity 0.5L
Water Reservoir Capacity None
Warranty 1 year
Dry Mop Yes
Wet Mop No
Voltage Rating 110v – 240v (Universal)

Alternative Options

If you think the V7 may not be the right model for you, there are other options available. Here are a few for you to consider.

ILIFE V5S Pro

Sticking with ILIFE the previous model to the V7 was the V5S Pro. This model has HEPA filtration, a 3000mAh battery and a 140-minute runtime just like the V7. If you have mainly hard flooring in your home, you may benefit from this model.

There isn’t a brush roll, so the unit is basically useless on carpet. However, it has a water tank and a true wet mop experience that can leave your floors clean and polished. If you have a lot of carpeting or rugs in your home, though, it may not be the best option for you.

bObSweep PetHair Plus

Similar to the V7, the PetHair Plus has a dry/damp mop pad and a brush roll for cleaning carpet. The mopping feature is useful for homes with a lot of hard flooring surfaces and the bObSweep will clean any hard floor available.

It also has UV sterilization which kills any bacteria left behind that, along with the HEPA filters, keeps your home virtually allergen-free. The vacuum feature is also similar to the V7 in that it doesn’t do well on high pile or shag carpeting. It is a viable option for those opposed to the ILIFE line up, though.

Deik Robot 3-in-1

Deik is a start-up company that made waves with their true wet mop 3-in-1 debut model. It isn’t a spectacular version, but it does hold its own. I have said before that I want to keep an eye on this company. If they can manage to lock down a few features that are lacking they could have a Roomba challenger worthy of a comparison.

The debut model, though, has a soft bristle brush roll that is effective on low pile carpeting but not much else. It will clean, sweep and mop hard floors in a single pass, though and for the price is one of the stronger combo options.

Frequently Asked Questions

I will answer a few commonly asked questions about the V7 model. If your particular question hasn’t been answered in the article above or in this section here, please feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Q. Is there a containment method for the V7?
A. There is, actually! Physical blockades. ILIFE has a virtual wall barrier they call the ElectroWall. However, it doesn’t work with the V7 model. You are left with no digital method of containment here. There are options (some are inexpensive, too) you can try:

  • Closing doors. This will prevent the robot from accessing entire rooms.
  • Baby Gates. You can put these up across entryways, hallways, etc. to prevent access.
  • Pool Noodles. Those colorful foam tubes you can get at a dollar store? Yup. Cut them to size, wrap them around planters, put across thresholds. The robot will bump into them and change direction.
  • Your foot. Literally, you can walk around and make the robot run into your foot to change course. I don’t recommend this method, as I am sure you have better things to do, but it does work.

Do you have a cool containment trick? I really like pool noodles. Tell me what you use in the comments. I love hearing about new ideas.

Q. Will the mobile app ever be in English (or another language)?
A. If I have to guess I will say yes. The English speaking world is a large market for the robotic vacuums and I am sure they will cater to us soon. When? I don’t know. It may be in the small print of the app, but I don’t know Chinese to be able to relay that information.

I am positive though that eventually there will be an English version of the mobile app.

 

 

In Conclusion

The V7 has some major advancements and upgrades over the previous V series robots. The brush roll is back, for example. This means it can now actually vacuum the carpet, which is a huge bonus for a vacuum.

It still works better in hard flooring than on carpet, but the improvements in navigation, battery life and vacuuming make it the ILIFE model to look at when considering an initial purchase. Is it worth an upgrade if you have a V5? Yes. The V5 doesn’t clean carpets well, if at all. If you have carpeting in your home and currently own a V5, the V7 is going to make a world of difference for you.

In a Nutshell

The ILIFE V7 is a step in the right direction for Chuwi. If they continue to improve on their designs, eventually they will have a model that hits every checkbox perfectly. When they do, if they can keep cost down, they just might corner the market.

What I Like

  • The brush roll is back and low to medium pile carpets can now be cleaned.
  • Long lasting battery improves on the older designs.
  • Bluetooth enabled phones can use a mobile app now.
  • Larger dust bin allows less maintenance.

What I Don’t Like

  • Removal of the HEPA filter hurts those suffering allergies.
  • Not a true wet mop.
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