(Pocket-lint) - Love them or loathe them, robot vacuum cleaners are a mixed bag (if you'll excuse the pun). Some are packed with every possible feature you could ever want and some you don't, while others are built to do a simple job with as little fuss as possible. And the iLife V8s sits somewhere in the middle.
If you've never heard of the brand then don't turn your nose up just yet, as the iLife V8s is certainly as interesting as it is useful. Not only is the robot cleaner capable of day-to-day scheduled vacuuming, it also comes with the ability to mop hard floors too.
- Onboard LCD display and mechanical control keys
- 750ml dust container/300ml water reservoir
- Anti-tangle wide nozzle
- 2.7kg body weight
The iLife V8s looks much like any robotic vaccum: a round body, two front brushes, a bump-rail, and onboard controls. But there's more than meets the eye: remove the easily swappable dustbin and replace it with the mopping reservoir and the iLife dispenses water as it moves instead of using its suction dust fan.
Otherwise, the iLife V8s doesn't feature the bells and whistles of other more expensive robot vacuums. There is no accompanying smartphone app, there's no voice-assistant compatibility, just a simple control system that involves onboard programme buttons and a remote control.
We like the design of the iLife too; the top of the robot gives the appearance of a brushed aluminium finish (it's actually plastic) which is easier on the eye than it sounds. We think the V8s has an understated design that will fit nicely into any home.
Like other robot vacuum cleaners, the iLife V8s has its own charging dock that it automatically returns to when it's running low on juice. But this robot cleaner also offers the ability to manually charge it with a power input on its side. This means if you'd rather pop it out of sight in a cupboard when not in use then you have that option too.
Setup, cleaning cycles and vacuum settings
- Cleaning time up to 100min
- 2600mAh battery; 200-350mins charging time
- Automatic and manual charging abilities
- Auto, Point (spot), Border, Path and Mopping cleaning modes
- Manual cleaning via remote control
Initial setup includes docking the V8s to charge its battery and then manually programming the robot's internal clock as well as setting a schedule of cleaning for each day of the week. This is a fairly straightforward process and, although we've seen easier programming on app-controlled bots, it's hassle-free enough. You can even programme a different time for each day of the week.
The iLife has multiple cleaning modes, including Auto, Point, Border, Path and Mopping. It also has a choice of two different suction levels, with high power obviously getting the house cleaner, while lesser power offers a more peaceful clean.
The selection of different cleaning modes allows the bot to cater to your specific needs. For everyday use, the automatic cleaning mode gets the job done by splitting a room into multiple parts and working on each region separately.
The other modes are fairly self-explanatory - there's Border/edge cleaning, which sees the robot cleaner carefully move around the edges of the room cleaning as it goes - while Spot mode cleans a specific area that needs extra attention (the robot creating carpet doughnuts until the designated spot is clean). You can easily switch between these modes with the remote control or buttons on the cleaner, so it's an absolute breeze to use.
The remote control also allows you to manually control the robot and its direction of movement - meaning you can basically lead it around the house cleaning areas you want vacuumed without the actual effort of lifting, pushing and pulling a vacuum cleaner.
In terms of longevity, the iLife V8s just keeps on going. It's capable of up to 100 minutes of cleaning time, which is more than enough to get multiple rooms clean. When it needs to the 'bot is capable of returning to its charging base on its own devices - we never had an issue with automatic docking, unlike some other cleaners.
Once one room is cleaned, the V8s moves onto another and keeps on going until it starts to run low on charge. As the design includes large "Road Rover" wheels it can get over thresholds and small objects all while moving freely about the house. However, as it's not a super intelligent cleaner this will sometimes mean multiple passes of a room.
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Obstacle detection and room cleaning
- Obstacle and drop detection sensors
- Compatible with carpet, tile and wooden floors
- Capable of crossing 12mm tall thresholds and obstacles
- Large "RoadRover" wheels
The iLife V8s includes capable obstacle and drop detection systems that allow it to get around the house without falling down stairs or smashing into everything around it.
The large wheels make it capable of getting from room to room with ease and we also watched it mount and climb over rugs, small children's toys and other obstacles without issues.
Cleaning performance and sucking power
The iLife V8s offers some pretty impressive cleaning capabilities. Unlike many other robot vacuums it has no large underside brush. Instead this robot includes a large suction hole, which makes it capable of pulling in large amounts of dirt, debris and pet hair with ease. It also means its capable of dealing with hard floors easily. We've tested it on tile, laminate, carpet and more without any issues.
It does, however, mean that there's no brush to agitate the carpet as it cleans, so thicker carpets might not get a thorough deep clean, even if surface dirt and dust is removed.
The other problem is that it can become easily clogged with large debris. This results in poor performance that can sometimes go unnoticed – when it swallowed a stray sock and a junk mail leaflet it just kept on going, without sucking anything up. If you ensure the floors are clear when the robot sets off, then it shouldn't be an issue.
The suction is surprisingly good, so regular daily cleaning offers great results. We found we were emptying its dustbin every day, which is always a good sign of a successful cleaning in our book. You'll need to keep an eye on this, too, as the iLife doesn't warn you when the bin is full.
Another downside of this design is its filter system. A replaceable filter is included in the box, but these filters are not washable, so you'll need to buy replacements – and the company recommends replacing them every month. It might be possible to prolong these with compressed air or a thorough blow dry, but it's an extra expense to consider.
Mopping and drying
- i-Dropping intelligent water dispensing system
- Washable microfibre floor cloths
One of this bot's unique selling points is its intelligent mopping system. It's easy to setup: after removing the main dustbin, you can replace it with the mopping reservoir instead. Two machine washable microfibre mopping cloths are included - one of which is simply strapped to the underside of the reservoir. You then fill it with water and set the robot loose as you normally would - taking care to ensure it can't accidentally make its way into a carpeted room while it cleans.
There's an "i-Dropping" intelligent water dispensing system which dispenses the right amount of water to clean the floor as it goes. This water dispensing system can be adjusted/increased on the fly when in mopping mode too.
Like the vacuuming, the mopping mode is more of a cursory clean than a deep rinse of the area, but we did find that mode got the floor wetter and cleaner than other robots we've seen that offer similar functionality.
The iLife V8s robot vacuum cleaner is a surprisingly capable machine that's easy-to-use and affordable.
There's a lot to like: multiple cleaning modes, variable power settings, easy-to-use remote control, intelligent mopping system, and considerable longevity per charge are all highlights.
Sure, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of other robot vacuum cleaners we've tested, but it's proof that those extras aren't always necessary to deliver a reliable cleaning of your home. We would like it to be a little more intelligent with identifying when it swallows a large object that affects cleaning.
Overall, we found the V8s to be powerful enough to deal with even large clumps of pet hair, while its daily scheduled cleans resulted in impressive results. It does need regular emptying and there are a few minor downsides, but all-in-all this is a brilliant little cleaner for a sensible price.
Alternatives to consider
Ecovacs Deebot R95 MKII
The Ecovacs Deebot R95 MKII is a slightly more expensive option, but it's also more intelligent too. It has a smartphone app, intelligent room-mapping system and is even compatible with Amazon Alexa. We did think that the iLife V8s offers a superior mopping system and is perhaps more user-friendly for those who don't need all the extra bells and whistles.
- Read the full article: Ecovacs Deebot R95 MKII robot vacuum cleaner review
Ecovacs Deebot M81 Pro
The Ecovacs Deebot M81 Pro is one of the least intelligent robot vacuums we've tested. No app, no voice assistant compatibility, no intelligent mapping system. But it's cheap, cheerful and quite capable, making it well worth considering as an option.
- Read the full article: Ecovacs Deebot M81 Pro robot vacuum cleaner review