Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, I’ve always been interested in smart home tech. I mean, what self-respecting aspiring homemaker wouldn’t be? Robot vacuums just seemed particularly appealing to me as they’re a tool that would allow me to #adult better as I indulge my obsession with all things smart home.
But, I had qualms: Will the robot really clean my home? Won’t it fall off the staircase? Would our pets get along with it? Will it kill my cat? How does it even work?
When this Xiaomi Mi Robot Vaccum, which was gifted to my dad, arrived at our house, my baby boomer parents were clueless. Of course, I was through the roof. Being the good daughter that I am, I volunteered to set it up.
A robot what?
To those uninformed about the ways of 2018 and the smart home: Yes, I said robot vacuum. The Xiaomi Mi Robot is a tiny vacuum on wheels that’s supposed to run around your home and clean it.
Sounds simple enough, yeah? Not when you put it in the context of real homes. You see, real homes have actual stuff in it — stuff that could confuse dumber robots. Stairs and uneven steps seem potentially hazardous to an expensive robot (expensive compared to a broom, I mean!).
This thing, however, promises to recognize all these, er, obstacles and vacuum all your floors. By scanning the surrounding areas, it will be able to tell the floor area it needs to clean and proceed to cover every square inch. Obstacles in the way are supposedly avoided and you end up with clean floors without even lifting a finger.
The Mi Vacuum comes with a charging dock that acts as the home base for your machine. Plug it in and set it up against a wall with enough space. This becomes your robot vacuum’s corner.
And yes, I said charging dock. When the Mi Vacuum is parked, it does charge. This means you won’t ever have to think about charging said device. Ever.
You can activate the vacuum by pressing the start button up top and it will sucking away your sins.
Like all smart tech, though, it can get more complicated — but that only means more functionalities. The Xiaomi Mi Vacuum’s true features can be unlocked by connecting it to the Mi Home app. This allows you to toggle vacuum strength settings (there are five levels), schedule and check timed cleanups, check battery percentage, and even prompt manual zoned or specific cleanups.
Time to suck!
After connecting the vacuum to the app, which was a fairly easy process (just follow the prompts), it was time to start cleaning. To top off personalization features, you get to name your vacuum and the area or room it’s in. A tap of the “Clean” button in the app starts the process.
As soon as you turn on the cleanup process, the vacuum scans the area so that it has an idea of what the floor plan is like. It then proceeds to go through every single spot in that area as the app tracks which places the vacuum has covered in real time.
The question everyone’s been asking: How does it deal with furniture or even stairs? Well, I’m proud to report that it hasn’t knocked over anything or died a fiery death by jumping down steps. It works by slowly moving around and when it does ever so slightly bump an obstruction, the vacuum just adjusts and moves the other way. As shown in the app screenshot and image above, it moved around our weirdly shaped furniture.
I am also glad to assuage your robot harakiri fears: No, it will not throw itself off a flight of stairs. Steep inclines are recognized, though tiny steps aren’t — the robot did get stuck in the bathroom when it went down an inch-high step difference and couldn’t get out.
When it’s all done, the vacuum just comes home to its dock to charge. Easy peasy.
So, does it work? Well, the floor feels cleaner on my bare feet, and the cat is still alive — no fighting or running over pets had occurred.
Lifting the top flap of the Xiaomi Vacuum shows you the dirt repository.
As with any vacuum, proof lies in all the gunk it’s collected. When you pull out the cartridge, you can see all the, er, stuff you had in your house. News flash: It’s gross but you’re an adult, so you have to deal with it. You can just empty this cartridge when it gets full and you’re ready to start again.
After one round of cleaning, I’m convinced I’d never need to physically vacuum the house myself again.
If you need me, I’ll be on our very clean floors enjoying my youth with one less chore to worry about.
How the MatePad 11 fits in your workflow
Can it be a substitute laptop?
We often get asked what’s a good “budget” laptop. And there’s never an easy answer. Most decent options start at PhP 35,000 but the budget of people asking is capped at around PhP 30,000.
Then, we got to thinking — Do they really need a laptop, or just something that functions like one? Exploring this idea, one of our editors used the Huawei MatePad 11 for daily tasks, and this video chronicles the experience.
For any writer or editor, it’s impossible to get anything done without a reliable keyboard.
The task ranges from writing your own articles to copy-editing the staff’s work. You also have to respond to emails and correspondence within and outside of the team.
That’s a lot of typing. And while we’ve come a long way in terms of getting accustomed to hitting a flat surface to type, nothing can replace a good, functioning full-sized keyboard for some real productivity.
Thankfully, the MatePad 11 has a compatible Smart Magnetic Keyboard. It looks tiny at first, but the keyboard is full-sized and offers a good amount of travel for its size.
In fact, parts of the script for this video was written on the MatePad 11-Smart Magnetic Keyboard Combo.
It’s also sturdy and balanced enough that you can pull it out in a pinch and prop it up on your lap. From experience, this isn’t the case with most other similar setups due to the weight of the tablet.
Thankfully, the MatePad 11 is light enough that it won’t topple over even when placed on a not-so-even surface.
Access to your usual apps
What most people really need is access to some type of Office apps. Thankfully, there are plenty of options available right from the App Gallery.
You can opt to go with Microsoft Office and link your existing subscription. Or select any of the other set of Office apps available.
Microsoft Office runs perfectly fine on the MatePad 11. Quickly set it up and you’ll be balancing sheets, making decks, and writing essays in no time.
If what you need is on Google Docs or Google Sheets, there’s a way to quick-launch these apps so you can work on the document or work file you need to.
Since plenty of our work files are on Google Docs, this was the editor’s primary way of accessing the stuff needed to get things done.
And if you’re having trouble with anything else you normally use, you can always access them via the browser like you would on a laptop.
There’s also Petal Search baked into the App Gallery that’ll scour the web for sources of the apps you desperately want and need.
Huawei understands the pain points it had to deal with and has addressed them with the App Gallery and Petal Search combo.
The ease of switching from one app to another on a laptop is still pretty much unparalleled. But the MatePad 11 offers unique multitasking capabilities that offer an effective way to multitask.
What the editor found most useful in particular is how you can have smaller versions of the apps float on the screen.
And when minimized, it goes into this tiny app icon on the right side of the device functioning somewhat like a dock.
This is perfect for placing chat apps to look at messages at a glance. So even if the editor is in the middle of writing or copy-editing, glancing at messages is easy and doesn’t take the full attention away from the work at hand.
This is especially helpful for someone who juggles plenty of messaging apps.
Additionally, if you have a Huawei phone with you, the multi-screen collaboration feature takes this even further.
You can have your phone screen on the side and just open it up when needed. From here you can open any app whether that’s for messaging or something else you may need to reference for the work you’re doing.
It’s an incredible feature and one we hope will be adopted by other brands in some shape or form.
Not just for work
It’s recommended that you take short breaks in between tasks to keep yourself fresh and focused.
Breaks can be anything from standing up and walking around for a little bit, mindlessly browsing social media, or playing a quick game.
If the type of breaks you take fall on the latter two categories, the MatePad 11 is great for that as well.
The 120Hz refresh rate that this tablet has makes it a sight to behold and a joy to touch. Your general interaction with the device will feel incredibly fast and smooth.
It’s great whether you’re just swiping from one TikTok video to another or playing a quick round of whatever mobile game you’re into.
The M-Pencil is truly handy
Not everyone needs a stylus. But just because you don’t need one, doesn’t mean it can never come in handy.
An editor’s work also entails signing a lot of documents. This can be anything from loaner sheets or non-disclosure agreements.
It’s also great for providing a rough illustration of the visuals you need. Sometimes, the only way to really get your point across to visual artists is to show them what you have in mind, and then just let them work their magic on it.
On the Nebo app, you can draw rough sketches to show your graphic artist how you want something to look like. It’s a helpful guide and one that prevents miscommunication.
You can also use the app for taking notes and doodling which is a pretty underrated way of clearing your mind.
Mate just be what you need
The MatePad 11 is an excellent tablet. One that can be more than a stopgap to your laptop needs.
It gives you access to the work stuff that you need, while offering features that laptops in its price range aren’t capable of.
It’s a fine mate for work, play, and everything else in between.
Pricing and availability
The Huawei MatePad 11 retails for PhP 24,999 and comes with two freebies: Wireless Charging Table Lamp and MatePad 11 Cover
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This Compact $400 Home Gym Changes Everything!
Tempo has just launched a new sub $400 system that fits into a console table! Not only that they a lot less space than regular home gym systems, it also uses advanced tech like the LiDAR sensor on your iPhone. Their new 3D Tempo Vision technology is also there as a complement to make workout reading and tracking more precise.
But could this be the future of home workouts? Watch our Tempo Move Hands-on now!
Apple 14″ M1 Pro MacBook Pro: Unboxing & Hands On
Is this the right MacBook Pro for you?
Finally, the newly-redesigned M1 Pro MacBook Pros have finally arrived after years of waiting!
If you’ve been wanting to buy one today, you have to wait for our review video baking up real soon.
For the meantime, all the basic things you need to know about the new M1 Pro MacBook Pro are in this unboxing and hands-on video.
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