iLife Shinebot W400 review: this robot mop is a diligent scrubber


The iLife Shinebot W400 is a welcome departure from the typical robotic floor mop. Many of its competitors can be more accurately described as robotic floor wipers, because they don’t achieve the same results you’d get with the exertion of doing the job yourself with a stick mop.

This floor-washing robot comes a lot closer to that goal. It diligently scrubs floors, providing the agitation needed to lift up stubborn stains and leave the surface spotless.

Design

The iLife Shinebot W400 is a big bot. With a height of 4.72 inches and a heft of more than 7 pounds, it’s a good deal more portly than the iRobot Braava Jet 240, which is just 3.3 inches tall and weighs less than three pounds.

A multi-function panel on top of the robot includes controls for starting and stopping cleanings, switching between the four cleaning modes (more on that in a bit), and getting voice alerts on the robot’s status. A pair of indicator LEDs track battery and water levels. Mercifully, a retractable handle is included beneath the panel to make it less laborious toting the Shinebot W400 room to room.

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The Shinebot W400 uses a rapidly rotating microfiber brush to agitate stains and dirt.

The Shinebot W400 uses a rapidly rotating microfiber brush and a scraper to scrub and remove dirt. Inside the robot, a pair of tanks with individual inlets and outlets keeps clean and dirty water separated. It’s worth noting that you cannot add detergent to this machine’s clean water tank. A dozen anti-collision and anti-drop sensors positioned around the robot enable it to safely navigate your household terrain.

The robot comes mostly assembled and ready to roll, along with several accessories. These include a charging dock and power cable, a remote control that includes most of the functions of the robot’s control panel, a replacement microfiber roller, and a cleaning tool.

Setup and performance

First things first: the Shinebot W400 must be set in its dock to charge. It’s noteworthy, though, that the robot cannot return itself to its dock when its battery runs low—you must pick it up and put it there yourself. The upside of this is you can put the dock wherever you have a safe, dry space near an electrical outlet, and you can even move it around since the Shinebot W400 doesn’t need to “remember” where its charging dock is.

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A fold-down handle makes it easier to carry the 7-pound robot from room to room.

To start a cleaning, you just need to fill the clean water tank—which pops up easily with a press of the tank-release button atop the robot—from your tap. You then press the Clean button on the robot or remote control, and a voice alert asks you to select a mode. The four options are:



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