OKP L1 robot vacuum cleaner review – great on power, but not very smart

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REVIEW – Robot vacuums make life easier, and there are a ton of them to choose from. The OKP L1 robot vacuum cleaner stakes its claim on being driven by a sophisticated LIDAR sensor system and a powerful cleaning capability. How does it do in real-world testing? Let’s find out. To the review!

What is it?

The OKP L1 robot vacuum cleaner is a robot vacuum that uses laser-guided technology to navigate your cleaning areas, mapping the cleaning activity for future use. It also comes with an app that allows for cleaning customization, scheduling, and management of the device.

What’s in the box?

You’ll get the OKP L1 robot vacuum cleaner, the docking/charging station, two brushes, and some extra HEPA filters.

Hardware specs

  • 13″ diameter by 3.75″ tall
  • 1.43 pounds
  • LIDAR real-time room mapping
  • 3800 pa suction power
  • Max run time of 150 minutes
  • 500 mL dust bin capacity

Design and features

The OKP L1 robot vacuum cleaner is dressed up in contemporary blues with black trim, ditching the shiny chrome look for a more subdued style. It certainly looks good as it scoots around your house. It is chunky for a robot vacuum with a 13″ diameter and a total height of 3.75″, but only weighs in at about 1.4 pounds.

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Assembly is very simple. You’ll pull off some packing tape here and there and pop the side brush into its post on the edge of the unit. This particular vacuum features a full roller brush underneath; that side brush is for getting into edges and corners the roller cannot reach.

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The docking station is fairly standard stuff. Two metal pads on the underside of the unit connect to those two pads on the docking station for charging.

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You have one button on the surface of the unit that powers the device on and off. It will blink red if the battery is low…

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…and shows as a solid white when the unit is on and ready for battle. This button allows you to start a quick vacuum (double tap) and also enables connection to Wi-Fi to pair with the app (press and hold for three seconds).

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You’ll want to know that the OKP L1 robot vacuum cleaner has a very loud male voice that indicates status (“CHARGING!” “HELP! I AM STUCK!” “RETURNING TO BASE!”). The good news is that you can control the volume with the app. You’re going to want to install the app to take full control of the vacuum’s abilities, so we’ll go there next before we walk through the functional elements of the unit.

Setting Up the Unit and the App

OKP provides a lovely quick start guide to get you started that walks through your first charge, basic setup, and loading up the app.

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Zap the QR code with your phone or tablet to trigger the app install, which is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

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This bit was a little weird when I installed the app: the service agreement was not available in English, although the app has language preferences.

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It does provide the option for an SMS text or email notification to get a code to start your setup, so that’s good for extra security. Get past that and you’ll select the model of your device.

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The install/pairing process is not too intimidating. You’ll provide access to your WiFi network to the app.

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The app provides a prompt to put the unit in pairing mode…

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You’ll then connect the device to your WiFi router, and then to your app & device. You’ll then be able to name the device if you’d like.

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Once the OKP L1 robot vacuum cleaner is fully paired, your main screen shows the status of the unit including the current battery charge, info from the last cleaning session, and a pair of buttons to start cleaning or to return the unit to the base.

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Press “start cleaning” to the unit to work, and the button changes to “pause cleaning” as shown below. The unit will announce that is going to start cleaning, and then it goes off to do its thing.

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Smack the “more features” button to see its progress, and to execute other functions including setting scheduled cleaning sessions, high power mode, or to set/remove cleaning zones.

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Area Mapping and Cleaning

The “LIDAR” mapping feature is interesting, conducting wide sweeps of the area as it starts its journey through the rooms. You can see the unmapped areas in the pic below where the unit hasn’t been yet, while the areas it has covered all have hard borders. Those loose-border areas represent stuff that the LIDAR has “seen” but hasn’t explored yet.

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Here’s a shot of that map developing as the unit continues its journey, scanning and cleaning as it goes. The white line represents the actual track of the unit as it takes a patrol and maps out the areas.

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If you look closely at the next pic, you’ll see the actual tracking pattern it takes through the rooms to vacuum all the things.

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Once you have a mapping program completed, you can use more advanced features including sending the unit to specific areas of the map for spot cleaning, partition cleaning to clean only specific areas of the map, or to set forbidden areas that the unit should not clean.

Performance

There is good news and bad news in the overall performance of the OKP L1 robot vacuum cleaner. The good news is that it delivers on pet hair and heavy cleaning. The powerful roller and vacuum live up to expectations. This was all pulled out of the first clean of our hallway and three bedrooms. It sucked up all the pet hair it found!

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The unit has a built-in HEPA filter and a 500 mL capacity that will take a lot of gunk, as shown here when my wife opened the collector for cleaning. Ew. I’m glad that’s all sucked out of my floors!

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The unit also has great battery life. OKP claims 150 minutes of life between charges under optimal conditions. I think this means hard floors. My tests showed a 54% drain on just over 60 minutes of work on surfaces that were mostly carpet, which still is pretty good considering the power. Other units I have tested would have quit for a recharge at the 60-minute mark or less, requiring a second charge to complete the second floor of our house.

Unfortunately, I have found that the weak point in the OKP L1 robot vacuum cleaner is the mapping and sensor package. To take full advantage of the smart mapping, the device is supposed to complete a cleaning and then return to the base where it will save the map while recharging. The app SAYS that it is recharging…

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… but I found it in another room, trying to make its way home.

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When we first set up the unit it would not cross this threshold. It will not go down the steps (which is good), and it will make the transition from hardwood to carpet elevations (also good), but it refused to enter this room unless I picked it up and placed it in there.

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Once I put it in the room it did its business, but then it had to start remapping the spaces all over again.

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After a few attempts, we finally got it to map the whole second floor of the house and complete a full clean. Yay! I instructed it to go back to base…

 

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I watched it head to the base, tap the pads, then take off again.

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This time it went into the room it didn’t like before. But the app said it was charging on the base!

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Something is definitely wonky in the mapping and sensor setup. Sometimes it gets stuck in a corner (like next to a chair) and announces that it’s stuck, but it won’t get stuck in the same area the next time.  Sometimes it seems to miss areas of larger rooms, even if we haven’t set a “forbidden zone”.

It will get under beds and furniture and seems to be smart enough to not get stuck. It managed to get under the dresser in this bedroom like a champ and find its way out. I haven’t seen it get tangled in blankets or chords… but I’ve also seen it bump into an object (like a shoe or a table leg) and lose all sense of direction. It just keeps slamming into the item.

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The maddening bit is that it seems like it’s learning… and then it’s not. There’s no pattern of consistency to debug the problem. We’ve tried resetting the app, firmware updates, etc. It’s just not very smart.

What I like

  • Powerful vacuum; does a good job on pet hair
  • Long battery life
  • Large capacity bin

What I’d change

  • Sensor system has trouble navigating some spaces
  • Tends to get stuck easily
  • Can’t find its way back to the base
  • Seems to miss spots/areas of the cleaning zones for no reason

Final thoughts

I’m kind of bummed about the test results with the OKP L1 robot vacuum cleaner. When I compare it to previous robot vacuums I have tested it displays great cleaning power, fantastic battery life, and an unusually large rubbish capacity. But the sensor technology & mapping capability is maddeningly inconsistent & unpredictable. You just don’t know what is going to happen from session to session.

Maybe this unit needs more open rooms with fewer obstacles, but I can’t recommend it for smaller areas with more stuff to navigate. This makes me sad because it really does a good job of cleaning the areas that it gets to.

** Update August 2023: The manufacturer has since corrected the initial service agreement screen in the app to support English. They have also updated the screen where you give the app a name to be worded correctly (“Give it a name!”). **

Price: $199.99
Where to buy: Amazon (save $52.62 with code: 80AOV4F8  expires 6/30/2023)
Source: The sample of this product was provided by OKP.

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