iLife A9 review

A dust specialist that looks sleek and features super smart navigation

iLife A9
(Image: © iLife)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

The iLife A9 is an affordable yet powerful robot vacuum that crams in features - literally, in this low profile machine. Looks are great, cleaning modes are broad and the included remote and boundary marker are great additions. Dust collection is a major feature here as is excellent navigation and Alexa voice controls. Bumping over rugs could be better but at this price this is a tough vacuum to fault.


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    Cellular dustin

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    Low profile

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    Smart mapping

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  • -

    Not great on uneven surfaces

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iLife A9: What you need to know

The iLife A9 manages to remain affordable while offering some of the most impressive and powerful features in the best robot vacuum cleaners. It does all this while also looking great thanks to a sleek design and build.

iLife has a huge range of robot vacuums, mops and combination devices but it's the A9 that sits at the top of the robot vacuum brigade. This claims to clean better, navigate smarter and offer more features than lots of the competition. But it's the many features that really make this stand out. 

iLife A9: Features

  • Cellular dustbin able to collect smaller particles of dust
  • Lots of cleaning modes
iLife A9: Key figures

Battery life: 120 minutes

App: iOS, Android and Amazon Alexa

Multi-surface: Yes

Pet capable: Yes

The A9 features a cellular dustbin, as iLife calls it, which is able to collect smaller particles of dust separate to the general waste collected. The idea is to expel cleaner air thereby making your home air and floor cleaner. This is all done using cyclone technology for powerful suction too.

There are lots of cleaning modes allowing you to focus on what needs doing, or to just leave the robot to it. An included smart barrier is a nice touch that allows you to mark off an area so the camera led navigation takes the robot elsewhere.

So how does all this perform in the real world when it's just you and the app?

iLife A9: Design and build

  • 120 minute battery life
  • 3-inch low profile

Despite being priced as a more affordable robot vacuum, the A9 is a real stunner. The sleek black upper, comparable to a vinyl record, is finished with a black outer shell, white inlay and metallic power button. Essentially it feels more premium than the price tag would suggest it might.

There are lots of features crammed into this robot vacuum yet it manages to keep its height to no more than 3-inches. This is ideal for slipping under couches and cupboards to make sure everywhere gets cleaned. That's particularly helpful for those with pets where hair can sometimes get blown under units to hide and collect dust.

The battery manages to keep going for an impressive two hours before needing a charge. However, in real world use, with things like Max mode used at times, this can be less. Also if there is a lot of carpet rather than hard floor, this can create a bit more work. Regardless the bot will auto dock to charge when needed then when it has enough juice to finish the job it'll be back out to carry on.

iLife A9

(Image credit: iLife)

iLife A9: Cleaning performance

  • Cellular bin
  • Limited bump abilities

The big sell of the A9 that iLife likes to shout about is its cellular bin. This uses a cyclonic suction system - yup, like Dyson - to pull dirt and dust into the bin area. But then it keeps pulling to separate the smaller dust particles and does so again for even finer particles before pushing out the air through a filter. The end result is super clean floors and clean air too. While some robot vacuums, and indeed vacuums, will push back out dust in the air after a clean, this will make sure to filter as it goes. 

The 600ml capacity isn't the largest but it should keep going for a few days in most average houses before needing an empty. Of course, if you've got a molting dog, that's another story.

The brushes on the edge of the device help to pull in dirt even from under skirting boards. This makes for great performance at edges as well as in corners. There is also included carpet specific brushes for those that don't have any hard floors. 

The four modes help you to get specific jobs done. While Auto will zip around intelligently covering all areas, Edge mode allows you to clean right around the edges up against skirting boards. There is also Spot mode for a specific area that needs a deep clean. All of these three modes can have Max mode activated while in use to suck even more up - just don't expect the battery to last long. 

iLife A9

(Image credit: iLife)

iLife A9: Smart skills

  • Voice controls
  • Virtual wall

Unlike laser toting robot vacuums, the iLife A9 uses camera tech - yup, again like Dyson. This uses CV-SLAM smarts meaning it works from a ceiling view, effectively, so moved objects affect it less. The result is very few bumps as this intelligently and accurately makes its way around nearly all obstacles. 

Should you want to make a section as out of bounds, for a pet bed or kid's project, then you can use the included battery powered virtual wall. Place it down and the invisible-to-the-eye line it fires out will keep the robot out. This is great for overnight if you don't want to tidy an area away but would rather leave the vacuum working. Just don't do it in Max mode as that's not quiet, at all.

The A9 comes with a physical remote control for quick access to things like the four modes, pause, resume, charge and more. This is nice but the app offers more detail, with a map of cleaning areas and scheduling options clearly laid out. There is also Amazon Alexa support so you can control the vacuum using voice commands. It'll even talk back alerting you if it gets stuck and needs to be placed on the charger, among other things.

iLife A9: Verdict

The iLife A9 is a wonder for the price. Not only is it well built and good looking but it crams in lots of useful features too. From the four cleaning modes and smart visual navigation to dust specific suction and voice controls, this is an advanced robot vacuum.

That low profile is great for getting under low units but does hinder this bot when it comes to bumping up rugs and over transitions. Battery life is excellent, when not in Max mode, the app is very capable and the inclusion of a dedicated remote and smart barrier are great additions.

At this price you'll be hard pressed to find a better robot vacuum cleaner.

Luke Edwards

Luke is a veteran tech journalist with decades of experience covering everything from TVs, power tools, science and health tech to VPNs, space, gaming and cars. You may recognize him from appearances on plenty of news channels or have read his words which have been published in most tech titles over the years. In his spare time (of which he has little as a father of two) Luke likes yoga, surfing, meditation, DIY and consuming all the books, comics and movies he can find.