Review of Aiper Horizon U1 Mower

There were plenty of new robot mowers on display at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Some of the models shown off were already anticipated, while others caught us by surprise, specifically some of the crowd-funded models looking to launch later this year.

But one interesting debut came from an established home robotics company. Aiper was on hand to show off their first robot mower and we were allowed to test it and see how it worked.

Being their first mower, we were curious to see what direction they decided to take and whether or not their previous robotics experience would shine through with the new mower.

Below, we’ll go over what we learned and how the Aiper Horizon U1 is shaping up, and how it performed.

Who Is Aiper?

Aiper bucks the trend when it comes to new robot mowers. Instead of being a crowd-funded startup or design and manufacturing company out of China, Aiper has its main offices in Atlanta, Georgia.

They also have design and field offices in Europe, Japan, and other locations in Asia.

Aiper made a name for themselves with a highly-rated line of robotic pool sweepers and vacuums. Aiper’s pool robots have sold well all around the world and that success has allowed them to now expand into the robot mower market.

The Aiper Horizon U1 Robot Mower

The first thing we noticed about the U1 is that it’s clearly well-designed. With some other recent robot mowers, they can appear to use off-the-shelf parts or styling that looks suspiciously similar to other models coming from the same manufacturing hub.

The U1 looks to be designed from the ground up and has many subtle features that show the designers put some thought into it.

Underneath, the U1 uses a pretty standard disc-style cutting head, but it is a floating head system, so it can work well with uneven ground or slight ground-level obstacles like tree roots.

There is also a cooling duct which helps reduce the temperature of the motor and the battery. It’s a nice touch and one that should extend the lifespan of the battery since heat can degrade lithium-ion batteries.

One concern is debris and other materials getting into the duct, but it seems to allow most things to simply pass through.

The U1 gets about 3 hours of mowing time from its internal battery and the battery has a quick-charge time of only 1.5 hours before it can go back out and continue mowing.

No word on whether there will be an option to bypass the quick-charge to extend the battery’s lifespan. We’re hoping that will be an option in the app when the production models ship.

Speaking of charging, the charging base looks and feels premium. Some recent models from newer companies are using a somewhat flimsy charging base, so it’s nice to see one that feels and looks very premium and sturdy. 

This also helps with installation since some of the flimsy charging bases can be difficult to keep straight and level without the corners popping up slightly, which can upset the mower as it tries to enter the charger.

Overall, the Horizon U1 looks like a solid and original design.

Next up, we’ll talk about installation and performance.

Aiper Horizon U1 Navigation

The Aiper Horizon U1 uses a combination of navigation technologies to provide a wire-free installation process.

The mower uses GPS, RTK (real-time kinematics), ToF (time-of-flight), INS (inertial navigation system), and onboard RGB cameras for its vision system. The vision system is also used for obstacle detection.

The INS and TOF essentially take over when the RTK signal becomes spotty or the mower loses the signal briefly. The onboard computer calculates how fast it’s going and the time it will take to reach the perimeter. It then continues on its journey until the signal is re-established.

Since the final production components haven’t been confirmed, we couldn’t find out exactly what type of cameras and sensors they were using. But the system seems to be similar to other mowers using RTK combined with a vision system. 

Installing the Aiper Horizon U1

Installation of the U1 was a little different from other similar mowers. You can use the app’s remote control to move the mower around your perimeter. This is the method that virtually all RTK and vision-based mowers use.

However, there is an option in the app to draw in your perimeter using your finger. This is dependent on how complex the shape of your lawn is. For a simple rectangular lawn, this can work extremely well and saves you the time of having to slowly pilot the mower around your lawn as it learns the perimeter.

For more complex lawns, this might not give the best results and you’ll have to try again with the piloting method. But it’s nice to have the option and many homeowners will be able to use the app alone to set up their perimeter.

There is also an RTK relay station. Aiper says it’s optional, but we think most users will want to install it for the best results. While most homeowners don’t like relay stations for aesthetic reasons, the Aiper antenna is actually quite small and unassuming. It can easily be placed without attracting attention.

We give Aiper points for that design choice.

Overall, the installation process was relatively simple and we were very happy with the app. It was already in a good place despite not being the full-release version yet. This is one area where their previous experience with pool robots and apps helped them come out with a strong first version.

Many new mower companies we review have trouble nailing the app on the first try and it can be buggy or lack features. The Aiper app is shaping up nicely.

Aiper Horizon U1 Specs

The U1 has some nice overall specifications and should work for various lawns and conditions. Currently, there is only one model available and there is no word if a larger version is in the works.

Specs:

  • Range: 0.6 acres
  • Cutting height: 1.2-2.75 inches
  • Cutting width: 9.5 inches
  • Blade: Single disc with 4 blades. Floating head
  • Battery: 8.7Ah lithium-ion
  • Max slope: 45%

These specs place the Aiper U1 in a very crowded marketplace, but the Aiper has a nice design and a more polished app than many first iterations of robot mowers.

Aiper Horizon U1 Final Review

The Horizon U1 was a breath of fresh air at the Consumer Electronic Show this year. The mower is a completely new design and we really liked some of the engineering choices.

We experienced no hiccups or buggy actions during our testing of the unit. The app worked well and is very easy to use. We also really enjoyed the choice of installation options along with the diminutive relay antenna that can easily blend in and not be an eyesore.

One interesting aspect of the U1 is the pricing. A representative told us that one of Aiper’s goals as a company is to always be a price disrupter. They want to over deliver and do it for a price that is lower than consumers expect.

While no price has been set, we were told that it will be under $2K when it ships later this year.

We’re not sure how much under $2K it will ultimately sell for, but that could put it in a very competitive spot when you consider the strong set of features and the trusted name and experience that Aiper is making for itself.

Overall, we’re very excited about the U1 and it looks like a strong entry into the consumer robot mower marketplace. 

If you’re interested, the U1 is set to start shipping in Q3 or Q4 of 2024 and will be available through the Aiper website and selected online and physical retail locations.

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