Home entertainment has been rapidly evolving over the years. We used to turn on our television to surf a limited number of channels. We’d make sure that we’re there when our favorites favorite shows are scheduled to air. These days, we can watch whatever we want when we want to. Content is available on demand and the options are virtually limitless. This is made possible by a long list of content creators, online streaming apps, and compatible hardware. The Mi Box is Xiaomi’s original offering to this product segment. It can be connected to any TV to gain smart capabilities. Let’s look closer at the merits of this device.
The Mi Box is an example of elegant minimalism with its subdued styling. This device is only about four inches on all sides and about an inch thick. However, it look much thinner because of its tapered edges that go as low as a quarter of an inch. The Mi logo is engraved at the front. The size makes it one of the most portable models of its kind in this generation. It is certainly diminutive when compared to alternatives such as Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV. The ports are at the back, consisting of power, USB, HDMI, and headphone jack. Users can connect additional storage, an Ethernet cable via adapter, and external speakers. It also comes with a Bluetooth remote control.
Inside of this box is a quad core CPU that is further bolstered by a 3+2 core GPU. This potent combination allows the device to process high resolution video with impressive smoothness. The decoder is able to handle as much as 60 frames per second of 4K resolution. It makes the Mi Box ideal for watching sports or high action films. Thanks to the built-in GPU, it can also play demanding games without dropped frames. Those who would like to see the difference that 4K can make should try this out. It also has Bluetooth gamepad support, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and an 8GB eMMC flash. If this is too anemic for you, then use the USB port to expand storage. Note that this is only a USB 2.0 port.
You need to remember that the Xiaomi Mi Box came out in 2016. As such, it should not be surprising that the model features Android TV 6.0 Marshmallow. You can update it to Android 8.0 Oreo but there might be some issues. This is the television-specific OS made by Google to ensure a better overall experience compared to the regular Android software. Everything looks better on a large screen in landscape mode. Navigation is easy using the accompanying simple remote. It comes out of the box with popular apps already linked from the main menu so you can just plug and play. These include video sharing apps like YouTube and Daily Motion, as well as streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu. There are also pre-installed games and you can get more from the Google Play Store. All of the items listed as optimized for TV screens.
Most people will be attracted to this device because of its 4K claims and $69 price tag. Others approach the $100 level and premium devices can even reach $200. However, it will be the user experience that will make them stay or go away for good. A nice thing about this device is the Google voice recognition which some might prefer over the remote control. You can switch channels, make web queries, open apps, ask questions, and more. Navigation is quick and apps load fast. Games are highly playable. On the other hand, the USB 2.0 port might be too slow if you’re used to 3.0 speeds.
What People are Saying
Going through the Xiaomi Mi Box review posts will give you a mixed bag of opinions. Some are not happy with the standard app options called Mi Box Recommends that can’t be deleted on the menu. There are also minor inconveniences when it comes to navigation. Some streaming apps that come with other devices will have to be installed manually from the Play Store. On the other hand, this unit plays nice with KODI which is important for many users. Other apps may be side-loaded as desired. Android TV 6.0 is not as good as the design of other products such as Apple TV, but then the cost is also significantly less.
Comparison with Other Products
Xiaomi has since came out with an upgrade called the Mi Box S. It is very similar to the original but this one is thicker and the logo has been moved to the center. It also has Chromecast built-in so you can mirror your phone’s screen, as well as other devices. The software is noticeably better with native Android 8.1 compatibility. Some people report issues after upgrading the Mi Box to Android 8.1. The Mi Box S should not suffer from this since you don’t have to change anything out of the box. The interface is smoother and more streamlined.
If you want a no-frills 4K TV box with Android, then the Xiaomi Mi Box will get the job done. If you don’t mind spending a little bit more, then get its successor for a better overall user experience.