XIAOMI MI-BOX S

The Android TV marketplace is … sparse. Though there are plenty of happy customers out there using the old Nexus Player or the high-end Shield Android TV. And There just isn’t a vibrant grouping of choices in the same way you can find an Android phone to fit every want and need. Companies don’t see value in making an Android TV box that isn’t likely to sell in big numbers, particularly as Chromecast continues to eat away at the low end.  

BUILD AND DESIGN

The Mi Box is small and unassuming, and that’s just fine with me. Coming in black with a lightly textured plastic exterior, there’s nothing exciting here. At just 101 mm square it isn’t much larger than the Qi charging pad next to it in my entertainment center. It’s small enough that you could easily get away with stashing it behind another box or even double-sided taping it to the back of the TV if needed.

The little rounded square sits up off of any flat surface with a rubberized ring that keeps the relatively lightbox from sliding around from the bends of stiff cables. The ports are all hidden nicely on the back, and the only thing aside from that on the box is a small “Mi” logo on the top and a very faint white LED on the front edge indicating that the box is awake.

Xiaomi’s remote gets the job done, though it isn’t as sleek or nice as the one available for the (over twice as expensive)NVIDIA Shield Android TV. A circular directional pad with a button highlights the top while standard Android TV controls and a volume rocker sit underneath it. The remote is Bluetooth, of course, and runs on two AAA batteries that are included in the box. The one big downside for me here is that the remote doesn’t offer a 3.5 mm headphone jack for plugging in headphones for personal listening, which is something you get with boxes like the Roku 4 and Shield Android TV — then again, the Mi Box is less expensive too.

THE CABLE ARE ON THE SHORT SIDE, BUT AT LEAST THEY’RE INCLUDED

When it comes to cables, things are as basic as the box itself. The Mi Box ships with an HDMI cable in the box (unlikeAmazon’s Fire TV) through the cable itself is only about three feet long. The power cord is an integrated unit with a relatively large brick on the outlet end and a barrel connector on the box’s end. The cord is also about three feet in length. Considering how inexpensive HDMI cables are it’s hard to complain about having a short one in the box, but the short power cord without a standard connector (like USB-C or even Micro-USB) can hamstring the possibilities of placing the box around your entertainment center setup. 

XIAOMI SOFTWARE AND EXPERIENCE

One of the strong suits of Android TV is that it’s nearly identical across boxes and TV sets that run the software. The idea is that you can pick up the remote to any Android TV device and navigate around freely. Save for a few changes in the settings (for specific device functions). Xiaomi, like other Android TV makers, offers a “Mi Box recommends” section on the home screen showing. Some content apps that you’ve heard of before, but that’s it in terms of customizations

ANDROID TV REALLY DOES’NT GET ENOUGH CREDIT FOR WHAT IT DOES WELL

Android TV still doesn’t offer a massive collection of apps. But all of the mainstays are here — Netflix, Hulu, Fox Sports, ESPN, Vudu, HBO Go, VLC … the list of big names goes on. It is also a fantastic portal for Google owns media services including.YouTubeGoogle Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Music. It’s all enhanced further by the inclusion of Google Cast support, with tons of additional content offerings there. Though the Mi Box supports Bluetooth game controllers the game offerings just aren’t there on Android TV. To be fair the likes of the Fire haven’t taken the gaming world by storm either.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

Inside the Mi Box is a very run-of-the-mill spec arrangement, with a 2GHz quad-core (Cortex-A53) processor, 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. The latter of which capable of being expanded via a full-sized USB-A port on the back. That’s all about in line with what you get from other set-top boxes in this price range. But, unfortunately, that hardware can’t provide a great experience when displaying content at its full advertised 4K resolution.

PROS
CONS
• INEXPENSIVE• CHEAP BUILD QUALITY OF REMOTE
• COMPACT DESIGNS• AAA BATTERY
• 4K HDR SUPPORT• HEAVY REMOTE DUE TO AAA BATTERY
• HUGE STREAMING CONTENT

MY PERSONAL REVIEWS

The MI-BOX S supports 4k HDR streaming along with Dolby Digital Audio. Internally the new Mi-Box S Pro supports a quad-core analogies processor, 2GB RAM, and 8GB Internal Storage. And It also comes with google chrome cast technology built into it. However, the Mi-Box S is not meant for gaming but it can rum some retros game with emulator remote control. Built-in chrome cast features No ethernet port but it supports 5GHZ Wi-Fi. Not launched in India which is a major drawback.

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