I didn’t have any plan to use an external TV set-top box since my Sony TV is already built in with Android TV. It allows me to watch live TV and run almost all streaming apps available on the Play Store. Therefore, I expected the Xiaomi Mi Android TV Box would deliver the same experience, no more, no less.
Surprisingly, I am still using the Mi Box until now. What are the advantages of the product?
Design & Features
The product comes in a simple cardboard box but you have everything inside, including the TV box, a remote, a power adapter, and an HDMI cable. The Mi Box somehow reminds me of Amazon’s products as the exterior is made of matte black plastic. This is not an attractive design but I appreciate that the box is very small and thin, this helps me hide it away in the setup.
Set up the Mi Box is quite straightforward, I just need to plug the power and HDMI cable into the box, follow the on-screen instructions and it is ready to use in a few minutes. A minor issue is that the included HDMI cable is too short since I mount my TV on the wall.
On the back of the Mi Box, there are a 3.5mm audio port, an HDMI port, a USB port, and a power port. There is no power indicator, so sometimes I can’t tell if the Mi Box is turned on or not.
The wireless remote is just excellent. It has a minimalist design with just a power button, a D-pad, a back button, a Home button, a voice search button and volume up/down. I really love that this is a Bluetooth remote and it has a built-in microphone, so it still works perfectly in a far distance or when something is blocking the way from the remote to the TV box.
Once the Android TV starts up, I can see the familiar interface as seen on my Sony TV. However, I immediately saw the difference when I started navigating around. The Android experience on this box is incredibly smooth. There is no more lag, hiccup or freeze. Obviously, the 2GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 processor and 2GB of RAM have brought the Android experience to the next level.
The processor is powerful enough to play 4K videos, however, somehow the 4K playback is not smooth at all. I tried hooking it up to my Dell 4K monitor and saw a drop in the frame rate. This would make your sharp 4K movies choppy and, therefore, less enjoyable. The performance is kind of disappointing since the smaller and cheaper Chromecast Ultra can stream 4K videos pretty well. I really hope the issue would be addressed and fixed in the upcoming firmware upgrade.
In terms of content, I have no complaint at all since all of the most popular streaming apps are here. You can find Youtube, Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, ESPN, Plex, VLC, etc and it’s even better since most of my purchased content can be easily accessed through Google Play Movies & TV and Google Play Music. You can even sideload the Amazon Instant Video apk to watch movies in your Amazon Prime account.
- Clean design
- Useful Bluetooth remote
- Fast and responsive
- Low price
- Choppy 4K playback
The Xiaomi Mi Android TV Box is a great product for diehard Android fans. It would be an easy recommendation if it could play 4K content smoothly. At this price, the Mi Box will have a lot of competitions from Amazon’s Fire TV and Google Chromecast Ultra. You can also see many TV boxes on sale here.