Xiaomi Mi Box is one of the streaming devices to join the streaming bandwagon, and conveniently so for the sparse Android TV marketplace. It is not just one of the cheapest 4K HDR streaming boxes in the market today, but if the functionalities, coupled with user sentiments are anything to go by, then there is every indication that it is also among the best streaming devices you will ever come across at the present times.
The device is a product of Xiaomi, a leading Chinese electronic vendor, and with it comes the ability to enjoy full Android TV experience featuring 4K HDR and a remote at a paltry cost of just $69.
Hardware and accessories
At the first glance of the device, the Mi Box may be small, and even unassuming. It is black, with a lightly textured exterior, and measures about 101mm square. Compared to the latest boxes such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku Ultra, it is relatively smaller, yet it comes with robust tech specs such as 8GB of storage, 2.0GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, as well as an 802.11ac Wi-Fi capabilities.
Also included in the box is a 3.5mm analog output for digital audio connections or headphones. Though it doesn’t feature any built-in Ethernet port, it has full sized USB ports which can comfortably accommodate USB-to-ethernet adapters, as well as any other external storage devices or game controllers.
To help you with the navigation and so that you can get the most out of your viewing experience, the Mi Box comes with a minimalist remote, which conspicuously lacks the pause, stop, rewind and forward buttons. All these functionalities are included in the directional pad. The remote, however, includes volume control and a power button.
The Software and experience
One of the outstanding characteristic features you will find in most of the leading Android TV suits is that they run on a nearly similar software. As such, you can use the remote to any Android TV device and find your way around freely, except for a few minor challenges based on the variation of the devices.
The same is also the case with Xiaomi Mi Box, which comes with a cool collection of apps, though the Android TV marketplace still doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of apps. However, you will find most of the mainstay apps such as Sling TV, HBO Go, Pandora, Showtime, CBS, Fox Sports, ESPN, Hulu and Netflix amongst others. It also has a decent portal for Google’s media services, including YouTube, Google Play Music, and Google Play Movies.
Though there are other lots of good things to say about the Xiaomi Mi Box, there arecertain features most users don’t find to be so pleasing. For example, its recommendation bar is rather useless and the Live Channels app is supported only by six streaming apps. And even though it has a useful and powerful voice search feature, its UI badly needs overhauling if users are to get the most from it.
Due to its low budget, Xiaomi’s Mi Box is without a doubt one of the best Android TVs you will find them in the market today. However, if you don’t mind spending more, there are still a lot of better options, with premium functionalities you could still buy.