In 2020, Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi released the new Xiaomi Mi Box S 4K. It is a good solid box at an affordable price tag. It doesn’t touch the Skystream Pro 8K or the NVIDIA Shield, but it certainly has a lot to offer if you are looking for something powerful and affordable.
Read on for my quick review of the new Xiaomi Mi Box S 4K, and why it is worth considering as your next budget-friendly Android TV box.
Overall MI Box S 4K
For the price tag, you get a lot of value, but it doesn’t touch the more sophisticated (and expensive) devices out there. So, as long as you aren’t looking to do anything overly fancy, it is a good, solid choice.
Overall, I give the Xiaomi Mi Box S 4K four stars. It is an affordable 4K streaming device that most users will love.
It is simple to use, it has everything you need to easily stream content from all the major streaming sources, and fans of Chromecast will love that it is compatible as it is already a built-in feature. You can upgrade your technology without having to change your habits.
|Processor||Quad-core 64-bit Cortex A53|
|Memory||2GB RAM & 8GB ROM|
|Internet||Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac|
|Operating System||Android 8.1 Oreo|
|Video Coding||H.264 & H265|
|Audio||Dolby Audio & DTS 2.0|
|Video Resolution||4K HDR at 60 fps|
|Voice Control||Google Assistant|
How Xiaomi Mi Box S 4K Works
If you are new to TV boxes, you’ll be very happy with this Xiaomi because it is incredibly easy to set up. Plus, you can do it directly on the box or via your smartphone if it is connected to the same network.
The design of the box is simple with only one HDMI and one USB slot, so you won’t be left scratching your head about what to do. But, while this might be great for a newbie setup, anyone looking to do anything more sophisticated with the box will be disappointed by their lack of options.
The same is true for power. While the Amlogic CPU is good, it only comes with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of ROM. If you are willing to spend a little more, say around the $100 mark, you can expect 4GB of RAM as standard and three or four times as much ROM.
This is enough for all your basic streaming needs but without expandable memory options, you won’t be able to turn this into a hub for your personal media library. There just isn’t enough space. Though, again, this will probably only bother super-users, who are probably looking at a more expensive option anyway.
One nice thing about this box is that it utilizes Google’s Data Saver, which minimizes the amount of data the box consumes, allowing you to get faster speeds over Wi-Fi, which is a good thing since there is no ethernet plug-in option. Tests show that this can bring down data requirements by up to three times.
The remote for this box is pretty good, but it requires two AAA batteries that aren’t included, so don’t forget to buy those right away. It is a standard lightweight remote that works over Bluetooth, so it is all about navigating on the screen to select what you want. It also supports voice command, which is powered by Google Assistant, and it works well. Even those users who are a little reluctant to use voice commands will probably find themselves enjoying this.
Most of the major streaming apps come pre-installed, or you can download them from the Google Play Store with ease.
The one thing that stands out in terms of functionality with this box is that Chromecast Ultra functionality is built-in, so you can start casting anything you want to watch directly from your smartphone with ease.
The machine is capable of delivering 4K content at 60 fps, and it unlocks this content on the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. This will be a major selling point for a lot of consumers.
Video Playback and Streaming on Xiaomi Mi Box S
The Xiaomi Mi Box S offers impressive video playback capabilities, supporting high-resolution 4K content at up to 60 frames per second. Powered by the advanced Amlogic SoC, it efficiently decodes the latest H.265 and VP9 standards, ensuring seamless playback. For an immersive audio experience, it supports multichannel sound systems like Dolby Digital and DTS, delivering realistic sound quality. However, it’s important to note that Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD formats are not supported. Additionally, the Mi Box S is compatible with HDR video material, provided you have an HDR-compatible screen and the corresponding video content. The playback of HDR10 content is flawless, but do keep in mind that HDR10+ and Dolby Vision video materials are not supported.
One significant point of criticism, both for the predecessor and the newer Mi Box S, is the absence of automatic frame rate switching. Unfortunately, users have to manually adjust the frame rate and resolutions according to the video material being played, which can be a bit inconvenient.
During testing, the Mi Box S proved to be capable of handling various video formats, including MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264, H.265, and VP9. As expected, there were no issues when transferring content via an external hard drive. Notably, even 4K video material could be streamed flawlessly over WiFi without any loss or buffering. However, it’s worth mentioning that the WiFi performance decreases noticeably with increasing distance from the access point. For lossless 4K streaming, it’s recommended to have the Mi Box and Access Point in the same room for optimal performance.
The Mi Box S handles different audio codecs such as AC3 or DTS HD without any problems. It provides a delightful experience for VoD (Video on Demand) enthusiasts, as it supports Netflix in 4K and enables smooth streaming of 4K HDR content.
Overall, the Xiaomi Mi Box S is a great option for those seeking impressive 4K video playback and streaming capabilities, though it’s essential to be aware of the limitations regarding certain HDR formats and the manual adjustment of frame rates. With its excellent performance for various video formats and reliable streaming capabilities, it can be a solid addition to your home entertainment setup.
The Good And The Bad of Xiaomi Mi Box S 4K
So, what are you really weighing up when deciding whether the Xiaomi S 4K is the right investment for you?
The Xiaomi Mi Box S 4K is a good, solid Android TV box that does everything your basic streamer will want, including unlocking 4K content from major streaming services.
It is a strong choice if you are looking for something affordable, and if you like the brand. It will also be a top choice for any fans of Chromecast who don’t want to give up that functionality.
In terms of its direct competition, you are looking at the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, which costs about the same, has the same specs, and delivers the same functionality; however, it just substitutes Google Assistant for Alexa.
Why would you pick the Xiaomi Mi Box S 4K over the Fire Stick 4K?
The operating system. Fire TV uses a modified version of Android that locks out some functionality. You can get around this, but you do need to know what you are doing. Xiaomi uses the open version of Android, which means it is just a little bit easier to customize.
Have you tried the Xiaomi Mi Box S 4K or any other Xiaomi TV boxes? What do you think of them? Share your advice with the community in the comments section below.