Xiaomi recently launched the Mi Box 4K in India. This is the first streaming device that the company has launched in the Indian market. This is a rebranded Mi Box S that has been available in global markets for some time. The Mi Box 4K is an Android TV Box that promises to make dumb TVs smarter. Xiaomi has priced it at Rs. 3,499. This is very aggressive pricing from the company considering the sheer number of features on offer. The current king of the streaming market, the Amazon Fire Stick has some serious competition now.
The retail box here includes the Mi Box itself, a power adapter, an Android TV remote and an HDMI cable along with the regular documentation. Throwing in an HDMI cable within the box is a nice touch from Xiaomi. But weirdly, the remote does not come with batteries installed. The remote requires AAA batteries to run.
Build & Design
In typical Xiaomi fashion, the design of the Mi Box 4K is very understated. It comes in a single all black colorway with a small Mi Logo on the top. The Mi Box 4K is also very sleek and not too big. This, coupled with its color should help it to blend in with most TVs. This is especially important because the Mi Box 4K sits by the side of the TV instead of hiding behind the TV like the Amazon Fire Stick. The build is all plastic and that makes it extremely lightweight.
The Remote also follows the same design ethos with its plastic construction and the black color. The remote is mostly similar to the one you would get on a Mi TV remote. It has a standard D-Pad for navigation around the Android TV interface. There are also buttons for Back & App Drawer along with dedicated volume controls. There are also dedicated buttons for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video as well as Google Assistant. The remote connects to the Mi Box 4K using Bluetooth.
This is where Xiaomi has thrown the kitchen sink at the wall. The Mi Box 4K is absolutely packed to the brim with features. There’s 4K playback support as is implied from the name itself which is a rarity in this price segment. It also supports HDR and Dolby Audio with DTS 2.0. Basically, if your TV has it, the Mi Box 4K supports it. The Mi Box 4K runs Stock Android 9 Pie for Android TV. Xiaomi’s custom TV interface PatchWall is given a miss here. There’s absolutely no bloatware and the only preinstalled apps are Netflix and PrimeVideo.
Being an Android TV stick means you can download many popular apps directly from the Play Store. Options include all the popular apps like Disney+Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLiv, EpicOn, Shemaroo and so on. You can also play games on the device with a controller. There’s also Chromecast Ultra thrown in for good measure which means casting your phone to the TV is a cakewalk. Finally, there’s Google assistant onboard which can be called using the Google Assistant button on the remote. You can ask Google Assistant to open certain apps and programs or ask general questions like checking the weather.
One interesting feature here is the Data Saver Feature. This feature can help you keep track of your data consumption with a warning on using certain data volumes. It can also reduce the quality of the streaming to save on data bandwidth. This ensures that you don’t burn through all of your data cap very quickly especially if you are connecting through a mobile hotspot. This feature was originally introduced with Xiaomi’s Mi TV but has been ported to the Mi Box 4K.
The Mi Box 4K runs on a Quad Core Amlogic CPU with a Mali 450 GPU. There’s 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage on the device. These are very respectable numbers for a streaming device. The 2GB RAM should result in some decent performance. Android TV is anyways very lightweight so scrolling through the interface should be a breeze. The storage should also hold up pretty well as long as you don’t go on installing very heavy games from the play store. No complaints on the performance front really.
The Mi Box 4K has a functional but sparse collection of ports. There’s a circular power port where the power adapter needs to be connected. An HDMI 2.0 is used to connect the Box to the TV. There’s also an Audio Out 3.5mm port that can be used to connect headphones to listen to the audio directly. Finally, there’s a USB port. This is a rather nifty addition as it means you can directly play media from external drives like pen drives or hard disks. While the presence of an Ethernet port would have been nice, it is not a deal breaker by any means.
The streaming devices market in India is not very crowded. The only viable competition of the Mi Box 4K is the Amazon Fire TV Stick. It retails for Rs. 3,999. For Rs. 500 more, we can only think of a couple of things it does better than the Mi Box. The first one is potentially the form factor; it is a stick and so can be hidden behind a TV, unlike the Mi Box 4K. The other factor is that AppleTV isn’t currently available on the Android TV platform. Other than that, the Mi Box 4K trumps the Fire Stick in every department. It supports 4K, Dolby Audio, HDR, has better performance, has a bigger library of apps via the Play Store and is even Rs. 500 cheaper. Amazon also sells a 4K variant of the Fire Stick but it retails for Rs. 5,999. So it is fair to say that the Mi Box 4K is far ahead of the competition.
The Mi Box 4K is another product with an amazing value proposition from Xiaomi. The amount of features on offer is simply amazing. If you have a basic TV and want to access the latest OTT apps, the Mi Box 4K makes absolute sense. It can also be of help to people who have a Smart TV but the manufacturer hasn’t updated the interface for a long time. If you are in need of a streaming device, the Mi Box 4K is a no brainer.