Since the launch of its first Smart TV in 2018, Xiaomi has sold over 4 million TVs across India. Almost all TVs by Xiaomi are Android-powered and sold at very aggressive pricing. One of the most requested devices in India from Mi Community is the media streaming box that was already made available by Xiaomi in several countries including the U.S. Even though there are many media streaming boxes available in the market, you’ll find a very few from the premium OEMs.
The most popular ones in India are Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Stick. Now, Xiaomi has officially launched the much-awaited Android-powered media streaming box called Mi Box 4K to provide decent Smart TV experience to non-smart TV users. Check out my detailed review below.
Mi Box 4K Requirements
- An LCD or LED TV with HDMI Port
- Internet connection or Mobile data (WiFi or Mobile Hotspot)
- Power adapter (Supplied in the Box)
- HDMI Cable (Supplied in the Box)
- 2 x AAA batteries for power up the remote
Mi Box 4K comes in a securely-packed box that includes the Mi Box 4K, a Bluetooth Remote Controller, a good quality HDMI cable, a power adapter, and a user manual. Make a note that Xiaomi is not bundling the remote batteries and you’ll have to buy it separately. Do not forget to order a couple of AAA batteries while ordering the device online because you need the remote control to set up the device.
Mi Box 4K has a very simple and clean design. There are no physical buttons present on the device and you’ll have to control everything using the supplied remote controller. There are four ports placed horizontally on the rear side. An audio-out port to connect your external speakers, an HDMI 2.0b port that connects the device to your TV, a USB-A port to connect your external USB drive, and a power port to connect the box to the power supply. There is also a LED indicator that glows once you power up the device.
On the hardware part, the Mi Box 4K is powered by the 64-bit quad-core processor clocked at 2.0GHz with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. The device also comes with built-in WiFi to stream videos from OTT apps, Download apps from Play store, etc. and Bluetooth 4.2 to connect your wireless earphone or earbuds. Using the provided USB-A port, you can connect your portable USB hard drive, Portable SSD, Pen Drive, or USB thumb drive. Once you connect your external USB drive to the Mi Box 4K, the device will detect the drive and you can easily browse the contents of the drive such as Movie, Photos, etc. on your TV. Alternatively, you can also access the USB drive contents by downloading any file manager app from Play Store.
Mi Box 4K Software
Mi Box 4K runs on Google’s latest Android TV 9.0 and comes preloaded with Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+Hotstar, ZEE5, and YouTube. Additionally, you can download more than 5000+ apps and games from Google Play Store. If you already used an Android TV in the past, there won’t be much difference in the User interface. The UI of Mi Box 4K is almost the same as the one you find on most of the Android TVs.
You can download games using Google Play Store but only a few basic games can be played using the remote. You need an external USB gamepad or game controller in case you want to play the advanced games. If your app or game isn’t available on the Play Store, you can even download it from a trusted source and sideload the APK using any USB drive. Make a note that, it’s always risky to download the APK from an untrusted source as it may contain malicious code to steal your data.
Mi Box 4K comes with 8GB of internal storage but it might not be enough if you download too many apps and high-sized games. But, there is an easy workaround wherein you can expand the device storage using an external USB drive. Once you connect the USB drive to the system will give you three options – Browse, Setup as device storage, and Eject. Once you select ‘Setup as device storage’, the system formats the drive and allows you to use it as device storage. Once done, you’ll be able to migrate all the data from internal storage to USB Drive and also install the apps on the external storage. Make a note that formatting deletes all the data stored in the USB drive. Also, you’ll not be able to use the downloaded data on any other devices.
One of the key highlights of Mi Box 4K is the built-in Chromecast 4K wherein you can easily mirror your phone’s screen to the TV and also stream videos directly from popular apps such as Prime Video, YouTube, etc. onto your TV with a few taps. Just like Google Chromecast, you can use your phone like calling, texting, etc. while the content plays in the background. To stream the content from your smartphone to TV, download the Google Home app on your smartphone using the Play Store and also make sure both Mi Box 4K and your phone are connected to the same WiFi network.
Mi Box 4K Performance
Mi Box 4K supports 4K video playback, HDR10, Dolby Audio, and also DTS 2.0 digital. During the testing, I was able to play most of the popular file-formats including a few HDR videos without any noticeable issues. The performance of the device is really good and even the User Interface is fluid. Saw a movie on Amazon prime video app and experience is very good. I was able to stream an entire movie in Full HD resolution without any issues on a 50 Mbps Wi-Fi connection. Also, not experienced any issues while streaming content on Netflix and Youtube. For better performance use a high-speed 5GHz WiFi connection.
You can connect your external speakers directly to the Mi Box 4K or pair your wireless earphones with the box. Mi Box 4K also supports the Data Saver feature, one of the standard features of Mi Smart TVs. The Data Saver pops up whenever it detects the cellular data connection (Mobile Hotspot). You can easily enable or disable the data saver and set the data alerts to keep track of data consumed.
Coming to the design, the Mi Box has a very minimalistic design with Mi log on the top center. The entire body is built using good quality plastic with a matte-like finish. The design isn’t that pleasing but can’t expect anything more for the price it is offered. Also, it isn’t too big or heavy and you can even easily hide it behind the TV.
Mi Box 4K Setup
As the device runs on Stock Android TV, all you need is a Google account to get started. Either you can use the existing one or create a new one. You can set up the Mi Box 4K using your phone connected to the same WiFi network (the one which is connected to Mi Box) or manually entering the Gmail credentials or visiting androidtv.com/setup. All three methods are easy and will take about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the speed of your WiFi connection. You can even skip the setup and move to the home screen directly. Setup can be done anytime you want using the Settings menu. Just after the first sale, Xiaomi had released an OTA update (sized about 624MB) to fix some critical issues. It’s highly recommended to update the device for improved performance.
Mi Box 4K Remote
To control the device, Xiaomi is bundling a Bluetooth remote controller. It’s a light-weight matte-finished controller that comes with a dedicated Google Assistant button to send quick commands. Using Google Assistant, you can search for videos on Youtube, Get weather updates, control your smart devices such as lights, etc. The remote also includes a dedicated Netflix and Prime Video button allows you to access both apps without navigating to the app menu.
Furthermore, the remote has a 4-way navigation key and also a button for easier navigation. There is also an app drawer button that gives access to all your downloaded apps in a single push. As the remote runs on Bluetooth, no need to point the remote towards the box to operate it. The biggest drawback of remote is the lack of a Mute button. In case if you want to mute the audio, you’ll have to bring down the volume to zero by holding the volume down button for a few seconds.
Once you turn on the Mi Box 4K for the first time, you need to pair the remote controller with the box. You’ll also get instructions on your TV to pair the remote with the Mi Box. You need to press and hold the Apps button and Home button together until you hear a beep. It hardly takes five seconds. If you don’t hear the beep, turn off the Mi Box, and then turn it on again. Now, repeat the process as mentioned above.
Other key features of Mi Box 4K
- Change the screen resolution
- Convert HDR to SDR
- Convert SDR to HDR
- Change language
- Change device name (Helpful when you use multiple devices)
- Turn off recommendations
- Customize home screen
Mi Box 4K v/s Amazon Fire TV Stick
There are many media streaming devices available in the Indian market, but, Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K are the nearest competitors to Mi Box 4K. Google’s Chromecast doesn’t support 4K (Chromecast Ultra supports 4K but not officially available in India) So, let’s compare Mi Box 4K with Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
The Xiaomi’s Mi TV Box 4K is powered by a quad-core processor clocked at 2GHz and mated with 2GB RAM and 8GB of storage to download apps and games. One of the key advantages of Mi Box 4K is its OS. It runs on Google’s Android TV 9.0 and you can download thousands of apps and games right on the Google Play Store. Additionally, the device also gets a dedicated USB-A port so that you connect your USB drive to watch the content on the TV such as Photos or Videos. Furthermore, there is even a 3.5mm audio port to connect your external speakers.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K also has a quad-core CPU but clocked at 1.7GHz and paired with slightly lower 1.5GB RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Unlike Mi Box 4K, the Fire TV Stick 4K runs on its own Fire TV OS and comes with its own app store. Even though the number of apps on this platform is less compared to Google Play, it covers most of the popular apps such as Netflix, Hotstar, ZEE5, Voot Kids, Apple TV (Not available for Android TV), etc. The major advantage of FireTV Stick is its design. You can directly connect the Stick to your TV’s HDMI port without any additional cable. The only port on the Fire TV Stick is the Micro USB Port that needs to be connected to your TV’s USB port to draw the power. There are no other ports such as 3.5mm Audio or USB-A Port. Also, the device is priced at ₹5,999, which is about ₹2,500 higher than the ₹3,499 Mi Box 4K.
|Mi Box 4K||Fire TV Stick 4K|
|2GHz Quad Core||1.7GHz Quad Core|
|2GB RAM||1.5GB RAM|
|8Gb Storage||8GB Storage|
|Support up to 4K||Support up to 4K|
|3.5mm Audio Jack||No|
|DC Power Port||Micro USB|
|Dolby Audio||Dolby ATMOS|
|Google Assistant||Amazon Alexa|
|Bluetooth 4.2||Bluetooth 5.0|
Looking at the spec sheet both devices have their own advantages but when it comes to the pricing, Mi Box 4K is a clear winner for ₹3,499, you’ll get bloat-free Android UI, 4K streaming support, Built-in Chromecast, External audio port, and also a USB-A port. Yes, it still misses out Dolby ATMOS, Dolby Vision, and might not perform very well while streaming 4K and HDR10 content. But for the given price, it ticks all the right boxes. No doubt, the Mi Box 4K is a perfect device to make your dumb TV into a smart TV. If you are looking for a better device with Dolby ATMOS and Apple TV support, have a look at Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (priced at ₹5,999) but, remember you don’t get external Audio or USB port and also an OS which is entirely different than what Google offers.
What I Like
- 4K with HDR10 Streaming
- Chromecast Ultra Built-in
- External USB drive support
- External speakers support
- Latest Android TV 9.0
- Data saver
What I Don’t Like
- Quite big in size
- No USB power supply
- No batteries included
- No Mute button on the remote
Who should buy Mi Box 4K?
Nowadays Smart TVs start as low as around ₹10,000 with many smart features such as built-in OTT Apps, Google Play Store, etc. Even Xiaomi’s Mi LED TV 4A PRO 32 is priced at ₹12,500 and supports Google Play with Patchwall. So if your TV is already powered by Android TV, there is no point in buying the Mi Box 4K. But, if you have a good LCD or LED TV that doesn’t run on Android TV or you can’t install apps in it, then, Mi Box 4K is an ideal option. Instead of spending a few thousand on a new TV, you can simply convert your regular TV into Smart TV by spending only ₹3,499.
There are even a few cases wherein the TV manufacturers don’t provide updates on a regular basis and your TV UI becomes laggy or may not support newly launched apps or features. In such cases also you can make the best use of Mi Box 4K and save some money on purchasing a new TV. If you are still confused, check out this dedicated FAQ for more info.
Mi Box 4K Price and Availability
Xiaomi’s Mi Box 4K comes only in Black color and priced at ₹3,499. You can buy this device from Flipkart and mi.com and also through Mi Home and Mi Preferred Partner stores across India. Xiaomi is also offering an additional ₹1,000 discount in case if you previously purchased Mi TV 4 55. Check out this link for more info. Do let us know your queries in the comments below. Follow gizarena on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.