The TV streaming box industry is heating up India. As video streaming platforms are getting popular day by day and people are ditching their cable subscriptions and turn to streaming, many are looking for a full-featured, smart-home compatible streaming box that they can use to access content from Netflix, YouTube, and Hotstar App.
Xiaomi is the latest to enter this streaming market in India with the new Xiaomi Mi Box 4K. But Xiaomi has some tough competition to go up against.
For starters, there’s Fire TV Stick, which arguably dominates the space with the Fire TV Stick 4K.
Knowing what the competition is like, is it worth saving some cash and going for the Xiaomi Mi Box 4K, or should you save up a little more and go for Fire TV Stick 4K instead? We put the Xiaomi Mi Box 4K to the test to find out.
Design and setup
The Xiaomi Mi Box 4K isn’t bad-looking, though it is a little boring. The box is square, and comes in at around 3.5 x 3.5 inches, or 10 x 10 cm. On the top of the device, you’ll find the Xiaomi logo, while on the back there’s a basic HDMI port, a USB port, a 3.5mm audio port, and a power port. The device in general is decidedly minimalistic, though, of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Physically setting up the Xiaomi Mi Box 4K is very easy, as you might expect: Simply connect the HDMI port to your TV or a receiver, the power port to an outlet, and you should be good to go. Then, put the batteries in the remote, turn on your TV and the device, and follow the on-screen prompts.
Like any other Android TV Box, you’ll be prompted to sign in to your Google account and asked for privacy preferences. If you’ve got other Android-based devices, Google will also look at apps in your account, and recommend some that you can download to the Mi Box 4K, helping speed up the process of getting the device personalized for your needs.
The remote is pretty basic and easy to use, which we see as a good thing.
At the top, you’ll find a power button, directly under which can be found the voice search button. That’s helpful for triggering Google Assistant, which you can use to trigger smart home devices and control your TV. Under that, there’s a direction pad and selection button, then an apps button, back button, and home button. It’s all relatively easy to get used to, and anyone who’s familiar with Android devices and how they’re set up should have no trouble.
In general, the Xiaomi Mi Box 4K may look a little boring, but setup is easy enough for those that have set up an Android device before – though you may want to head to the Settings section and make sure that the box is outputting video at the highest resolution that your TV can handle.
The Xiaomi Mi Box 4K may be cheap, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in features: this Rs. 3,499 (around $45) streaming box supports 4K, and HDR.
Apart from supporting high-resolution video, the Mi Box 4K also has the latest Android TV 9.0 built right into it. What that means is that you’ll be able to take advantage of the huge Android TV ecosystem of apps, plus services like Google Cast, the ability to mirror your Android phone, Google Assistant, and more.
Android TV also gives you access to a huge range of apps. There’s the obvious ones, like Netflix and YouTube, but there’s also a range of games and lesser-known services that might be helpful, like Google Assistant.
Assistant has become one of, if not the, most powerful digital assistants out there, and it’s nice to be able to use it to control your TV too. With HDMI CEC setup, you could use Google Assistant to control your entire home theater setup – including turning on and off your TV and receiver.
So how does the whole system work in daily use? Well, at this price point you can’t complain about it..
In Fact you can do light gaming don’t expect more out of it as it’s not a gaming device, it is a streaming box and it gets the job done. For apps like Netflix and YouTube, we actually found that it was more than good enough. Sure, more performance-intensive tasks may cause the Mi Box 4K to struggle, but that’s what you’d expect to happen at this price point.
The Xiaomi Mi Box 4K has a lot going for it, but it’s not perfect. If you’re looking for an Android-based streaming box and don’t want to spend much, this is one of the best streaming devices under Rs. 5,000 that you can go for … but please note you won’t be able to use it for too many high-performance tasks.