Smart TVs are becoming a common thing in almost every household now. But still, there are a large number of people who are not using Smart TVs and are using TVs older than five years. Because that’s right, people don’t change their televisions as frequently as they do their smartphones. People not using Smart TVs can’t run OTT content streaming apps directly. They need the help of other smart boxes. Xiaomi stirred the Indian television market in 2018 with the launch of its Mi TVs. It took the Chinese company just six months to become the leading Smart Television brand in the country. Now, Xiaomi is looking to capture the non-Smart TV market with a little accessory. The Xiaomi Mi Box 4K is one such technology which can help your TV become smart and run applications on it. You can just connect the Xiaomi Mi Box 4K into the HDMI port of your TV and access content through your favourite streaming applications. You won’t have to buy a new Smart TV separately, you can just buy this box from Mi for Rs 3,499. If you are wondering whether you need it or not in case you have a Smart TV already, the answer is; it depends. If your Smart TV is one which has stopped receiving updates, then you should switch over to the Mi Box 4K. Here's our full review of the the Mi Box 4K after using it for more than a week.
How Does the Xiaomi Mi Box 4K Work?
The Xiaomi Mi Box 4K is a standalone unit of entertainment which can be connected to your TV’s HDMI Port and then be used for steaming content from some of the biggest OTT content platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. You can say that it is much like the Apple TV 4K. The Xiaomi Mi Box 4K also needs to be connected to a power outlet to work. You cannot use dongles for internet access, only Wi-Fi is accessible by the Box. So you need to ensure that the Box is set up in the range of your router. Another connectivity option available is Bluetooth 4.2 so you can pair it with audio devices and game controllers as well.
In case you want to use any other audio system than your TV, you can use the audio port present in the Mi Box 4K to connect external speakers. Once the Mi Box 4K is connected to your TV, you will have to log-in through your Google account and then the box will take over your TV. If you are wondering about what powers the device from inside, know that there is a quad-core Amlogic processor. Along with this, there is 8GB internal storage as well as 2GB RAM. You can stream videos at qualities up to 4K with support for the HDR 10 format.
Xiaomi Mi Box 4K: Remote Control
The Mi Box 4K comes with its own remote. The remote has a very elegant design and Xiaomi has made it very simplistic. With the help of remote, you will be able to navigate through different apps and settings. There is an ‘app drawer’ button in the remote which will help you access all the apps at once. Your TV will be only running on Android TV 9.0 Pie and not PatchWall, thus it explains why the ‘Mi’ button has been omitted from the remote.
The Mi Box 4K and the remote connects with the help of Bluetooth. It is powered by two AAA batteries. You will have to purchase the batteries on your own, Xiaomi doesn’t pack a pair of batteries with the remote. You are not going to find the mute button on the remote, which is a little disappointing. The remote doesn’t offer much but only allows the user to navigate through apps.
Features of Mi Box 4K
If you want to play games and stream OTT content in your TV’s, then the Mi Box 4K will be of huge help. You can install apps on the box and along with that, you will also get some of the apps pre-installed such as YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix. If you use Indian content streaming apps, then don’t worry, most of them are in Android and work well with the Mi Box 4K. So you can download them and stream content at go.
There is Chromecast which comes built-in. If your TV can support 4K resolution content, you can play videos at 4K as well. Using Chromecast, you can mirror the screen of your device and play content through compatible apps from other devices. In case you have videos or movies in your pen drive or hard-drive, then you can also use the USB port present in the box to play them.
There is HDR 10 support as well, which is a little disappointing since there is no Dolby Vision. But don’t worry about the audio, the Mi Box 4K comes with the Dolby audio support and when connected to speakers from either TV or external speakers, it will output an amazing audio experience.
Coming back to the remote, there is a dedicated button for activating Google Assistant and a microphone for interpreting your commands. There is also a data saver option that comes with the Mi Box 4K which will help you save your data if you are using mobile hotspot.
The performance of the Mi Box 4K is really good. Apps opened real quick and switching between the apps was hassle-free too. However, the biggest letdown to me was the lack of PatchWall interface. Having used Mi TV as my primary television over the last couple of years, I can clearly see the lack of PatchWall and its content curation. But again, that's the ideology here- PatchWall will be exclusive to Mi TVs, while the Mi Box range will only provide plain Android TV experience.
The Mi Box 4K is priced on the competitive side at Rs 3,499 and serves its purpose beautifully. The box is offering videos to be played in 4K resolution with HDR 10 support as well. The biggest competitor for the Mi Box 4k is Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. However, it is priced at Rs 6,000 which is much more expensive. Looking at some of the pros of the Mi Box 4K — it offers a complete Android TV experience, supports 4K and HDR 10, has hybrid ports for audio and USB, comes at a very less price. The only disappointment is the lack of Dolby Vision support, but again, we might see Xiaomi including that in an upcoming version. It is something which can be considered to be bought in case you want a stock Android TV experience without having to buy an Android TV.
The Mi Box 4K is not the first full-fledged Android TV box in India. Almost all the DTH operators in the country are providing Android TV-based STBs in India, but they have some limitations which we have mentioned in this article. ACT Fibernet, the popular broadband service operator in the country also launched ACT Stream TV 4K last year at a price of Rs 4,499. The Mi Box 4K's Rs 3,499 pricing will clearly attract a lot of consumers out there and we might see Xiaomi capturing another segment with ease.