Review: For only $59, the Xiaomi Mi Box S offers Android TV and 4K HDR. {Video}

The wonderful and rapidly expanding Android TV platform has some unforeseen hardware challenges. The greatest Android TV set-top box is still the Nvidia Shield TV, but the Xiaomi Mi Box S is the best choice if you’re looking for something more reasonably priced. You should be aware of the following.

Hardware and ports are basic but functional. The Xiaomi Mi Box S offers a rather simple overall package that is capable but not all that much more than the device that came before it. The whole thing is constructed of plastic and has a simple, matte black design. It may be placed anywhere in almost any entertainment system and has a single LED on the front to show when the gadget is on. Its modest size and understated appearance are ideal for a device like this.

The Xiaomi Mi Box S’s internal characteristics are nearly identical to those of the model that came before it. That features an 8GB internal storage unit, a quad-core processor, and 2GB of RAM. Although the storage may be constrained for some users, that works well for the majority of users. For those users, adoptable storage is offered, allowing for the addition of additional storage via the USB connection on the rear.

The Xiaomi Mi Box S’s ports include an exclusive power port, a full-size USB-A port, an audio-out port, and an HDMI 2.0a port. A connected TV can receive 4K HDR content via that HDMI connection.

Note that only HDR10 is supported by HDR. There is no Dolby Vision support.

Sadly, there is still no Ethernet port on the Xiaomi Mi Box S. Although the built-in WiFi usually suffices, staying wired has many advantages. The Mi Box S, which is only a few feet from my router, buffers a little bit more than my Ethernet-connected Nvidia Shield TV. You can use the USB port with an adapter to get wired internet without a doubt.

Performance for Android TV andamp; Software that Keeps Improving with Acceptable Performance In 2017, Google’s Android TV platform underwent a significant overhaul, and in 2018, it began to reach consumers. It ultimately made it to the earlier Xiaomi Mi Box as well, although the Mi Box S already had it installed. This device’s pre-installed app clutter is reduced by the new UI, which also works a little more consistently.

The performance of the box as a whole depends on what you need from it. It functions reasonably well when connected to my 4K HDR Vizio TV and streaming HDR Netflix material. The box will occasionally stutter when navigating through apps and the homescreen, but it’s nothing too severe when the resolution is set to full 4K HDR. The Mi Box S performs admirably, however the Nvidia Shield TV performs far better.

The Xiaomi Mi Box S’s handling of HDMI-CEC is one of my primary gripes. Alternatively, how it fails. For me, this feature is not very dependable. That might only be a problem with my TV in particular, but it’s still important to note.

REMOTE | IT SEEMS BUDGET BUT DOES THE JOB A set-top box’s remote control can make or break it. The Nvidia Shield TV’s little, unreliable control almost makes the experience unusable for me. But I’m delighted to say that the remote that comes with the Xiaomi Mi Box S works fine.

It is powered by two supplied AAA batteries and offers a cozy appearance. The construction feels quite flimsy and hollow, yet the buttons are tactile, and the connection is generally dependable. The voice search button starts Google Assistant, while the power button uses CEC to switch on the Mi Box S-connected TV. Additionally, there are direct shortcuts for Netflix and the Live TV app as well as a button designated for the Android TV app menu. You’ll need to get some extra hardware for the latter, of course.

THE BEST ANDROID TV BOX FOR MOST PEOPLE, PERIOD, FINAL THOUGHTS Even while I won’t be staying with the Xiaomi Mi Box S moving forward, it is still clear that for the majority of people, this is the greatest Android TV box. It provides the most recent software, is likely to eventually have Android 9 Pie, supports 4K HDR, and practically has a Chromecast Ultra built in. It’s a great deal at $59!

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