Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker finally landed in India just in time for Amazon Great Indian festival 2020 and Flipkart Big Billion Days Sale 2020. The smart speaker market in India is currently dominated by Google and Amazon or by their Nest and Amazon Echo smart speaker lineups. Xiaomi enters with its Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in Mi Smart speaker that gives low-cost entry into Google’s smart home ecosystem.
Xiaomi’s Mi Smart speaker has been priced at Rs 3,999 and is available for just Rs 3,499 as part of the introductory offer. Is it a worthy buy for the price or is Xiaomi cutting too many corners? Let’s find answers to that and more in our full Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker review.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker Review: Design & Build
The Mi Smart Speaker takes design inspiration from Sonos smart speakers line-up which is not available in India. The Mi smart speaker follows a minimalist design approach without making any compromises in build quality. The speaker has a plastic top and bottom and the central body is covered by a curved metallic grill. Its oval shape creates an illusion of 360-degree output.
Like the Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini, the Mi Smart Speaker requires constant power input. The solo power input port is positioned at the back.
The top surface has touch-sensitive buttons for volume up, play/pause, mic mute, and volume down. The buttons are responsive but aren’t backlit and that lead us to accidentally press the wrong ones at times. Hard buttons with engraved markings don’t have such issues but it’s better for touch-sensitive buttons to be backlit. Then again, you won’t have to use these very frequently.
The top panel also has two far-field microphones and a LED light ring that glows in different colors when the speaker is listening to your commands, during the setup process or when the microphone is muted. The bottom surface has rubber stubs that add a nice grip.
Overall, we are quite satisfied with the design and build quality of the Mi speaker. It doesn’t look cheap and should blend in well with most home decors.
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Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker Review: Initial set-up and Reset
The initial setup is the same as is for all Google Assistant-powered speakers. It’s easy and only takes a few minutes to complete. All you need is the Google Home app on our phone and an active internet connection.
Both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands are supported. Just power up your Mi Smart Speaker, open the Google Home app, and tap on ‘Add device’ to start the setup process. It should detect your Speaker and create an ad-hoc network to complete pairing.
Once done, you can control the Mi Smart Speaker using voice commands or with the Google Home app. You may also link your choice of music and video streaming service during set-up.
To reset the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker, just press and hold the volume up and volume down key simultaneously, till the LED strip glows green.
Let’s now talk about sound quality.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker Review: Sound quality and performance
The Mi Smart Speaker packs a 2.5-inch driver that is capable of delivering 12W audio and it is meant to fill an average size room or hall.
Xiaomi’s Mi Smart speaker outperforms Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot in terms of audio. It has been tuned for warm mids with prominent enough bass and treble if you keep your expectations in check. Google Home app also allows users to make adjustments to bass and treble as per their own liking.
Unlike cheap smart speakers, this one doesn’t shrill even when the volume is set to a hundred percent. While casting music directly from apps is very convenient, users may also wirelessly pair via Bluetooth and play music over SBC and AAC codecs without an internet connection.
Xiaomi has used a decent pair of far-field microphones as they were able to catch my commands even when playing music at full volume. Having said that, the chipset is a little slow in executing the said commands. The response is slower than what we have experienced on our Google Home Mini.
As mentioned earlier, casting audio from with all popular music apps works flawlessly and is what gives Chromecast speakers an edge over Amazon Echo devices. We had no issues controlling smart home devices with our Mi Smart Speaker.
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Mi Smart Speaker review verdict: Should you buy it?
Once again Xiaomi hits it out of the park with pricing. The Mi Smart Speaker At Rs 3,999 is just excellent value. It sounds better than Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen and Google Nest Mini which makes it an easy recommendation for someone who is looking for affordable smart speakers to control smart home devices.
No, it’s not flawless. AT times delayed response can be annoying and perhaps backlit buttons would have been better, but all these are minor quibbles to be expected in the price segment.
All said and done, the Mi Smart Speaker does a good job of adding Google Assistant to a smart home ecosystem.
- Simple aesthetic
- Crips and loud
- Responsive mics
- Buttons are not backlit
- Lacks 3.5mm port