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Mi Smart Speaker Review: Best Smart Speaker Under Rs. 5,000?
Xiaomi's foothold in the Indian market is strengthening with every new launch. From selling smartphones in the year 2014, the company has now created a diverse ecosystem of technology and lifestyle products in a span of 6 years. Xiaomi now sells smartphones, budget fitness trackers, shoes, smart TVs, smartwatches, smart bulbs, power-banks, headphones, TWS earphones, T-shirts, Water-purifiers, and the list goes on. Any Xiaomi product you invest in is bound to give you the best value for money experience, be it the sub-10K Redmi handsets, the sub-3K Mi Bands or the 55-inch 4K Smart TVs.
- Affordable Price
- Good Audio Performance
- Premium Design
- Decent Microphone Response
- Not Loud Enough
- No 3.5mm Audio Jack
The Mi Smart Speaker is the latest product from the house of Xiaomi for Indian consumers. Similar to any Xiaomi product, it is also built on the same formula-- offer the most bang for your bucks. With an introductory price of Rs. 3,499 and the regular launch price of Rs. 3,999, the Mi Smart Speaker challenges the likes of Google and Amazon, the pioneers in the smart speaker ecosystem.
Does Xiaomi stand a chance? Absolutely! The Google Assistant backed Sonos One lookalike with all smart speaker functionalities has a lot going for it. The company has also made some bold claims for its audio delivery, something we will discuss today in the following review.
Design- Premium Looking Metal Body With Touch Capacitive Buttons
Unlike the tiny doughnut sized spherical smart speakers (Google Home Mini, Echo Dot) in this price bracket, the Mi Smart Speaker is a full-blown cylindrical speaker with a metal mesh grille. The smart speaker has dimensions of 131mm X 104mm X 151mm and weighs 853g. The 0.7mm metal grille is said to have 10,531 precisely cut sound holes to throw 360 ° surrounding sound. The speaker rests on four rubberized pads to prevent vibrations when placed on a hard surface. The aesthetically clean front has a tiny Mi logo in the gold color finish.
Touch Capacitive Buttons
The minimally-designed matte finish top has a light ring, two far-field microphones, and a standard smart speaker touch capacitive button configuration- volume up/down, pause/play and mute microphone. Overall, the Mi Smart Speaker is the most premium looking the smart speaker in the sub-5k price bracket. You can keep it on a TV cabinet next to the TV or a shelf and it will easily blend with the home decors. Just make sure you have a power plug around as the Mi Smart Speaker needs continues power supply to function. There is no 3.5mm audio jack on the speaker.
Setup And Features
Similar to any Google Assistant-powered speaker, the Mi Smart Speaker can be easily setup with the help of Google Home application. It has Chromecast built-in that allows you to cast music wirelessly via smartphones on the speaker and other connected devices like a smart TV. You can cast audio from a connected smartphone or a tablet. The Mi Smart Speaker streamed music from Spotify and YouTube music without any connectivity issues and also played videos on a connected smart TV with voice commands.
A plethora of settings is provided in Google Home app for smart speakers including the Mi Smart Speaker. One mode that comes quite handy is the Night mode which reduces the volume of responses and also decreases the light rings' brightness in a pitch dark room. Importantly, you can use Google Home app to control all connected devices and smart home appliances such as smart lights, thermostats, security cameras, etc. via the Mi Smart Speaker.
The Mi Smart Speaker also comes equipped with Bluetooth 4.2 which means you can pair it with smartphones, tablets and Smart TVs to stream audio. Last but not the least; you can also connect two Mi Smart Speakers for a stereo sound setup at home.
Audio Performance And Microphone Response
You can throw all features you want and design the most premium looking device but if a speaker cannot produce good audio, it's a mere accessory taking space at your home. In the case of the Mi Smart Speaker, it does a great job for a sub-4K smart speaker. Powering the speaker unit is a 12W (63.5mm) sound driver which doesn't get profoundly loud but is more than sufficient for a bedroom setup and also serves pretty well for a mid-size living room. The sound produced has an overall warm signature and has just the right amount of thump. In fact, the sound is tuned very well and you won't hear any distortion even while streaming the music at max volume, thanks to DTS Professional tuning and Texas Instruments' TAS5805M Hi-Fi audio processing chip.
The audio delivery does not come across as richer and fuller as the Google Home; however, for a speaker which is priced half of what the Google Home costs, it does an excellent job. And if you compare the Mi Smart Speaker sound with its competition (based on the price) i.e. Google Home Mini and Echo Dot, they don't stand a chance. The Mi Smart Speaker sounds better and delivers an overall immersive listening experience.
As far as microphone response is concerned, the mics respond very well if the audio isn't playing at 100% volume. This is a common issue I have faced with almost all smart speakers even with the most premium ones. You blast music at maximum volume and will found yourself shouting to be heard by the microphone setups. The Mi Smart Speaker is responsive enough to respond to your queries related to weather, traffic, daily tasks and can set reminders, alarms and read your daily morning briefings.
The Mi Smart Speaker is an excellent deal if you are looking for an all-round smart speaker under Rs. 5,000. It looks premium, produces good, clean audio and comes loaded with all the goodies of a Google Assistant backed smart speaker.
If the smart speaker is not what you are in the market for, you can consider several non-smart Bluetooth alternatives that produce better overall audio; however, they fail to offer the comfort and ease of a smart speaker.
The Mi Smart Speaker is priced at Rs. 3,999 but can be purchased at Rs. 3,499 for a limited period.