Xiaomi is the one brand that keeps things interesting and within a budget. Their devices, whether it be a phone or a smart bulb, are packed with features for a price that you can’t resist. The Mi Smart Speaker is another such addition to the family. Xiaomi aims to take on Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot with its latest smart speaker. It claims that the speakers in this range are smart but when it comes to sound quality, they are very limited. Hence, the company took it upon themselves to provide an amazing sound experience alongside smart capabilities. Did it succeed? Let’s find out in our Mi Smart Speaker review.
Mi Smart Speaker review: Build
The Mi Smart Speaker is different from other offerings available in this segment. In terms of size, it is much more like the Amazon Echo, which costs Rs 9,999. In contrast, for almost one-third the price tag, you get a Sonos One-kind design. The Mi Smart speaker has a 63.5mm (2.5-inches) audio driver that delivers 12W sound. If you look at the competition, the Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini feature 1.6-inch and 1.5-inch audio drivers. Generally, the bigger, the better. And, it holds true here as well.
According to the company, the Mi Smart Speaker comes equipped with 10,531 sound holes in the 0.7mm metal mesh to provide better sound than its competitors. Moreover, the perforations are designed in a way that keeps dust out of the speaker.
There is a light ring at the top of the device, which acts as a visual indicator for notifications. It lights up when the Assistant is triggered. However, it can be improved upon. Talking about the competition, the Echo Dot comes with a light that changes its length to indicate the battery level. On the other hand, the ring light on Mi Smart Speaker doesn’t indicate a change in volume. Hence, I wasn’t able to tell the volume level at which the speaker was operating.
On the top, there are four buttons: volume down, play/pause, mute, and volume up. The ring light color changes to orange when you tap the mute button to denote the function. Furthermore, there are two far-field mics at the top. I had absolutely no problem with voice commands in a quiet room. However, it is a different story when you’ve a TV turned on in the background. All in all, the mics do their job very well. There is also a Mi logo at the front. On the bottom lies rubber feet.
Mi Smart Speaker review: Features and Sound
The Mi Smart Speaker comes with Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity. The latter means you can connect to the speaker to make it more versatile. Moreover, you can pick two speakers and create a stereo pair. It also comes with Chromecast built-in that lets you connect it to your smart TV. Further, setting it up is very easy since it shows up on the Google Home app. To pair, you need to say “Ok Google, pair Bluetooth” and the speaker will go into the Bluetooth pairing mode.
The Assistant features are the same that are found on Google Home. You can ask queries, get timer and notification alerts, get your daily briefing, and more. I personally rely on Alexa for my smart home needs as I converse in Hindi. Hence, I prefer Alexa over Google Assistant. However, Google Assistant gets the work done too. And, you can converse in Hindi here as well.
I had no problems with commands or playing songs, podcasts and more on Spotify. I love the fact that I can stream to my Mi Smart Speaker from the Spotify app itself. Else, it’s quite cumbersome to ask the Assistant to play songs one after another.
I absolutely adore the sound quality we get for the price. The Mi Smart Speaker blows away the competition in terms of sound. I’ve been using the Echo Dot, and Xiaomi’s offering is way more clear. The speaker is powered by Texas Instruments’ TAS5805M audio processor, which translates to amazing real-world usage. It can get loud enough to fill the entire space with sound easily.
I tried it in the bedroom, study room, and living room, and it owned the place. And, I’m not just referring to the loudness here, the clarity on offer is mind-boggling for the price. It sounds like Google Home, which costs more than double the amount.
Songs like Breathless (Shankar Mahadevan) were detailed, Sinbad The Sailor (Rock On) beats were on point, and Tum Ho Toh (Farhan Akhtar) vocals sounded as they should. The speaker isn’t bass-heavy. Overall, I had an amazing experience with the sound and clarity on offer.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker review: The competition
At an introductory price of Rs 3,499, Xiaomi’s offering competes with Amazon Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini – both priced under Rs 4,000. I’ve been using the former daily for the past six months, and the smarts on offer with Alexa are great if you want to converse with your smart assistant in Hindi. As for the Nest Mini, it does a great job with Google Assistant but lacks good sound quality. This is where the Mi Smart Speaker steps in and dominates the segment. It has the needful smart features and hits it out of the park with its sound quality.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker review: Conclusion
If you are in the market for a smart speaker that offers Google Assistant, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker is my go-to choice in the Rs 4,000 segment. Essentially, you are getting a similar sound quality as the Amazon Echo or Google Home for less than half the price. Don’t sweat it, just buy it!