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Xiaomi Mi Box S review - Android TV Box with 4K Netflix

Test report created by Timo A. on February 22, 2022

Xiaomi has introduced the Xiaomi Mi Box S as part of the 2018 Google Keynote. The TV Box is equipped with Android TV 8.1, supports HDR and streams Netflix in high-resolution 4K. However, there are only a few new features compared to the predecessor already introduced in 2016. More about the Mi Box S and how it beats, you will learn in the following review.

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8.6
Our rating
45 € amazon
Price Comparison
Specifications
Overview
Manufacturer

Xiaomi

Model

Xiaomi Mi Box S

Specifications

 Processor and memory 
CPU: Amlogic S905X
RAM: 2GB DDR3
Internal memory: 8GB
Memory extension: Yes, USB 2.0

 Connections 
HDMI: 1x HDMI 2.0a
USB: 1x USB 2.0
Audio: 1x S / PDIF - 3.5mm

 connectivity 
WiFi: Dual Band AC (802.11a / b / g / n / ac)
Bluetooth: Standard 4.2

 Video - Audio 
Video resolution: to 4K 60fps
Video codecs: VP9, H.265, H.264, MPEG1 / 2 / 4, VC1, Real8 / 9 / 10
Video formats: RM, MOV, VOB, AVI, MKV, TS, Mp4, 3D

Audiocodecs: DOLBY, DTS
Audio formats: MP3, APE, Flac

 other 
OS: Android TV 8.1
Kodi: Yes
Size: 9.55 x 9.55 x 1.67 cm
Weight: 147g

Foreword: Xiaomi Mi Box S

The Mi Box S as successor to the Mi Box International to designate would be wrong. Rather, it is a new revision of the already released 2016 TV Box. This shows above all the almost identical hardware equipment. The so-called system-on-chip (SoC), which combines among other CPU and GPU, is still the Amlogic S905X with ARMv8-A CPU and Mali 450 MP3 GPU.

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Design and workmanship

In comparison to Mi Box International the Mi Box S has undergone a design upgrade. Instead of sleek and curved, the new box is significantly more angular. The square plastic housing is even slightly shrunk with dimensions of 95.5 x 95.5 x 16.7 mm and a little lighter at just under 150g. What the box unfortunately lacks is a rubber coating on the underside for a secure stand.

Mi Box S and remote control

Like the box, the remote control has also been redesigned. In order to meet the requirements of the US market, on which the Mi Box S is mainly to be sold, the remote control offers an additional button for Netflix and Live TV.

Mi Box S housing top

The processing quality of both the TV box and the remote control is immaculate. The box and remote control leave an impression that is commensurate with the price. The remote control is easy to grip and the buttons have a comfortable pressure point.

Mi Box S housing bottom

What's in the box

The scope of delivery includes almost everything that is needed to operate the box. In addition to the Mi Box S and the remote control, it also includes a power supply unit with EU plug, an HDMI cable and operating instructions. The only thing missing are 2 AAA batteries for operating the remote control.

Scope of delivery of the Mi Box S

connection options

There is nothing new with the connection options. The only USB socket is still only of the USB 2.0 type. This is just enough to play normal 4K video material from a USB data storage device. Further connection options are an HDMI 2.0a socket and an audio output (S / PDIF / 3.5mm). Unfortunately, there is no Ethernet socket. Instead, dual-AC WiFi is used for network streaming. If you still don't want to do without Ethernet, you can connect a USB> Ethernet adapter to the USB port.

Connections of the Mi Box S

Hardware

The Mi Box S is based on an Amlogic S905X SoC. The ARMv8-A CPU includes 4 Cortex-A53 processor cores that clock at up to 2.0 GHz. A 2GB DDR3 main memory and an 8GB eMMC data memory are used for the memory. After deducting the system, there are still 5GB of data storage left. Contemporary is different! Even if the system runs smoothly (more on this below), a larger memory and data memory would certainly have been an advantage for current apps and mobile games. The Bluetooth standard used is new. Instead of Bluetooth 4.0, the Mi Box S relies on the somewhat newer Bluetooth 4.2 standard.

commissioning

The Android TV user interface can be set up very easily and in just a few steps. The box includes numerous system languages ​​and can be switched to German shortly after the first start. All configuration steps are comprehensible and explained in German. To further simplify the configuration, all WLAN and Google login data can be synchronized via an existing Android device. This saves you having to fumble inputting via the remote control. Once the configuration is complete, you are ready to go on the Android TV user interface.

Android TV

Android TV the Mi Box S

Google's Android TV 8.1 is used as the user interface. This is an Android operating system specially adapted for TV boxes, which can also be found on many Smart TVs. Functionally, Android TV has a lot to offer. Chromecast streaming functions are supported, the Google Play Store is available with special Android TV apps, as well as numerous video-on-demand and music services to choose from. What did not work in the test is the "Live TV" feature. This function is mainly intended for the US market and is not available in the German Android TV language version. The Mi Box S receives system updates automatically via the WLAN.

Android TV Apps Mi Box S

Thanks to extensive DRM support (e.g. Widevine L1), many of the VoD services, such as Netflix, can be accessed at the highest 4K resolution. Amazon Prime Video can be sideloaded onto the box, but is only available in 1080p. Services such as Sky Ticket or Waipu can only be transferred to the box via Google Cast. Films, music or other apps can be easily transferred from the smartphone, tablet or PC to the Mi Box S. Kodi can be installed as an "alternative user interface".

DRM support the Mi Box S

Another feature of Android TV 8.1 is the integrated Google Assistant. The voice assistant answers questions and helps control smart home devices. On the Mi Box S, the assistant helps with the search for new films or to dim the lighting. Commands can be spoken directly into the microphone of the remote control. The recognition accuracy is convincing. With the remote control loosely held in the hand, complex words or unusual names are recognized as well as lengthy sentences.

Video playback and streaming

The Xiaomi Mi Box S is able to play back high-resolution 4K video material with up to 60 frames per second. On the hardware side, the Amlogic SoC decodes the current H.265 and VP9 standards, among other things. The multichannel sound systems Dolby Digital and DTS are supported for the most realistic sound experience possible. Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD are not supported. The compatibility with HDR video material is also interesting, provided you have an HDR compatible screen and corresponding HDR video material at hand. The playback of HDR10 content works flawlessly! But be careful: HDR10 + and Dolby Vision video material are not supported!

 A big point of criticism of the predecessor and unfortunately also of the newer Mi Box S is the missing or non-working auto frame rate switching. The frame rate and the resolutions are not automatically, but have to be adjusted manually to the video material being played!

In the test, the Mi Box S was allowed to face MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264, H.265 and VP9 video material. As expected, there were no problems with the transfer via an external hard drive. But 4K video material could also be played in the stream via the WiFi without loss and without buffering. It is noticeable, however, that the WiFi performance decreases rapidly with increasing distance from the access point. For lossless 4K streaming, the Mi Box and Access Point should be in the same room! The different audio codecs such as AC3 or DTS HD do not cause any problems for the box. All VoD lovers can enjoy Netflix in 4K and also stream 4K HDR content.

3DMark Benchmark Mi Box S

Gaming with the Mi Box S

 You should see the Mi Box S mainly as a streaming box. Gaming is possible to a certain extent, but in no way comparable to an Nvidia Shield. Emulators (NES, SNES or N64) can run. In graphically demanding Android games, however, image breakdowns are noticeable. Games like Asphalt or Modern Combat 5 are running, but they can spoil the fun due to occasional jolts. Bluetooth game controllers can be connected quickly and easily. There was no noticeable input delay in the test.

Price Comparison

 Would you like to know where you can buy the Xiaomi Mi Box S? In our price comparison we list the current offers from the most popular shops. All prices are checked and updated several times a day. If a shop appears several times, it is the dealer's various warehouses.

iconGerman warehouse
iconDelivery time 2-5 business days
44,95€
iconEuropean warehouse
iconDelivery time 2-5 business days
63,90€
iconGerman warehouse
iconDelivery time 2-5 business days
66,99€
iconGerman warehouse
iconDelivery time 2-5 business days
66,99€
Rating
Positive

Simple design
Good workmanship
Stable and fast Android TV
Remote control with voice control
Smooth 4K video streaming
HMDI 2.0a
Widevine LV1 support
Netflix 4K and YouTube 4K
Kodi 17 and 18 suitability
OTA update option

Negative

No SD memory card slot
No USB 3.0
No ethernet
No auto frame switching

Summary

As you can see, the Xiaomi Mi Box S has little to offer. Except for the new design, the more recent Bluetooth standard and the functionally enhanced Android TV, the TV Box does not differ from the already released 2016 Mi Box International. After 2 years you could have expected much more. Who has the "predecessor model" can hide the new Xiaomi TV box confidently.

The Mi Box S is mainly distributed in the US and is accordingly adapted to the local users. Because of Android TV, the TV Box is also very suitable for local use. An update to more recent versions of Android TV, such as the recently released Android TV 9, is quite likely.

8.6
Our rating
author

Launched the website techreviewer.de in 2016 and has been an active editor of news and test reports in all areas of technology ever since.

15 comments

15 comments

  1. Sven

    11. October 2018 12 to: 47

    Doesn't sound bad at first glance. The predecessor had serious problems with the updates. If this is not the case with this one, I would buy it directly. No USB 3.0 and no network jack is really a downer. I'm looking forward to your test.

    • Timo admin

      14. October 2018 19 to: 16

      Hi Sven, yes that's a shame. I'm also curious to see whether Android TV runs better on the Mi Box S. I've already ordered a copy, but it will very likely be November by the time it arrives.

    • Diana

      6. June 2020 10 to: 02

      Ordinary problems? - We have four of these boxes in use and they beat all boxes that we had previously tested (and cost more!) ...
      With many years of experience now, I can say with a clear conscience that the part can be bought without any problems.

  2. Erik

    14. October 2018 19 to: 06

    I'll be over there soon. Where can you buy them there?

    • Timo admin

      14. October 2018 19 to: 14

      Hi Erik, the box is guaranteed to be available at Walmart.

  3. Phillip Mers

    25. October 2018 23 to: 17

    Hello Timo, I read your test on the other box. Would you rather recommend this one or the old one? Or vit. but something completely different? I don't want to spend more than € 80. I also want to stream SkyGo and Netflix. The Google Assistant would be nice to have, but it doesn't have to be. For me, it's mainly about fluid streaming.

    • Timo admin

      13. November 2018 12 to: 04

      Hi Phillip, the new one costs as much as the old one. That's why I would recommend the new one first. But my test copy will also arrive in a few days. Then I will report how the Mi Box S is doing and also compare it with the old one.

  4. Rudolf

    13. November 2018 12 to: 01

    Hello, does Amazon Prime Vidio run on the box?

    • Timo admin

      13. November 2018 12 to: 06

      Hi Rudolf, Prime Video will probably run on it. At least it runs on the predecessor, which is almost identical in construction. My test copy will also come in a few days. Then I can confirm whether it's going.

  5. thank you

    29. December 2018 14 to: 00

    Does the box also go with the interactive Netflix "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch"? It doesn't work with the Fire TV ...

  6. PeterSch

    31. January 2019 10 to: 27

    Hello, if I understand correctly, are there hardly any differences to the predecessor? Do you have a closer comparison? I want to order the box for Netflix and unfortunately there are not very many who can do that on 4K.

    • Timo admin

      31. January 2019 12 to: 30

      Hi Peter, that is correct. There are hardly any differences to the "predecessor". The hardware is identical except for Bluetooth 4.2. The design (a little more angular, a little more compact) and the Android TV 8.1 are new. If you are mainly concerned with VoD, especially Netflix 4K, you are not doing anything wrong with the Mi Box S.

  7. Cedrik

    20. February 2019 16 to: 51

    Others write that Dolby ATMOS and TrueHD are supported. And playing with it is also not a problem ... What's wrong now?

  8. Small

    23. July 2019 13 to: 46

    Can you stream e.g. ARD or ZDF media libraries without having to create a Google account ???
    Thanks for the feedback and the detailed information in the test

  9. peter

    19. September 2019 18 to: 30

    Can I also use my MI Box S in Thailand?

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Overview
Manufacturer

Xiaomi

Model

Xiaomi Mi Box S

Specifications

 Processor and memory 
CPU: Amlogic S905X
RAM: 2GB DDR3
Internal memory: 8GB
Memory extension: Yes, USB 2.0

 Connections 
HDMI: 1x HDMI 2.0a
USB: 1x USB 2.0
Audio: 1x S / PDIF - 3.5mm

 connectivity 
WiFi: Dual Band AC (802.11a / b / g / n / ac)
Bluetooth: Standard 4.2

 Video - Audio 
Video resolution: to 4K 60fps
Video codecs: VP9, H.265, H.264, MPEG1 / 2 / 4, VC1, Real8 / 9 / 10
Video formats: RM, MOV, VOB, AVI, MKV, TS, Mp4, 3D

Audiocodecs: DOLBY, DTS
Audio formats: MP3, APE, Flac

 other 
OS: Android TV 8.1
Kodi: Yes
Size: 9.55 x 9.55 x 1.67 cm
Weight: 147g

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