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

by 3. June 2019

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.

overview
Manufacturer/Model

Xiaomi

Product

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: 17647g

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.

Design and workmanship

In comparison to Mi Box International The Mi Box S has undergone a design upgrade. Instead of sleek-vaulted, the new box is much edged. The square plastic housing is with Dimensions of 95.5 x 95.5 x 16.7 mm even slightly shrunk and with just 150g also a little lighter. What the box unfortunately misses is a rubber coating on the underside for a secure footing.

Mi Box S and remote control

Like the box, too Remote Control revised. To meet the needs of the US market, where the Mi Box S is mainly distributed, the remote offers an additional button for Netflix and Live TV.

Mi Box S housing top

The quality of workmanship both the TV box, as well as the remote control, is straightforward. Box and remote leave a, the price corresponding impression. The remote control is handy and the keys have a pleasant pressure point.

Mi Box S housing bottom

Scope of delivery

The Scope of delivery includes almost everything needed to operate the box. In addition to the Mi Box S and the remote control are included a power adapter with EU plug, an HDMI cable and a user manual. The only thing missing is 2 AAA batteries for the operation of the remote control.

Scope of delivery of the Mi Box S

connection options

There is nothing new in the connection options, The only USB socket is still only of the type USB 2.0. This is just enough to play ordinary 4K video from a USB data storage device. Other connectivity options include an HDMI 2.0a jack and an audio output (S / PDIF / 3.5mm). An ethernet jack is missing unfortunately. Instead, network streaming uses dual-AC WiFi. If you still do not 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 builds on one Amlogic S905X SoC on. The ARMv8-A CPU includes 4 Cortex-A53 processor cores that clock up to 2.0 GHz. The memory arrives 2GB DDR3 memory and an 8GB eMMC data storage for use. Less the system, 5GB data storage is left over. Contemporary is different! Even if the system is running smoothly (more on this below), for current apps and mobile games, a larger work and data storage would certainly have been beneficial. New is the Bluetooth standard used. Instead of Bluetooth 4.0 sets the Mi Box S on the slightly newer Bluetooth 4.2 standard.

commissioning

The Android TV user interface is easy to set up in just a few steps. The box contains many system languages ​​and can be switched to German shortly after the first start. All configuration steps are traceable and explained in German. To simplify the configuration once again, all WLAN and Google credentials can be synchronized via an existing Android device. This saves you the fiddly input via the remote control. When the configuration is complete, you land on the Android TV user interface.

Android TV

Android TV the Mi Box S

The user interface is Google Android TV 8.1 for use. This is a specially adapted for TV boxes Android operating system, which can also be found on many smart TVs. Functionally, Android TV has a lot to offer. So be Chromecast streaming features Google Play Store is available with dedicated Android TV apps, as well as numerous video-on-demand and music services. What did not work in the test is the "Live TV" feature. This feature is mainly intended for the US market and does not exist in the German Android TV language version. System updates receive the Mi Box S automatically via the WLAN.

Android TV Apps Mi Box S

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

DRM support the Mi Box S

Another feature of Android TV 8.1 is the built-in Google Assistant, The voice assistant answers questions and helps to control smart home devices. On the Mi Box S the assistant helps to find new films or to dim the lighting. Commands can be spoken directly into the microphone of the remote control. The recognition accuracy is convincing. Loosely flaky the remote control held in the hand, complicated words or unusual names are recognized as well as extensive sentences.

Video playback and streaming

The Xiaomi Mi Box S is capable of high resolution 4K video footage with up to 60 images-per-second play. On the hardware side, the Amlogic SoC decodes, among other things, the current one H.265 and VP9 Default. For a sound experience that is as realistic as possible, the Multichannel sound systems Dolby Digital and DTS supported. Not supported are Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD. Also interesting is the compatibility too HDR video footageif you have an HDR compatible screen and HDR video footage at hand. The playback of HDR10 content works perfectly! But beware: HDR10 + and Dolby Vision video are not supported!

A major criticism of the predecessor and unfortunately the newer Mi Box S is the missing or non-functioning car framerate switching. The refresh rate and the resolutions are not automatically, but must be manually adjusted to the correspondingly played video!

In the test, the Mi Box S MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264, H.265 and VP9 Put video footage. When transferring via an external hard drive, as expected, there were no problems. But also in the stream over the WLAN 4K video material could be played without loss and without Buffering. It is noticeable, however, that the WiFi performance decreases rapidly as the distance to the access point increases. For lossless 4K streaming Mi Box and Access Point should be in the same room! The different audio codecs like AC3 or DTS HD do not cause problems for the box. All VoD lovers can Netflix in 4K enjoy 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. Although gaming is possible to a certain extent, it is by no means comparable to an Nvidia Shield. Emulators (NES, SNES or N64) are executable. In graphically demanding Android games, however, picture collapses are noticeable. Games like Asphalt or Modern Combat 5 are running, but they can spoil the fun with some stuttering. Bluetooth game controller let connect quickly and easily. There was no noticeable input delay in the test.

Price Comparison

You want to know where to buy the Xiaomi Mi Box S? In our price comparison we list the current offers of the most popular shops. All prices are checked and updated several times a day. Should a shop appear several times, it concerns the different warehouses of the dealer.

Price Comparison - Buy at GearVita
Shipping Shipping from China
50,47€
Price comparison - buy offer at Geekbuying
Shipping Shipping from Hong Kong
62,52€
Price comparison - buy offer at GearBest
Shipping Shipping from China
63,63€
Price comparison - buy offer on Amazon
Shipping Shipped from Germany
64,24€
Price Comparison - Buy Banggood
Shipping Shipping from China
71,70€

Price too high? Use our price alarm clock!

Prices last updated on: 17. August 2019 23: 01

Final Words

Positive

►Slight design
►Good workmanship
►Stable and fast Android TV
► Remote control with voice control
►Liquid 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

rating
Our rating
user Rating
Rate Here
First impression
8.5
8.0
application
8.5
8.5
Design
8.0
8.5
Performance
8.5
8.5
User Interface
9.0
9.0
usability
9.0
9.0
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
8.6
user Rating
1 rating
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Sven
guest
Sven

Sounds not bad at first glance. With the predecessor there are neat problems with the updates. If that was not the case here, I would buy it directly. No USB 3.0 and no network jack is really a downer. I'm looking forward to your test.

Erik
guest
Erik

I'll be over there soon. Where to buy there?

Phillip Mers
guest
Phillip Mers

Hello Timo, I've read your test to the other box. Would you rather recommend this or the old one? Or vit. but what else? I do not want to spend more than 80 €. I also want to stream SkyGo and Netflix. The Google Assistant would be nice to have, but it does not have to be. My main focus is on streaming fluidity.

Rudolf
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Rudolf

Hello, is running on the box Amazon Prime Vidio?

danmue
guest
danmue

Does the box also use the interactive Netflix "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch"? With the Fire TV is not ...

Petersch
guest
Petersch

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

Cedrik
guest
Cedrik

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

Small
guest
Small

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