Xiaomi Mi Box S Review - Android TV Box with 4K Netflix
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.
Xiaomi Mi Box S
Processor and memory
CPU: Amlogic S905X
RAM: 2GB DDR3
Internal memory: 8GB
Memory extension: Yes, USB 2.0
HDMI: 1x HDMI 2.0a
USB: 1x USB 2.0
Audio: 1x S / PDIF - 3.5mm
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
OS: Android TV 8.1
Size: 9.55 x 9.55 x 1.67 cm
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
►Stable and fast Android TV
► Remote control with voice control
►Liquid 4K video streaming
►Widevine LV1 support
►Netflix 4K and YouTube 4K
►Kodi 17 and 18 suitability
►OTA update option
►No SD memory card slot
►No USB 3.0
►No Auto Frame Switching