Hello friends, today we'll review the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker.
The Xiaomi smart speaker offers everything you could possibly want in a smart speaker at an unbelievably price. The consumer-friendly sound signature emphasizes vocals and outputs clear music. At the same time, Google Assistant ensures that the speaker can be the center of your smart home ecosystem. For the price of $60, you can't do better.
The smart speaker market is dominated by products from Google and Amazon. Sure, there are great Google Assistant and Echo speaker alternatives, but these tend to be premium options focused on better audio capabilities. On the other hand, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker is intended as a cheap entry into the smart ecosystem. This makes it designed for price-sensitive markets like India.
Xiaomi's entire ecosystem is built around the premise of value. From smartphones to smart home devices, the idea is to provide options that match the price and offer most of the features of high-end devices at very competitive prices.
Of course, there are some tradeoffs along the way, but usually they're small enough to be ignored.
Xiaomi has dabbled in Bluetooth speakers before, with considerable success. However, the category is led by giants like Google and Amazon, so Xiaomi needs to offer a clear advantage over first-party alternatives to be successful.
The Mi Smart Speaker inherits many of the design sensibilities from the Sonos One. Still, the Sonos is a higher-end device, and Xiaomi made some compromises to match the price point.
The Xiaomi smart speaker incorporates Sonos aesthetics into a classic, minimalist design.
The aluminum construction is sturdy, and there's a perforated grille around the speaker for audio output. However, there is only a slight flex when the speaker is lifted. This shouldn't be a problem for most users since you rarely (if ever) move the speakers.
The plastics on the top and bottom of the speaker are well-made, but not exactly luxurious. Touch controls for volume control, mic mute and play, pause are responsive. Additionally, there is an LED ring around the top of the speaker to indicate that the speaker is listening for voice commands.
There's a rather hidden Mi logo on the front, while on the back you can see a barrel connector for power. While the USB port is a handy addition, it's a set-up-and-forget device that won't cost a fortune.
Finally, the Xiaomi smart speaker, which weighs less than 1kg, remains fixed to the surface, while the rubber feet also help dampen vibrations. Overall, there's little to complain about in terms of handling quality.
I wouldn't mind using higher quality plastic, but for the price, the quality here is very satisfactory.
The Xiaomi smart speaker uses a single 2.5-inch driver that provides 12W of audio output. By comparison, the Google Home has a 2-inch drive, and the Amazon Echo has a larger 3-inch drive.
As for the audio quality, I am very satisfied. The speakers have been tuned for enhanced mids, ensuring vocals and acoustic tracks sound surprisingly clear.
Treble is well controlled, and the speakers never sound too harsh. Meanwhile, the bass isn't bad for the size, but you should lower your expectations.
The Mi smart speaker won't start the party, but there's enough low-end here to satisfy most listeners, unless you're listening to a lot of bass-heavy, high-volume music.
Overall, Xiaomi's smart speaker sounds very satisfying. In fact, I'd say it sounds better than the Google Home because of its focus on clean mids and a fairly neat sound. But if you're on a budget, the updated Nest Audio should be an interesting upgrade option.
Finally, a stereo pair can be created with two Xiaomi smart speakers, which should give you dedicated left and right audio channels. Interestingly, two of the speakers in a stereo configuration are still more affordable than a single Nest Audio speaker.
There are two far-field microphones on top of the speaker. They do a great job of taking orders from across the room.
The Mi Smart Speaker integrates seamlessly into your smart home setup and features the same Google Assistant as Google's own Nest speakers. That means it supports all the Google Assistant queries you use on your phone.
Plus, the speaker can be the center of your smart home ecosystem, allowing you to control smart lights and other devices. In fact, almost every ecosystem product Xiaomi sells supports Google Assistant. The introduction of the Xiaomi smart speaker means you no longer have to look outside the ecosystem for a smart home setup.
The Xiaomi smart speaker is the perfect example of everything Xiaomi stands for. The speaker won't blow your mind, but the audio quality it outputs should be satisfactory for most users.
The speaker is affordable, and the build quality exceeds most other smart speakers at this price point.
Also, the Xiaomi smart speaker is much louder than the Nest Mini and Echo Dot. The only real benefit of the Echo Dot is the ability to use the line out to connect to larger speakers. However, if you're buying a smart speaker, I don't doubt this will be a major use case.
The Mi Smart Speaker is on sale at a promotional price of $60, which is a no-brainer. Unless you have a specific reason to invest in the Amazon Alexa ecosystem, the Xiaomi smart speaker has all the smarts you need and offers nearly the same audio quality as something twice the price.