The tiny Mi Box runs Android TV, Google’s software answer to the likes of Apple TV and Roku. It’s a specialized version of the Android operating system, and as such it has access to a huge selection of media playing apps and games. Also, the Xiaomi hardware is 4K capable.
Connectivity is limited, but sufficient: The Mi Box connects to the internet via Wi-Fi only; there’s no hard-wire connection. You get a USB 2.0 port, HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 output, a power jack, a S/PDIF audio output and that’s all, folks!
So far I’ve found Wi-Fi to be capable (mine is 802.11n, not even AC) of streaming anything from my NAS or from the Internet, even a 4k demo trailer I downloaded. The included remote uses Bluetooth connectivity, although I found that there is an IR port built-in for my Harmony. The Mi Box remote also supports voice search (powered by Google) which works well.
Being an Android TV unit (only the third official Android TV stand-alone box on the market, mind you) streaming apps abound. You can install almost any Android media app, with one glaring exception – Amazon Prime Videos. There are ways around this, but a native app for Amazon Prime members is missing from Android TV. Google Home (formerly Google Cast) is built in to the Mi Box, so it’s ready for you to cast anything from your phone or Chrome-enabled laptop, tablet, etc. (which is one of the workarounds for watching Amazon Prime content).
So far I’m very pleased with this little box, regardless of the cost; but for $69+tax it’s really hard to pass up. For the price of two Chromecasts, you get a much more well-rounded experience: all the functionality of Chromecast plus a full-fledged standalone 4K media player.
Catch the full – Xiaomi Mi Box review