Xiaomi now has become one of those brands, that doesn’t need any introduction. No matter what product you pick from them, you’re guaranteed to get the best possible value for your money’s worth. In order to expand their smart devices ecosystem, the next logical step would’ve been going for a smart speaker and that’s what Xiaomi did.
They forayed into the smart speaker segment last year with their speakers running XiaoAI assistant and were restricted to just the China market. Now with their latest Mi Smart Speaker, the company is eyeing international markets and their first stop is India.
The new Mi Smart Speakers is powered by the Google Assistant, has a fairly refreshed design, and promises to deliver exceptional audio in its price segment while sticking to a current sticker price of INR 3,499.
We used the Mi Smart Speaker for a little over a week and here’s our full review.
- Mi Smart Speaker
- Power Adapter
- User Manual
- Other Documentation
Starting with the design, with the Mi Smart Speaker, Xiaomi seems to have taken design inspirations from a number of speakers which isn’t bad. The nearest lookalike for this is from Sonos which is a much more premium brand per se. The construction here is done in part with Aluminium and Plastic. We get to see a mesh grill covering the speaker which does flex a bit, but it isn’t that much of a deal, since the speaker will be sitting in a fixed placed and not tossed around.
The two halfs on the top and bottom are made out of plastic which isn’t that much premium looking but is passable when looking at the price. The touch controls placed on the top for volume, microphone mute, and play, pause are responsive. Additionally, we get to see an LED ring that runs around the top of the speaker to indicate when the speaker is listening to voice commands. The colors on this change depending on the function being carried out.
On the front bottom we get to see the Xiaomi logo while turning to back, we find a barrel connector for power. Honestly, a USB connector would’ve been great instead of this barrel connector. The base of the speaker has chunkier rubber feet which add a sturdy grip and further help with vibration dampening. Coming to the weight, we see a 853g complete package which is okay considering the size of the speaker.
The Mi Smart Speaker comes packed with a single 2.5-inch driver that delivers 12W of audio output. This is on-par with other Smart speaker in the market right now, factoring in both the Google Home and Amazon Echo. In typical Xiaomi fashion, the audio performance is decent for the most part.
The speaker gets loud enough to fill a mid-sized room very easily. The driver leans toward mids, hence the vocals and acoustic tracts sound good. The bass seems to be toned down a bit, a factor which is thoroughly enjoyed by Indian audiences. It easily satisfies people looking for some decent bass but is certainly not for bass-heads.
It is possible to create a stereo pair using two Mi Smart Speakers, something that Xiaomi touched on extensively in their launch presentation. In this configuration you get dedicated left and right audio channels. This can be somewhat achieved on the Google Home as well but for the price of one Google Home, you will get two Mi Smart Speakers.
Google Assistant Performance
Lets now touch upon the ‘Smart’ part of the speaker. For picking up your commands, the speaker has two far-field microphones at the top, while we would have liked even more, but these get the job done.
Since it’s a Google Assistant speaker, you get Chromecast built-in which further open possibilities. The setup process using the Google Home app is smooth as a butter. The app gives you a plethora of options, ranging from volume controls, setting up Assistant routines, checking up on your smart devices and more.
The Mi Smart Speaker also can act as a smart device center, letting you control other smart devices. Additionally, Xiaomi already has a bunch of smart devices available in the Indian market, ranging from Smart Bulbs, LED lights, lamps, and more. So, you don’t need to get out of the whole ecosystem with your smart home setup.
Verdict- Should you buy it?
The Mi Smart Speaker should be the go-to choice for someone looking at a smart speaker. The build is sturdy, the audio is great, and you get the goodness of Google Assistant. It is louder and better sounding compared to both the Nest Mini and Echo Dot, its nearest competitors in terms of pricing.
This also opens up the possibility for Xiaomi to expand their smart devices ecosystem, something that an average Indian couldn’t have thought of getting into a while back. For the current promotional price of INR 3,499, the Mi Smart Speaker gets a wholehearted recommendation from us.