Xiaomi has unveiled the second generation of its Mi Box S media box with upgraded features. The device now supports all HDR formats in 4K – meaning HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Its audio technology has also been upgraded to support Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD, which the Apple TV 4K (2022) and Nvidia Shield also offer.
As it stands, the Mi Box S is only available via AliExpress in the UK and Europe. Priced at £62.11 / €70.42, the site is currently offering a 20% discount. According to the NotebookCheck, the product is expected to ship from China to the UK in May - as with all Xiaomi products, we don't expect to see a US release.
One other key difference in the latest model's streaming hub as compared to its previous model is that Android TV has been replaced by Google TV (Android 11). This is generally a friendlier system, and makes it easier to find what you want, and to pick up movies or TV shows you've already started.
It also ensures access to all the best streaming services, including the likes of Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Disney Plus, Netflix. Of these, the remote has dedicated buttons for Netflix, Prime and YouTube.
The streaming device has also had its hardware upgraded with Bluetooth 5.2 and dual-band Wi-Fi. Xiaomi’s product page about the second generation device says that it has a HDMI 2.1 port, however, FlatPanelsHD reported that it only supports basic HDMI 2.1 bandwidth (a maximum of 4K 60Hz).
The Mi Box S is powered by the Amlogic S905X4 Soc with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of ROM (storage). Whether it can compete with top streaming devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max, let alone the far-more-expensive boxes from Apple or Nvidia, we’re yet to determine – but it's a tempting proposition.
Is the Mi Box S 2nd Gen an upgrade?
Xiaomi had first introduced the Mi Box S on 9 October 2018 at Google’s annual hardware event. In our Xiaomi Mi Box S first-gen review, we thought that this budget media box with a small and subtle design was a good option for those that need an inexpensive model.
However, we did find some software niggles during the setup process with the device being set to output 720p. It was easy enough to switch to 4K in the settings but this still appeared odd given that it was the 2018 model. The remote, which was basic, was a bit buggy too and did not turn every time – although resetting fixed this.
We haven’t got our hands on it yet, but if the second generation of the Mi Box S has fixed these initial issues then it could still be a budget streaming device worth considering – but see our list of the best streaming devices for more great options at the same kind of prices.