'It is not just a smartphone company', this phrase is slowly becoming synonymous to Xiaomi's approach towards consumer technology around the globe. Meanwhile, in India, the company was majorly known for its Redmi phones until last year. But the arrival of Mi's TVs and Mi home products somewhat changed the perception of its consumers in the last few months.
To amplify it further, the company recently launched a budget-oriented soundbar alongside their latest TV-lineup. Yes, Xiaomi is slowly putting its fingers different categories with the most recent one being home audio.
The 33-inch Mi Soundbar is a subtle-looking 28-watt speaker that's made to pair with any appliance that sends out audio signals via Bluetooth, 3.5mm AUX input, coaxial, optical or RCA connections. That's basically everything (except HDMI) that you need to pair it with a TV or a music system.
I've been using one with new Mi TV 4X Pro 55-inch and I can safely say it's a good buy for its price. But also note that it is an affordable soundbar and doesn't offer audiophile grade performance.
Mi Soundbar Specs
Dimensions: 830(w) x 87(h) x 72(d)mm | Speaker configuration: 2X Dome Tweeters + 2X Woofer Drivers + 4X Passive Radiators | Input power: > 14W X 2 @1 kHz | Frequency response range: 50 Hz - 25000 Hz ( -10 dB) | Connections: One 3.5 mm stereo in, Bluetooth 4.2, FIber optic input, coaxial audio input
The Mi Soundbar has a subtle yet classy-looking design that impresses the moment you take it out of the box. It only comes in white color with a grey fabric over the front mesh, giving it a Google home-like feel, which is good. It's clearly the best-looking soundbar in its range compared to the ones from brands like F&D and Portronics. Just make sure you're clearing dust regularly to keep the white color intact over time.
Although it's made of mediocre quality plastic, it has a smooth finish and elegantly rounded corners that can fit into any room setting. The size is neither too small nor too large, at 87mm high, it's slim enough to fit underneath most TVs without impinging on the display. Even if it does, you can always choose to mount it on a wall. It's pretty lightweight at around 2 kgs, which makes it easily movable from one room to other.
It's a good-design where you find body colored function buttons and LEDs on top, smartly placed connectivity ports at inner back and rubber legs at the bottom. The rubber counters vibrations and keeps it steady.
The design definitely the best you can get for the money, and Xiaomi also bundles a white colored power cable and SPDIF cable to go with the soundbar.
Connectivity and setup
The Mi Soundbar has 1x Aux port, 1x line-in port, 1x S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) and 1x optical port. It also has Bluetooth connectivity, but you can only connect one device at a time.
While having an optical port make it relevant for older TVs, not having a remote control makes sure you don't stay from the soundbar for long. Especially, when its connected via optical port where you cannot increase the volume using TV remote.
Setting it up takes less than a minute. Since there's no remote, you just have to connect the speaker to the TV, connect the power cable and turn on the switch on the back.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the audio, you must know we've given TechRadar's Great Value tag to the Mi Soundbar for a reason. At Rs 4,999, it sounds better than what any mid-range TV can offer.
Of course, it does not sound as lively and open as the costlier soundbars from Sony, LG or Bose, but you get more than respectable audio for the price.
Precisely, it's not very loud but enough for a small to a medium sized room. It is tuned for cinematic audio. You get deep bass and strong highs, which gives a fulfilling movie watching experience, but the mids suffer in scenes with high-pitched audio like loud explosions, gunshots and similar. But that's not evident enough to make it a deal breaker.
The Bluetooth functionality allows you to pair phones and laptops, but there's not custom equalizer in it so the tuning remains the same. Despite that, it can be a good go-to speaker if you're looking for a wireless speaker. It's given that you can't expect crystal clear mids/highs and booming bass from a Rs 4,999 soundbar.
The Mi Soundbar is not a cheaper alternative to a great sounding soundbar, but it is simply the best soundbar you can get under Rs 5,000. Meaning, what it offers at Rs 4,999 is unmatchable by any other product in the category. It delivers sub-par cinematic audio experience in an aesthetically pleasing design and offers a variety of connectivity options.
The only big issue with the deal is the missing remote control. But if you're planning to buy a budget TV, the Mi Soundbar can be a wise side-investment to complete your TV watching experience under a budget.
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