Mi Smart Speaker Review: The Best Budget Smart Speaker

Play your favorite music, control volume and find information, hands free.

By Bryan Keegan I Jan 12, 2021

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Get more done at home, hands-free with Mi Smart speaker.

Our Score: 7.9

Positives +

Negatives -

+ Affordable

+ Great sound quality

+ Loud audio

+ Two far-field responsive mics

+ Bluetooth connectivity

+ Easy to use controls

+ Chromecast built-in

- Limited global availability

- No line-in or line-out port

- Bass could be better

- Inconsistent voice response

- No IPX rating 

- Bluetooth 4.2

The Mi Smart Speaker (although its design mimics the Premium Sonos One) is a dream come true for first-time buyers of smart speakers. This speaker can easily be the center of the smart home ecosystem. It offers everything you can wish for from a smart speaker, at a price that is almost too good to be true.

It sweeps away the competition primarily Amazon Echo Dot third generation and Google Nest Mini in terms of audio quality and loudness. Its audio quality is similar to that of more premium Google Home speaker, which emphasizes the vocals and delivers clear-sounding music.

Model: Smart Speaker (with Google Assistant)

Release date: October 2020

Regular price: Approx. $48 USD

What’s included in the box?

Mi Smart Speaker

Power Adapter

User Manual


Who should get the Xiaomi Mi Smart speaker?

If you want a smart speaker with Google Assistant integration as Xiaomi Mi Smart speaker integrates seamlessly with the Google Home app like all other Google and Nest speakers. It delivers great audio at less than half the price of Google Home or Amazon Echo speakers and can be easily added to your existing multi-room audio setup.


How’s the build and design of Mi Smart speaker?

Mi smart speaker has an interesting design that clearly seems to be inspired by much more premium Sonos One. There is an aurora light ring at the top that uses 24 LEDs to give you a visual indicator for any notifications. The design allows the speaker to stand out from what Amazon and Google offer in this segment.

The body is built with a combination of ABS material on the frame and stainless-steel mesh wrapped in the center with a discreet Mi logo, which looks good enough for an entry-level speaker. Xiaomi focuses a lot on the grill with 10,531 perforations, which apparently allows an even distribution of audio.

Designed with a warm matte-stone black finish with a 0.7 mm metal casing, it blends innovation in home audio entertainment with an ultra-modern design. It comes with 16 million lights combined to create a mesmerizing aurora inspired light ring! – Xiaomi

Available colors

Black

Dimensions

Product height: 131 mm

Product width: 104 mm

Product depth: 151 mm

Product weight: 853 g

The Mi Smart Speaker is a compact speaker but not the super compact as its competition. It is much taller and twice heavier than Google Nest Mini or Amazon Echo Dot.

The plastics on top and bottom of the speaker are well built, but they don't have a premium feel. In addition, the quality of the power adapter does not match the build quality of the speaker.

There's also a bit of flex when you hold up the speaker. You should be a little more careful if you normally like to move the speaker around.


Will water splashes ruin the Mi Smart speaker?

The Mi Smart speaker is not waterproof, splash-proof or designed for use in humid environments. If water or other liquids enter your speaker, it can cause damage and could turn your speaker into nice looking paperweight before you know it.

Protection

 

Waterproof: No

Water resistant: No

IP rating: NA

Maximum depth of water resistance: NA

Drop proof: No

Manufacturer's warranty – Speaker: 1 year limited

Manufacturer's warranty – Power adapter: 6 months limited

Manufacturer's warranty – Labor: 6 months

How to connect the Xiaomi Mi Smart speaker?

Stereo setup of two Xiaomi speakers along with TV.

Setting up the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker is a fairly simple process. You just have to plug in the speaker to turn it on, install and go to the "Google Home" app (available on iOS and Android) on your phone, and it will ask you for some things like your favorite music and video streaming apps to customize it according to your usage.

To get stereo playback, simply pair two Mi Smart speakers to get dedicated left and right audio channels for impressive audio output.

A big advantage of this speaker is that it can also be used as a standalone Bluetooth speaker in case you lose the Wi-Fi.

Simply command the Assistant to "pair Bluetooth" and it will automatically enter pairing mode.

Mi Smart Speaker also has a built-in Chromecast to seamlessly integrate with your existing multi-room configuration via the Google Home app.

Wireless

Wireless connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi + Bluetooth

Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz / 5GHz

NFC: No

Compatibility: Android 4.4 and above, iOS 9.0 and above

Pair speakers to Party Up: Yes

Hands-free function: Yes

Wireless multi-room audio: Yes

Output to stereo system: Built-in Chromecast

Input & output terminals: No

Power input: Proprietary

Bluetooth connectivity

Thanks to Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, you can connect to the speaker like a regular Bluetooth speaker. This allows you to enjoy your music even when you're out of the wi-fi coverage area via your smartphone or tablet.

Bluetooth version: 4.2

No. of devices to be paired: 7

No. of devices can connect simultaneously: 1

Bluetooth range: Up to 50 m

Compatible profiles: A2DP

The Xiaomi Mi Smart speaker has Bluetooth 4.2 instead of the latest 5.0. This means that the speaker can be connected to multiple devices, but it only works with one device at a time.

Many audio and smart home enthusiasts expected a line-in or line-out port for connectivity on this new Xiaomi speaker, but it doesn't have one. There's no way to connect it to regular larger speakers (if they don't have Bluetooth connectivity).

Controls

Interface: Touch input

Controls: Power on/off, Music control, Volume control & Mic on/off

Voice assistant: Google Assistant

Microphone: 2 Far-field mics

Speakerphone: Yes

What are the options available in Google Home App?

Google Home App screenshots.

The Google Home app works like a remote control with thousands of smart home devices from the most popular brands, allowing you to easily manage your Google Assistant settings and preferences. It's a pretty advanced app that's available on both Android and iOS platforms.

In addition to Xiaomi Mi Smart speaker, you can also control other Google speakers, Nest Smart Home products, Chromecast devices and compatible lights, cameras, TVs and more from just one place.

App name: Google Home app

Platforms: iOS and Android

Customizable EQ: Yes

Xiaomi mentions that it is responsible for providing firmware updates for the device. This may be a problem later if Google decides to add new features to the Assistant. If Xiaomi manages the firmware, the speaker may not receive the new additions at the same time as Google's own speakers. We've already seen that with Android smartphone updates, where manufacturers never bother updating existing phones.

What are the Smart Home features of Mi Smart speaker?

Mi Smart Speaker integrates seamlessly into your smart home settings and has the same Google Assistant as Google's own Nest speakers. You can easily add the Speaker to your existing smart home configuration (if you have one) through the google Home app without any problems.

The speaker can become the center of your smart home ecosystem and allows you to perform basic tasks such as setting reminders, booking an Uber, checking smart lights, other equipment, and so on.

Xiaomi Bluetooth speaker also has Chromecast built-in, which lets you stream video and music on a smart TV via the same Google Home app.

How long does the Mi Smart speaker battery last?

It's important to remember that this Xiaomi's Google Home only works when plugged in, as it has no battery and therefore lacks the portability offered by competitive options.

Battery type: No

Battery capacity: NA

Music playtime: NA

Standby mode: No

Auto-power off: No

Power adapter: 12V DC, 1.5A

Battery charge time: NA

USB charge out: No

Power cable length: 1.49 m

How does the Mi Smart speaker sound?

Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth speaker tuned by Texas Instruments.

Xiaomi's smart speaker sounds more than satisfactory with a single 2.5-inch driver that delivers 12W audio output. By comparison, the much more expensive Google Home has only one 2-inch driver.

The TAS5805M high-fidelity audio processor in the Mi Smart speaker (professionally tuned by DTS) easily surpasses the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen and Google Nest Mini in terms of audio quality.

The sound signature is warm and inviting, with the emphasis on delivering clean mids with well controlled treble frequencies for a fairly uncluttered sound.

In addition, due to its size, the Mi Smart Speaker is much louder than the google Nest Mini and the Amazon Echo Dot.

The four to five times’ larger size of Mi Smart speaker accommodates larger drivers that provide room for much louder sound output.

Audio

Speaker type: Indoor

Drivers: 63.5 mm sound driver

RMS power: 12 Watts

Supported codec: SBC

Audio Sources

Spotify

iHeartRadio

Pandora

Google Play Music

Youtube Music

Gaana

JioSaavn

However, the default sound quality is not that great, although you can adjust it according to your needs using the EQ option in the Google Home app. The bass could be better; sometimes overpowers the mids and lows, which eventually muffles the sound at higher volumes.

How is the microphone of the Xiaomi Smart Speaker?

The speaker has two far-field microphones, positioned right at the top to avoid any blockage. They are quite responsive and do a great job of capturing commands from all over the room.

However, we found that the voice response of microphones is inconsistent at a higher volume.

This is one of the areas where the Xiaomi Smart Speaker falls short. You have to yell at it more than once when you raise the volume to higher levels. By comparison, Google Home Mini or Amazon Echo Dot picked up commands faster and more accurately from the same distance.

One-year free subscription for Gaana app

Here's another great deal for music lovers (India exclusive), Gaana, the well-known music streaming app, offers a free 1-year premium subscription with every Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth speaker purchase. For your knowledge, Gaana is a comprehensive solution for all your musical needs. It offers free unlimited access to over 30 million Hindi Bollywood songs, Bollywood music, English mp3 music and more.

Should you buy the Mi Smart speaker?

If you're looking for an affordable smart speaker, since the speaker is priced to move and the audio quality is more than satisfactory for most users. It offers better value than the Nest Mini or Echo Dot and the build quality exceeds that of most other smart speakers at the price. For $48, the Mi Smart Speaker is a dream come true for first-time smart speaker buyers.

What are some alternatives to Mi Smart speaker?

Google Nest Mini

Google Nest Mini with bigger, richer sound.

Google Nest Mini is a just a future-proof update rather than a radical change, but it would be a great deal for your first smart home speaker. The improved machine learning chip it contains is the real upgrade. It is now faster and better for privacy.

The speaker sounds a bit better; the controls are improved and can be a simple solution if you want to extend the Google Assistant experience to other areas of your home. Nest Mini remains an excellent little smart speaker and a worthy competitor to Amazon's own 4th generation Echo Dot speaker.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)

Amazon Echo Dot 4th generation.

Amazon's original smart speaker is back with a whole new look. The 4th generation Echo Dot speaker sees Amazon abandon its cylindrical origins for a more extravagant spherical design.

You can access songs in Hindi, English, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Kannada and more, while Alexa is always ready to help in both English and Hindi.

It is equipped with 4 microphones, so Alexa can listen to your request from across the room to control lights, ACs, TVs, geysers, and more.

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation.

The Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation is an amazing product. At $49 USD, the third-generation Echo Dot is the best and most cost-effective way to bring Alexa into your home.

You can use Echo Dot 3rd generation as a Bluetooth speaker or connect it to other large speakers via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm jack.

If you're looking for a cheap wireless speaker for streaming music from Amazon Prime Music, Spotify and Pandora, make calls or control your smart home, then it's definitely one of the best smart speakers on the market for you.