I’ve said it before. A smart speaker makes your life easier. I use the Google Nest Audio now in my living room and have the Google Nest Mini in my bedroom. It is so easy to turn on the lights, start my morning routine, or ask Google to remind me something in the morning. Xiaomi is a well-known brand of course, and now they made a Google Assistant speaker, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker! Instead of using their own AI, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker features the Google Assistant, and I love it! How good is the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker? Is the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker worth a shot? Or is the Google Nest Audio the better option? Let’s find out!
Introduction & Specifications
Gadgetfabriek.nl offered me the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker to review. I will not turn that down! I currently use the Google Nest Audio, but can the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker compete with Google’s own speaker? Looking at the specifications, I’m happy, but not blown away. The size is smaller and it weighs just 853 grams, which is way lighter compared to the Google Nest Audio with 1.2kg. I’m curious about the performance of this smart speaker from Xiaomi. Are there unique features that will make it stand out?
|Model:||Mi Smart Speaker|
|Microphones:||2 Microphones, with Far-Field support|
|Bluetooth:||V4.2, support A2DP Music Player|
|Supported OS:||Android 4.4+, iOS9+|
|Power Input:||DC 12V, 1.5A|
|Size:||131mm x 104mm x 151mm|
|Package Content:||1x Smart Speaker, 1x Charger, 1x Manual|
Man, this is a big box! The Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker comes in a huge box, compared to the size of the speaker. This is because it is packed really well inside, but in my belief, the box could have been smaller. On the front, we find a picture of the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker (not the actual size). On the sides, we see some Google Voice Commands. While the back, as usual, shows some features/specifications. Inside we find the manual, the charger, and the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker. That’s it! Simple and minimalistic packaging and no excessive use of plastic, which I like.
Hardware & Design
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker comes in a pretty big box, so when I unpacked the speaker, I was surprised about the size. It is smaller than I expected. Not a problem at all, when I saw the box I was afraid of the size of the speaker. Luckily, it is not that bad and it is about the same size if we compare it to the Google Nest Audio, just thicker.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of the physical buttons on the top. I like the overall speaker look of the Google Nest Audio better, but that is a personal preference. It is easier to see what you are pressing and where to press. That is a big plus of this design.
The feet are made so that it won’t slide, so it stays on the spot you put it. That is needed since there is a heavy bass that might drill it somewhere else. On the front, we see the subtle Xiaomi logo, which is fine by me. Google placed its logo on the back so the front is just speaker, but this is fine as well. On the back, we find the charger hole, which feels and works well. The charger clicks in easily and it stays connected pretty good.
Controlling a smart speaker with physical buttons/touch panels is not that hard. The “+” is used to increase the volume. The “-” is used to lower the volume. Surprise surprise! The play/pause button is used to play or pause the music. No surprise there either. The microphone icon is used to turn off/on the microphone. This is confirmed by voice and a red LED light on the speaker.
If you hold the + and – for 10 seconds, you will perform a factory reset of the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker. Careful ith pressing them both if you want to keep your settings.
On the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker, you have a LED light ring on top. This will light up when you say “Hey Google”. But there are some more modes with different colors and meanings. Here are the other light colors and the meaning behind it:
How To Setup?
Settings up is pretty much the same as the Google Nest Audio. First, you need to download and set up the Google Home application. When that is done, you plug in the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker so it turns on. The Google Home application will find the speaker automatically or you have to click on the “+” sign to add a device. Follow the tutorials of the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker and the speaker is ready to go after the process! Ask Google anything and the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker is ready to help you make your life easier. After the connection to WiFi, you are basically done. You can set up voice recognition, but that is not mandatory.
There are a lot of smart speakers out there. Some of them are really expensive, like the ones from Sonos or Bose. Others are more affordable, like the Google speakers. The Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker is even cheaper than the Google Nest Audio, but how good is it? Are there unique features that make this speaker stand out? Let’s have a look at the features of this speaker.
I’m surprised! The Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker is around 60 euros and it sounds really good! There is a heavy focus on bass, but I personally don’t mind that. If you are more into classic music or music that does not have a bass in it, this might not be the speaker for you. Otherwise, I love to listen to rap, hip-hop, hardcore, or R&B on this speaker.
If I listen to rap, the bass is brought to the front that the voice is not as loud as if you are listening to the same song with a pair of headphones. The focus on the bass could be less to increase the overall quality of the audio. Via the Google Home application, you can change some settings, the bass, and treble, but the built-in default bass is really high.
Where the original Google Home could barely fill my living room with music, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker has no problem with that! This speaker comes with a big punch and you can crank the volume up really high. It is even louder than the Google Nest Audio. The quality of the audio will drop if you turn the volume all the way to 100%, but listening around 70-80% is fine and it easily fills my living room.
Unfortunately, I could not test this. But, on the website of Xiaomi, it is noted that you can place two Xiaomi Mi Smart Speakers in stereo mode. That would greatly increase the coverage in your house and the audio quality. Hopefully, I can update this part soon when I get the chance to test the stereo mode on the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker.
Just like any other smart speaker, you can fire away a wide variety of voice commands to the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker. All the commands that are available on the Google Nest Audio, are also available on the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker. Ask for the weather, what is on your calendar, or ask Google for a joke. Just say “Hey Google” and follow up with your request and Google will take care of it.
If you have a Smart TV, that is connected to your Google Home, you can ask Google to play your favorite show on Netflix on the TV and the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker will take care of it. It has a built-in Google Chromecast to stream the series of movies to your Tv so you can enjoy it without touching your remote or your smartphone one single time. How lovely is that?
This is how Xiaomi describes it on their site:
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker should be able to show a variety of light “shows” and “dance” on the music. It is marked on the site that right now, it is just a few colors that are shown. More light effects should come with OTA updates. We have to wait on that and hope it will be available one day… Right now, we just have a light blue color when you ask Google something, or red color when you mute the microphone.
Since I tested the Google Home, the Google Nest Audio, and now the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker, I have to say that the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker offers the best bass, by far. Does that make it the best? No, but for the price you pay (around 60 euros in the Netherlands), it is a decent smart speaker.
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker looks like the Sonos One, and that is not a bad thing. The design is nice and it will look good in most houses. Personally, I like the design of the Google Nest Audio better, but again, this is a personal preference. If we look at the sound quality, I’m surprised! It is good, but there is a heavy focus on bass by default. This brings down the overall quality of the sound and the voices of songs will be lower in volume, which is a shame. If you just turn down the bass a little bit, it will be better for the overall sound quality.
This affordable Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker is a great product. I truly am surprised by the sound quality, even though the bass is too hard, but for this price, you get a very decent speaker. This might be a perfect Christmas gift.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker€150
- Great design, looks like the Sonos One
- Audio quality is good for this price
- Price is low
- Google Assistant works really well
- Microphones pick up your voice really well
- Bass is too hard