Xiaomi Mi Box S. TV Box Review.
Sergio Montana
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Xiaomi Mi Box S. TV Box Review.

Android TV system with certification from Netflix.

The Xiaomi Mi Box S (MDZ-22-AB) is the direct descendant of the Xiaomi Mi Box (MDZ-16-AB). No significant changes occurred in hardware. Both the box itself and the remote control have been changed in the direction of reducing production costs. But in the software part, the box received the Android TV 8.1 system. In general, Xiaomi Mi Box S is still a unique device in the market without obvious competitors in its price niche - a box with a certified Android TV system and certification from Netflix.



In the box and design

TV Box comes in a bright cardboard box. Inside: set-top box, remote control, HDMI cable, power supply, quick guide in several languages.


Corporate power supply (AY11BA). Plug Type A (American / Chinese). Voltage 5.2 V, maximum current up to 2.1 A. Cable length about 110 cm. DC 4 x 1.7 mm connector.


The remote control is neat. It works via Bluetooth. It is powered by two AAA batteries, they are included. The microphone hole is at the end.


TV Box is very compact. The case is made of matte plastic. Weight is about 150 grams. Size 95x95x17 mm. At the front is a barely noticeable white LED. It glows when the device is running.


There is nothing on the sides. Rear: Analog audio output combined with optical S / PDIF (Mini Toslink / Miniplug), HDMI, USB A 2.0, power connector (DC 4 x 1.7 mm).


On the bottom cover there are only plastic legs.


Software

Xiaomi Mi Box S comes with Android TV 8.1 system. This is a standard Android TV system based on the Amlogic SDK with some improvements from Xiaomi.


For those who do not know how Android TV 8.1 differs from the regular version of Android 8.1, we briefly list some of the differences:

• There is no navigation bar and status bar.
• Fixed launcher (home screen) - Google Home Launcher. It displays only those programs and games that are adapted for Android TV. Under certain conditions, Google allows the manufacturer to replace the launcher.
• Global voice search in installed programs / Google Assistant.
• A number of unique functions, for example, special channels (former recommendations), special notifications, picture-in-picture on the main screen, etc.
• The interface is adapted for TV screens and remote control (D-Pad and voice) or a gamepad.
• Google’s programs and services are also adapted for TV screens and remote control.
• The Google Play Store for Android TV contains only those applications and games that are adapted for Android TV (interface and control from the remote / gamepad).
• There is support for Google Cast (on certified boxes).

You can put any programs. But remember that the Google Play Store for Android TV contains only those applications and games that are adapted for Android TV.

The ideology of Android TV is based on simplicity. But if you start to fight it (“I need, like in a smartphone, and I want to control the mouse for everyone”), then you will have negative impressions. If you accept its ideology, and all your current programs are adapted for Android TV, then you will simply enjoy the system.

In general, the system works stably. There are no critical mass problems and bugs in the system.


Performance

The console uses SoC Amlogic S905X - 4 ARM Cortex-A53 cores up to 1.5 GHz and a Mali-450 MP GPU. This is a budget SoC. In general, the system works acceptable, if you do not load it with several simultaneous tasks. For example, if the system updates the software through the Google Play Store, then it is better to refrain from using boxing, because the work becomes uncomfortable. For 3D games, this SoC is not designed at all because of the weak GPU. You need to understand that the main thing in Android-boxes is media functionality, i.e. VPU and implementation of its capabilities in software. But the processor and GPU must have enough power to make the device comfortable. S905X provides a comfortable level, but on the verge.

The interface is displayed with a maximum resolution of 1920x1080. Even if you select a resolution of 3840x2160 in the system, the interface and all programs will continue to work with a resolution of 1920x1080 and scaling up to 3840x2160. As in many boxes, only SurfaceView objects can display real 4K resolution (they are used in media players and some games). In fact, it does not matter with which resolution to run test programs and games - with 1920x1080 and 3840x2160 the result will be identical.

Most 2D games worked just fine. Streaming games via Nvidia GameStream (Moonlight), 1080p60 stream, 30 Mbps - decoder output delay up to 40 ms for H.265. In this case, a uniformity violation is observed once a second. In principle, you can play many games.


 

Internal and external drives

In the Xiaomi Mi Box S system, the user is available about 4 GB of internal memory. It’s not enough, but if you don’t put games, then for most tasks it’s enough with your head. Moreover, if necessary, you can use a USB flash drive (for example, a USB flash drive) to expand the internal memory.

The speed of linear and random recording of internal flash memory is low. Reading speed is good for boxes.


Network interfaces

There is no Ethernet support in the box. If necessary, you can use USB adapters based on the Asix AX88179 controller (USB 3.0> Gigabit Ethernet) and get a speed of about 250 Mbps. The most popular and proven adapters are from Ugreen.

The Broadcom controller with support for Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, MIMO 1x1 is responsible for the wireless network. There are no complaints about Wi-Fi. The work is stable, there are no disconnections and reconnections.


YouTube

2160p60 videos were played without problems. In a video with 5.1 audio (AAC), only stereo was output. HDR support is still not available on YouTube’s official Android TV client.

 

Conclusion

For little money you get a working box out of the box, which does not need to be flashed, modified by hardware, etc. You took it out of the box, turned it on and started installing the necessary programs. It is suitable for undemanding video and sound quality consumers who need simplicity and convenience, a fresh Android TV system, and use is limited to watching IPTV, VOD services, broadcasting videos and photos on TV, 2D games and Youtube. For moviegoers, fans to play 3D games and fans to use a browser on TV, this box is not suitable.








Xiaomi Mi Box S with Google Assistant Remote Official International Version


$89.99


$69.99







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