This week my beloved Mi Box S passed away thanks to a buggy OTA update from Xiaomi. I needed a replacement so I visited the local Mi Store at Eastgate to get one and see what other stuff Xiaomi has selling locally. Naturally, they have quite the haul and that’s not surprising given how Xiaomi is turning into an octopus and venturing into various arenas.
I was just browsing but one item on the shelf caught my eye. A white and quite lengthy soundbar on one of the shelves. I already have a 5 channel home theatre that sounds OK but to be honest one of the things that annoyed me to no end while fiddling with the now-dead Xiaomi box was the tangled mess of cables behind my TV stand. There are dozens of cables out there going out to various speakers and other gadgets.
This soundbar came with two cables. A SPDIF cable and the power supply. I could even use it with just one cable if I used its Bluetooth 5.0 input! That was too much temptation to resist. So while I had been moaning about Xiaomi’s poor local product support here I was doubling down and not just replacing my dead box
The Xiaomi soundbar sounds amazing
I have to confess that my original home theatre is old. While I am not an audiophile I do appreciate the difference between 120 kilobits and a FLAC file. Compared to my home theatre the Xiaomi soundbar sounds amazing. It does have good bass and crystal quality audio. Most importantly you can just connect it via Bluetooth without having to deal with cables. If you have old AV cables you know those red and white cables the soundbar supports them too. You can also use an optical cable.
The Xiaomi soundbar retails for around US$110 which is probably twice what one of those off-brand Chinese home theatres cost. Compared to these it holds up well in terms of sound quality and even surpasses them. If you think it’s expensive you are wrong. It’s probably one of the cheapest soundbars out there given what it has to offer. JVC and JBL have soundbars retailing for around $160 locally and again the Xiaomi Soundbar’s performance is on par with these. So for a soundbar, it’s very affordable.
It’s not perfect
There is a lot to praise besides the sound quality. The bar comes with screws to mount below your TV if you have your TV wall mounted. It looks elegant in white. As already said it sounds great. It’s easy to set up. I mean even your grandma won’t be calling you for help setting this thing up. It took me like 30 seconds to figure out. So what’s not to like?
- There is just one colour white. While that will probably not class with anything in your lounge it’s kind of hard for the soundbar not to stand out.
- It also gets dirty easily and has to be dusted regularly
- There is no HDMI input or anything. Not such a big deal but it would be nice to have that option
- The soundbar doesn’t have it’s own remote. You have to get up to adjust it’s volume or change input. Again it’s not a bid deal you can always have the bar at maximum and use your TV/setup box’s remote but come on.
- Most disturbingly I noticed a slight lag between lips and sound when using Blueetooth and Netflix. I don’t know if it’s the Xiaomi Box struggling or what. Using SPDIF fixes this issue. If you are into Netflix and good audio you just have to deal with two cables. Honestly it’s better than the 12 or so I had before.
NB. Xiaomi does have a bar that retails for around $70 locally. It’s much smaller, black and was never an option for me as it has fewer speakers.