Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker Review
Xiaomi has just introduced the second-generation Mi Bluetooth Speaker, but that hasn’t put the first model out of the running. New products are a great opportunity to reflect on the previous generation and grab a great sale. While we can’t way to try the Mi Speaker Basic 2 when it is available in America, the Mi Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is still an incredible portable stereo at a low price. It looks good, sounds good, sounds big, and has a long battery life for just $21.99.
- Speaker: Dual 36mm neodymium drivers
- Subwoofer: Yes
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
- USB: Micro USB Port (charger not included)
- Auxiliary Port: No
- Battery: 1200 mAH lithium-ion battery (10 hours playback)
- Dimensions: 6 x 2.4 x 1 in (155 x 62 x 25 mm)
- Weight: 6.4 ounces (181.4 g)
The elegant speaker comes in a matching white box. The packaging is sturdy and simple to open with a shipping weight of just 8.8 ounces. The device slides into one hand with a gleam of polished metal. This is one beautiful speaker, especially compared to pricey competitors. The speaker grille is white with a recessed Mi logo at the bottom. The sides are a single panel of matte aluminum defined by a polished beveled edge. The rear is a single piece of white plastic. Our only complaint is that the front panel had a noticeable bezel, something that the next generation has corrected with a faded pattern at the edge of the grille.
We can easily hold and carry the 6.4-ounce speaker using the aluminum panel. It rests on two rubber feet that provide decent traction and stability. The Micro USB charging port, round LED indicator, and raised metal power button are on the right side. The firm button is easy to find with your finger. It has a polished edge that matches the beveled aluminum panel.
Once we had admired the device to our satisfaction, we were eager to get started. It makes a surprisingly pleasant tone when turned on or off, something that we can’t say for most portable speakers. Full disclosure: there is no charger included with the speaker—well, you get what you pay for. That said, most people now have a couple of chargers floating around. We used an Android phone charger with zero problems. Next: the instructions printed on the packaging were in Chinese characters. But before we even turned to the Internet to find a solution, we spent five minutes with the speaker and connected it to our phone and computer. It’s that simple.
Connecting and Using the Speaker
Don’t be worried that the Mi Bluetooth Speaker doesn’t come with a charger or manual. It’s so simple it barely needs either. We charged our portable stereo with a phone charger; the LED is red when charging and turns off when it is fully charged. Next, turn on the device using the power button on the right side. Once on, the device registers as the Mi Bluetooth Speaker on Bluetooth. Just select and pair your device with the speaker. The LED blinks blue slowly when you are connected.
We connected and tested an iPhone, Android, MacBook Pro, and iPod Nano without any issue. You can also connect manually using the Micro USB port. The device claims you can connect over Bluetooth up to 10 meters (approximately 30 feet) away without any obstacles, we found it was more like 15 feet to maintain a reasonable connection. We tried turning the stereo on and off several times and it reconnected instantly if the paired device was still playing. You can also play music while it is charging or plugged in. (If you find this device on Amazon, ignore the description. This speaker does not have hands-free calling as advertised, but we don’t know why it’s listed. It’s really not relevant.)
Once we paired our device, you can control the speaker using your music player. There is no volume control or 3.5 mm jack on the speaker; this is definitely a disappointment for some users, but it makes sense. We always had our phone on hand to adjust the volume. Yes, Xiaomi cut everything that they didn’t absolutely need to make a basic but powerful portable speaker.
The Mi Bluetooth Speaker not only looks good, it sounds good. Songs and audiobooks sounded clear and warm, without the tininess we expect from most portable speakers. Sound has good depth especially at lower and middle volumes. At middle volumes, the sound didn’t lose clarity and still felt crisp. The miniature subwoofer performed admirably to provide decent bass. At higher volumes there was a slight reverberation (faint buzzing) on very deep notes; if you turn the Mi Speaker “up to 11” we recommend putting the device on its back to level the bass.
Sound quality is best at low and middle volumes. There, the sound is clear and smooth. At lower and middle volumes, the Mi Bluetooth Speaker sounds better than our personal Beats Pill. For the size and price point, this is an incredible portable speaker ideal for your living room, dorm room, or travel. It looks beautiful and is easy to use despite the lack of instructions.
The Mi Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is big sound from a small speaker at a low price.