Xiaomi announced two new Mi TV models and a soundbar that has eight drivers which include two 20mm dome tweeters, two 2.5” woofers for the mids and four passive radiators for bass and low-frequency sounds. With the rise of sales of Smart TVs in India (partly thanks to cheaper offerings by Xiaomi), the company has now entered into the home entertainment segment.
The Mi Soundbar is Xiaomi's first home audio device for India and costs only Rs 4,999. The aggressive pricing will definitely turn a few heads as I've been using it for a few days myself. The overall experience is great for casual viewing in your bedroom and gives that extra oomph for action-packed movies. I've been rewatching the Harry Potter series and the soundbar offers detailed sound to fill up my room. It's the perfect accessory for your TV if you are on a budget but don't want to compromise on sound quality.
Setting up the Mi Soundbar is fairly straight forward as you can use various input options such as Bluetooth, Line-in, Optical, Aux and S/PDIF. I prefer to use the traditional RCA option as it gives the best audio output as it is warmer and more lifelike. Bluetooth can also be used if you want a wireless solution however since it's Bluetooth, you will notice a difference in sound quality. That's just the nature of Bluetooth audio technology at the moment. You can use an optical cable or the S/PDIF input; however, I prefer the Line-in option. The Mi Soundbar has a frequency range from 50 Hz – 25000 Hz ( -10 dB) and a nominal impedance of 6 ohms. That's quite impressive for something that costs less than a fine dining meal in New Delhi. Most solid-state amplifiers are designed to work with loudspeaker combinations of anything from 4 ohms to 8 ohms.
In terms of design, it follows the unique “Mi Look” which means it has a very minimalistic look but remains stylish at the same time. It has a mesh fabric overlay that gives it the “retro” look which you have already seen on other devices and soundbars before. You can even mount the Soundbar on a wall thanks to the supplied screws in the box making it more of a DIY solution.How Does It Sound?
In order to review this product, we watched the Harry Potter series and listened to music on Spotify in order to test the sound quality. Being an audiophile, I often scrutinise audio devices based on bass clarity, mid clarity and goal clarity. Since this is a soundbar, we had to consider the surround simulation as well.
The Mi Soundbar was consistent when it came to watching movie content and offered a balanced sound while using the Line-in input. The result was similar while using an S/PDIF cable. When we switched to Bluetooth, the sound was a little degraded since the audio output was being transmitted wirelessly. AUX cable was good enough only for listening to music as it could not offer the same experience we got from an RCA cable. The mid and low frequencies are pronounced, making movie effects powerful.
While watching movies, the surround sound simulation is the most important feature you want to look at. For something that costs Rs 4,999, the Mi Soundbar delivered satisfactory performance and served the purpose. Of course, there are some better ones out there but they also cost a bomb. The Mi Soundbar proves that you can be cost-effective and don't need to spend a lot of money. Remember, the Mi Soundbar is perfect for a small to a mid-sized room and can't deliver a full home theatre experience.What We Didn't Like
The Mi Soundbar does not come with a remote and you can only select the source by operating the physical buttons on the loudspeaker. You cannot control the volume of the soundbar via the TV which makes it a bit annoying to get up every single time. You can only control the volume remotely if you are connected via Bluetooth which means you may have to compromise on the sound quality. We would have loved to see some IR/App integration so that we could control the individual volume of the soundbar from the comfort of our bed.The Final Say
The Mi Soundbar is probably the most affordable home audio device out there that delivers a great experience on a budget. If you don't want to spend a bomb on an expensive solution for your TV, you need to check out the Mi Soundbar. For Rs 4,999, the Mi Soundbar offers way more than its counterparts. We would have loved to see some sort of remote to control volume; however, it's something we can live with for now.