For the longest time, I’ve considered buying a smart TV to replace a 43-inch plasma TV at home for the last 7 odd years. I can’t justify abandoning good TV altogether to make it available for the latest, and so I never did. In addition, there is a value proposition. However, an Android TV box? That always seems like a good idea to me. It adds the smart you want, but it also brings those smarts in a more modular way. So two years down the line you can change the box for a better one instead of just buying a new one.
So, when Xiaomi sent the Mi Box 4K to me, I was excited to use it. At Rs. 3,499, the Mi Box 4K underlines the other, most obvious choice for a smart TV stick – the Fire Stick (Rs. 3,999). So, if you are confused whether Mi Box 4K is worth the money, then read on.
What’s in the Box
First, let’s take a look at everything inside the box.
1. Mi Box 4K
2. The remote
3. Hdmi cable
4. Power cable
5. User manual
The remote requires two AAA batteries to work. These are not included in the box, so make sure you have them in hand.
Design and Build
Beginning with the design and build, the Mi Box 4K comes in a matte black plastic body. This ensures that it is lightweight, and very stealthy to keep under your TV. I appreciate both of these things about the device. It is largely smooth, meaning that it does not have a very high profile when you watch it on your TV cabinet.
When the Mi TV Box is on, an indicator LED is on the front that glows white. It’s a very faded glow, and the way the box is designed, it’s barely visible if you’re looking at it from an angle. This is usually how you are watching it, because your TV will probably be at eye level, and the Mi box will be below it.
However this is not an issue. Whatever it is, I really admire it when everyone was watching television late at night with the lights off. This light does not distract.
At the back you will find some ports. It has normal power and HDMI out port, but the Mi Box 4K also brings an audio out, and a USB Type-A at the rear. This way, you can connect Mi Box 4K directly to your sound system.
I also appreciate the low-key branding on the Mi Box 4K, it is very low on black and very low. Xiaomi’s aesthetics are on point here.
Setting up the Mi Box 4K is quite simple. You plug in the HDMI cable, the power cable, and set it all up following the instructions on the screen. I like to install the Mi Box 4K using an Android phone, but have the option to set it up from scratch if you want.
That said, I encountered an annoying problem when pairing the remote with the Mi Box 4K. I have discussed possible solutions in my article on how to set up Mi Box 4K, and I would recommend that you read it.
Android TV UI, Pre-installed Apps
As you may already know that Mi Box 4K comes with Android TV. However, Xiaomi has not added it to its patchwall UI. It is a pure Android TV based on Android 9 Pie.
Now Android TV UI is something I don’t like. It is not at all intuitive, and does not feel that it is compatible with navigation with the remote. Also text entry is an absolute pain. However, this is my very subjective look at the UI of Android TV. Rupesh, who uses an Android-based smart TV at home, says he is completely fine with the UI here. My point is, if you’ve used an Android TV in the past, the UI here is exactly the same. So if possible, make your decision about it.