• REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 and Xiaomi Mi BOX 4C with 4K support

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    With the collaboration of the Gearbest store today we present the review of the TV Boxes Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 and Xiaomi Mi BOX 4C, devices in principle intended for the Chinese market but that may receive a western version in the future as happened with the Xiaomi Mi Box 3 International Version. In this device we have 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, Wifi b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.1 with EDR among other features, as a system we have the Xiaomi Patchwall environment based on Android 6.0.1 totally oriented to the market Chinese. In the review we will see how your hardware behaves and how we can westernize it.

    • Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 or 4C can be purchased at Gearbest.com for only $71,69 with shipping cost included

    SPECIFICATIONS

    ModelXiaomi Mi BOX 4
    Xiaomi Mi BOX 4C
    CPUAmlogic S905L Quad Core Cortex-A53 1,2 GHz
    GPUMali-450MP
    OSAndroid 6.0.1 (32bit)
    RAM2 GB DDR3 – Mi BOX 4
    1 GB DDR3 – Mi BOX 4C
    Storage8 GB eMMc
    WiFiWiFi b/g/n
    Bluetooth4.1 + EDR
    Ports1x USB 2.0
    HDMI 2.0
    Audio jack
    AV jack
     OthersFrontal Led
     ContentBT Remote – Mi BOX 4
    IR Remote – Mi BOX 4C
    HDMI cable
    5,2V 1,9A DC adapter
    Manual
    Measures: 4.33 x 4.33 x 1.02 inches
    Weight: 5,1 oz

    CONTENT DESCRIPTION

    Package content

    The Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 comes in a cardboard box with the simple classic design of the Xiaomi brand. Inside the box we find the TV-Box in an upper compartment, the rest of the accessories we have in a lower area, we have a remote control, HDMI cable, manual in Chinese and a 5.2V 1.9A adapter.

    Product Details

    As we can see the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 and the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4C are identical only change the color, the model My BOX 4C is black while the white model is the Mi BOX 4.

    At the design level the two models follow a very clean line, in the middle part we have a line that hides a front led, in the upper part in relief we have the MI logo.

    En la parte trasera tenemos todos los conectores disponibles, un jack AV que esta vez no tiene salida SPDIF integrada, conector HDMI 2.0 que permite salida de video 4K@60fps, puerto USB 2.0 y conector de energía redondo.

    In the lower part we do not have anything special, we only see the serial number and four legs made in relief of the plastic of the box itself, do not raise the device much but it is not necessary either because is nor a hot device.

    CONNECTING THE DEVICE

    Connection and desktops

    When the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 is connected to the power and it starts directly, the first thing we find is an assistant that asks us to pair the TV-Box with the included remote, it’s a simple process, the rest of steps are in perfect Chinese, we can skip them because they are useless without understanding that language.

    The launcher and Patchwall system is designed for the Chinese market and for us is not very usefull, fortunately we can westernize it a bit as we will see and make it more accessible. The resolution of the system is 1080p, something that can be seen in the image quality of the Android environment and streaming apps.

    • Boot time: 23 seconds

    In the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 we have a very powerful AI system that offers content according to our tastes, but being focused on the Chinese market at 100% of it is of little use, the controller has a microphone for its assistant but only understands Chinese and as you can not put Google Assistant is unhelpful.

    In the third category is where we have access to the system apps, this is an important point because it will not give the opportunity to put the Android environment at least in English.

    Change language in Xiaomi Mi Box Chinese

    Putting the Android system in English is relatively simple, just follow the steps indicated below.

    • Download the Settings apk in its classic Android version
    • Go to the Xiaomi file manager and run the APK
    • We will get a message to allow installing third-party apps
      Left button
      In menu in Chinese, second option and select the other available option
      Accept with left button
      Press back
    • Install the Settings APK
    • Let’s go to the list of installed apps where we will now have the Android settings icon
    • Inside we go to the icon of the world where we can change the language in the first option to English
    • We recommend to install and active a keyboard like Swiftkey, the default keyboard is chinese

    Available apps

    As we see the list of installed apps is extensive although the majority are in Chinese or focused on that market.

    We must highlight the TV Manager app that gives us several tools to keep the system clean, the Wireless Share app is interesting to share content as we will see in this same review, apart we have calendar, weather app and notification manager.

    User Experience

    The user experience with the TV box Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 and 4C is good thanks to the fast internal storage and the Amlogic S905L processor moves the system well although the system is at a resolution of 1080p on Android. In this model we have 2 GB of RAM in its superior version and only 1 GB in the lower version, this version suffers a bit in multi task. If we leave the home button on the remote control, we have access to the multitasking function that allows us to easily change between running apps, we can take screenshots and even record a small video of about 10 seconds.

    If we press up on the remote we have shortcuts to several quick settings, the weather, Smart Home device control and the system date, also if we connect an external USB we will have direct access in this menu.

    Android Settings

    Installed in the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 we have some very simple settings that allow us to configure the multimedia aspects of the device, we also have access to updates and system information.

    If we execute the Settings app that we have installed, we arrive at the Android Classic Settings with more than in the previous settings but they are quite limited in the multimedia aspect, we will only see general system options.

    Android System

    The default system in the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 is the Android 6.01, a fairly modern system today. The kernel as we see is the version 3.14.29 and the compilation is dated 03-14-2018. With this version we have made the review that you can read in the following pages.

    Brand Support

    From the Xiaomi system settings we have access to the OTA firmware updates, we have received some before starting the review, it is expected that the Mi Box receive sooner or later to Android 8.

    Storage and RAM

    By default the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 includes 8 GB of eMMc storage memory, from this storage memory we have actually available about 4,7 GB, rather small figure if we plan to install heavy games. As a device with AMLogic SoC this has a single partition in the storage memory which facilitates the management of our files.

    In the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 we have 2 GB of DDR3 RAM that behave normally, of this amount we are available about 1 GB at boot which allows us to correctly open several tabs in a browser, in the model Xiaomi Mi BOX 4C we have 1 GB of RAM and we only have 400 MB available.

    We check the memory and internal storage testing the hardware that is integrated in this device, we used the SD bench app that gives us some very good results, it seems that this aspect has been updated in these models and it shows when moving the system.

    Consumption and temperatures

    The power consumption aspect in the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 with the S905L SoC shows results within the range of other devices, even putting the SoC to the brim with games with 3D graphics only 6,3 W peak are reached in consumption.

    We verify that the temperature of the box is low and we have not noticed loss of performance executing applications of intensive use, normally the CPU works at maximum to 1.2 GHz.

    Google Play and Amazon App Store

    In the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 we do not have the Google Play Store but we can install any alternative store like Aptoide from where we can install the most common apps without problems. With the Amazon App Store equal result, no problem noticeable with this new TV-Box.

    Root

    The firmware of the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 as always in the models of Xiaomi comes without root by default as it is logical, this mark wants to control at all times its ecosystem and for it tries to limit any external agent.

    Power Off / Standby / Power On

    If we leave pressed the button to turn off the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4, a menu appears with which we can restart the TV-Box or put it to sleep, we can not turn it off completely.

    TEST BENCH

    Video and audio connections.

    Inside the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 we have the new SoC Amlogic S905L, a product that has video output support for HDMI 2.0a and gives us a maximum resolution of 4K@60fps. We do not have image quality control for brightness, contrast or saturation. In this system there is NO automatic refresh option, something that would be interesting since it avoids us to play content with the annoying Judder effect. We also do not have RGB mode for old screens colo that better take it into account, in general as we see a very basic video system in this aspect.

    DLNA and Miracast

    Installed in the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 we can share the screen using the Wireless Share app, have had no problems using a LG G6 Smartphone. As we know this type of connections depends on many factors and we can not assure that it works perfectly in all scenarios, With this app we can also make AirPlay and share wit other Xiaomi systems as they require an MIUI environment.

    Using a DLNA app we can access the multimedia content that we have in our device easily using an app like BubbleUPnP from an Android mobile or from a PC with Windows file explorer.

    NETWORK CONNECTIONS

    Wi-Fi and Ethernet

    Installed in the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 we have a b/g/n Wireless Wi-Fi Adapter, with which we have connected with an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid range device. We transferred files over a SAMBA network connected through 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi and achieved a speed of about 28 mbps. A correct result within this range of wireless adapter.

    We also ran tests on the network adapters for streaming using the iPerf measurement tool with which we have the maximum connection speed in each type of network. With this figure we have how far we can reach using the available connections, the final performance will depend on our internet provider, the contracted speed, the distance of our Wi-Fi network and other factors. The result is correct for a b/g/n Wifi adapter but it would be appreciated to have 5G..

    During the Wi-Fi coverage tests with the device located at a distance of about 16 ft as always and with a wall in between we verified that we have connection without cuts, the signal reaches a level of about 50 dBm a correct result for an internal antenna.

    Bluetooth

    The Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 has a Bluetooth 4.1 + EDR adapter that works normally and we have been able to connect compatible devices without much inconvenience.

    CONTROL SYSTEMS
    Remote control

    As standard with the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 TV-Box we have a white basic Bluetooth remote control that is powered by two AAA batteries, we have the classic crosshead functions, Android command shortcuts, volume and button for the integrated microphone. On the other hand the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4C is a conventional IR remote control but it should be noted that it has a really good range and detection radius.

    Within the settings menus we also have the possibility to activate HDMI CEC to be able to use the control of our TV with the TV-Box itself, a system that gives varied results depending on our TV models.

    Remote control app

    To remote control the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 we can use the alternative CetusPlay to control it from our mobile or tablet, we only need to install the server in our TV-Box and the client app in or desired device.

    Gamepad and games

    We passed several tests on the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 connecting a Gamepad with cable or bluetooth that work without problems, we can use this control in the games with this type of support, in general we will not have problems with conventional PC control. With the Mali-450mp GPU that incorporates this SoC have low performance in heavy games where we notice that the frames per second fall as is normal in a GPU that is already years old, this graphic chip is not compatible with powerful games such as PUBG MOBILE.

    PERFORMANCE TEST

    SOC

    In the TV box Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 and 4C we have the new SoC of Amlogic S905L that includes four processors ARM Cortex-A53 64bit and a GPU Mali-450mp. A fairly simple SoC that works between 100 MHz and 1,536 GHz (although theoretically it reaches 2 GHz) depending on the performance needs of the system. This SoC incorporates hardware decoding support for the H.265 video codec, 10-bit H.265 and is capable of playback video signal at 4K@60fps. In the performance tests reflect identical values to other variants of this model such as S905X and S905W.

    Benchmarks

    Antutu

    With this famous test we get an idea of the general performance of the device and we can compare it with others. Since this tests changes a lot of scale we can not use it in our graphics.

    Geekbench 4

    A new benchmark in SoC testing that offers fairly reliable numbers of CPU’s working in a single core or multiple cores ate the same time, it also has a section of GPU computing that gives us an overall result of the processing capacity.

    3Dmark

    The graphical performance test par excellence with a fairly solid continuity in the results which helps us to compare the performance of GPU’s historically.

    PCMark

    This benchmark tests the device in various scenarios of image processing, web browsing and other everyday uses of our device, the results are useful to check if you defend well in these areas.

    VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

    Video format test

    In the playback tests the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 we obtain good results, in this TV-Box we have the SoC Amlogic S905L that always behaves with solvency. It is possible to reproduce the most common files without major problems in native resolution in a fluid way. We can watch videos at resolutions at 1080P @ 60fps or also in 4K @ 60fps format encoded with the h.265 codec, this SoC also supports HDR modes and 10 bit color files an option that seems to work in the native player and KODI with no problems.

    Test results

    H.264 formatDefault playerKODI
    BBB – H.264 8bit – 1080p@25fps – 7 MbpsCorrectCorrect
    Birds – H.264 8bit – 1080p@24fps – 40 MbpsCorrectCorrect
    Samsung Oceanic Life – H.264  8bit– 1080p@30fps – 40 MbpsCorrectCorrect
    Anime – H.264 10bit – 1080p@24fps – 10 MbpsArtifactsFrame skip
    Skyfall – H.264  8 bit – 4K@24fps – 10 MbpsCorrectCorrect
    Timelapse – H.264 8bit – 4K@24fps – 43 MbpsCorrectCorrect
    H.265 format
    Tears of steel – HVEC 8bit – 1080p@24fps – 17 MbpsCorrectCorrect
    Beauty – HVEC 8bit – 4K@120fps – 12 MbpsCorrectCorrect
    Anime – HVEC 10bit – 1080p@24fps – 21 MbpsCorrectCorrect
    Samsung UHD Dubai – HVEC 10bit – 4K@24fps – 51 MbpsCorrectCorrect
    HDR format
    Life of Pi HDR –  HVEC – 4K@24fps – 45 MbpsCorrectCorrect
    TravelXP HDR HLG – HVEC – 4K@24fps – 20 MbpsIncompatibleIncompatible
    Planet Earth II – HDR HLG – HVEC 10L5 – 4K@25fps – 31 MbpsCorrectCorrect
    • The MKV, Blu-ray ISO and BDRemux formats are only containers, inside we can have different codecs, resolutions, audio channels, chapters or subtitles. To play the Blu-ray format menus we need KODI or a compatible program.

    Audio format test

    In the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 we have the Amlogic S905L SoC Quad core that as we know it is NOT licensed for the use of audio pass through for DD and DTS. For the sound tests we use our Yamaha RXV-577 AV receiver and we naturally check that in the device we have audio pass through for DTS  and DD5.1 although in some  7.1 formats we have noticed incompatibilities.

    Test results

    Formato audioPCM*HDMIOptical
    Dolby Digital 5.1CorrectCorrectCorrect
    Dolby Digital Plus 7.1CorrectCorrectCore
    Dolby True HD 7.1CorrectCutsCuts
    Dolby Atmos 7.1CorrectPCM *PCM
    DTS 5.1CorrectCorrectCorrect
    DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1CorrectCoreCore
    DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1CorrectCutsCuts
    DTS-X 7.1CorrectCore *Core
    • PCM – Stereo downmix from DD or DTS
    • Core – Only the core of the format Dolby / DTS is played
    • * Our AV receiver does not support these native formats but we check that it does downmix fine

    WEB NAVIGATION AND STREAMING

    Navigation

    We passed several performance tests on the Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 and the lower model Mi BOX 4C using Chrome as a browser, in the model with 2 GB of RAM we do not have much problem and the performance is acceptable, on the other hand the model 4C with 1 GB of RAM suffers a lot when we are browsing with several tabs open.

    DRM

    If we check the DRM certificates needed for some paid Streaming apps we have Google Widevine L3 that gives us access to Google Video content, as a novelty we see that we have CENC ClearKey.

    Youtube and streaming apps

    As usual we installed some of the most common Streaming apps to watch TV online that we downloaded from the Play Store, we don’t have problems. This TV-Box can play Youtube up to 1080p without any problems with the version installed from Google Play.

    Streaming services with subscription

    We pass the classic tests on streaming services, we see that only Netflix works in SD quality. As we do not have Android Official installed, we lack Google Play Services and many apps do not start without this system installed.

    • NOTE: We remind that these TV-Box do not have official support for these streaming apps, the compatibility with these services can vary depends of any new limitations imposed for this companies. The tests are perform with the indicated firmware and the version of the streaming app at the date of the review.
    Streaming serviceVideoAudioPerformance
    NetflixSD (480p)StereoCorrect
    Amazon Prime VideoSD (480p)StereoCorrect
    HBO nordicHD (720p)StereoCorrect
    • You can consult our guides where we explain in detail all the most known streaming services, what are their limitations in each platform and how to configure them to see content in HD or 4K quality if possible.
    • Guide for Netflix on Android, inside you can found a solution for Error 0013 and installation method on rooted devices
    • Guide for Amazon Prime video on Android

    CONCLUSIONS

    Opinion

    As we have seen once we have reviewed the two new Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 and Xiaomi Mi BOX 4C are two products focused entirely on the Chinese market, its software is aimed at streaming content, applications and games in that area where Xiaomi controls its distribution and takes out benefit iwth it. A product that we may see in the western version soon but has little to offer compared to the current Xiaomi Mi Box 3 International version.

    At the hardware level there is little progress in the models Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 and Xiaomi Mi BOX 4C, the model 4C directly with 1 GB of RAM is uninteresting apart from its price, the 2 GB model is more interesting but the adapter Wifi is worse than in the current international model. On the other hand it should be noted that the internal memory eMMC has improved considerably in speed and it is noticeable, but it is still 8 GB, something scarce if we are going to install many apps. In short, a box for streaming and for the Chinese market.

    WHERE TO BUY

    • Xiaomi Mi BOX 4 or 4C can be purchased at Gearbest.com for only $71,69 with shipping cost included

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