Table of Contents
|Model||Xiaomi Mi Box S (MDZ-22-AB)|
|Basic Specs||SoC: Amlogic S905X-H (detects as S905L) Quad Core Cortex A-53 (64bit) / GPU Mali-450MP5 / 4x ARM-A53 @ 1.3GHz|
System: Android TV 8 Oreo (32bit) – OTA update to Android TV 9
RAM and storage: 2 GB DDR3 / 8 GB eMMC
Network: Wifi ac / Bluetooth 4.2
Ports: HDMI 2.0a 4K@60fps / AV Jack 3.5mm + mini TOSLINK / 1x USB 2.0
Extras: Remote control BT + microphone / Manual / Adapter DC 5.2V 2.1A / HDMI cable
The new TV Box Xiaomi Mi Box S as we see is a plastic box with a renewed design compared to the previous international version and identical to the Xiaomi Mi Box 4 that we saw in a review months ago. This new model is more square, it seems that it improves the internal thermals and also has a new bluetooth remote control with slight changes but that maintains its original philosophy.
- Materials and measures: Plastic / 3.5 x 3.5 x 1.2 inches (95 x 95 x 17 mm / 10.5 oz (300 gr).
- Package content: IRemote control BT + microphone / Manual / Adapter DC 5.2V 2.1A / Manual
- Interfaces: HDMI 2.0a 4K@60fps / AV Jack 3.5mm + mini TOSLINK / 1x USB 2.0
- Leds and panel: Frontal led
- Remote control: The Bluetooth remote changes the arrangement of the keys, adds Multitask button (squares), Netflix and Live button for live broadcasts by cable for countries with these services, we can re-synchronize by pressing Back and circle at the same time.
- Alternative remote control: We can control remotely from our mobile or Android TV-Box the system using the app Android TV Remote Control, Cetusplay or connect a flymouse, mouse or keyboard.
In the back we have the main connectors with an audio jack with mini TOSLINK integrated as an optical audio output, HDMI 2.0a compatible video output 4K@60fps HDR, USB 2.0 OTG port and the round power connector. In the lower part we do not have ventilation slots only four protuberances that raise the TV-Box minimally.
Environment and user experience
We start the Xiaomi Mi Box S by plugging it into the power adapter, it turns on automatically and the white front LED lights up. Installed by default we have Android TV 8 with the classic environment of customizable rows and content aggregators that are displayed in their own rows. By pressing the multi-tasking button (squares) on the remote we can go to the list of installed apps and change without problems. The system moves very smoothly and quickly between the apps, there are no hardware performance problems.
- Launcher: Launcher Android TV / NO we can change launcher / Android UI renders at 1080p.
- Multitasking and access: Multitasking only from the command icon / Android notifications in top icon.
- Installed apps: Google play, Netflix, Chromecast and YouTube.
- Languages: All the international Android classics.
- On/Off Controls: Pressing the power off button brings up a Restart menu. No problems waking up after hours.
- If the system does not restart you can try to enter recovery mode and perform wipes, read our Xiaomi Mi Box recovery guide.
System, support and store apps
As for the settings, the Xiaomi Mi Box S has the typical side menu we have on Android TV. The system installed by default is Android TV 8.1 (32bit) with kernel 4.9.61 which is quite stable in our tests. Thiis model have a OTA update to Android 9.
- System version: Build 430 / Android TV 8.1 (32 bit) – OTA update to Android 9 / Kernel 4.9.61 (01-09-2017).
- App store: Google Play certified and with all the apps available for the Android TV system.
- Brand support: Xiaomi keeps this model updated via OTA, it is assumed that it will soon jump to Android TV 9 Pie.
- Root and scene: The system is NOT rooted / There are no custom firmwares for this TV-Box / NOT compatible with LibreELEC.
Storage and RAM Memory
We perform our usual memory tests and internal storage in the Xiaomi Mi Box S using the SD bench app. The results are better in reading than in the previous Xiaomi Mi Box, something that we can see in the loading speed of the apps. Storage can be expanded using the USB port from Settings> Storage> USB.
- Storage: Total 8GB – Free 3.8GB. / Is expandable with a USB memory stick
- RAM: Total 2GB – Free 1GB / DDR3L.
- Compatible formats: NTFS compatible / exFAT compatible
|USB 2.0||USB 3.0||microSD||SATA|
|Read / Write||22/21 MB/s||–||–||–|
WIFI and Bluetooth
In Wi-Fi connections, the Xiaomi Mi Box S TV-Box has a Wifi ac 2.4/5GHz with Bluetooth 4.2 with which we connect to an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid-range device. We perform tests on the use of streaming using the iPerf measurement tool to see the maximum performance of each network adapter.
- Wifi speed results: Correct speed for this wifi adapter, quite stable.
- Wifi range: At a distance of 5 meters with a wall we have a signal of 41 dBm, correct values.
- Bluetooth: We can connect compatible devices without problems.
- We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.
Power consumption, temperature and noise
The Xiaomi Mi Box S TV-box using the SoC Amlogic S905X-H has correct results in terms of consumption. We are in front of a SoC of low consumption and the hardware don’t heat much when using it with classic apps like Youtube or browsers.
We check the performance of the TV-Box in scenarios of maximum sustained performance and in its usual use, we use a stress app for fifteen minutes and thermal camera to detect hot areas. As we have seen the Xiaomi Mi Box S does not have ventilation slots but the heat sink system works perfectly.
- Loss of performance: The system maintains a maximum constant performance, there is no loss of performance.
- Temperature: The upper part heats up a little but does not affect the general use of the TV-Box.
- Noise: Fanless system, 0db.
At the performance level the Xiaomi Mi Box S has acceptable results in the line of Amlogic S905X-H (detects as S905L) Quad Core Cortex-A53 SoC, in the graphical section the power of the Mali-450 MP5 GPU is enough to move most games or Android apps, where this SoC suffers is in the high load 3D Games. If we compare the results we can see how it falls below the powerful SoC Amlogic S912 and Amlogic RK3399 and is close to the RK3328, in general, correct results for this type of SoC.
Games and gamepads
In the gaming aspect the Xiaomi Mi Box S have the Amlogic S905X-H SoC that integrates a Mali-450MP5 GPU, this model allows us to correctly move most Android titles without performance problems and good compatibility. The games with a lot of 3D load are the ones that have frames drops in this GPU, so it is better to limit yourself to basic titles with little 3D load.
- Compatibility: Is NO possible to play demanding titles such as PUBG.
- Controls: Compatible with Gamepads by cable or bluetooth.
VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST
Video and audio connections
In terms of multimedia playback, the Xiaomi Mi Box S behaves perfectly using the Amlogic S905X-H SoC, a product that supports video output by HDMI 2.0a, which allows maximum resolution up to 4K@60fps with HDR information. We also have TOSLINK mini optical audio output that we can convert into SPDIF by the audio jack. This model is certified by Google and has support for Chromecast integrated.
- Automatic refresh rate change: Not available, the settings exist but it does not work. *
- Audio passthrough: Available in audio settings. *
- Image adjustments: No Image quality settings / RGB mode / HDR Standard *
- Media sharing: Chromecast yes / Miracast available / DLNA with BlubblePnP / Airplay no.
- HDMI CEC: Available in settings.
- * Tutorials: Judder effect and how to avoid it / Multi-channel audio guide / Correct dark screen when playing video on Android.
Video playback test
We pass our video playback tests on the Android TV-Box Xiaomi Mi Box S, a model that has the S905X-H SoC that integrates a VPU compatible with most modern video formats as we can see in the results. By default this TV-Box brings KODI in KDMC version infested with streamings plugins, we recommend installing the latest official version from Google Play, we can uninstall the pre installed without problems. This models is a algo compatible with LibreELEC.
- Compatibility: HEVC with good performance at 10 bit color or HDR / VP9 correct in basic format, frameskip with P2.
- Tutorials: Install Addons in KODI in a simple way / LibreELEC installation guide for the TV-Boxes with Android
|H.264 / VC-1||Result|
|BBB – H.264 8bit – Simple@L1 – 1080p@25fps – 7 Mbps||Correct|
|Samsung Oceanic Life – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 1080p@30fps – 40 Mbps||Correct|
|Timelapse – H.264 8bit – High@L5.1 – 4K@24fps – 43 Mbps||Correct|
|Anime – H.264 10bit – High 10@L5.1 – 1080p@24fps – 10 Mbps||Frameskip|
|MKV – VC-1 – Advance@L3 – 1080p@24fps – 17 Mbps||Correct|
|H.265 / VP9 SDR|
|Tears of steel – HVEC 8bit – Main@L6.2@Main – 1080p@24fps – 17 Mbps||Correct|
|Samsung UHD Dubai – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.2@Main – 4K@24fps – 51 Mbps||Correct|
|Anime – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L4@Main – 1080p@24fps – 21 Mbps||Frameskip|
|Eye of the Storm – VP9 – 4K@24fps – 14 Mbps||Correct|
|H.265 / VP9 HDR|
|Life of Pi HDR10 – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L5.1@High – 4K@24fps – 45 Mbps||Correct|
|LG Demo – Dolby Vision – HVEC 12bit – Main 10@L5@Main – 4K@24fps – 30 Mbps||Correct|
|Planet Earth II – HDR HLG 10bit – Main 10@L5@High – 4K@25fps – 31 Mbps||Correct|
|The world in HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 4K@60fps – 20 Mbps||Frameskip|
|Peru 8K HDR – VP9 Profile 2 10bit – 8K@60fps – 20 Mbps||Frameskip|
|Jellyfish – HVEC 10bit – Main 10@L6.1@High – 4K@30fps – Test up to 400 Mbps||140 Mbps = 18 MB/s|
- * The maximum bitrate depends on the internal storage, usb port, Ethernet adapter or wifi used, we have used the fastest available, see Hardware tests section of this same review to have more information and have consider the limitations of SAMBA Networks.
Audio playback test
Testing the Xiaomi Mi Box S using a Yamaha RXV-577 AV receiver we check that they supports DD and DTS pass through sound. We can only listen to the multi-channel audio up to 5.1, if we do not have an AV receiver and we have problems to listen to files with AC3 or multichannel sound we must configure the system to listen to configure the system to listen to multichannel AC3 videos in stereo on any TV.
- Ports: HDMI up to 5.1 / stereo audio jack + optical multichannel by mini TOSLINK up to 5.1.
- Certification: DD y DTS 5.1.
- Chomecast Audio: We can use the Mi Box as an audio player using the app Google Home.
Audio test results
|Formats||DD / DTS 5.1||DD+ / DTS MA||DD True / DTS HR||DD Atmos / DTS X|
|HDMI||OK||OK / Core||Core||Core*|
- PCM – Stereo only doing downmix from DD or DTS
- Core – Only the core of the format is played back with what we passed to the Dolby / DTS base system
* Our AV receiver does not support these native formats but we verify that it is played back to 7.1
We pass the classic tests on streaming services to see how the most popular services work. In this model does not have certificates for these services. The Xiaomi Mi Box S model is undoubtedly one of the best official solutions to watch streaming services, we have all the necessary certificates and there are native apps that work on this hardware without problems. In the case of Netflix we can see the service at 4K 16000 kbps and 10 bpc which is the maximum possible quality.
- DRM: Google Widevine L1 / Microsoft Playready / HDCP 1.x (If we do not have them claim to the store by defective unit)
- Certification: This model is certified by Google and is compatible with the most popular official streaming apps.
|Streaming service||Video / Audio||Result||Manual|
|Youtube||4K HDR (2060p) / Stereo||OK||–|
|Google Play Movies||FullHD (1080p) / Stereo||OK||–|
|Disney+||4K (2060p) / v||OK||Disney+ on Android|
|Netflix||4K HDR (2060p) / 5.1 only with HDMI||OK||Netflix on Android|
|HBO||FullHD (1080p) / Stereo||OK||HBO on Android|
|Amazon Prime Video||4K HDR (2060p) / Stereo||OK||Amazon Prime video on Android|
As we have been able to verify the new Xiaomi Mi Box S continues the line of the previous version, it is a very solid model that provides us small improvements compared to the previous version. The most notable improvement for daily use is the improvement in the reading speed of the internal storage, which is almost double and also now integrates a new WiFi aC adapter with Bluetooth 4.2 that is expected to solve certain incompatibilities that had some users with the previous chip. The overall design is quite the same and apart from a more square box something better thermally we have a remote that now has specific keys for Netflix, Live channels and multitasking.
The Xiaomi Mi Box S undoubtedly remains an excellent TV-Box for those looking to watch streaming payment services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO and others, you will have all the certificates by Google and will not have the slightest problem in seeing these emissions in the best quality available. You have the support of the brand Xiaomi via OTA (although the jump to Orea has been controversial) and the inclusion of Chromecast that allows us to use it even as an audio player point. In general a good official Android TV at a very tight price.
WHERE TO BUY AND ADD-ONS