REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi Box S with Netflix 4K HDR support


Xiaomi Mi Box S is the Android TV-Box of which we present today its review, a new version of the classic and popular Xiaomi Mi Box International that has the certifications of Google and Netflix. As new features we have a new box with better thermal dissipation system, new remote control with direct access to Netflix, live channels and a new Wifi aC adapter that now includes Bluetooth 4.2. Let’s see below that we offer this updated version of Xiaomi Mi Box.

PRODUCT DETAILS

Xiaomi Mi Box S (MDZ-22-AB)
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

Description

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 ControlCetusplay 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.

ANDROID SYSTEM

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.

HARDWARE TESTS

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 2.0USB 3.0microSDSATA
Read / Write22/21 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.

PERFORMANCE TEST

SOC

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.

 

Benchmarks

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.

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.

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.

Video and audio results

FormatsResult
h.264 / 1080i / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)Frameskip (SW)
h.265 / 1080p / 8bitOK
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)OK
h.265 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
h.265 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P1 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
VP9 P2 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P2 / 8K@60fps / 10bit HDRFrameskip (SW)
AV1 / 4K@24fps / 10bitFrameskip (SW)
Max. Bitrate100 Mbps = 12,5 MB/s.
  • The maximum bitrate depends on the port used to connect or the limitations of SAMBA Networks.
  • SW = does not have hardware acceleration and may have have some frameskip in very heavy files.
Audio FormatsResult
Dolby5.1 / Plus / True HD/ Atmos = OK
DTS5.1 = OK | MA / HR / X = 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

Streaming services

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 serviceCalidad / Audio
Youtube4K (2060p) / 5.1
Google Play Movies4K (2060p) / 5.1
Netflix4K (2060p) / 5.1 / Netflix Guide
HBOFullHD (1080p) / Stereo / HBO Guide
Disney+4K (2060p) / 5.1 / Disney+ Guide
Apple TV+4K (2060p) / 5.1 / Apple TV+ Guide
Prime Video4K (2060p) / 7.1 / Prime Video Guide
DAZNHD (720p) / Stereo
IPTVFullHD (1080i) / Stereo

CONCLUSIONS

Score

Xiaomi Mi Box S _

0.00
9

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

8.5/10

HARDWARE

9.0/10

SOFTWARE

9.3/10

SUPPORT

9.3/10

PRICE/QUALITY

9.0/10

Pros

  • Netflix 4K HDR
  • BT remote with voice
  • Chromecast
  • OTA support
  • Compact

Cons

  • Few connectors
  • No auto refresh rate

Opinion

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

Add-ons

 

 

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Art

Hello thank you for your article. Very informative. I am planning to incorporate the Xiaomi to my Car audio system. I have an android head unit from joying with toslink out and an Alpine DSP that can decode Dolby Digital/DTS as well as hi res FLAC @ 96khz 24 bit. Unfortunately the head unit toslink tops out at 48khz. I was planning to connecting Mi Box through convert HDMI convert to RCA out and connect to Android head unit RCA in for the visuals (no HDMI in). for Audio, connecting mini toslink out to my DSP. Does the box output… Read more »

bumperbee

Hi Kim, thank you for the awesome review.
Please tell me the followings,
1.      Will Kodi work in this box?
2.      If it had installed 6 movie apps & 5 other apps, is there enough memory to install Kodi?

bumperbee

Thank you Kim, you are most helpful.
By the way, do you think it will read and play the movie files in my portable harddisk of 3 & 5Tb?

bumperbee

Thank you very much Kim!