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Xiaomi Mi Soundbar review: One for every room, please

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Generally, a quick fix to the audio conundrum to an expensive TV is a soundbar. Usually, one is too broke to buy a proper surround sound system; people usually opt for the lazy and cheaper thing, which is a soundbar, the poor cousin of the 5.1 surround system. So when Xiaomi started selling its Mi TV like hotcakes, the burning question was when the soundbar was coming, not if. After all, Xiaomi touted the fact that its Mi TV was the thinnest in the world which also meant that the audio on the TV was bound to be hobbled. The answer comes one year later with the launch of the second iteration of the Mi TV 4X Pro which now has Android TV baked in. And yes, there is also the Mi Soundbar which is dirt cheap at Rs 4,999 which was launched in January. This makes it so affordable that it now is an impulse purchase. Audio quality is a play of course, but the bar for it is much lower at this price which makes this product a steal. Long story short is that is so good that one can potentially get one for every room.

What’s good

  • It nice and compact fitting in snugly below any kind of TV installation. That means it doesn’t cause a lot of clutter serving the purpose of a soundbar.
  • The audio quality is very good for something that costs so less. So much so that it should be compared to speakers that cost at least 3 times its cost, with it sounding crisp and punchy with all kinds of music genres, movies and games.
  • It also is loud enough to fill a pretty large room, so if you’re the type who hosts a lot of parties this can be the go-to weapon.
  • It has dead simple controls built on it which are easy to understand. Pairing it to Bluetooth is also easy.
  • It comes with a myriad of connectivity options apart from Bluetooth like SPDIF, auxiliary, optical out and RCA.
  • Its price is the obvious kicker in its favour that has motivated me to have one in every room of my house.

What’s bad

  • Cheap plastic build quality is the most obvious compromise which gets further compounded by its white finish that gets quite dirty at times.
  • Using SPDIF with Android TVs mucks up the remote control sync and forces you to manually control the volume from the speakers.
  • For obvious reasons, there is no Dolby certification for this speaker which means it wouldn’t be the best for manic action movies which have complex audio mixes.
  • Availability of the soundbar is an obvious challenge as Xiaomi struggles to keep up with the demand.

What about audiophiles and music nerds

This is a consumer product so it isn’t meant to appease any audiophiles. That being said, it sounds surprisingly good. If you listen to music like deep house, rock, and blues or even a lot of the Bollywood stuff, this should do quite a reasonable job. The focus is on scooped mids.

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