Xiaomi’s latest audio product in India is the Mi Bluetooth portable speaker (16W), which promises premium quality audio at an affordable price of Rs 2,499. The speaker might be reminiscent of the Logitech’s Ultimate Ears Boom 2 speaker or JBL’s Flip 4 at first glance, but is not an exact copy. Both of those speakers are more expensive at Rs 7,999.
Mi Bluetooth portable speaker (16W): What’s good, what’s bad?
The Mi speaker looks pretty stylish with the mesh design and comes with anti-slip surface at the bottom as well. It has a lanyard for those who want to carry it around. And yes the speaker is water resistant with an IPX7 rating.
The Mi Bluetooth portable speaker is quite light at around 790 gram, an important aspect if one were to consider portability. So this should be quite useful for picnics or any short trips planned outside of the city. Or you can even use it in your car as the main speaker.
The Mi Bluetooth portable speaker comes with the standard on/off buttons, a volume up and down button, a pause/play button, a bluetooth connectivity button, and a button to connect the speaker to another Mi speaker. The two Mi speakers when linked can provide a stereo sound effect. It also has an option to use AUX cable for connectivity.
The Mi speaker comes in Blue and Black colour options. The one really good part about the Mi speaker is that it relies on a Type-C USB port for charging. So yes, you can just use your regular phone charger to power it up the battery when it dies out. I was really not looking forward to finding that micro-USB cable in the box when I had to charge this speaker. Invariably the cable that accompanies such products is lost within days.
The unit has two 8W speakers offering 16W total output and can go really loud, which works fine for some songs. But with the more electronic numbers, it does sound a bit screechy.
I connected the speaker to my iPhone and listened to music from my Spotify account. The Taylor Swift albums, the Legendary playlist which has songs from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Beatles, John Elton, etc sound quite pleasing and balanced. Even the Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’ packs a punch and gave a well-rounded experience. But when I increased the volume, the speaker did struggle to retain the quality and made a mess of the highs.
The speakers really didn’t like the numbers with too much dependence on electronics. For instance, Daft Punk’s Instant Crush just doesn’t sound quite right at slightly elevated levels, and the same goes for Lose Yourself to Dance. Mylo’s Drop the Pressure sounds okay if you keep the volume towards the middle. When I increased the volume, it was again too sharp.
The battery life on the Mi Speaker is not bad, and should easily give you eight hours or so, depending on the volume levels. I only charged it once during my usage of over a week, and I didn’t even get to 100 per cent charge. You can also do a quick press of the power button to know the battery levels. However when it does get to lower battery levels such as 10 percent, the speaker keeps reminding you that the battery is down. It is pretty annoying during the middle of a song.
The speaker can also connect with the voice assistant on your phone if that’s what you wish to do. It worked fine with Siri, and I didn’t really test with Google Assistant. You can also take calls from your phone on the speaker, but I would not advise that. The audio doesn’t sound good at all.
Verdict: Should you buy the Mi Bluetooth portable speaker?
What works in the Mi Bluetooth portable speaker’s favour is the price of Rs 2,499. It comes packed with features such as the ability to connect with another Mi speaker for a full stereo experience, good battery life, and acceptable audio performance. And yes, a stylish design and water resistance as well.
For a small party, if you are still hosting those, this might be a good one to get, provided you don’t mean to crank up the audio levels. If you are still working from home, the speaker is a good one to listen to daily music so as to stay entertained.