Here I am again, testing a low-cost audio device with high expectations, which I have dubbed the Xiaomi Smart Speaker with Google Assistant.
The Xiaomi Smart Speaker was designed and used in a unique way
The speaker is very attractive, emulating half of Sono One and Bose Home Speaker 500, and we see here a combination that merits three qualities:
- Metal grid
- Multicolor LED all around the top of the speaker
- Relatively good quality plastic
However, this speaker has a less appealing aesthetic than the two brands it imitates. Its light weight also makes me nervous in the event that it has to play actual bass. However, given the low price, the overall performance is very decent.
I struggled mightily to play the sounds I desired after the first ignition. The Mi Smart Speaker got off to a shaky start! I expected it to work with Chromecast, but it doesn’t. You’ll have to experiment with Google Home, which isn’t the most robust app for playing sounds and, in my experience, isn’t very receptive. Finally, it would be responsible for linking to Apple Music, Deezer, Youtube Music, and Spotify. I find the options to be fairly small.
The speaker, like those made by Google, is programmed to be used entirely by voice. Personally, I am not convinced. Fortunately, Bluetooth support exists. It was, in the end, my favorite application. So, my first piece of advice is to go for the more costly battery version and ignore the voice assistant.
The speaker’s LED is a very pleasant influence. When the mic is muted, the orange setting is a perfect visual cue. I wish it had animations like the Amazon Echo, but at this price, you shouldn’t expect too much.
With this Xiaomi connected speaker, things got off to a bad start!
Connectivity and audio quality
We’re not going to lie to each other: Xiaomi did not do a miracle for such a low price. The audio is accurate, but there is a slight loss of bass. Google Home has defaults, but even though you go all the way, there’s something off, something off… Below 60Hz, the speaker simply lacks the safe and responder to please. To my delight, the very tiny speaker can even go down to 70Hz, which is fantastic for the price. However, no audiophile can find what they are searching for with this speaker.
The device’s strength, despite being limited to 12W, provides more than 80dB to the respondent! If you want to clean when listening to music in a tiny apartment, this is the speaker for you. If you’re not reading this for the first time, you’re already aware that I have a golden rule when it comes to active speakers (those with an integrated amplifier): never surpass 80% of the maximum volume. And, in order to get the most out of this law in terms of fishing and bass, I suggest that you place this speaker in a box which can resonate bass sounds.
The timbre and rhythms are also very pleasing. The optical amplification is very clean and can drive the sound to extremes without saturating or distorting it. Around 85%, the distortion begins. It’s a pleasant treat.
Despite my best efforts, I was unable to play a DTS track on the stereo. One day, I might get a chance to try again. If that’s the case, I’d make a change to this post.
The speaker in Xiaomi’s enclosure is a generic brand speaker that claims to offer 10W RMS into 4 ohms. This is in line with the latest 18W power supply. We soon realize that there is no room for error when it comes to peak power, which must always be double the RMS. What do I do? Never exceed 80% of the maximum volume.
How do I pair the Xiaomi Smart Speaker with my Bluetooth device?
I couldn’t find it, and it wasn’t explained in the instructions, so I tried “OK, Google!” Bluetooth was linked, and it worked!
Most rival speakers have a switch for that, which is surprising. It’s always reassuring to not have to rely on Google. The good news is that the bluetooth link stays active after that, so there’s no reason to keep reactivating it. Certainly not as much as a bluetooth computer disconnects.
For two key factors, I will not purchase this enclosure for my home:
- It’s too difficult to monitor the system without using voice control on an iOS device.
- I don’t think it’s extreme enough.
When you consider the price, though, it isn’t a bad speaker. It costs 6 times less than the Bose HS300 and 4 times less than the Sono One at this price. And I don’t think the commodity is 4-6 times worse.