The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K is the corporate’s newest entry-level 4K media streaming system. It is the standard form of compact, dongle-like design that has grow to be very fashionable with customers as media streaming utilization skyrockets. This new mannequin helps a lot of the common new audio/video codecs together with the brand new Google TV interface. Priced at INR 4,999, the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K goes head-to-head with the Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K, which retails for a similar worth.
Design and distant
The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K is available in easy paper packaging. Inside you will discover the streaming stick, a Bluetooth distant, a 5W energy adapter, and a charging cable with a microUSB connector. Additionally, whereas the packaging would not point out it, an extension cable for HDMI is included in case you’ve gotten a hard-to-reach or busy connection space on the again of your TV.
The streaming stick is an easy affair. It has a two-tone design with a matte and shiny end, the latter taking no time in any respect to get coated in scratches. On one aspect is the microUSB connector for the ability cable and in addition an LED indicator for energy. The connector causes the cable to jut out at a proper angle, which is very prone to battle with some other HDMI cable subsequent to it. Fortunately, the extension cable makes this a non-issue.
The Bluetooth distant has a quite common design, with a big, easy-to-reach D-pad and shortcut buttons for sponsors content material companions. The distant additionally has an IR blaster to make use of with televisions, letting you utilize one distant for all of your media wants.
The distant is light-weight and cozy to carry. The design additionally makes it simple to inform the appropriate orientation with out trying. The plastic and rubber really feel a bit cheesy however acceptable for the value. It does really feel inferior to the Fireplace TV remotes, nonetheless, each when it comes to button structure and common construct high quality.
Software program and options
The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K runs on Android TV 11 with the Google TV interface. The system is powered by what appears to be the Amlogic S805X2 with a quad-core Cortex-A35 CPU and Mali-G31 MP2 GPU. There’s additionally 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, of which about 5.2GB is on the market to the consumer.
The brand new Google TV UI is not essentially completely different from the older Android TV interface. The house display helps you to pin apps and in addition choose ‘channels’ out of your put in apps to show content material on the homescreen. The Uncover tab reveals instructed content material out of your put in apps in addition to different apps and makes use of your Google account to synchronize and personalize them. Apps reveals all of your put in applications and is organized into common apps and video games.
Xiaomi additionally has its personal PatchWall UI, which primarily does the identical factor because the Uncover app. Each of those like to point out you content material from completely different companies and current them to you as if you happen to can entry it any time till you click on one and are requested to first set up the app it is from after which join a subscription that instantly makes you click on again and by no means trouble once more.
In my expertise, these hubs aren’t actually of a lot use. At finest it serves as a technique to search throughout a number of companies on the identical time in case you’re in search of a specific film or TV present and wish to see if it is out there wherever.
The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K comes with a number of apps pre-installed, most of which can’t be eliminated. These are largely simply media streaming apps together with PatchWall, Miracast, and a WallPaper app.
Additionally included is Xiaomi TV+, which is a reside TV software. It is fully free and requires no sign-in so you’ll all the time have one thing to look at even if you happen to aren’t subscribed to any service. The content material out there is ok in an ‘I’ve nothing to do on this resort room so let me simply undergo all of the channels’ type of manner however the app is commonly simply too sluggish to begin taking part in and oftentimes will throw a ‘Cannot play this merchandise’ error at you.
Chromecast stays a improbable characteristic of Android TV gadgets. With the ability to forged from practically any video or audio app alongside along with your telephone, pill, or desktop browser’s display is unimaginable, one thing the Fireplace TV gadgets merely don’t supply, at the very least not with the identical stage of ease or ubiquity.
The settings menu for the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K presents solely a handful of choices. You’ll be able to allow the ‘Match content material dynamic vary’ possibility, which is off by default. This setting makes certain the system will solely output in HDR whereas taking part in HDR content material versus outputting in HDR always. That is undoubtedly one thing you need to be enabling; the one purpose firms like to depart it off is to keep away from the one-second of display blacking out when beginning or stopping an HDR video because the TV switches forwards and backwards between HDR and SDR. That is actually not an enormous deal and undoubtedly not a purpose to depart HDR on always.
The one different settings associated to output are the decision and refresh price choices, which might simply be left to auto so the system is all the time outputting on the show’s most supported mixture. Sadly, there isn’t any technique to match the output refresh price to that of the content material, one thing you discover on the Fireplace TV and Apple TV gadgets. The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K will all the time output at no matter decision and refresh price you set it to. You might simply manually set the system to 24Hz in case you are bothered by telecine judder in 24p content material however that can come at a large loss to UI fluidity elsewhere.
General, the software program expertise on the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K is ok however nonetheless would not really feel as polished and user-friendly because the Fireplace TV UI. Android TV typically seems like a telephone UI being shoehorned onto a TV with a sure stage of clunkiness it could actually’t eliminate regardless of how a lot it rebrands itself. None of those are Xiaomi’s faults, per se, however it’s what it’s.
The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K has good audio and video efficiency. And by good I imply it’s reference high quality. This implies every thing primarily appears to be like and sounds prefer it ought to, which is what you count on from any video and audio supply. The standard in the end is determined by the content material because the chipset is just not coloring it in any manner earlier than passing it via.
On the video aspect, the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K helps HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient. This covers a lot of the HDR content material on the web as a number of it’s in Dolby Imaginative and prescient nowadays and virtually all of it’s at the very least HDR10. Nonetheless, the system helps neither HDR10+ nor HLG. The jury remains to be out on the relevance of HDR10+ as Amazon remains to be the one main firm streaming it with out additionally providing a Dolby Imaginative and prescient different.
Nonetheless, a number of HDR content material on YouTube is in HLG as it’s typically the default format for many cameras that assist recording in HDR. Additionally, as a result of it’s essentially completely different from different HDR requirements, YouTube doesn’t supply an HDR10 fallback in case HLG is just not supported, so the content material simply performs in tone-mapped SDR as a substitute. This leaves a significant chunk of HDR content material on the most important streaming website unavailable on the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K.
The UI efficiency was high quality on the examined firmware. Navigation via the homescreen and app record was easy and responsive. Navigation via most apps additionally felt high quality. Some elements of the UI trigger slowdown as they’re loading in information, such because the Uncover tab. The Play Retailer additionally feels sluggish however then once more, when has the Play Retailer scrolling expertise ever been good on any system? Exterior of that, the UI efficiency was stable, even whereas taking part in 4K 60fps HDR movies.
What is not stable is the gameplay expertise. Whereas a media participant is hardly your best option for gaming, you’ll be able to set up just a few video games from the Play Retailer. The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K merely doesn’t have the GPU horsepower to play video games, even primary ones like Crossy Highway. As such, you’re finest avoiding them altogether.
You’ll have a significantly better time merely streaming a sport. It was comparatively simple to put in and setup Steam Hyperlink on the system and inside minutes I used to be in a position to play Elden Ring on the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K because it was being streamed in from my desktop PC. It was truly fairly humorous to maneuver the character round with the D-pad on the distant, which provides a brand new layer of problem ought to Miyazaki’s newest field of horrors be too simple for you. The latency is noticeable for a seasoned gamer however should not be game-breaking for informal gamers on easy video games.
The connectivity efficiency on the unit was good. Wi-Fi was dependable if a bit sluggish to attach after the system is woken up from sleep. Bluetooth additionally labored effectively and latency was sufficiently low for utilizing wi-fi headphones with out noticeable delay. The one minor problem right here is Xiaomi’s declare of HDMI 2.1 assist, which it virtually actually would not have when it comes to bandwidth however the HDMI Discussion board lets producers get away with claiming HDMI 2.1 assist on an HDMI 2.0 system just by supporting a number of HDMI 2.1 options so right here we’re.
The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K is sort of a succesful media participant for the cash, providing good audio-video high quality and UI efficiency. Sadly, the shortage of HDR10+ and HLG is likely to be a deal breaker for videophiles in search of a extra complete HDR expertise.
Sadly for Xiaomi, the Fireplace TV Stick 4K has no such limitations. It additionally has a greater UI and distant and contemplating it’s priced identically, is the higher media participant total.
Nonetheless, in case you are extra entrenched within the Google ecosystem and do not thoughts the imperfect HDR assist, then the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K can be a very good possibility.