Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) Review: Bang for your money
Xiaomi is primarily known for value-added smartphones across the price segment, but the company also has an expanded lineup of affordable audio products. The company today launched two audio products – Mi Neckband Bluetooth Earphones Pro and Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W). Here, we are reviewing the company’s newly launched 16W Bluetooth speaker which is priced at Rs 2,499 competitively. With IPX7 water resistance, 13 hours battery life and Bluetooth 5.0 connection, the speaker seems to offer a fair amount of features for its price. Let’s see what the real life fare is in our review.
Construction and design
Bound to the fabric, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) feels extremely strong and well-built. Above, there is a bar made of rubber that has all the body buttons. The rubber buttons have a good tactile response and are easy to press. You have a power button that requires a long press to turn the speaker on / off. If you press this button briefly while the speaker is on, it will drop its current battery percentage, which we thought was quite easy. Double-pressing the power button also activates the voice assistant on the connected device, so that you can give commands for calls, text, play music and much more.
Then there are the volume up and down buttons which double as tracking looking buttons when you press them for a long time. Long pressing the ‘+’ button will avoid the next one, while long pressing the ‘-‘ button will return it to the previous track. Next, there is a pause / play button that can also be used to answer phone calls and then we have a Bluetooth pairing button. Lastly, there’s a dedicated button for wireless stereo pairing that lets you connect up to two Mi portable Bluetooth speakers to enjoy a stereo effect.
On the right, there is a strap that you can use to hold the speaker. It also has a rubber flap with your USB-C charging port and 3.5mm AUX input socket underneath. The rubber flap is quite tightly sealed, but it will probably protect the ports from water damage and maintain its water resistance rating.
At the bottom, the speaker has two rubber grips that allow it to sit securely on a flat surface and move a lot. The speaker is quite heavy, weighing 790 grams. It is still portable enough to hold inside a large backpack and carry around. Overall, it’s a well-built, powerful speaker that looks pretty decent. It is available in two colors – black and blue (we got the next one for review).
The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) is a featured device, especially for sub-3K price points. Not only do you get a solid IPX7 rating for water resistance which makes it resistant to pool or splash in your shower, but it also comes with true wireless stereo support, where you can connect two Mi portable Bluetooth speakers. Immersive stereo hearing experience. It’s great for enjoying movies and listening to music.
The device also supports voice assistants, so you can ask questions or instruct the assistant to perform actions with your voice. The speaker has dual EQ mode where users can simultaneously switch between normal and deep bus modes by pressing the volume plus and pause buttons.
For connection, the speaker comes with Bluetooth v5.0 and there is no lag or starter in the audio output. The wireless range is quite good, we have been able to control the speaker two rooms away from it with the source device. You also have a built-in microphone for taking calls, which is quite nifty.
The battery life of the device is rated at 13 hours of playtime on a single charge. In our experiment, the speaker lasted about 11.5 hours on a single charge before reaching the USB-C charging cord. The device is fully charged in about 4 hours, which is slow.
Featuring two 8W drivers, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) goes quite loud. The sound emitted from the speaker is room-enclosed and sufficient to adequately fill even large rooms. There is no 360-degree sound but it is unrealistic to expect at this price point. Now, coming in dual EQ modes, there was a very small obvious difference between normal and bus boost modes.
The bus response, even in normal mode, is full and rich. Genres like hip-hop, rap, EDM, and Bollywood are lively and lively words with a wide range of details in the valley range of the frequency range. Although the speaker must have a bass-forward sound profile, we were pleasantly surprised to find that it did not do much harm to the quality of the mid. The mides are well rounded and the vocals are usually dynamic and clear.
The heights, however, get slightly tiny. On rock tracks, clapping and high-hats can give the ear a slight jolt, especially if the volume is too loud. Occasionally cracks appear in the sound output when you set the volume to more than 85-90 percent. Overall though, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) sounds good for the price and you won’t have much to complain about.
With an attractive price tag of Rs 2,499, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) offers good sound quality, adequate bus response and decent battery life. The build is also strong, and the buttons have a good touch response. You also get access to a fair number of features like IPX7 rating, dual EQ mode, stereo wireless pairing, USB-C charging and voice assistant. The 16W sound output is loud enough to fill large rooms and even for outdoor use. For users looking to buy a solid Bluetooth speaker for under Rs 3,000, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) offers several for a relatively cheap price point.