Xiaomi Mi TV Stick is a great option for anyone looking for an Android TV device on a budget. In this review, we will talk about what features the Mi TV stick has and how it compares to the Nvidia shield performance-wise.
Thank you to Gearbest for sending us a review unit, Gearbest is an affordable electronics wholesaler that works closely with major brands. There is currently a flash sell for the mi TV stick so if you like what you see in this review, check out the link at the end of the Article, Gearbest ship worldwide with expedited delivery times.
You get a micro USB cable and a European power adaptor which is fine for the US & UK because it's USB powered. you can use the spare USB port from your TV. The device itself is very slim it is about the same width as a fire TV stick but slightly shorter in length. It’s an ideal size to take with you if going travelling.
The remote control is very good quality and well built, it feels sturdy and the buttons have a great tactile feel to them. It has quick launch buttons for Netflix and Amazon prime video. It has a menu, back and home key as well as the volume control and standby button.
The directional pad is very responsive and does not feel mushy at all. And lastly, it has the Google assistant button to pick up voice commands with its built-in mic. The remote uses Bluetooth for connectivity.
The Xiaomi Mi Stick runs Google's Android TV operating system, which is a tailor-made version of Android for the living room.
The interface is what you would expect from Android TV as it runs android pie, which is the same as most Android TV devices such as the Nvidia Shield.
There is very little customisation of the interface except for a few tweaks, the settings are largely unchanged, there have been a few additions added. Unfortunately, the Mi TV stick only supports 1080p at 60 frames per second, HDR is not available at all.
HDMI CEC control is available but in a limited capacity. Most of the major audio codecs are supported however it doesn't look like it supports Dolby Atmos or DTS HD.
The MI TV stick comes with 8GB of storage but only around 4GB is usable with no way of expanding that further. Within the apps tray, Xiaomi has added a recommendations row - this is the only customisation that I have noticed on top of Android TV.
The Google assistant works really well, it recognised my voice every time I used it and I found it to be reliable in every instance.
There doesn't seem to be any issues with the integration of Google assistant and the live channels app. If I asked it to play a TV channel like ‘BBC one’ it would load this perfectly, on the Nvidia Shield, this action didn’t always work.
The performance aspect of the Mi TV stick is a little controversial, yes the 'Free Tech' channel mentions the fire TV stick is faster but, the Android TV operating system is arguably much better than what the Fire TV has to offer and is a lot more flexible than the locked-down Amazon Fire Stick.
We put the Live Channels app on the Fire TV stick in the video above and the performance is very similar.
Comparing the performance to the Nvidia Shield, it's night and day, the shield can download and install the BT sport app from the Google play store and open it before the Mi TV stick even finishes downloading. Don't expect this to match the Nvidia Shields performance.
We tested the network speeds from the Mi TV Stick, even though I have a Gigabit internet speed, the Mi TV could only download at around 150Mbps but, to be honest, this will be absolutely fine for most streaming services.
Let's see what Google has to offer when they finally release their own Android TV stick.