Xiaomi’s Mi Box series is already among the most popular in the world. It offers feature-packed Android TV boxes at affordable prices, with quite a few designs to choose from. We’ve already had the Mi Box 4S and Mi TV stick pass through our hands, and then Xiaomi decided to go premium. It launched the Mi Box 4S Pro, complete with 8K video playback. The only question is if it’s worth your money.
We’ll take you through some of the most important specs as well as the pros and cons of purchasing the Mi Box 4S Pro. After that, we’ll give you a few alternatives to consider that may give you a better overall experience.
Xiaomi Mi Box 4S Pro: Just the specs
|Xiaomi Mi Box 4S|
|Software||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
|Playback||Up to 8K|
|Ports||1 x USB-A|
1 x HDMI 2.1
Why buy the Xiaomi Mi Box 4S Pro?
The biggest draw of Xiaomi’s premium streaming box is the 8K video playback. In fact, that’s the only feature that really sets it apart from the Mi Box 4S. There aren’t too many other 8K-ready streaming boxes on the market yet, so this is a decent way to future-proof yourself and your TV.
Xiaomi’s streaming box keeps the same portable footprint, so you can easily toss it in a backpack for a weekend away. It’s as easy to set up as ever, thanks to the simple HDMI 2.1 interface. Simply plug in your cables, and you’re off to the races. The 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage you’ll find on your Xiaomi streaming box are actually more than most Roku and Amazon devices can offer — many competitors stick to a simple 1GB of RAM.
Although the Mi Box 4S Pro does cost quite a bit more than its 4K sibling, the difference is not a dealbreaker. Starting at just $79.99, the streaming box remains more affordable than select premium Roku and Amazon Fire TV options. Those competitors don’t have 8K-ready options right now either.
Why skip the Xiaomi Mi Box 4S Pro?
One of the most important reasons to skip this streaming box is MIUI. While the skin itself isn’t a dealbreaker, most American users are more comfortable with the standard Android TV experience. There’s currently no North American or European version of the Mi Box 4S Pro, so any version you buy is packing the default Chinese experience.
While the 8K video playback is the main selling point for this pro-level box, it’s unnecessary for many people. If you don’t already own an 8K-ready TV, there’s not much use in an 8K-ready streaming box. It will only upscale your content as far as your TV will allow, which might make the 4K version of the Mi Box 4S a better value.
See also: Xiaomi Mi Box S review
There’s not much to argue against the Mi Box 4S Pro outside of those two main flaws. You could grab the box as an attempt to future-proof your setup, but there’s always a chance for more affordable options in the future.
Are there any good alternatives?
The streaming device market is more competitive than ever, so there are plenty of alternatives worth considering. Most of your best bets are readily available in the United States, and the choice usually comes down to your preferred platform.
Amazon’s Fire TV Sticks are some of the best around, and they’re small enough to slip right into your pocket. You might also want to consider one of Amazon’s devices if you already own an Echo speaker or two. The powerful Fire TV cube even doubles as a smart speaker by itself. Unfortunately, you won’t find 8K streaming onboard any of the current offerings, but the Fire TV Sticks cost less than Xiaomi’s box.
If you’d rather go Roku, there are plenty of form factors to choose from. The Roku Ultra, as seen above, is the largest and most powerful option, though it’s also the most expensive. It sticks with 4K playback, but you get a pair of JBL earbuds bundled in the box. Roku has plenty of cheaper Express and Premiere options as well. They skimp on some of the fancier smart remote features, but you can usually snatch them up for under $30.
So, should you buy the streaming box?
Now, the $80 question you’ve been waiting for: Should you buy the Xiaomi Mi Box 4S Pro? The answer is probably not, at least not yet. If you don’t have an 8K-ready TV, you won’t be able to use the full strength of the box. While the cost isn’t prohibitive, it’s tough to say how much future 8K-ready streaming devices will cost. You also have to weigh out how badly you want Android TV over MIUI.
If you have an advanced 8K TV and you want the sharpest resolution from your streaming content, you can absolutely consider the Xi Box 4S Pro. You just may want to wait and see if it gets an official US or European launch first.