Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has unveiled a new device similar to Android TV, and according to a Kotaku East review by Eric Jou, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The Xiaomi Mi Box Mini is apparently pretty good for TV content, but not so great for gaming.
Xiaomi is a significant player on the smartphone market, stealing away market share from the big three (Apple, Samsung, Android) with its less expensive offerings such as the Redmi Note. Of course, it’s not the only lower-end smartphone maker jumping into the ring, and increasing saturation has led some players to look for different business strategies. Further troubling in Xaomi’s case is a bit of recent legal trouble over patents, which could be another motivating factor to branch out of the smartphone market with future offerings beyond the Mi Box Mini.
In any case, it’s a neat little gadget. In his review, Jou emphasizes its physical design. It’s only the size of a phone charger, and the smooth, slightly curved white box sports only an HDMI output and a plug, getting online via Wi-Fi. Right now, its content is China-centric, but the company apparently intends to release it in the US later this year, at which time it will surely feature more English-language, Western content.
As for the gaming aspect, Jou reports that it just doesn’t have many good games right now, and while it’s apparently possible to side load apps on the device, he couldn’t see how. Nor was he able to connect his Bluetooth controller, as the company had advertised.
That having been said, Jou concludes his review noting that the device costs only $30, and that he “still can’t get over how tiny the box is.”