The Mi Soundbar is the latest addition to Chinese electronics manufacturer Xiaomi's product portfolio. This rectangular bar-shaped speaker system has a plastic build and a fabric mesh covering the entire front. These look quite ordinary, but certainly not cheap. It has a no-frills design with smooth curved edges, and a light-weight build that makes it convenient to use either as an extended audio system with television or as a standalone device.
Although the sound bar supports wall and table-top installations, it seems to work better in the latter set-up. The sound bar has its connectivity ports – optical, S/PDIF, line-in and AUX-in – on the back, along with the power button and a power cable input port. Though these ports and the power button are placed inside a cut-out shaft, these are hard to reach when the sound bar is mounted on the wall. The back side also does not have a firm grip which results in annoying crackling sound as the speaker vibrates. Thankfully, there are rubberised grips on the bottom making it stable even on smooth flat surfaces like television cabinets, tables, etc.
The sound bar’s connectivity buttons and their respective LED light indicators are on the top, along with volume rocker buttons. These keys have a good click feedback and the LED light indicators help in knowing the active selected mode. Switching modes is easy and requires a single click on the particular mode key to activate. However, to pair a new Bluetooth device, the Bluetooth button on the sound bar requires a long press to go in the pairing mode and allow nearby Bluetooth-enabled devices to scan the sound bar connection.
As for utility, this sound bar has a good sound quality but average noise levels. Interestingly, the noise levels are different in different modes, and the speaker's loudness is best experienced when the sound bar is connected with a device via AUX. In the Bluetooth mode, the noise levels drop to average, but the sound quality remains excellent. In the S/PDIF mode, the audio quality is satisfactory. However, for some reason, the sound bar works as an independent unit in the S/PDIF mode, rendering volume controls on the connected device useless. This makes it a less suitable mode among all those available.
Priced at Rs 4,999, the Mi Soundbar is one of the most affordable options in its segment. The sound bar does not have extensive connectivity options or fancy features. But it has good sound quality, a minimalistic design and Bluetooth connectivity. These make it a good value-for-money proposition. If you have a television with a not-so-good sound quality, the Mi Soundbar would prove a perfect companion, without burning a hole in your pocket.