Updated: March 13, 2020 8:46:36 pm
When it comes to audio products, I do not like spending a big amount. Primarily because my budget doesn’t allow it and I also do not need a big music system. I am sure there are a lot of people like me who use their laptop or smartphone as video consumption machines and only want a small Bluetooth speaker to complement their audio needs.
Currently, there are a lot of options under Rs 2,000 and Xiaomi’s Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker is the latest entrant in the segment. The speaker costs Rs 1,399 with good specifications on the sheet. Here is what I think about the new Xiaomi product.
Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker review
Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker Specifications: 5W Output | 2000mAh battery with 20hrs backup | IPX5 Splash Proof Design | Voice Assistant support | Bluetooth 5.0
Gets full marks for design but…
The new offering from Xiaomi looks a lot different from the company’s other speakers in the same price range. The design of the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker is nothing less than premium and gives it the feel of an expensive audio device. It reminds of the Google Home Mini.
The top half of the speaker has Mesh design, which looks really cool and the lower half is rubberised to make sure the speaker doesn’t slip off while playing music. The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker features the Power and Play/Pause buttons on the left, Volume up and Volume down buttons on the right. The micro-USB charging port and 3.5mm audio jack are hidden below a rubber cap at the bottom edge– to save it from dust and water.
Xiaomi claims the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker is IPX5 certified for water and dust resistance. I did not pour water on the device, but considering the design, I believe it can handle occasional splashes.
The overall design of the speaker is compact and you can grip it in your hands quite easily. The speaker is quite light-weight and Xiaomi has also added a stretchable lanyard cable to hang it in your room. The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker feels sturdy enough to take on inter-city trips. It spent a lot of time in my backpack and did not get a single scratch.
While the Mi Outdoor gets full marks for design, there is one bit that is problematic. The rubberised portion is not a unibody structure and the base panel can be peeled off quite easily. I did not even have to try hard to reveal the plastic body underneath the rubber-base.
Bass is strong, vocals could have been better
The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker is clearly not for the audiophiles, but that doesn’t mean it lacks in the sound department. The speaker produces crisp and loud sound that is enough to enjoy videos and songs in your bedroom. The 5W output of the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker easily surpasses other budget speakers with 3W sound output like the Boat Stone 200.
The Xiaomi speaker is good at producing powerful bass and considering Indian users prefer strong lows in this price range, I’ll say this speaker taps on that nerve just the right way. I played Gully Boy tracks as well as other bass-heavy songs like City Slums by Divine and Raja Kumari, Wakhra Swag by Navv Inder and Baadshah, and Loca by Honey Singh at full volume on this speaker and it did not let me down.
The mids and highs are not as impressive, but acceptable. I liked how the speaker keeps the vocals clear but it could have been better because when I listened to podcasts at full volume, the audio started to sound like noise. I’d like to suggest you keep the volume to around 70 per cent while listening to audiobooks or podcasts on the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker.
Why there’s no dedicated voice assistant button?
The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker comes with the support of voice assistant. I could access the Google Assistant on my Android phone and ask it to make calls for me, read the news to me, enquire about the weather, and more. However, the action to call the Assistant has a problem.
You have to double-press the Play/Pause button to activate the Assistant. Almost half the times, it played the soundtrack via the default music player instead. It would have been better if Xiaomi had incorporated a dedicated button for the voice assistant.
The battery is super impressive
The 2,000mAh battery of the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker lasts really long. Even though it does not give a backup of 20 hours at 85 per cent as Xiaomi claimed, I could still get around 15 hours of playback at the same volume level, which is really impressive.
With a big battery for such a small speaker, it takes around 4-5 hours to get to the 85 per cent from zero. However, it is not much of a deal considering you get a full day of backup with just 3 hours of charging.
The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker has its ups and downs, but when you consider the price, you are pushed to look at only the positives aspects. The device looks and feels premium, the sound quality is good for the most part, and the battery backup is great. There’s absolutely room for improvement, but for Rs 1,399, the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker is a value for money deal and we want more of this form factor.
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