There's a race to the bottom in the home entertainment world, created by the lower pricing for set-top boxes, the near ubiquity of built-in "smart" features for new televisions, and not least, Google's own low-priced efforts with the Chromecast.
Compared to the rock-bottom pricing of gadgets like the Chromecast, the Amazon Fire TV Stick, and the market-dominating Roku boxes, Android TV is in a pickle.
The mic wants your mouth to be close to listen in, but that doesn't bother me: it means fewer false positives from other sources.
I wish it had is a headphone jack for easy Bluetooth listening with standard earbuds, but again, I think the budget pricing excuses this omission. And since I'm allowed to nitpick in a review, designers, please don't make your remotes perfectly symmetrical: it makes it hard to tell if I'm holding the right end when I pick it up in my dark living room.
The Mi Box's remote is exactly what a set-top box controller should be: easy, simple, small.
My only previous experience with Android TV is on the NVIDIA SHIELD TV, and as excellent as that device is, the add-on remote is pretty awful thanks to touchy volume controls and short battery life.
All of the expected bells and whistles are present.
While the Mi Box doesn't come pre-rooted (not that you'd expect it from a retail device), non-Play Store apps can be installed with a security setting.
Google, having realized the error of its ways with allowing manufacturers the leeway of practically unlimited customization in standard Android, keeps a pretty tight leash on Android TV.
Stand-alone ATV units start at around 0, which is more expensive than the Roku you might buy (or the apps that come free with your TV), and less expensive than the home game console you might already have. This rookie Android TV entry from Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is priced at just .
It makes a compelling offer of just enough extra features on top of something like Chromecast or Roku to justify the extra cost, while still being the cheapest ATV device available at retail.
With full access to Android TV apps plus the requisite Cast streaming capability, decent (if bland) specs, and a voice-control remote, the Mi Box hits a lot of positive notes. The Mi Box can handle everything that other Android TV devices can with the exception of high-powered gaming, and the price tag is low enough to sneak into your entertainment budget.
That's doubly true if you've been waiting over a year for a new stand-alone Android TV option, which has been limited to the so-so Nexus Player, the deservedly mocked Razer Forge TV, and NVIDIA's excellent but expensive SHIELD TV. But once again the hardware is let down by Android TV; the immaturity of the platform - and its trailing position in app support - means that this victory rings hollow in the larger set-top box market.