We don’t hear about many major launches in the wireless portable speaker category these days. There aren’t many big brands in the affordable end of this market anymore, with options from JBL, Boat, Anker Soundcore, and Sony dominating online listings and offline store shelves. That said, low cost portable Bluetooth speakers still have a lot of appeal. Xiaomi has been in this segment for some time now, but product launches have been scarce in recent years.
The company recently re-entered space with the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W). Priced at Rs. 2,499, this speaker is affordably priced for what’s on offer, at least on paper. As the name suggests, you get 16W of rated sound output, IPX7 water resistance, etc. Is the Mi 16W Portable Bluetooth Speaker the best you can buy in the portable wireless speaker segment for less than Rs. 5,000? Find out in this review.
Mi portable bluetooth speaker (16W) looks and feels great
While many budget portable wireless speakers tend to go with crisp lines and bold colors to look more appealing, I quite like the simple and precise styling of the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W). Its design is similar to that of the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth speaker which was launched in 2020; The fabric-wrapped exterior, bungee cord, and rubber buttons all reminded me of the smaller speaker.
While you can position the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) vertically, it is conveniently placed horizontally on a table and has rubber grips at the bottom for secure seating. With this orientation, the speakers pull forward and the buttons are at the top. Controls include power, volume, playback, Bluetooth pairing, and a dedicated button for stereo wireless pairing, which can be used if you have two of these speakers and want to use them together.
The buttons are easy to press and leave no room for water to slip into the sensitive electrical components of the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W). They cover most of the functions you would need to operate the speaker directly without having to pick up your paired source device too often.
An IPX7 water resistance rating for the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) means that all kinds of exposure to the elements and even full immersion in water for a short time should not damage the device at all. apparatus. There’s a USB Type-C port for charging under a waterproof rubber flap on the right side, along with a 3.5mm jack for auxiliary connectivity. Of course, the speaker’s primary mode of connectivity is Bluetooth 5, with only support for the SBC Bluetooth codec.
The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) has a nominal power of 16W, split between two identical 8W full-range speakers. There are two equalizer modes – deep bass and normal – which can be switched between the two by pressing the play / pause and “+” buttons simultaneously. You can also invoke the default voice assistant on your smartphone by double-pressing the power button when the speakerphone is on.
Battery life is decent for a speaker of this size and power; The Mi portable bluetooth speaker (16W) has a 2600mAh battery, which lasted around 9-10 hours per charge at moderate volumes. Charging is via the USB Type-C port and it took about 3 hours to fully charge the speaker using a 10W wall adapter. Note that you only get a USB cable. in the box, so you will need to use your own adapter.
Loud, punchy sound on Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W)
The design isn’t the only similarity between the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) and its more affordable sibling, the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker; the bigger device has the same punchy, driven sound signature, but it’s of course a little louder thanks to two drivers each emitting 8W of sound. It also gives a bit more detail in the sound and performance is decent even at lower volumes.
Listening to Oliver Heldens’ Waiting at my desk, I had the speaker at around 30-40% volume, which sounded decent at a short distance. Part of the reason is that the front pilots ensure that the sound is focused and precise. While the thud in the low end of this dance floor was audible even at low volumes, it didn’t have as much vibrancy; instead, the speaker tended to highlight the mids impressively, resulting in a detailed and pleasing sound in vocals.
Turning up the volume to around 60%, Lifafa’s Jaago sounded considerably different, with deeper lows, tight, punchy bass, and a much more energetic sound, especially in the latter part of the track where the beat and rhythm. melody are everything. Besides being incredibly loud and filling the room, the sound remained clean and precise, with the vocals for the first half of the track sounding very crisp. The sound quality at reasonable levels was significantly better than what I heard from most of the other options available for under Rs. 5,000.
However, turning up the volume near the maximum level once again changed the sound a bit. The lows started to feel muddy and muddy, the highs started to crack under pressure, and the mids tended to tear as well. Like any affordable speaker, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) does not stand up to heavy loads too well. I couldn’t hear much of a difference between the normal and “deep bass” EQ modes; the former sounded a bit cleaner, the latter giving the bass a slight bump.
At the highest volumes, it becomes strong enough to cover a large room or even more spacious outdoor areas. That said, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) is best used at moderate volumes, at which it is loud enough for reasonable home listening. This is the fundamental difference between a product like this and more expensive options like the UE Boom 3, which sound great even at high volumes.
The decent midrange produced by the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) meant that I had a decent experience using it for casual voice calls, although a speakerphone doesn’t usually give you as much precision in it. this department than a good pair of wireless headphones.
The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) is impressive considering its price, for one key reason: it is very loud. The sound quality is decent, and there is a lot of noise and vibrancy to satisfy bass lovers as well. It also helps that the speaker is rated IPX7 for water resistance and provides good battery life for a device of its size and capabilities. Overall, there’s not much to complain about with the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W); it’s quite easily the best you can buy for less than Rs. 3,000.
While this speaker didn’t quite hold its place at the highest volumes, listening even at a volume level of around 60-70% still makes it a pleasurable experience. At its price point, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker (16W) is great value for money and definitely worth checking out if you are looking for an affordable wireless speaker right now.
Is HomePod mini the best smart speaker under Rs. 10,000? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.