It is the great paradox of modern technology that miniaturisation is as advanced as ever, but electronics themselves are becoming larger. Phones barely fit into pockets and look more like tablets every day, game consoles take up a ludicrous amount of the living room and graphics cards struggle to even fit into PC cases.
While some of these enlargements are welcome for a bigger viewing experience or more graphical fidelity, it is nice to see a new product that is compact, reasonably priced (especially in South Africa) and still powerful.
The Xiaomi TV Box S 2nd Gen is the perfect example of this, providing endlessly impressive 4K streaming in a device so small and stealthy that it blends into most home, office or school environments.
The Xiaomi TV Box S 2nd Gen weighs a scant 142 grams and measures in at 9.5 X 9.5 X 1.7 centimetres, metrics that are especially impressive with the 4K resolution in mind. 4K is exponentially more difficult to stream and display compared to 1080p, which usually means a larger device is needed. The extra horsepower of the processor, cooling, power delivery and other considerations for this higher resolution all usually result in a larger device, but Xiaomi has managed to make it as small as possible.
While this is a compact product, it still offers a big unboxing experience as there’s a 360 degree Bluetooth IR remote control included in the box which has quick access buttons for the most popular streaming services, as well as voice control through Google Assistant. The Xiaomi TV Box S 2nd Gen is running Google TV which is not only up to date with the latest streaming apps, but also games and other utilities, all accessible through voice control.
Your new 4K streaming will start as soon as possible with a super simple setup process: plug it into your display with the included HDMI cable, connect to the internet and start streaming.
Once you’re online you will notice that the 4K resolution is bolstered by Dolby Vision and HDR10+ to better replicate what the film and TV creators envisioned. High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a real game changer in the display world and support for it here is very much appreciated. Also appreciated is enhanced sound support through Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD.
Once you are set up we recommend still giving the Xiaomi TV Box S 2nd Gen package a second look over to appreciate some other features. The aforementioned remote, for example, can also control accessories like sound bars thanks to the IR. Another added bonus we love is the USB port on the back of the main unit which you can use to load up content onto a USB stick, and enjoy locally.
Even better is that you can use a USB to ethernet adapter for a wired internet connection, instead of relying purely on Wi-Fi. With many South African homes made from brick which can hamper a quality wireless experience needed for the high demand of 4K, any wired options are greatly appreciated. If you’ve already run Ethernet throughout your home for other devices, that investment won’t be wasted.