A good Bluetooth speaker is factored by fewer elements than say, a good pair of headphones or truly wireless earbuds. However, that by no means says that getting a good Bluetooth speaker is an easy business. But price your speaker right, fit in the right bunch of features, good sound quality and durable yet the portable design and you have a device better than most. Testing this very thought, we have Xiaomi’s Mi Outdoor Bluetooth speaker with us today.
The 5W speaker has a square form factor and a bunch of useful features. It costs Rs 1,399, which makes it not the cheapest speaker in the segment, but it compensates by bringing into the mix some ‘smart’ abilities, unseen in this price segment. This includes access to calls and voice assistants. Yes, a 5W ‘outdoor’ speaker is a debatable decision. But do the features help the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker float in a sea of competitors? Read on to find out.
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The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker has a square shape that fits in the hand. It is lesser than two inches in thickness and easy to fit in your gym bag or maybe even in your pocket. The build quality seems great here. The speakers are IPX5 splash-proof and can survive a day by the pool, but not in it. There is a tight rubber flap over the port and the rest of the mesh design helps this too. A rubberized ridge along the bottom of the speaker ensures that it doesn’t move around due to vibrations when used on smooth flat surfaces.
All four sides of the speaker are in use here. One side has the volume buttons with a microphone in between. The volume buttons can also be long-pressed to skip tracks. Another side has a micro-USB port and an aux port. The third side has a power button and another to play/pause music, with an LED button in between. The fourth side has a permanently attached stretchable lanyard that can be used to fasten the speaker or hang it.
The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker can produce very crisp sound on moderate and low volumes. The experience here is enjoyable and the output is well-balanced. This means you can enjoy all genres of music on this speaker. This is thanks to what Xiaomi calls Canadian long fiber pulp vibration.
The resulting sound output is crisp. However, being a 5W speaker, it understandably lacks the immersive punchy bass bigger speakers have. It is only on extreme volumes that the bass begins to muffle out a bit, something we expected. However, at no volume is there a significant distortion of music, which is very nice. When outdoors, the speaker can provide a great experience provided you aren’t in very noisy environments. Take this with you on your morning jog or a hike on the hills and you’re good. However, by a big noisy pool, you might not have the absolute best output, considering the 5W power.
While not a very common use case, you might occasionally, or on a bad day, frequently get calls when connected to your speaker. The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker can take calls directly from the unit. The speaker provided surprisingly good call quality. We heard people on the other side very clearly, and they also reported crystal clear sound, even though the speaker was placed at a distance. Our input while using the voice assistant features was also good and there were fewer cases of misinterpretation.
The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker has amazing battery life. We were surprised to see the company claim 20 hours of battery life on a unit this small. But we saw similar figures thanks to the 2,000mAh battery pack, using it at moderate to high volumes. While it isn’t a deal-breaker, charging is still through a micro-USB port, which means you’ll be carrying a separate cable on your next vacation.
The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker is a unique option in the segment. This isn’t the heavy, mini-boombox kind of Bluetooth speaker you will be carrying around. It is more of a light, ultra-compact small, smart speaker. The speaker has a great design and build quality, and excels at the audio performance. The Bluetooth 5.0 support also ensures good range and a stable connection. But it isn’t for everyone. If your need is for a more powerful speaker like for dance rehearsals, spend more and opt for a soundbar. However, for the casual outings and small house-parties, this is a great value-for-money option at Rs 1,399.