comscore Xiaomi Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W review: Good audio, great price
Review

Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth Speaker 16W review: Good audio, great price

The Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth Speaker 16W comes across as one of the top choices for an affordable wireless speaker. It lacks good bass performance though.

Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W (5)

Xiaomi Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W 3.5 5
BGR Rating :
3.5/5

It is always nice to have some music accompany you while you enjoy some “me-time”. Tuning in to your playlist while you read, or write, or do your laundry, especially over a wireless speaker is an unparalleled joy. In a corner of my room, it is a Sony SRS XB32 wireless speaker that is usually tasked with the duties of keeping me pumped up. For the last 10 days though, Xiaomi’s latest Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W is sitting in that spot. Also Read - Mi Notebook Ultra Review: The best work laptop under Rs 80,000?

It resembles my Sony SRS XB32 party speaker a lot, especially with its big-speaker design and a promising spec sheet. Moreover, a price of Rs 2,499 makes it an interesting deal for people like us who love to have a good audio system in the house. Xiaomi sells the Mi Bluetooth Speaker 16W in two colour variants as well. It all seems like a deal that raises my eyebrows. Also Read - Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G Indian launch date officially revealed

But is it? Well, here’s my account of using the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W. Also Read - Flipkart Big Billion Days Sale to begin soon: Up to 80 percent discount on electronics

Build, Design

The Sony SRS XB32 speaker I have was an expensive speaker (at Rs 12,000) when I bought it in 2019. It feels well-built and designed to take some abuse, if I am in the mood to go outdoors. The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W feels no different in comparison, despite just costing a fraction of the Sony’s price. It’s as big as the Sony speaker and even gets a similar build quality that exemplifies quality.

Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W

The design is reminiscent of JBL Flip 4, with a fabric mesh covering almost the entirety of the speaker. The flat sides have plastic surfaces, one which houses the two ports, i.e., a USB-C port and an AUX port. The control buttons are stuck to the top under a rubber surface and there are many buttons to play with.

You get your standard play/pause and the volume keys, along with a dedicated power key, a TWS pairing mode key, and a regular Bluetooth pairing key. There’s also a microphone, which comes in handy if you take calls on your speaker. A lanyard cable is attached to one of the ends and that surely helps while carrying it around, or tying it to hook.

Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W

Xiaomi says the speaker is IPX7 certified, which means it can survive pool parties as well as rains. The black colour variant that I have is stealthy but those seeking a flashy option could consider the blue colour variant. I wish Xiaomi had included some LED strips or tiny strobe lights on the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W to help disburse a party mood. Then again, I am asking too much from a dual-driver speaker that costs just Rs 2,499.

At 790 grams, you will notice the weight, but not so much while carrying it in a backpack. The two rubber grips on the opposite side of the control panel help it stay put horizontally on a surface. You can also keep it vertically standing on its side, with no discernable side-effect on the audio output.

Audio performance

The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W’s highlight is its dual-driver speaker setup. It has got two 8W speakers along with a passive bass radiator to deal with whatever you throw at it. Xiaomi also offers a Dual EQ mode to let you choose between a balanced mode and a bass-focused mode. How does all that end up sounding?

Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W (2)

 

Pretty good, to be precise. I have seldom seen dual-driver wireless speakers under Rs 5,000 having an inclination towards an open soundstage instead of being focused entirely on bass. The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W has an audio signature that feels open, with equal emphasis on the mids, highs and lows. Whether I tune to Honey Singh’s “First Kiss” or “Blinding Lights” by the “The Weeknd”, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W holds on to its intentions of keeping it all balanced. “Nazar na Lag Jaye” by Ash King from Stree maintains its instrumentals well without compromising the vocals. I find no noticeable distortion in the vocals as well as the high-pitched instruments. The mids and lows have a little inclination to amplify, but not enough to make it muddy.  The stereo effect is well imparted too.

That said, I wish Xiaomi had worked out a way to include more bass with the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W. The Dual EQ mode seems like a gimmick. Switching to the bass mode offers no noticeable difference in the audio output, at least to my ears – it lacks the “oomph” you get with a traditional portable party speaker. Xiaomi shared a graph of the audio output where it proves the bass enhancement, but I could figure it working ever so slightly in some Bollywood tracks from the 90s.

Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W

 

The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W gets plenty loud to keep the hyperactive kids engaged (instead of messing around with cupboard items). I do notice shrillness at times in volume levels above 70 percent.

I also take calls on the speaker frequently and I didn’t find the performance any different from other wireless speakers in this price range. You have to stay closer to the speaker in order to keep your voice clear and loud to your caller. As spring is approaching, talking on it in a room with a ceiling fan isn’t a good idea, as my callers kept complaining of ambient noise.

The Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W relies on Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity and it makes for reliable connections within a 1200 sqaure-feet two-bedroom apartment. The speaker didn’t let go of the connection or distort the audio output, even when I took it to another room. I used the AUX connectivity option while playing games on my laptop and the audio quality remained unaffected.

Battery

Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W

With the 2600mAh battery, Xiaomi promises up to 13 hours of battery life at 50 percent volume. I use my speaker for two hours (approximately) daily with the volume mostly set between 30 percent and 50 percent. In this scenario, I had to charge the speaker after 8 days. Not bad for a dual-driver speaker.

However, it does take ages to recharge the battery from nothing. If you are looking for a number, how does four hours of waiting sound to you? Thankfully, there’s a USB-C port to refill the battery, which means you don’t have to carry a separate cable to charge it up.

Verdict

Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W

At Rs 2,499, there are so many things to like about the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W. The overall audio quality is good, with a unique preference to incline towards a balanced sound profile. I can say the same for the battery life. The build quality is up to the usual lofty standards set by Xiaomi itself. Compared to a bunch of Bluetooth speakers under Rs 5,000 (that I have heard), this Xiaomi speaker is right there with the top choices.

However, do note that the bass performance isn’t up to the mark if you are willing to use this as a party speaker. The Dual-EQ mode seems like a gimmick. I may be nitpicking but nobody would mind having some LED party lights, even in small traces, on the speaker.

To sum it up, the Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W makes a strong case for itself as your travel-cum-table speaker, especially at the price it sells. Unless you prefer a more portable single-driver wireless speaker, this earns our recommendation for a wireless speaker under Rs 3,000.

For the latest tech news across the world, latest PC and Mobile games, tips & tricks, top-notch gadget reviews of most exciting releases follow BGR India’s Facebook, Twitter, subscribe our YouTube Channel. Also follow us on  Facebook Messenger for latest updates.
  • Published Date: February 27, 2021 7:46 PM IST



new arrivals in india

Realme 8i
Realme 8i

13,999

Realme 8s 5G
Realme 8s 5G

17,999

Xiaomi Redmi 10 Prime
Xiaomi Redmi 10 Prime

12,499

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G

35,999

Samsung Galaxy M32 5G
Samsung Galaxy M32 5G

20,999

Vivo Y33s
Vivo Y33s

17,990

Realme C21Y
Realme C21Y

8,999

Vivo Y21
Vivo Y21

15,490

Realme GT Master Edition
Realme GT Master Edition

25,999

Realme GT 5G
Realme GT 5G

37,999

Itel A48
Itel A48

6,399

Motorola Edge 20
Motorola Edge 20

29,999

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion
Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

21,499

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

84,999

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

1,49,999

Samsung Galaxy A12 (Exynos)
Samsung Galaxy A12 (Exynos)

13,999

Nokia C20 Plus
Nokia C20 Plus

8,999

Vivo Y53s
Vivo Y53s

19,490

Tecno Pova 2
Tecno Pova 2

10,999

Infinix Smart 5A
Infinix Smart 5A

6,499

Micromax In 2b
Micromax In 2b

8,999

Vivo Y72 5G
Vivo Y72 5G

20,990

Tecno Camon 17
Tecno Camon 17

12,999

Tecno Camon 17 Pro
Tecno Camon 17 Pro

16,999

Realme C11 2021
Realme C11 2021

6,999

Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G

39,990

Oppo Reno6 5G
Oppo Reno6 5G

29,990

Samsung Galaxy M21 2021
Samsung Galaxy M21 2021

12,499

OnePlus Nord 2
OnePlus Nord 2

27,999

Poco F3 GT
Poco F3 GT

27,999

Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G

19,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F22
Samsung Galaxy F22

12,499

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite

21,999

Infinix Note 10 Pro
Infinix Note 10 Pro

16,999

Infinix Note 10
Infinix Note 10

10,999

Vivo Y73
Vivo Y73

20,990

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
OnePlus Nord CE 5G

22,999

iQOO Z3
iQOO Z3

19,990

Realme C25s
Realme C25s

9,999

Poco M3 Pro 5G
Poco M3 Pro 5G

13,999

Realme X7 Max 5G
Realme X7 Max 5G

26,999

Oppo F19
Oppo F19

18,990

Motorola Moto G40 Fusion
Motorola Moto G40 Fusion

13,999

POCO M2 Reloaded
POCO M2 Reloaded

9,499

OPPO A74 5G
OPPO A74 5G

17,990

Oppo A53s 5G
Oppo A53s 5G

14,990

Vivo V21 5G
Vivo V21 5G

29,990

Realme C25
Realme C25

9,499

Realme C21
Realme C21

7,999

Realme C20
Realme C20

6,799

Motorola Moto G60
Motorola Moto G60

17,999

iQOO 7
iQOO 7

31,990

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G
Samsung Galaxy M42 5G

21,999

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

69,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G

39,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X
Xiaomi Mi 11X

29,999

Realme 8 5G
Realme 8 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F02s
Samsung Galaxy F02s

8,999

Samsung Galaxy F12
Samsung Galaxy F12

10,999

POCO X3 Pro
POCO X3 Pro

18,999

Realme 8 Pro
Realme 8 Pro

17,999

Realme 8
Realme 8

14,999

Vivo X60 Pro Plus
Vivo X60 Pro Plus

69,990

Vivo X60 Pro
Vivo X60 Pro

49,990

Vivo X60
Vivo X60

37,990

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

64,999

OnePlus 9R 5G
OnePlus 9R 5G

39,999

OnePlus 9 5G
OnePlus 9 5G

49,999

Samsung Galaxy A72
Samsung Galaxy A72

34,999

Samsung Galaxy A52
Samsung Galaxy A52

26,499

Micromax In 1
Micromax In 1

10,499

Asus ROG Phone 5
Asus ROG Phone 5

49,999

Samsung Galaxy M12
Samsung Galaxy M12

10,999

Motorola Moto G30
Motorola Moto G30

10,999

Motorola Moto G10 Power
Motorola Moto G10 Power

9,999

Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G
Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G

25,990

Oppo F19 Pro
Oppo F19 Pro

21,490

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

18,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

15,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10

11,999

Realme Narzo 30A
Realme Narzo 30A

8,999

Realme Narzo 30 Pro
Realme Narzo 30 Pro

16,999

Infinix Smart 5
Infinix Smart 5

7,199

Samsung Galaxy F62
Samsung Galaxy F62

23,999

Samsung Galaxy A12
Samsung Galaxy A12

12,999

Nokia 5.4
Nokia 5.4

13,999

Nokia 3.4
Nokia 3.4

11,999

Realme X7 Pro 5G
Realme X7 Pro 5G

29,999

Realme X7
Realme X7

19,999

Vivo Y31
Vivo Y31

16,490

Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G

35,990

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

1,05,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G

81,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

69,999

Vivo Y12s
Vivo Y12s

9,990

Vivo Y51A
Vivo Y51A

17,990

Samsung Galaxy M02s
Samsung Galaxy M02s

8,999

Xiaomi Mi 10i
Xiaomi Mi 10i

21,999

Oppo A15s
Oppo A15s

11,490

Best Sellers