The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K is Xiaomi‘s compact and affordable entry into the 4K streaming device market. Priced at just $59.99, it packs impressive hardware specs, Android TV features, and 4K streaming capabilities into a tiny Dongle.
But how does it actually perform in real-world use for media streaming and everyday tasks? I tested and used the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K extensively to find out. Read on for my full review.
Overview and Key Features
First, let‘s quickly recap what the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K is and what it offers:
It‘s an HDMI dongle that plugs directly into your TV‘s HDMI port to stream media and apps.
Runs on Android TV 11 software for easy access to Google Play Store, Chromecast, and Google Assistant.
Streams video in up to 4K Ultra HD resolution with support for HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range formats.
Powered by a fast quad-core ARM processor with 2GB of RAM for smooth performance.
Comes with a voice-enabled Bluetooth remote with dedicated buttons for popular streaming apps.
Retails for only $59.99, making it one of the cheapest 4K streaming devices on the market.
On paper, the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K offers a lot of bang for the buck. But specs alone don‘t tell the full story. Let‘s dive into the key aspects of using this streaming stick.
Streamlined Setup Process
Getting set up with the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K took me less than 10 minutes thanks to the easy setup process:
Plug the HDMI dongle into your TV and power socket.
Pair the included Bluetooth remote (two AAA batteries required).
On first boot, the stick will guide you through connecting to WiFi, logging into your Google account, and more.
Once updated, you‘ll be presented with the standard Android TV 11 home screen.
The initial setup prompts are intuitive with clear instructions. Within minutes I was ready to start streaming.
The quick and painless setup experience makes the Xiaomi stick a great option even for less tech-savvy users. Advanced users will also appreciate that they can dive right into downloading apps and tweaking settings.
Quad-Core Hardware and Android TV Performance
Under the plastic housing, the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K packs some capable hardware:
Quad-core ARM Cortex A35 processor clocked at 2.0 Ghz
Mali G31 MP2 graphics processor
2 GB of DDR4 RAM
8 GB of internal eMMC storage
Benchmarks put the Xiaomi stick‘s overall performance close to 2019‘s Xiaomi Mi Box S and above cheaper sticks like the Fire TV Stick Lite.
In daily use, the interface felt very smooth and snappy. Apps launched quickly, scrolling had minimal lag, and multitasking was decent.
The quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM provide enough muscle for casual gaming.Graphics-intensive titles like Asphalt 8 ran smoothly in testing. Don‘t expect Xbox-level performance but lighter Android games play well.
The Xiaomi stick streamed 4K video effortlessly thanks to hardware decode support for codecs like VP9 Profile 2 and H.265. High bitrate 4K content streamed smoothly from Netflix, Prime Video, and YouTube without any buffering or frame drops.
Overall, the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K delivers excellent streaming performance and responsive Android TV software – perfect for media usage. Gamers may want more power but casual users will be very satisfied.
Impressive 4K HDR Streaming Capabilities
The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K lives up to its name by supporting a wide range of 4K streaming formats:
Up to 3840 x 2160p resolution at 60 frames per second
HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range for improved color and contrast
HDMI 2.1 for 4K 60fps playback on compatible TVs
Widevine L1 DRM for streaming HD content from Netflix and Prime Video
VP9 Profile 2 and H.265 hardware decoding for smooth 4K streaming
I tested 4K content from Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+ and Plex. Picture quality was excellent with crisp detail and vibrant colors. HDR content really popped on my LG C1 OLED TV.
Standard dynamic range HD videos were upscaled well to 4K thanks to the built-in upscaler. Xiaomi‘s frame rate matching tech also eliminated judder when watching 24fps movies.
The Xiaomi stick lacks advanced HDR support like Dolby Vision which some may miss. But for the price, the 4K HDR capabilities are very impressive. Streaming performance exceeded my expectations.
Voice Remote with Google Assistant
The included Bluetooth voice remote worked flawlessly during testing. It feels lightweight yet solid in the hand.
All the essential controls are present including a microphone button to quickly activate Google Assistant. Using voice commands to launch shows, control smart home devices, and more worked reliably.
Dedicated shortcut buttons for YouTube and Netflix are convenient. The remote also controls TV power and volume using HDMI CEC which is a nice bonus.
My only complaint is the lack of a dedicated power button on the remote itself. You‘ll have to use the mic button to turn on the Xiaomi stick. Not a huge inconvenience but worth mentioning.
Overall the voice remote handled everything I needed during my streaming and navigating. It connects instantly without lag. For $60, the remote experience is very good.
Flexible Storage Options
The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K comes with 8GB of internal storage for apps – decent but not amazing.
Thankfully there are a few ways to expand the storage:
Plug in a USB drive to move apps and app data over.
Insert a microSD card into the USB-C port via a small adapter.
Use the free "ADBLink" app on your computer to access the internal storage over USB and transfer data.
I tried a 32GB USB 3.0 flash drive and it worked flawlessly. Apps transferred to the drive opened just as quickly as those on internal storage.
Having the ability to augment the limited built-in storage with USB and microSD options is great. It means you can install more large apps and games.
Google Assistant, Chromecast and Android TV Features
Like other Android TV devices, the Xiaomi stick provides full access to Google‘s smart TV ecosystem:
Google Assistant understands natural voice commands for searching content, answering questions, controlling smart home devices, and more. Worked reliably in testing.
Chromecast support lets you cast videos, music and screens directly from your smartphone or tablet to the TV. Handy for sharing content quickly.
The Google Play Store provides access to thousands of apps optimized for Android TV. Downloading and installing apps is easy.
Google Play Movies & TV integrates all your purchased movies and shows in one place. Frequent Google media buyers will appreciate this.
If you are invested in Google‘s ecosystem, the Xiaomi stick should provide a familiar and feature-rich Android TV experience.
Sideloading Apps and Launchers
While Android TV offers tons of apps on Google Play, some popular streaming APKs like Kodi aren‘t available.
Thankfully, the Xiaomi stick supports sideloading unofficial apps via easy methods like Downloader or ADBLink.
I had no issues installing Kodi, Plex, emulators, VPNs and other sideloaded APKs. This level of flexibility is a major benefit compared to platforms like Fire TV.
You can even install third-party Android TV launchers to customize the interface. Launchers like Wolf Launcher change the stock home screen and add new features.
Android TV‘s open nature allows plenty of customization for advanced users. The Xiaomi stick does a great job taking advantage of this.
Xiaomi TV Stick 4K Versus Fire Stick 4K and Roku
How does the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K compare against the Fire Stick 4K and Roku sticks? Here‘s a quick rundown:
Vs Fire Stick 4K:
- Xiaomi stick has faster processor and more RAM for smoother performance
- Supports more codecs and streaming formats like VP9 Profile 2
- Full Google ecosystem instead of Amazon‘s version of Android
- More customization options and ability to sideload apps
Vs Roku Streaming Stick+:
- Xiaomi stick has voice remote and Google Assistant built-in
- Streams in higher quality 4K 60fps versus Roku 4K 30fps max
- Xiaomi likely to provide more long-term software support
- Access to broader app selection on Google Play Store
For $60, the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K holds its ground nicely against the established players. Unless you are heavily invested into the Amazon or Roku ecosystems, Xiaomi‘s option is compelling.
Pros and Cons
Here are some summarized pros and cons after extensively testing the Xiaomi TV Stick 4K:
- Smooth 4K 60fps streaming performance
- Excellent value and features for the low $59.99 price
- Voice remote with Google Assistant works well
- Snappy Android TV software and UI
- Lots of storage expandability options
- Flexible open Android TV platform
- No support for Dolby Vision or HDR10+
- Limited internal storage at 8GB
- Remote lacks dedicated power button
- No Netflix or Prime Video buttons on remote
The Xiaomi TV Stick 4K offers virtually unmatched performance and features for its affordable $59.99 price point. Streaming quality is excellent, everyday usability is great, and the hardware feels snappy.
Factor in expandable storage, Google ecosystem integration, voice controls and more – you get a very capable 4K streaming dongle on a budget. If you want seamless 4K entertainment for cheap, the Xiaomi stick is hard to beat.