Xiaomi is well-known for undercutting its western rivals with high-quality goods, so we’re naturally excited about its announcement that it is entering the smart speaker product category with Mi AI. (The Mi AI was announced alongside MIUI 9 and the Xiaomi Mi 5X.)
In common with Google Home, Amazon Echo and the upcoming Apple HomePod, it’s a smart speaker with a built-in smart assistant (the same, we assume, that will feature in MIUI 9). Xiaomi’s offering has six omnidirectional mics, audio beamforming, 360-degree audio and, according to the company, excellent sound quality.
In design it looks much like a smaller version of Xiaomi’s air purifier, a tall white device with multiple holes in its front fascia, under which sit two audio drivers. Controls for music playback sit on top of the device.
Just like Google Home, the Mi AI will let you stream music, including live radio, and integrate with other services using plug-ins, thereby allowing you to do things like get notification alerts and reminders of upcoming events.
With a simple voice command Mi AI will also answer your questions relating to the weather, traffic and translations, control your smart-home gadgets, set alarms and take notes.
As a Chinese product, officially sold only in China, we were naturally concerned by how well the Mi AI would fit in with an English-speaking UK audience. Our contact at GearBest tells us that the Xiaomi smart speaker will support English and should work just fine, though we would recommend waiting for our full review before taking the plunge.
How much does the Xiaomi Mi AI smart speaker cost?
Of course, that said the Mi AI doesn’t command a massive outlay, coming in even cheaper than Google Home and Amazon Echo. The RRP is just 299 RMB.
You will pay a little more if you wish to import the Mi AI to the UK, but it’s still very good value – GearBest is quoting prices of £61.78 in the UK, $79.99 in the US, and 69.43€ in Europe.
It is not currently available to pre-order from the site, but you can request an email notification when it is.
Also see: Chinese tech buying advice.
When is the Xiaomi Mi AI release date?
According to GearBest the Xiaomi smart speaker will ship in August or September 2017.