Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker Long Term Review – Unflinchingly Robust!

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Let me get this out of the way. I’m not a huge speaker person. Attribute that to the dorm I have to share or the ease of just using my wireless headphones maybe? However, I do own the Bose Soundlink Color 2 which satiates most of my media consumption needs and bundles enough oomph for those impromptu dance sessions (even I’d probably be judging myself right about now). But, here’s the catch 22. Though they’re rugged, they’re also quite expensive and I can’t quite bring myself to subject them to abuse. So, in came the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker. Rugged underpinnings at an affordable price? Count me in!

The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker in all its glory.

The Specs

  • IPX5 Rated Splash Proof
  • 5W Main Speaker
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 2000 mAH Battery
  • Google Assistant on tap

Build and Design

Pros

  • Robust choice of materials
  • Portable and well-designed
  • Elastic rope for easy fastening
The elastic rope is a godsend and takes practicality up by a couple of notches.

Cons

  • Unexpected water ingress from small splashes
  • Absence of group play
The power and pause keys.

The Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker (quite a mouthful) sports a very robust and user-friendly design. Rugged they said? Well, this speaker certainly looks and feels the part. With a thick rubber base that encloses a cuboidal body, the material is capable of offering it grip however you decide to prop the device. The main membrane is shielded by a classy mesh-like material that gives the device an up-market texture.

The base of the strong rubber casing.

Lateral faces of the device consist of the volume buttons, power/pause keys, and the ports hidden by a thick rubber flap. The buttons have great feedback and are intelligently placed giving this speaker an edge in terms of user comfort and accessibility. A braided elastic cable with a fastener gives you the ability to hang and fasten the device onto a variety of appliances (in my case it spent most of its time around my shower-head).

The volume keys accompanied by the microphone.
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Though the device seems to play off as a butch and muscular kid, in reality it’s akin to a lanky child tripping over small pebbles. Let me explain. Here I am, waiting for my cold shower with the speaker strapped to my shower-head and scrolling through my phone to find the perfect track. The music starts playing and screeches to a crackling halt mid-shower. Water-ingress. Before you bust me up for man-handling the speaker, know this. This is exactly the sort of abuse these speakers are rated to handle with their IPX5 rating.

Here’s the kicker. They were never directly under the water stream either. Juxtapositioned behind the showerhead, the most abuse they could have received was probably in the form of a few splashes of water. Thankfully, after a couple of hours under the fan, they returned to their original state of function. Infer from this what you want.

Sound Quality

Pros

  • Minimal distortion at high volumes
  • Get plenty loud
  • Punch sound delivery with great bass
Very handy form factor!

Cons

  • Splotchy mids

For a speaker under 1500 rupees the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker sounds excellent. Compared to their counterparts from other brands, this outdoor speaker indubitably crushes them in terms of sound quality. With good reproduction of highs and ample tight bass this Bluetooth speaker definitely punches above its weight class. Granted, these don’t have a very good representation of mids and instrumentals, but these are issues that plague almost all recreational speakers!

Connectivity and Battery Life

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With Bluetooth 5.0 the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker offers some great range albeit not being to able connect to multiple devices (quite a bummer). Google Assistant on tap works as advertised and call quality is decent with the microphone capable of picking up even distant conversation. The 3.5mm AUX port comes in as standard which comes in handy during certain scenarios.

Perhaps the biggest let down is the lack of a USB-C port.

Perhaps the biggest downside is that Xiaomi is still sticking to the Micro-USB standard for charging. I mean, come on Xiaomi! It’s 2020 and we wholeheartedly expect devices to support a unilateral standard. Frustration sets in when you’re trying to hunt for the fidgety little cable that has made its way out of most households.

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Battery life on the other hand is quite amazing! The device easily lasts around the claimed 20 hours with a full charge taking a wee over 1 hour.

So, should you buy one?

Well, if you have don’t have any concerns over the actual durability of the speaker you want to buy, the Mi Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker is an apt choice – even at 1400 rupees. Though I would have liked for this product to be a bit more accommodating to the elements, it would be sacrilege to expect too much at this price.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Build Quality and Practicality
Sound Quality
Connectivity
Battery Life

SUMMARY

A highly practical Bluetooth speaker that would be a complete steal if not let down by its ingress protection or lack thereof.
Siddharth Balajee
A doctor in the making who's an avid tech enthusiast. If this isn't a paradox I don't know what is.

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