In recent years, the market for TV media boxes has diversified. Two major brands have entered the TV box market: Chinese company Xiaomi with the Xiaomi Mi Box S and American giant Amazon with the Amazon Fire Stick.
Xiaomi Mi Box S vs Amazon Fire Stick: Overview
Xiaomi Mi Box S
On one side, we have the TV box designed by Chinese brand Xiaomi. For a price between 50 and 70 euros, you get a small, flat box with rounded edges (9.5 cm per side and 1.67 cm thick) that connects to your TV via an HDMI cable.
The box runs on Android TV, the operating system designed by Android specifically for TV boxes. It comes with a remote control and Google voice assistant to use it with ease. Google Cast is included in this box, allowing you to connect your devices to the box for more content.
- Remote control with Netflix button, Google Assistant button, and “Live” button for launching TV.
- Compact and discreet design.
- 4K 60p and HDR10 compatibility.
- Optical audio output and infrared receiver.
- Integrated Google Cast.
- 3.5mm audio jack, useful for using your TV with wired headphones.
- Limited storage space (8GB).
- No microSD card reader. Only one USB-A port, which doesn’t allow connecting both additional storage and a USB drive for viewing content.
- Limited Wi-Fi speed.
- No Ethernet cable connectivity.
- Not suitable for graphics-intensive video games.
- Some slowdowns when launching an application or switching between shortcuts.
Amazon Fire Stick
On the other side, we have the TV box designed by e-commerce giant Amazon. For a price between 40 and 50 euros, you can acquire this USB stick-shaped box running on the Fire OS operating system, specially developed by Amazon.
The product connects directly to your TV’s HDMI port. A remote control is provided with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, and a voice assistant (Amazon Alexa) allows you to control it remotely.
The box works using HDMI CEC, a protocol that allows you to control your TV and entire home theater system with a single remote, the box’s remote. The product comes in two models: the lite model, which supports Full HD, and the 4K model, which, as the name suggests, supports 4K.
- The device supports 4K HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Atmos, and Wi-Fi 6 (for the 4K Max model)
- making it compatible with high-quality audio and video streaming
- The installation process is simple and intuitive, and the remote control features multiple buttons that provide easy access to frequently used services.
- The interface is clear and includes a system for aggregating streaming content.
- The device also has an integrated Amazon Alexa voice assistant
- Despite its small size, the device includes a USB 2.0 port, and it has a compact “USB key” format.
- Only Full HD (for the Lite model).
- Room for improvement in smoothness.
- No Ethernet cable option available.
- USB port is only 2.0, not 3.0; no SD/microSD card reader.
- Lacks optical or coaxial audio output.
- Does not support DTS HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD.
Xiaomi Mi Box S vs. Amazon Fire Stick: The Showdown
Supported Video Formats
- Xiaomi Mi Box S: This Chinese brand TV box supports various video formats, including RM, MOV, VOB, AVI, MKV, TS, Mp4, and 3D. The video decoder supports 4K resolution videos at up to 60 frames per second (thanks to H.265 and VP9), with HDR10 compatibility.
- Amazon Fire Stick: The e-commerce giant’s device supports the same video formats (RM, MOV, VOB, AVI, MKV, TS, Mp4, 3D). The 4K model features a 4K-compatible video decoder with HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision support (thanks to H.265). The Lite model, on the other hand, only supports HDR10 and HDR10+ for a Full HD image.
In this category, the Amazon Fire TV Stick has a slightly better video decoder than its Xiaomi competitor.
Supported Audio Formats
- Xiaomi Mi Box S: This box supports three audio formats – MP3, APE, and Flac. The audio decoder is compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS surround sound.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick: This box supports the same audio formats plus AAC. The audio decoder is Dolby Atmos surround sound compatible.
A slight advantage goes to Xiaomi Mi Box S, which offers DTS in addition to the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
- Xiaomi Mi Box S: Features an HDMI 2.0A port, a 3.5mm (optical) jack, a USB 2.0 Type-A, and a power port (which is not a micro-USB connector).
- Amazon Fire TV Stick: The device is shaped like a USB stick that connects to a free HDMI port on your TV. Amazon provides an HDMI extension if needed. To power the device, you must use the micro-USB connector available on the side of the device.
The Xiaomi Mi Box S has slightly more connectivity options due to its larger size compared to the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
- Xiaomi Mi Box S: The Xiaomi Mi Box S comes in the form of a small, flat box (9.5 cm x 9.5 cm x 1.67 cm) that can be discreetly placed on your TV stand. The product will be visible in front of your TV, and an HDMI cable will connect the box to your television.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick: The Amazon Fire TV Stick is shaped like a USB stick. You simply connect it to your TV’s HDMI port, technically hiding it behind your device. Once connected, you won’t see the Amazon Fire TV Stick anymore.
Due to its practical and “invisible” design, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is less bulky and more convenient for transport than the Xiaomi Mi Box S, despite its lightweight and slim profile.
Storage, Memory & Processor
- Xiaomi Mi Box S: This box includes 8GB of storage, allowing the user to store between 5 and 6GB of content. The device has 2GB of DDR3 RAM. The processor is a 4-core Cortex-A53 produced by ARM.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick: With 8GB of storage, Amazon Fire TV Stick users can also store between 5 and 6GB of content. The device has 1GB of RAM for the Lite model and 1.5GB for the 4K model. The processor is an MT8695 manufactured by MediaTek.
In terms of storage, both the Xiaomi Mi Box S and Amazon Fire Stick are clearly equivalent. However, the Xiaomi Mi Box S takes the lead when it comes to memory and processing power. Notably, it is possible to expand the memory of your Xiaomi box using a USB stick, something that cannot be done with the Amazon Fire Stick.
- Xiaomi Mi Box S: Running on the Android TV operating system, the Xiaomi Mi Box S offers the app catalog from the Google Play Store. All the essential apps for a TV box are available, including various streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Salto, OCS, Disney+, MyCanal, etc.), TV and video streaming services (YouTube, Molotov, and Pluto TV), games, and more. Amazon Fire TV Stick: Operating on the Fire OS system, the Amazon Fire TV Stick provides access to Amazon’s app catalog. You can enjoy a wide range of apps, including well-known streaming services and TV and video streaming services. However, the catalog is not as extensive as the Google Play Store.
The Xiaomi Mi Box S holds a slight advantage with a more extensive app catalog than the Amazon Fire TV Stick, thanks to Android TV.
- Xiaomi Mi Box S: The device comes with a remote control featuring buttons to turn the box on and off, manage volume, and navigate the menu. It also includes a “Netflix” button for quick access to the streaming service, a “Live” button for accessing TV if you have a dedicated app, and a button to activate Google Assistant.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick: The TV box comes with a simplified remote control featuring buttons for volume, power, and muting. It also has a microphone for interacting with Alexa. The 4K model includes four additional buttons (Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Music) for launching specific apps without going through the interface.
In terms of accessories, both devices offer a suitable and user-friendly remote control. Neither of the two TV boxes stands out from the other in this category.
Xiaomi Mi Box S vs. Amazon Fire Stick: Features
The Xiaomi Mi Box S has a unique feature not found in the Amazon Fire TV Stick – Google Cast. This feature allows you to stream content from other devices like your smartphone or tablet to your TV. Simply press the Google Cast button within the app you’re using on your device, and you can enjoy music, photos, videos, and more on your television, increasing your access to content.
On the other hand, the Amazon Fire TV Stick also has its own distinct feature – HDMI-CEC. This control and communication protocol enables you to manage all your connected devices to your TV (television, home theater, soundbar, TV box) using just the TV box remote. You can turn on your television, control the sound of your soundbar, or navigate the TV box interface with a single remote.
Below are the reasons that might make you choose one product over the other.
Why should you get the Xiaomi Mi Box S?
Choose the Xiaomi Mi Box S if:
- You want an Android TV product with access to Google Play Store apps.
- You want a TV box with Google Cast.
- You need a USB port to enjoy content from your USB drive (or expand your box’s storage) on your TV.
- You want to use wired headphones to watch television.
Why should you get the Amazon Fire Stick?
Choose the Amazon Fire TV Stick if:
- You want an affordable TV box with high-quality video and audio performance.
- You want your traditional TV to have smart TV capabilities.
- You want a single remote to control all connected devices to your TV.
- You prefer an inconspicuous product.