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Xiaomi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W Review

Xiaomi Portable Bluetooth Speaker 16W Review
Reviews
26 February 2023
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Content

    We have Xiaomi Mi Portable 16W wireless audio speaker at our disposal. This is a battery device that is more suitable for “traveling”, taking with you on a picnic, but you can also play with it at home. We have prepared a review for you, evaluating, among other things, the sound and battery life.

    Design and Management

    Mi Portable 16W is a rather weighty “pill” of square section with a height of 74 mm and a length of 213 mm, weight is something around 790 grams. The kit comes with a user manual and a Type-C charging cable without the charger itself. Xiaomi Portable Speaker 16WAssembly:

    • Colors. The column is available in three colors: red, black and blue. At the top of the speaker, if you hold it vertically, there is an eyelet for a lace. But its length is not enough to stick your hand into the loop (but you can stretch the strap or unravel three tight knots, making the loop wider). The plastic rod to which the strap is attached is located close to the body, so only a very elegant carabiner will fit in. Though, the lintel doesn't look strong enough for anything other than soft lace.
    • Type-C. Here, there is a rubber flap on top, behind which Type-C and a 3.5 mm AUX jack are hidden. The valve is necessary, since the column is positioned protected from dust and moisture (IPX7) – enough for outdoor use, and a sudden rain will definitely not hurt.
    • Design. The design allows you to install Mi Portable 16W on a flat surface vertically, but it will be unstable. But for a horizontal position on one side of the column, there are two long rubber stops. In the unpacked device, they literally stick to smooth surfaces – they will not slip away. But over time, dust and dirt will probably do their dirty work, and the legs will become less tenacious. The case itself is wrapped in a woven material that is resistant to moisture and physical impact. In general, it's nice and without unnecessary frills.
    • Management.  It will be more convenient to control the physical buttons of the device hidden behind the rubber panel in the horizontal position. In order, there are buttons for power on, volume control, play / pause, connection via Bluetooth 5.0 to a sound source and a TWS button, which, when pressed. And there is a similar speaker next to it, connects both as a right and left speaker for stereo sound. There is also a microphone for voice communication.
    • Response. The buttons are pressed easily and with pleasant feedback, the probability of false positives is practically excluded. Minus: extruded symbols of the same blue color as the panel (in the black version, the columns are black, in the red version they are red). That is, it will be very difficult to see them at dusk, even Xiaomi highlights the characters in a different color on its advertising images. On the other hand, the extreme left and right buttons are convex, internal – recessed, you can navigate by touch – the order of the buttons is learned in 10 seconds.
    • Pairing. Pairing Mi Portable 16W with a smartphone takes place without unnecessary gestures and installation of additional applications: after each turn on, the speaker switches to the search mode for a Bluetooth device. When “acquaintance” with the new one, it is proposed to confirm the connection and access rights to contacts, and if there was a connection before, the column is paired automatically.
    • Buttons. Buttons have additional features: if the power button is pressed briefly on the speaker, the speaker will report the remaining charge; a long press on Bluetooth the button will delete connected devices from the memory; a long press on the nearby volume increase and the play / pause button switches the built-in equalizer presets (there are two of them: “normal” and “deep bass”); by holding down the volume button, you can switch tracks.

    Battery:

    • 13 hours. Claimed speaker battery life — 13 hours when working at half the volume, the manufacturer assures. From the reviews it follows that someone manages to achieve a similar result, others complain about a greatly reduced battery life (“two hours at maximum” with a forecast of “7-8 hours at 50%”). Obviously, that the operating time depends on the usage scenarios: volume, distance from the source, stability of connection with it and the genre of music.
    • Checking. We checked one of them. In our case, the speaker was turned on at a third of the volume (under such conditions in the room, when talking, you need to strain your voice to carry on a conversation. This will not be enough on the street), and the smartphone was a meter from the device, the music is different. The column reports the charge in tens (“90% left”, “80% left”, and so on), which we were guided by. As a result, ten percent of the charge Mi Portable 16W spent in about 2.5 hours, at a higher volume, the time will decrease (it is possible that more and more as the volume increases).
    • Voice assistant. Note that we focused on the words of the voice informant, since there is no other indication of the charge.

    Sound

    Mi Portable 16W is equipped with a pair of front speakers with a total declared power of the same 16 watts from the name, as well as a passive rear resonator for bass. Xiaomi Portable Speaker 16WSpeakers:

    • Comparison. When evaluating the sound, the question always arises: with what to compare? At our disposal (in addition to Mi Smart Speaker) was also the ancient JBL Go. By itself, it provides decent sound for a compact form and age, but against the background of Mi Portable 16W, it folds like a gramophone in front of an organ.
    • Thick sound. Mi Portable 16W has a thick sound, which is why some users complain about the lack of bass. In our opinion, low frequencies are at a sufficient level, maybe they are harsh – there are no usual velvety peals and hum, characteristic for compositions of the “genre” bass boosted. At the same time, this allows the speaker to operate at high volume while maintaining a clear sound: there are no hints of hum and rattle, artifacts may appear in some compositions at the maximum level (it is unlikely that you would dare to do this indoors – Mi Portable 16W has plenty of volume).
    • Location. The column is demanding on how it is located: firstly, because the main radiators are directed forward, and secondly, due to its compact size, it lacks the area for resonance and the sound propagation angle. For these reasons, Mi Portable 16W will sound worse, dangling on weight (“there is no sound around”) or laid in something soft (drowned in a blanket, for example).
    • Surface. It plays louder on a flat, hard surface like a table and with speakers clearly directed towards the listener (and the second point is the most important). If you set the column to something softer, the bass is also softened.
    • Price/sound. This is where the brand comes into its own: “top for the money”, but you need to fulfill a set of conditions (obviously, not everyone will bother to such an extent). Although then the sound becomes richer, low frequencies are noticeably added, a clear “middle”, in general, the picture becomes more effective and more pleasant to hear. But at a distance from the speaker, the basses “get stiff”, but this will be typical for other brands of a similar level in a similar form factor.
    • Nuances. Of the non-obvious nuances that, by the way, are typical for many modern headphones, – in some melodies, excessive attention to high and medium frequencies, however, this does not always appear, but from melody to melody.
    • Equalizer. As for the equalizer, the “boosted bass” mode adds low frequencies, but at the same time the same number of minds – they create the effect of “something has changed”.
    • Genres. At the same time, the column does a good job with vocals, instrumental music, “dance” and any other: it is universal, for which it is a plus.
    • Microphone. And a few words about the microphone and voice communication. The presence of this feature in Mi Portable 16W is not entirely clear: the microphone works more or less effectively only if you bring your face close to the speaker. If the speaker is at a distance of 30–50 centimeters from the speaker, the telephone interlocutor will hardly catch your words, and even then, only in a quiet room.
    • Voice assistant. The second point is related to the voice informer: when turned on, the speaker makes a loud sound, and voice messages about charging, connecting, and so on are also spoken uncomfortable loud. In addition, when the charge level is low, Mi Portable 16W reports the approach to zero more often than we would like, and nothing can be done about it (or they could just paint the indicator light in some orange color).

    Conclusions

    Xiaomi Mi Portable 16W is a speaker that can easily replace external acoustics for undemanding users for listening to music (and watching movies, if you are ready to put up with a barely noticeable delay in sound output). The Bluetooth capabilities of this device are enough for this. As an external music speaker for a smartphone – there are no questions at all. It is loud, the sound is good, albeit with certain conditions. Design and build quality are unquestionable. So is the battery life, although we can't talk about long-term experience with the Mi Portable 16W. Cons are a useless microphone for voice communication and a very loud woman reporting on the status of the device.
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