Xiaomi is known for making affordable products that look and feel good, and the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is no exception. Despite only costing S$29.90, it looks better than most speakers in its price range. Should you get one?
Design – Clean & Premium
With a metal frame all around the sides and very smooth matte plastic on the front and back, you will have a hard time guessing that this Bluetooth speaker can be yours at just under S$30.
There are only 3 buttons on the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2: the power and volume buttons, all located on the top of the speaker. The power button also doubles as a play/pause button.
On the bottom of the speaker, you will find a pair of rubber strips that do a decent job at providing grip so your speaker doesn’t slide around or off a table. On the back, you will find the Micro USB charging port, as well as an AUX-in port.
The width of the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is only as long as the height of a Redmi 5, so is easily pocketable. Overall, I really like how simple yet classy the device looks. My only complain would be its matte white plastic, which gets dirty really easily.
Pairing & Controls – Easy to Use
You can turn on the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 by holding on the power button. The notification LED, hidden behind the speaker grill, will flash red and blue, indicating ready to pair. Now, pair it on your phone like any other Bluetooth speaker.
Once paired and connected, the notification light will turn solid blue and you will hear a long beep. To disconnect from the current device and play from another device, double tap the power button. To turn the speaker off, hold the power button.
Alternatively, you can connect the speaker to your music device via a 3.5mm audio cable. It still requires the speaker to be powered on, but this might save your device some battery.
Whether you are using an iOS and some Android devices, the volume buttons on the Basic 2 can control your phone’s volume directly. Ironically, it is unable to control MIUI’s volume slider directly and uses a separate volume setting instead.
Holding the volume down buttons minimizes the volume instantly, while holding the volume up button will bring it up to max gradually. Nice touch. I do wish there was a way to skip or go to previous track using the speaker though.
Sound Quality – Very Good for Its Price
The Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is loud enough to fill a large room with music. Despite only having speaker grills on the front, audio is still very audible from the back – just a little less shiok.
The sound it produces is also pretty good, with great balance and relatively good level of details. Bass is also respectable for a portable speaker. You can find something better if you pay more, but for a S$30 Bluetooth speaker, I am very satisfied.
Compared to the original Mi Bluetooth Speaker from years ago, the Basic 2’s produces sounds that is richer and more natural. Bass is noticeably deeper and vocals sound warmer and clearer.
Battery Life – Exceeding Expectations
Xiaomi claims that the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is capable of up to 10hrs of battery life. From my testing, under varying volume levels (between 40-100%), I was able to achieve over 12hrs of continuous music playback via Bluetooth. Sweet!
When the battery has about 5-10 minutes of charge remaining, the device will constantly beep to inform you about it. One thing annoying is that it does it even while you are charging and still using it. (Not sure if it is safe to do so though…)
To conserve battery, the Basic 2 will automatically switch off after 10 minutes of inactivity, even if it is connected to your device.
Microphone – There is One Built In?!!!
The Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is a great way to listen to phone calls. But wouldn’t it be great if you can talk into the speaker directly? That was what the designers at Xiaomi thought, so they included a microphone in the Basic 2.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to record any audio with it due to the lack of support for Bluetooth microphone recording on Android and iOS. But testing it with my home phone, the microphone on the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 is of decent quality.
Conclusion – Worth Every Penny!
Like most of Xiaomi’s device, the Mi Bluetooth Speaker Basic 2 offers excellent build quality and performance at a very affordable pricing. It looks modern, sounds pretty good and has excellent battery life. At under S$30, what more can we ask for?