Monday, 15 August 2016

Mi Wi-Fi Router Mini: Simple On the Outside, Not On the Inside

During my unboxing of the Yi Smart Camera, I've mentioned about the Mi WiFi Router which acts as a central hub for Mi's smart devices and allows for control over all connected devices. In this post I'll be doing an unboxing and review of my Mi WiFi Router Mini, which is what I've been using for the past year as my main router for managing my Mi peripherals. Is it still good enough by today's standards? Read on to find out!

The Unboxing
The router is housed in a simple and compact, brown slide-out cardboard box. The box slides out to review the Mi WiFi Router Mini (white model shown here), beneath it is a flap which you remove to reveal the 100-240V AC Adaptor and instruction manual. The packaging doesn't provide much protection, contrary to the usual Mi packaging.

The router is encased in a white polycarbonate shell (also available in black) which, while not feeling premium, still gives a feel of quality. The rear consists of an AC port, a WAN port and two LAN ports, a power input, a USB 2.0 port and a Reset button. The WAN port has a blue colouration for easier identification, while all WAN and LAN ports are fitted with status LEDs.

The device is 802.11ac complaint, and is capable of Dual Band support (both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands are supported). Connecting a storage device to its USB port, it'll be capable of acting as a cloud storage and media server. Users can access the Router via the Mi WiFi Router application, with which users can access the set-up remotely, and on PC, but users will be restricted to local access only. 

Connected to the device is quick and easy, especially for users of MIUI devices. A Mi logo is shown next to the device in the list of available WiFi networks, and for devices capable of 802.11ac both bands will be displayed with different connection point names. 


After connecting to the router, users will be able to use the Mi WiFi Router application to configure the router. Users can also use their PCs to do the initial set-up, but it's not exactly recommended as the PC site is rather complicated and doesn't work well. Users will then have to connect to the router again, and log into the administration panel to run initial tests.

The homescreen is rather simplistic, with all connected devices listed out. The system automatically detects what device you're using and which band it's using. Speaking of the bands, using the 2.4GHz band gives users a massive range (I've tried connecting while being at least 100 meters away from my home), but I couldn't say the same for the 5GHz band which suffers from low wall-penetration capabilities. Once connected, the signal is stable and connection speeds are excellent, thanks to the four antenna lines within.

I've connected a Seagate Wireless Plus 1TB portable hard drive (I know it's wireless by itself, but it's just for testing purposes) to the USB port on the router just to test out the promised cloud and media server capabilities. It performed rather well for the former as I'm able to download my documents from anywhere, anytime. Using it as a media server while on the 2.4GHz band is somehow a disappointment, as the slow USB 2.0 port and large 1440p file slowed down the streaming speeds. Changing to a 1080p video sure helped, but still it's a little subpar. Using the 5GHz band helps, but you can't move too far away.

For a device this price, I'd say it's a performer even by today's standards. While it certainly has its cons, its pros as pretty significant too. We all use WiFi networks daily, so a stable and fast connection speed is what we desire, and the Mi WiFi Router Mini meets those demands. Its small size, low power consumption and great bundled features are the points that truly attracts me to use it. If you're unsatisfied with this specs sheet, you can get a newer version for RMB 20 more but the new one takes twice is much space, or purchase one that has a built-in NAS-grade hard drive for five times the price. 

Source: Mi