Xiaomi maybe famous for manufacturing smartphones fitted with great hardware but sold them for a much low cost, they also make aesthetically good looking routers too. The Xiaomi Router Mini is a budget friendly routers while packed with powerful features with a tons of bugs. I bought this during my trip to China for 129 rmb, approximately 80 ringgit/21 us dollar. After using it for a month, I believed every family with a network connection should own this router, despite the cons.
First of all, the hardware experience, the Xiaomi router mini comes with four Ethernet port, single LAN port with 3 WAN, single USB 2.0 port, dual 802.11 ac antenna. After connecting the input Ethernet port and power supply the setup is pretty much completed. You may connect an external storage device to the router for home media data center, storing and downloading media. However, the setup time for indexing the data inside the storage device takes a long time. But after it’s finished, you are pretty done with the router.
Turning to the control center, where most the time you will be spending there. Opening the admin page, you are greeted with the best user interface design while not user friendly you ever use. The bold colors and shades beneath the buttons certainly catch your eyes. After changing the default settings the router is pretty much done. Some minor tweaks, however, is hard to find which it was buried deep down the navigation.
There is a client app available in different platform for managing applications (yes there are apps written for the router) and the files inside the connected storage device. I try out most of the client, and they works as they are intended, the experience well not so great. I tried streaming videos from the mac client, there are noticeable stutters under both 5Ghz and 2.4 Ghz WiFi frequency. I believe is due to the slow processors and little memory, which makes it hard to handle all the work load.
On the other hand, file transferring from the attached storage isn’t as fast and stable as it should be. I never successfully transfer files larger than 1GB from my Mac. The WiFi maximum speed is only 100Mbps on the Xiaomi Router.
For me, with a 1Gbps network connection, it’s totally a waste, cause I naver had the chance to fully ultilized the network blazing fast speed.
The experience of using the router manage client on other platform is feels meh. iOS version lacks of tablet version, which makes streaming videos a pain because of the black space around iPad screen. PC version works as it intended, while; android client seems to have the least bug and loading time.
So why do I conclude which this router should be owned by every family? Well, mostly is the price, the xiaomi router comes with 802.11ac capability, easy to use user interface, USB for storage capability all of these for just 120 Myr (about 30 usd). In Malaysia, where most household speed are still under 100Mbps (Thanks Telekom), this router can easily handles all the traffic, while using other routers with higher performance than this, you are pretty much spending unnecessary money on little improvement. Hence, if you are trying to upgrade your house network with something better than the free modem that comes with your package, try the Xiaomi Router Mini.