Wireless app control makes the Xiaomi Mi Smart Air Fryer an intriguing proposition, but performance is hit and miss
- Very stylish
- Can be controlled remotely
- Good results with most foods
- Small capacity
- Homemade chips could be better
The Xiaomi Mi Smart air fryer stands out in a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell air fryers apart. With its minimalist, glossy white design it certainly looks different from the army of black, bulky cubes you’re probably used to seeing in the shops. And, unlike most air fryers, cooking with Mi Smart can be controlled via an app or smart assistant.
Its small size and otherwise basic features mean it may not be the right air fryer you, but what it can do, it does quite well.
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Xiaomi Mi Smart Air Fryer review: What do you get for the money?
The Mi Smart air fryer comes with a 3.5-litre crisping basket, a removable tray insert to separate oil from the main chamber and a metal grill stand for dual-level cooking. This simple setup will set you back £80 and puts Xiaomi’s air fryer in the mid-range price bracket.
Measuring 252 x 335 x 304mm (WDH) and weighing just 4.6kg, it’s the most compact air fryer we’ve tested to date. It’s also the most unusual-looking, with a plastic, glossy white exterior and a dial with an OLED display at the front that can be used to set timings, temperatures, preset functions and even language. The removable pull-out basket also sits at the front of the machine.
There are a few presets for popular dishes such as fish, chicken, chips, vegetables and steak. Selecting these will set the cook time and temperature automatically, but you can adjust this as desired. Alternatively, there’s the option to set your preferences manually, with temperatures ranging from 40ºC to 200ºC.
While there’s no other air fryer that looks quite like this one, the Ninja AF100UK is a similarly sized alternative that’s also worth considering. It’s more expensive (£129) but comes with a few more presets and has a larger 3.8-litre capacity, which means you can cook for two more comfortably. If you need to cook for three or four people, I’d advise you opt for the similarly priced Tower T17039 5-in-1 (£93). With a huge capacity of 11 litres, it has plenty of space for big portions, as well as a rotisserie attachment.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Air Fryer review: What’s good about it?
Unlike a lot of other air fryers, this isn’t going to knock your socks off with an abundance of features or accessories. That being said, there’s still a lot to like. First of all, it’s very attractive. There’s no getting away from the fact that most air fryers are dull, bulky boxes, but Xiaomi has done an excellent job of breaking away from this with the Mi Smart.
Another distinctive feature is the wireless app and smart home functionality. The fryer connects to your home Wi-Fi, which means you can control it – using the Xiaomi Mi Home app – from any room in the house. You can start cooking, pause it and even change the cook time and temperature remotely and the app will tell you when it’s time to flip or shake your food. Alternatively, you can link your air fryer to Google Assistant or Alexa via the app and use voice controls to start or pause the cooking cycle.
Many of the cooking functions are pretty impressive, too. I wasn’t expecting much from this air fryer given the price and simplistic functions but, in testing, it cooked salmon fillets, chicken wings and a variety of oven foods to a good standard.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Air Fryer review: What could be better?
Unfortunately, the Mi Smart didn’t quite hit the mark with all foods tested. Homemade chips need to be parboiled for the best results; if you don’t, they’ll end up dry and overcooked. This is frustrating because most mid to high-end models don’t require you to do this and, if you’re using your air fryer to save on time and washing up, getting out that extra pan defeats the point somewhat.
Even with parboiling, I found this fryer wasn’t much quicker than an oven when filled to capacity. Chips took around 30 to 35 minutes to cook at 180ºC and the results weren’t any better than when done in the oven. Partially cooked oven foods such as nuggets and hash browns fared a little better but didn’t offer up any of the usual benefits of using an air fryer, such as faster cooking times and more even crisping.
Another small niggle I have is with the recipe section of the app. There aren’t many to choose from and there’s no way to filter the ones that are, meaning you’re left scrolling and scrolling until you find something that catches your eye.
My final concerns about the Mi Smart are its build quality and size. Despite the beautiful design and OLED display, it can’t hold much food. The removable grill allows you to create a multi-level cooking area but the capacity is still only just enough for two people.
The casing and cooking basket feel on the cheap side, too, and I often struggled to get the basket to fit into place correctly, which doesn’t bode well for longevity.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Air Fryer review: Should you buy it?
There’s no denying that the good looks and wireless app control make this air fryer stand out. What’s more, I cooked some pretty decent meals in it using the manual settings. It’s cheap, too, considering the smart features.
Unfortunately, its small size, slow cook times and hit-and-miss results make it difficult to recommend over other air fryers, such as the £90 Tower T17039 5-in-1. This has a much larger 11-litre capacity and produced slightly better results in testing and has the addition of a rotisserie function.