Reading reviews of Xiaomi smartphones, you can stumble upon the opinion that the device, like, is not bad, but the MIUI shell spoils the impression: then it is buggy, then there is a lot of advertising, then in general “I want iOS and that’s it.” I partially agree with this opinion and can confirm that the Xiaomi firmware has several objective flaws. But I like it, and I will never trade it for pure Android. Why? Well, let’s take it one step at a time…
Xiaomi Firmware – Sensations
After the first inclusion of the new Xiaomi smartphone, it immediately becomes clear who the Chinese were targeting. In the latest versions of MIUI, the borrowing of some design elements from iOS is traced. There’s nothing wrong with that. On the contrary, I considered and continue to consider square icons to be a more convenient implementation of shortcuts than mugs on POCO and other Chinese smartphones.
The shape of the icons is a matter of taste, but MIUI animations are unlikely to please anyone. They are smooth and varied. For example, the application shortcut responds to all touches, and after removal, it dissolves with a characteristic special effect. On weak devices like Redmi 9A, there is little sense from these animations: they make the device break strongly and look not so presentable. But, if you decide to buy Xiaomi at least a mid-budget level, then you definitely will not lose. Especially when you have a screen refresh rate of 90 Hz or 120 Hz, revealing all the beauty of the effects.
An important role in MIUI is played by tactile sensations. Xiaomi was one of the first to introduce into inexpensive devices a flagship vibration motor operating on the X axis. Sensations are similar to the best versions of the Taptic Engine, and the proprietary shell allows you to reveal the full potential of the mechanism. For example, when you set an alarm or select a camera mode, the vibration motor taps off each switch. And yet, unlike competing devices with a similar X-axis vibration motor, only on Xiaomi there are about a hundred effects for different scenarios.
In general, the wealth of settings can boast of any smartphone on Android. But in the case of Xiaomi, customization is elevated to an absolute. When you first open the menu, you are unlikely to find the right element the first time, simply because there are so many different parameters. If you want to customize the colour scheme – please want to hide the full-screen navigator when controlling gestures – be kind, you want to create a separate menu of applications – no one bothers you.
The phrase “and I bought Xiaomi and set it up for myself” has gone to the people and now causes not so much laughter as understanding that a Xiaomi can adapt a Chinese smartphone to personal needs, removing unnecessary interface elements. Even such a trifle as displaying the amount of occupied RAM in the list of running applications can be deactivated here. Well, the codec for your wireless headphones you will also change if necessary.
The main advantage of Android is that the owner of the smartphone can install any application on it. But sometimes people fall into a stupor when they need to find a vital program, and a set of software from Google Play causes a silent horror. Or, for example, when the standard software from a functional point of view is much inferior to third-party analogues, and you have to spend time downloading and configuring the next file manager. That’s not the case in MIUI. There are many cool applications here, including:
- Security (antivirus and advanced cleaning tool);
- Explorer (with the integration of Google Drive and FTP-server);
- Gallery (with built-in photo and video editor);
- Game Turbo (utility for optimizing games);
- Weather (with beautiful animations and sound effects).
Of course, the presence of some applications will seem controversial to some. But most of them can be deleted. So, with the update to MIUI 12.5, there are only 6 uninstallable programs. For comparison: in OneUI (Samsung) there are 10 of them, and in iOS (Apple iPhone) – 11.
The second main advantage of MIUI along with the so-called User Experience, I believe, is its functionality. And here we are not talking about settings, but about the capabilities that the system and its standard applications provide. For example, on Xiaomi flagships, you can activate MEMC – a function that automatically makes the video smoother (30 fps turn into 60 fps), regardless of the parameters of the original file.
On all Xiaomi, without exception in the standard Gallery application, there is a built-in video and photo editor. The latter, by the way, can even change the sky in photos or set a watermark. But most of all, you may be impressed by the Camera app. In the new versions of MIUI, there is a mode of simultaneous video recording to the main and front camera, as well as several movie effects: cloning, time stopping, magic zoom time-lapse and others.
MIUI Update – When Will It Be Released
There is an opinion that Android phones quickly cease to be supported by the manufacturer. In simple terms, after a year, owners stop receiving updates. But this definitely does not apply to Xiaomi. For example, the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE released at the end of 2021 will receive Android and MIUI system updates for three years from the date of release, and fresh patches for four years.
If we are talking about budget devices of the Redmi series, then we get 2 and 3 years of support, respectively. Also not bad, but Xiaomi often delays the release of updates. That is, the update can arrive in a year, or even a year and a half after the announcement, so the Chinese have room to grow. By the way, very soon Xiaomi will release a new firmware MIUI 14, and we have collected everything you should know about it.