I will not hide: MIUI by Xiaomi has long been my favorite operating system based on Android. It was she who combined the convenience of iOS, the style of Google and realized the desires of advanced users.
Lineage OS and MIUI – these are the two true pillars of the “green robot”, and not the boring AOSP from Google. Fine customization, own unique functions. It was this Android that won in the eyes of geeks and forced them to move this particular system.
Everything flows, everything changes. It’s time to evaluate MIUI 11 (Global Stable), the latest Xiaomi system. Once, against the background of other systems, it struck. Today, something is wrong, especially next to the tenth version.
Design: minor controversial changes
The main thing that catches your eye immediately after turning on the updated smartphone is the new design. With a stretch: we have already seen all the changes in one form or another in MIUI 10, when the Xiaomi OS completely switched to Material Design by Google.
For fans with beards, it wasn’t surprising either. Suffice it to recall that “material design” is based on rather old Apple ideas, copying them and developing them.
Therefore, in reality, MIUI 10 and 11 simply develop the general concept laid down in earlier versions of the Chinese version of Android.
The release with the number “11” differs from its predecessor with smoother fonts, larger icons and smoother animation. To call it a “revolution” is not a language to turn.
Moreover, a number of users (in fact, like your humble judge) may experience mixed feelings. The smoother outlines of the elements made the system deliberately toy-like in appearance.
Therefore, the stock theme looks great on a red or green Redmi Note, but is inappropriate for Xiaomi Mix 2s. The taste and color of all felt-tip pens are different, however.
Dark theme: need more black
A number of Xiaomi smartphones received a built-in dark theme only with the release of MIUI 11. Surprisingly, the flagship Mi 9 and Mi 8 in the European region were no exception.
I didn’t really want to: the bulk of third-party applications received a similar opportunity quite recently. We are not in the settings and spend time on the desktop?
Subjectively, the black color of the system really has a calming effect and allows the device to live 20% longer. Subject to the use of applications that support the dark theme.
Dark is especially well combined with the yellow illumination of the reading mode: an unusual combination reduces eye fatigue, especially at night.
DC dimming: variable screen frequency
One of the most important changes in MIUI 11 was the introduction of a dynamic change in the screen backlight frequency, which is now available for all Xiaomi smartphones.
It works like this: by reducing the brightness of the display and the corresponding decrease in power to the backlight LEDs, the frequency of operation increases.
In this way PenTileclearly visible at minimum brightness on all AMOLED panels used by Xiaomi, becomes almost invisible to the eye.
And yes, it works: even Xiaomi A3 owners will notice an improvement in image quality.
However, the function has a negative point: the screen resource is reduced at high frequencies, and with frequent use of a low backlight level, it will fail proportionately quickly.
The screens of these devices are not designed for long-term operation in this mode. Therefore, those who change their smartphone less than once every year and a half should think twice.
Interface elements: still waiting
In the latest version of MIUI, it was planned to be able to switch to default Android theme. Moreover, it was not the visual design that was meant, but the technical capabilities: the traditional operation of the curtain, the classic application menu instead of the shortcuts identified on the desktop.
But if the shutter and panel can be brought to the standard approved by Google, the desktop itself remains unchanged. The application menu should appear with the next big system update.
But all Xiaomi smartphones received flexible cutout setting. Now you can hide it in several ways (available on many devices from the previous version of the OS), change the appearance and location of the watch, the missed icon or the charge indicator. Ouch. It’s all already happened!
The worst change in MIUI 11, I tend to consider the updated settings menu. The developers adjusted its appearance to the standard one, as if in the stock Android AOSP launcher. By pushing all the abundance of Xiaomi system settings into the standard number of items on the first screen.
It turned out awful. So much so that tooltips don’t save the day. Finding the right element has become even more difficult than before.
“Digital Wellbeing” and “Kids Mode”
“Children’s mode” in MIUI 11 has disappeared in its original form, and its functions have been transferred to the Google application “Parental Controls”.
“Parental control” (Family Ink) performs the same functions at the account level. Moreover, all actions can be carried out remotely from any of the devices of the family group under the account of the owner of the smartphone.
“Digital Wellbeing” is a native MIUI utility redesigned to solve the problems of an adult user. The first task is application timers, which allow you to work in certain programs only for a specified time.
There you can also set the rest time when the smartphone will be silent. Unnecessary notifications can be turned off here for another time, similarly setting the tolerances for the Do Not Disturb mode.
Finally, visualized statistics allow you to understand what distracts you when interacting with your smartphone, how much time is wasted. For confused life hackers it will be very useful.
Dynamic sound system. Now you can set not only melodies for calls and alarms, but also, for example, the sound of rain or birdsong. At the same time, a dynamic alarm clock on different days of the week and different times of the day will produce different sounds.
Improved screen casting. The developers claim support for more external devices and a “stronger” connection. In practice, the differences are difficult to notice.
Quick answers. This was not enough for instant messengers and social networks. But it gets boring very quickly: unlocking the screen and a full-fledged answer take a little more time, because everything is crooked so far.
Screen Breath. Customizable color, intensity, and frequency of highlighting the edges of the screen on an incoming event, appeared in Mix 3 and has long been unique. Now everyone has. And this is convenient, although even a minor OS update is not required in this case.
always on display. The function received the long-awaited themes-skins that change the usual MIUI clock on the off screen with the original picture. Nice.
Quick application features. A long tap on an icon can offer a menu of quick functions. However, in my case, there are only 3 applications that support this mode. With the rest, everything is the same.
Game Acceleration. This built-in utility allows you to specify games to your smartphone and determine actions during their operation: for example, answer calls automatically and only on speakerphone, disable CPU throttling. Does anyone really need this?
The ability to simultaneously work with a face scanner and a fingerprint scanner. I do not know how it worked on budget devices, but Mi 8, Mix 2s and Mi 9 never had problems. Even if the functions worked in turn, the high response speed made it completely invisible.
Camera: iPhone and all lenses for the user
Some users point out accelerated work cameras. On closer examination, we can only talk about faster switching modes thanks to the new interface a la iPhone.
The speed of shooting itself in heavy modes has not improved, since it rests on the physical limitations of the speed of writing data to the drive.
But the ability to shoot with any lens on any Xiaomi smartphone is really intriguing. And we will analyze this in a separate article.
There is no real need for this: the basic modes with the use of several cameras are worked out and give good photos, and you can’t shoot much with 5 megapixels of ordinary xiaomi.
Optimization: faster, longer, better
The responsiveness of the smartphone and the operating system has not changed much. To some, it will seem like an ideal self, but this is not so: lags can still be found.
What really positively influenced MIUI 11 is autonomy. On average, my Mi 9 began to work an hour longer, including with the screen on.
black theme adds another hour to the mixed mode and one and a half while watching the video. The total is up to 8 hours of active screen versus 6.5 on MIUI 10. Impressive.
Fingerprint scanner Mi 9 did not get better. Maybe a little improved response speed. But the disgusting accuracy remained in place.
Otherwise, no differences are observed. The built-in utilities are lightning fast, the system functions are flawless, the shell works almost perfectly. If it hangs on someone else’s heavy program, then it is tightly (and I have already met this).
General impressions: a step to nowhere
Unfortunately, the most important changes are not included in the current build MIUI 11. The bulk of the changes were cosmetic and invisible adjustments that do little to change the situation.
Given the main problems of the system, innovations do not outweigh the disadvantages:
- advertising has not disappeared anywhere and turns off all the same dreary;
- a lot of information is pumped out in an unknown direction;
- extra software requires root rights;
- built-in utilities continue to pester;
- advertising alerts are non-switchable and fill the curtain in a couple of hours.
Certainly, it is solvable. The same amount of time would take cosmetic improvements by third-party utilities.
So why does the user need this system? Alas, it’s far from the best. Now I only vote for Lineage OS. There are no alternatives.
The best Android got a little… Worse?
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