This year marks the 10th anniversary of Xiaomi. In these ten years, Xiaomi has become a renowned Chinese brand. Interestingly, it looks like the Xiaomi smartphone wasn’t the first product of Xiaomi but instead it was the Android UI called ‘MIUI’. On August 16, 2010, the first-generation MIUI system was released, which was a year earlier than the release of the first Xiaomi smartphone. On the tenth anniversary of Xiaomi, MIUI has also been updated to MIUI 12. The overall style of MIUI 12 has been completely renewed and is the pinnacle of MIUI’s work in the past ten years. Today we will evaluate the MIUI 12. Can it be said the best Android UI to date? Let’s find out in this MIUI 12 review.
MIUI 12 Review – What’s New This Time?
MIUI 12 Review – MIUI 12 vs MIUI 11
Before doing the actual review, first let’s compare the new MIUI 12 with the MIUI 11. The image below shows the home screen of both UIs.
Can you spot the differences? As you can see that almost everything is the same in MIUI 12 and MIUI 11 in terms of static visual appearance. These include the top status bar, icon arrangement, and design, and the weather widget. However, that is what we thought at first. However, the appearance might be the same, but the animation, the transitions, and the effects are entirely different. Xiaomi said that they have completely redesigned the UI in terms of animation effects. The borders are much smoother than MIUI 11. The transition effects are much smoother than any of the Android UI we have experienced.
In terms of features, MIUI 11 doesn’t have the voice calling AI update, no super wallpaper, Dark Mode 1.0, few app restrictions and less privacy measures compared to MIUI 12, and the old Dynamic Weather App which has been upgraded to bring a whole new weather effect in MIUI 12.
In terms of performance and app opening speed they are almost the same. However, it’s surprising to see that the MIUI 12 with countless animation effects easily matches the speed of MIUI 11 which is one of the fastest Android UIs.
MIUI 12 Review – Design & Appearance
MIUI 12 completely matches its slogan which is:
Touch the dream and feel the truth
To challenge the strongest animation, one must have super powerful technology. MIUI 12 self-researched and reconstructed from the underlying technology, and completed a new and extremely advanced technical architecture. MIUI named this set of technical architectures including animation engine, rendering engine, and illustration engine as “Miyou light cone motion design”.
MIUI 12 has a new optimization on the interface, which makes the combination of the system and the screen more delicate and natural, and at the same time adjusts the system’s dynamic effects, incorporating real-world physical rules into the system’s dynamic effects, making human-computer interaction more intuitive.
We came to learn that the light cone architecture “rendering engine” seeks to restore the real world of light and shadow, bringing advanced color mixing + control level real-time blur, perfect anti-aliasing corners, G2 continuous curves that are tightly connected to the hardware, and smooth flowing dynamic circles angle.
“Dynamic Form” technology solves the flash, card, shade phenomenon caused by Android horizontal and vertical screen rotation and opening horizontal screen applications, bringing a smooth horizontal and vertical screen rotation animation experience.
The 5 Layered Dynamic Icons
Under the new architecture, MIUI 12’s core scene animation performance is completely new, and Xiaomi also brings layered dynamic icons. Each icon can be divided into 5 layers, and each layer can be changed according to the user’s operation to make the animation effect better. When you quit the application, the icon will generate real-time feedback based on your gesture. Changes in gesture direction and speed will cause the application icon to react differently. You can see this in the image below:
At present, the screens of phones are designed with rounded corners. In response to this trend, MIUI 12 has carried out more delicate anti-aliasing on the system interface to make the corners of the screen smoother. The combination of interface and screen will be more natural and brings a finer display effect.
Animation in Every Part of The UI
Using animation to convey openness, the MIUI 12 system is full of animated animations such as every small icon in the control center, detailed feedback when connected to WiFi, dynamic charts of power consumption statistics, when storing notes, it seems to be included in the note folder, even when you delete the application, the ripples will affect the surrounding Application icon.
There is also a more realistic example which is the MIUI 12 weather. Cut in from a real perspective, bringing realistic weather animation into the system, cloudy, rain, snow, and instant changes are displayed like a time-lapse movie, which can also help you catch the breathtaking and stunning moment. You can feel the beauty of time solidified at your fingertips just by gently pressing the screen.
More Visual Design, Less Text
MIUI 12 pays more attention to visual design. You can see a lot of visual designs in the system, such as phone battery information, storage space, and other information, all based on the visual style with no extra text.
On the one hand, visualization allows us to more directly understand the data information of the phone, and on the other hand, it also makes the interface of the phone look more concise. The minimalistic style is also one of the current design trends.
Redesigning the Screen Rotation Effect
In some details, MIUI 12 has also made adjustments, such as the effect when switching between landscapes. In MIUI 11, the screen-rotation animation was not that smooth and experienced a delay most of the time. However, the delay is almost gone in MIUI 12 and there’s a transitional animation effect.
In the previous MIUI, if you open the horizontal screen application, the application will be opened in the vertical screen mode, and quickly converted to a horizontal screen. In MIUI 12, it can be opened directly in landscape mode saving a few seconds.
MIUI 12 Review – Super Wallpaper Is The Next Trend
The MIUI team believes that the screen will become part of the design of the phone, so a new feature has been added to MIUI 12, which is the super wallpaper. We have a new MIUI 12 wallpaper with as called the ‘Mars’. It’s one of the best wallpapers we have seen so far. You can experience it as well by looking at the images below.
Xiaomi said that the wallpaper is based on Mars exploration data and high-precision 3D modeling to restore the Martian landform. Each set of wallpaper can choose the landing place of high-precision modeling, and derive more changes. After turning on the dark mode, the planet will also enter the night, and the visual experience will be more perfect.
In addition to Mars, there is the earth super wallpaper.
Although the super wallpaper looks like a wallpaper, it breaks the boundary from the idle-holding state to the lock screen interface and the home screen, and the unlocking experience is amazing.
Taking Mars as an example, it is a pattern of Mars in the idle-holding state, and the screen of the unlock interface expands to the close-up view of the planet and becomes a bird’s-eye view of Mars on the home screen.
We can also choose different landing locations, hence there will be more animation changes.
These animation effects are all rendered in real-time based on the Unity 3D game-level engine. Through the official data from NASA, the planet’s landform state is restored with high precision, which makes the entire unlocking process very surprising.
MIUI 12 Review – The Global Small Window Adds in MIUI
For the user’s multitasking operating system, MIUI 12 adds the function of a global small window. When we are in a game or video, if we receive information, we can directly display the content of the information in the form of a small window by sliding down.
In this process, the previously running applications are not affected. We can open two different interfaces at the same time, and they can operate in real-time.
If we need to enlarge the window to full-screen operation, we only need to pull the bottom of the small window.
MIUI 12 Review – Separating the Control Center and Notification Area
In MIUI 11, the control center and the notification area were combined. However, MIUI 12 separates both of them. Swiping down from the top will open the notification center, where notifications can be managed, and sliding down from the top right side will open the control center.
In the control center, we can check the status of the phone and perform quick operations. You can easily check the cellular data used, remaining phone balance, and switch the network status. Many operations can be performed directly here, without opening the settings of the phone.
MIUI 12 has also been optimized and upgraded for a separate notification center, adding notification combining.
The system will automatically identify the content information, advertising, and marketing notification content, and combine this unimportant notification information to prevent covering up all the notification area of these unimportant notifications.
MIUI 12 Review – Meet The Dark Mode 2.0
MIUI 12 moves to the Dark Mode 2.0. To enable users to have a better experience when using the smartphone at night, MIUI 12 has been optimized for the dark mode.
Through the self-developed non-linear inverse color scheme, all apps on the phone can automatically adapt to the dark mode.
Also, in the dark mode, MIUI 12 will also adapt the interface to the font. Because of the same font, the effect displayed on the black background and the white background will be different as the white text on the black background looks more solid.
Therefore, in the dark mode, the font will be re-adjusted, so that the fonts in black and white are visually consistent.
Besides, for night use, MIUI 12 also optimizes the contrast adjustment of the screen, so that the picture is not bright in dark mode, and it is more comfortable for the eyes.
MIUI 12 Review – More Restrictions for the App, Transparent Monitoring
In terms of privacy MIUI 12 introduced flares, barbed wires, and hidden masks.
The application behavior record will highlight everything, regularly record all sensitive behaviors of the App, and present it to you. Furthermore, when the application uses a camera, recording, and positioning permissions, the system will give an obvious notification, and you can click the prompt to control that behavior.
It is completely forbidden to use the camera and running in the background. When the application obtains permission, you can choose to allow it while using it or the background. For apps that do not clarify the use of permissions, the “Always Allow” option will not be provided.
In the case of individual apps that cannot be used without granting permissions, a blank pass function has been added to MIUI 12, which can produce a blank permission information. The user can let the APP read this blank information, which guarantees Users’ privacy and security can also use the APP normally.
There is another point that everyone will ignore, that is, the sharing of photos. When taking photos, the photos will record location information and various shooting parameter information. MIUI 12 can erase this sensitive information when sharing photos.
MIUI 12 Review – Other Features
MIUI 12 also brings extra features as well:
1) Xiaomi Health with AI Monitoring and Sleep Tracker
MIUI 12’s Xiaomi Health has added AI motion perception function, and the mobile phone can automatically record walking, cycling, climbing stairs, and running activities according to sports conditions.
AI motion sensing is implemented through the Xiaomi MACE Microframework, combined with phone sensors and low-power computing technology, and is processed offline to ensure safety and low power consumption.
Xiaomi Health can also use the phone to track sleep and record what you say in your dreams as well as snoring, which is very interesting.
2) AI Calling – Auto Voice Message, Record Greetings, Text-To-Speech Conversion, Speech-To-Text Conversion
**Supports Chinese Language At The Moment**
With XiaoAI users can set up to use AI to answer specific calls, and can record the opening dialogues to make the communication more realistic.
On one hand, AI calls can avoid our frequent harassment by harassing calls, and can also help people with language disabilities. MIUI 12 can convert text to speech during calls, so that people with language barriers can more easily talk to people. Currently, in the MIUI 12 China Internal Beta ROM it’s Chinese to other languages conversion. However, we expect that in the Global ROM we will have the Multiple Languages conversions.
On the other hand, AI calls can aid the deaf audience with its speech-to-text conversion in realtime. Xiaomi has the goal that its MIUI can be used by every person.
3) Improved Calendar
MIUI 12 optimizes the calendar. It adopts a new week view, day view, improves the management efficiency of the schedule, and adds birthday, anniversary, and countdown functions, so that special days are better recorded in the calendar.
4) Redesigned Lite Mode
MIUI 12 has also re-optimized the lite mode so that older users can better use Xiaomi phones. MIUI 12’s lite mode uses a large font globally, and a more relaxed three-icon arrangement.
In the lite mode, the input method of the system will also change to handwriting input by default. At the same time, in this mode, a second confirmation will be made when downloading the application, to prevent misuse of downloading unnecessary applications.
There are many optimizations and upgrades done in MIUI 12, and in short we can say that the system is smoother, safer, and easier to use.
For users who have used MIUI before, maybe the changes in MIUI 12 on the interface might not feel different as we said in the first heading, but in actual use, the brand-new dynamic effects and more hands-on operation will give you a new experience.
Moreover, the super wallpapers are amazing and so are the animations.
With the Super Wallpapers, MIUI Sets A New Trend In The World of Android
For users who have not used MIUI 12 before, MIUI 12 is very simple to get started, easy and flexible to operate, and easy to adapt to.
MIUI 12 is already comparable to iOS in terms of experience, and has a better experience than iOS in terms of split-screen operation and visualization. In short, it’s really the best Android UI out there at the moment.
Want to install MIUI 12 in your Xiaomi phone to test it. Read these:
MIUI 12 Review – Is It The Best Android UI On The Planet?
Retaining the same blazing-fast speed as the MIUI 11, the same icon design, it has a redesigned animation and transition effect, along with the soon to be trend 'Super Wallpaper', MIUI 12 is the best looking and the most easy to use Android OS UI to date.
Design & Appearance
Performance & Speed
Reader Rating2 Votes
The most good looking Android UI
Android UI with the most animations and effects
Xiaomi AI upgrades to AI Calling
Introduction of Super Wallpapers
Device Support to Even 2 and 3 years old devices
The UI With The Most App Restrictions
User Interface focuses on visuals rather than extra texts
Tons of Features (Dark Mode 2.0, AI Calling, Xiaomi Health, Lite Mode)
XiaoAI Calling Only available in Chinese (China ROM) for now
Since, it's the start, UI might have issues with third party apps