Xiaomi HyperOS (Android 14) review

Along with Xiaomi 14 series reveal, the company unexpectedly announced a totally revamped custom Android overlay called HyperOS, which was due to replace MIUI.

Now that the first phones with HyperOS started arriving, we see that despite the radical name change, HyperOS isn’t all that different – at least on the surface.

People who are used to MIUI will feel right at home when using HyperOS. The overall aesthetics, some iconography changes aside, remain almost unchanged.

Xiaomi clearly focused more on under-the-hood changes and optimizations with HyperOS. Or at least the first version of the new operating system, which is based on Android 14. Let’s get those out of the way before proceeding to the actual features and user-oriented changes.

Under-the-hood optimizations

Xiaomi says that one of the main changes is how HyperOS handles and schedules hardware resources, resulting in lower latency and faster switching between tasks. This should be particularly useful for lower-end devices.

Xiaomi HyperOS (Android 14) review

Thanks to the storage optimizations, HyperOS promises at least a 50-month performance degradation-free experience as well as lower storage requirements. The new OS is more lightweight than MIUI 14 – 3.5GB reduction in size, now 9GB.

Xiaomi HyperOS (Android 14) review

Faster OTA downloads and the smaller storage footprint of the OTA updates are also part of the updates.

Xiaomi HyperOS (Android 14) review

Last but not least, the Pro HDR function makes its way to Xiaomi’s devices – the ones that have hardware supporting the feature, of course. Photos taken with HDR will take advantage of the HDR-enabled display on your phone when viewing them in the default Gallery app. However, unlike Pixels, Galaxy S series and iPhones, the Pro HDR function is supported only inside the stock gallery, so HDR photos uploaded online won’t be displayed differently. Perhaps Xiaomi plans a full-fledged integration in the future, but it’s definitely not a thing right now.

This is supposed to be a feature baked into Android 14 by default, as phones will now store HDR metadata on standard JPG images, so they can be viewed in HDR in any app or gallery.

Design and UI novelties

HyperOS is designed around the Alive Design Philosophy with dynamic and cheerful color palettes found in nature, particularly flowers, subtle curvatures of windows, buttons and other UI elements, and new optimized fonts. These fonts have reportedly been meticulously optimized for various scripts, not just Latin.

Lock screen
Home screen
Recent apps

Lock screen • Home screen • Recent apps

New animations around the status bar provide contextual information. For instance, when charging, a subtle pop-up will appear displaying the battery percentage as well as the rate of charging. The battery status of your wireless headphones also briefly appears on the status bar.

New status notifications
New status notifications

New status notifications

To further enhance the visual experience, HyperOS supports more advanced, complex rendering, giving the impression of more realistic objects and Material design elements. We are talking about weather visualizations, light transitions, transparent elements, textures, etc. However, this feature is supported by more powerful phones, as it requires more hardware resources.


Interacting with windows is made seamless, no matter the form factor. Windows are flexible and adapt to different display types, which in turn means that HyperOS is more foldable and tablet-friendly.

Floating windows and multitasking
Floating windows and multitasking

Floating windows and multitasking

Subjectively speaking, HyperOS is just a more polished version of MIUI. The matte glass effects, the popping textures and the HDR-like effects of some dialogues makes everything look more refined and slick.

Customizations

The usual customization features are in place with some new additions and changes. Here are the lock screen options available. You can either build a theme from scratch or use a particular style and adjust it to your liking.

Customization options and themes

Customization options and themes

And here are the new lock screen styles as well. You can choose a picture and apply different effects.

Lock screen styles and customizations
Lock screen styles and customizations
Lock screen styles and customizations

Lock screen styles and customizations

A wide selection of community-sourced wallpapers, themes, fonts and icons are available as always. The Always-on feature is also highly customizable but without any change compared to MIUI.

AoD options

AoD options

The rest is business as usual, except that you can no longer choose between the classic style notification shade and Control Centre. The latter is now the only option. Phones that originally launched with MIUI still have the old-style notification shade.

Control Center and media playback controls
Control Center and media playback controls
Control Center and media playback controls

Control Center and media playback controls

Speaking of the notification shade, quite a few customizations are available.

Notification options
Notification options

Notification options

You can use HyperOS’ notification card style with full-fledged icons from the apps sending the notification or the default Android-style cards with more minimalist and flat icon styles. The latter style offers bigger and expandable cards, too.

Notification cards
Notification cards
Notification cards

Notification cards

You can go for an app drawer or a simple home screen, while the recent apps menu allows for vertical or horizontal arrangement.

App drawer
App drawer

Connected devices and multitasking

HyperOS offers deeper integration with connected devices to your home network and devices signed into your personal Xiaomi account. This isn’t new for MIUI users, of course, but HyperOS offers a tad deeper integration with other Mi Share-capable devices.

Connectivity options

Connectivity options

You can now multitask and cast your screen to other devices (tablets and PCs), not just send files. It’s not a complete desktop-like experience, though. Samsung and Motorola still have the upper hand in this regard.

Xiaomi HyperOS (Android 14) review

Still, Xiaomi achieved a sense of continuity – you can share your clipboard with other devices, attach a photo in your Notes app by using the phone’s camera (while working on your PC or tablet) and continue listening to your music where you left off once you connect your headphones to your smartphone, for example. You can even sync your themes and colors across devices, similarly to Windows’ appearance sync across devices.

AI features

With HyperOS, Xiaomi is also getting on board with the AI trends. Google’s Pixel phones offered their first AI-related features with the Pixel 7 series launch, and Samsung is focusing heavily on AI this year as well. Xiaomi promises similar features and even advertises on-device number crunching. This means that the device is capable of processing all the LLM data without having to connect to the cloud, so all your AI features should work offline just as well, thanks to the NPU optimizations.

However, we couldn’t find any of the advertised AI-related features on the Xiaomi 14 or the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, both running the latest available version of HyperOS. That’s because these functionalities are in a beta development stage and are available only to beta testers, so a wider rollout is expected in the future.

Just like the Pixels and Galaxy S series from the last two generations, the compatible HyperOS-running Xiaomi phones can transcribe live conversations and generate subtitles in videos and third-party apps.

These two features also work in video chat apps, so you don’t have to take notes during a meeting, as the AI will do that for you.

The default Gallery app also gets a boost. The search understands context and offers smart search – just like the Google Photos app.

Xiaomi leverages the AI’s generative power as well. In addition to the usual set of editing tools, the Gallery app now offers AI Portrait. It can generate an image of you by analyzing a database of your existing photos. Using that same AI-generated portrait, you can place yourself in an environment of your choosing – snowy peaks, tropical island, you name it.

AI Expansion is another editing tool that allows you to expand the scene in an existing photo. The AI understands the context in the image and expands the background, hence the name of the tool – AI Expansion.

Security

Security is an essential part of every operating system, and Xiaomi put some effort into that as well. A self-developed TEE Security System – hardware-level security – stores all your sensitive data on an independent microkernel. It keeps your fingerprint and facial data secured as well as your hidden or locked files and photos. Interestingly, TEE is present on all HyperOS-enabled devices.

Wrap up

Although from users’ perspective, HyperOS isn’t a complete revamp of MIUI, it’s a more polished custom Android skin while retaining MIUI’s functionality and even upgrading in this regard, mostly thanks to the AI-related features.

We also liked how little changes in the UI design boost the overall experience without sacrificing performance in the process. HyperOS feels as fast and smooth as always and now has a promise of staying that way for years of use.

We only wish more Android-intrinsic features make their way into Xiaomi’s proprietary overlay. We are still waiting for the notification history (Android 11 feature) and we would like to see Pro HDR being fully implemented, not just for Xiaomi’s default Gallery app.

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