Android skins – MIUI vs EMUI vs Magic UI

Today, no one is surprised by the usual “naked” Android. In an effort to differentiate themselves, companies are releasing their own skins that transform the stock OS. These are, for example, such recognized user interfaces as MIUI, EMUI and Magic UI.

Android skins – MIUI vs EMUI vs Magic UI
MIUI, EMUI and Magic UI are some of the most popular Chinese skins for Android smartphones both internationally and domestically. All of them modify the standard operating system almost beyond recognition. Each of them has its own characteristics. Let’s see what interesting these UIs offer us.

Desktop and navigation
The MIUI home screen has two display methods: Classic and Application Menu. In the first case, this is a standard desktop with the option to open the search with a swipe up. But the second option is much more interesting. After activating it, when you swipe up, a list of all installed applications opens. But that’s not all: apps are automatically categorized as Communication, Entertainment, Tools, and so on.

In general, MIUI is distinguished by its attention to detail and interesting animations. For example, in the “About phone” subsection of the “Storage” section, the storage level shimmers when you turn the phone, like a liquid. A separate story is MIUI live wallpapers or super wallpapers. There is not only a large number of options to choose from, but also synchronization with the user’s time – for example, during the day a snowy mountain bathes in the sun, and in the evening a scarlet sunset descends on it.

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The shell offers a choice of two navigation methods – classic and with the help of gestures. The first one is the usual three buttons: “Menu”, “Home”, “Back”. If we activate gesture mode, a line will appear at the bottom of the screen instead of buttons, and all control will go to swipes. For example, to open the menu of recent applications, you need to slide your finger from the bottom-up line.

In terms of customizing the recent apps menu, you can choose to display items vertically or horizontally in the Recent menu.

Sound and volume control
MIUI has two cool features in audio settings:

Sound adjustments in individual applications. This function can be activated in the audio assistant in the audio settings section. As a result, when adjusting the volume during playback in the selected application, a button with a note icon appears. After clicking on it, a fourth slider appears – adjusting the sound in a particular application.

Dolby Atmos activation from the curtain. You can use the icon to enhance the sound with Dolby Atmos.

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Also worth mentioning is the convenient timer setting for Silent and Do Not Disturb modes. If you press the volume rocker, in addition to the signal level scale, we will see an additional menu button in the form of three horizontal dots. In this menu, as usual, three scales are displayed for adjusting the volume of media, calls and alarms. But below, two additional scales have been added for setting the timer to the “Silent” mode and the “Do not disturb” mode.


Performance and optimization
In general, MIUI is slightly inferior to EMUI in terms of performance. You can find tons of videos comparing these two skins in terms of responsiveness of application loading speed.

There is no need to install third-party applications to clean the system in MIUI. The corresponding service is already provided in the firmware. You can activate it in the developer settings. After enabling optimization, the system automatically does everything to improve performance, free up more storage space, and help the battery last longer.

MIUI advantages and disadvantages
Among the advantages of the shell, it is worth highlighting an animated interface, super wallpapers, advanced sound settings, automatic sorting of applications by categories. Of the minuses of MIUI: brute force with borrowing interface elements from iOS, an abundance of advertising.

EMUI – Huawei
The shell for Android EMUI specifically for its smartphones was released by Huawei for the first time in 2012. The latest version of EMUI 12 was recently announced, so EMUI 11 is still relevant.

Design and interface
Compared to MIUI, EMUI has a more minimalistic interface. He is very stylish and elegant. The main design tricks: smooth transitions of shades and an emphasis on black, white and blue tones. As for the interface animations, they are smooth and neat. Due to this, when using a smartphone, you get the impression that you are continuously floating with the flow. The pre-installed themes in EMUI are inspired by the art of surrealism.

Great emphasis is placed on the side floating control panel. You can open apps from a scrolling list and collapse them to the side panel into a small icon. As with MIUI, it is possible to open apps in floating windows and resize those windows.


Interaction with PC and own voice assistant
Huawei has implemented the Multiscreen feature in EMUI. It makes it possible to simultaneously see windows of several applications from a smartphone on the computer screen. There are many uses for this technology.

Huawei P40 Series EMUI offers its own voice assistant to replace Google Assistant – Celia. For Russian-speaking users, the engine from Yandex is used internally, on which the assistant Alice works.

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Performance and optimization
The shell is distinguished by a high level of performance and excellent optimization. According to official figures, if you use EMUI 11 without flashing for 36 months, performance will drop by only 2.5%. And EMUI also knows how to block notes out of the box – the most valuable data can be sent to encrypted storage.

On EMUI, unlike MIUI, there is no automatic system optimization service. Therefore, you will have to clear the memory and adjust the power saving manually.

EMUI advantages and disadvantages
Shell pluses: minimalistic design, smooth animations, high performance. Disadvantages of EMUI: an abundance of unnecessary applications, infrequent updates even for not the cheapest Huawei models.

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Magic UI – Honor
After the “split” from Huawei, the HONOR line of smartphones shipped with EMUI for a while. But at the end of 2018, a patch came to the brand’s gadgets, which renamed the shell to Magic UI 2.0, and changed some fonts and colors. Despite the fact that today there is already a version of Magic UI 5.0, for residents of the CIS, the Magic UI 4.0.0 shell is relevant due to the brand’s problems in the market. It is still EMUI based user interface with minimal changes. Let’s see what the differences are.


EMUI in a different wrapper
This skin is purely cosmetic changes to EMUI. Even the set of Always On Display images is the same here. The same goes for the charging animation. Differences can only be noticed in the little things. For example, in the stopwatch application, the progress bar is decorated in different colors – branded for Honor.

Magic UI advantages and disadvantages
The pros and cons of Magic UI are the same as EMUI. Although one more drawback of the shell can be called not a large enough list of changes to bear a separate name.

The future of Magic UI
Huawei officials said last year that EMUI will be closely tied to the HarmonyOS operating system. Chinese sources took this information as a signal that the company will abandon EMUI and Magic UI in favor of the new OS.

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At the same time, at the end of summer 2021, a whole line of Honor smartphones with Magic UI 5.0 was announced. This is despite the fact that Huawei is giving Honor owners the opportunity to upgrade to HarmonyOS: the first wave of updates is slated for Q4 2021, and the second in Q1 2022. Apparently, the development of the Magic UI will still continue, and the owners of Honor smartphones will have the choice of staying on Magic UI or switching to HarmonyOS.