Xiaomi, Huawei, OPPO… The horizontal comparison of the five Android systems, whose “small window mode” is the best?

When changing to a new iPhone, there is always one step that makes me anxious, which is to migrate WeChat chat history. During the migration process, neither the screen can be stopped, nor can it be minimized. And the speed of migration always makes people want to teach Zhang Xiaolong to make products.

But when changing to a new Android phone, this anxiety will be much less. The reason is not that WeChat on the Android side is better, but the "small window mode" that mainstream Android systems already support.

Just shrink the window of the WeChat app and hang it to the corner of the screen, and you can scan Weibo and watch videos as usual. Since WeChat remains displayed at the top of the screen, chat history will be migrated normally.

At this moment, the inventor of the small window mode is the loveliest person in my heart.

Why do we need small window mode

Although the scene of migrating WeChat chat records is rarely encountered. However, the convenience and efficiency brought by the small window mode can still be perceived by many scenes.

For example, after calling Didi, you no longer need to switch apps frequently to check the driver's location, and you can get real-time feedback in a small window; when watching online classes, you can take notes synchronously; when playing games, you don’t need to cut out the app to reply to messages. …

These scenes can be simply summarized into three categories:

  • From the A application, copy the content to the B application
  • When using the A application, use the B application temporarily
  • When using the A application, the status of the B application is updated frequently, but does not require too much attention

If there is no small window mode, we have to rely on the gesture bar at the bottom to switch applications frequently. Or open the task manager, swipe left and right to find the application you want to switch.

However, when switching applications frequently, we are bound to consume more attention, and the psychological burden may increase, resulting in anxiety.

At the Meizu Flyme 7 conference, Yang Yan, the former president of the Flyme business unit, introduced the small window mode, saying that "it is easy to use and go. It will greatly reduce the psychological burden caused by frequent application jumps."

This is true, the "small window mode" is indeed one of those functions that "you can't go back when you use it". In recent years, several major domestic Android operating systems have also been iterating and optimizing the small window mode.

This article will select MIUI, EMUI, Flyme, ColorOS, OriginOS (in no particular order) to experience and evaluate its small window mode.

So how to judge whether the small window mode is easy to use?

We put aside the "design lingo" such as humanization, cognition and visual load of interaction. From the user's point of view, the easy-to-use small window mode means that you don't need to think too much when opening, using and closing, the steps are simple and easy to understand, and the feedback is clear and reliable.

The first thing to be clear is that each system has different names for the "small window mode". For example, MIUI's is called "Free Window", and ColorOS's is called "Flash Window". For the convenience of reading, we collectively refer to it as "small window" in this article.

Flyme 9

One of the highlights of Flyme 9 is "Small Window Mode 3.0". We use Meizu 18 Pro, the system version is the latest Flyme 9.0.1.1A, to experience its small window mode.

To open the small window mode, there are three commonly used methods:

1. Swipe in from the corner of the screen, and then slide your fingertip to the app icon you want to open to open the corresponding app in the form of a small window. Users can find more apps in "More apps", and they can also customize the apps that are displayed first. The overall experience is quite smooth.

2. Swipe the app from the bottom to the upper half of the screen, and switch to small window mode after a short pause.

3. When a message comes, directly click the "small window open" below the message notification to open the application in small window mode.

After the small window is exhaled, you can control its status through the indicator bar at the bottom. Swipe up to switch to a small floating window; slide down to switch to full screen.

In the floating small window state, long press to select the window size or mute. Double-click to switch it to full-screen mode in one step.

Within the screen display range, the user can drag it arbitrarily. There are two operational details that need attention:

  • If you drag it outside the left or right side of the screen, the small window will be hidden by the side, and the sound is still played by default.
  • If you drag it beyond the top or bottom of the screen, the small window will disappear automatically.

The closing logic of Flyme's small window mode is a bit convoluted, and you may not get used to it when you first get started. In the non-floating state, clicking on a blank area of ​​the screen will automatically close the window. If it is in the floating state, you need to drag it beyond the top or bottom of the screen to close it.

MIUI 12.5

The small windows of MIUI 12 have always had a good reputation. We used the Redmi gaming phone equipped with the official version of MIUI 12.5 to experience its small window mode.

Its opening methods can be classified into the following types:

1. Push the app from the bottom to the four corners. After triggering the area, you can see the prompt of "Let go and hang". Now let go of the small window mode.

2. In the upper left corner of the multitasking manager, click "Small Window Application" to open or edit applications that support the small window mode in the application bar.

3. In the multitasking manager, long press the app to switch it to the small window mode from the function bar that appears on the side.

4. When a message comes, pull down the indicator bar to open the application with the small window and reply to the message.

In the floating small window state, double-click to display it in full screen, and click to enlarge it. Drag it up to the top of the screen, and the small window will disappear.

After zooming in, the small window can be closed by pushing up the indicator bar, and it will be displayed in full screen when it is pulled down. In addition, you can freely adjust the size of the small window by pulling the frame of the small window.

There are two dessert functions that experience bonus points. The first is the "small window exchange" function: drag the small window to the center of the screen to exchange it with the application on the next layer of the screen.

The second is that in the landscape mode, when replying to a message in small window mode, the floating style small keyboard will be automatically activated. Will not obstruct the excessive view of the underlying app.

But there are several points that need to be optimized:

  • When the app is opened in small window mode, some of the app’s open-screen advertisements will be displayed in full screen
  • The floating window application cannot be hidden to the sidebar
  • In landscape mode, when the indicator bar of the small window is pushed up to close it, it is easy to accidentally touch or fail to close.

EMUI 11

The small window mode of EMUI 11, although the function is relatively not so rich, but it is very easy to use. We used Mate40 Pro with the latest EMUI 11 version to experience Huawei's small window mode.

The way to open the small window mode is very simple, which can be divided into three types:

1. Call out the sidebar, click on the app, it will directly open in small window mode.

2. In the multitask manager, apps that support the small window mode will have a small window icon in the upper right corner. Click to make it into a small window state.

3. When a message comes, pull down the message notification bar to reply to the message in small window mode.

After calling out the small window, you can drag the edge of the small window to adjust its size. Press and hold the indicator bar at the top to move the position of the small window.

Unlike Flyme and MIUI, the small window of EMUI displays "full screen display", "minimize" and "close" in the style of icons. Compared with various fancy gesture operations, learning costs are lower and easier to learn.

When the window is minimized, it will snap to the edge of one side of the screen. Support multiple apps After opening the small window mode, it is minimized to one side of the screen at the same time, which is convenient for users to switch. These apps can also be closed individually or together, and the interactive view is simple and easy to understand.

However, in EMUI 11, there are still settings to be optimized regarding the small window mode.

Although in landscape mode, when you call out the small window to reply to a message, the floating keyboard will be automatically invoked. However, the small window and the keyboard appear to be fixed, and they overlap and overlap. At this time, you need to manually drag the two windows apart, which is convenient for viewing and replying to messages, which is a bit cumbersome.

Another problem is that in landscape mode, the "Full Screen", "Minimize" and "Close" icons at the top of the small window will be automatically hidden. Users who are not familiar with related operations may not be able to close the small window at this time, which will affect the game experience.

OriginOS

As a rookie of the domestic Android operating system, OriginOS can be said to have its own highlight appearance, and its small window mode is also quite rich. We used vivo X60 Pro+ with the latest OriginOS for this experience.

There are many ways to open the small window mode:

1. When you are on the explorer desktop, swipe up from the middle of the screen to enter the all application interface, press and hold the application that supports opening small windows and drag it to the upper right corner of the screen, there will be an "open small window" indication, then release it to open .

2. When in the application interface, swipe up from the lower left corner of the screen to enter all application interfaces. Long press the application icon and wait for the icon to float on the application interface and let go to turn it on.

3. Swipe and hover at the bottom of the screen to enter the card background, and click the arrow to the right of the app name. Apps that support small window mode will display the word "small window", click to open it.

4. In landscape mode, the message notification will be presented as a floating avatar. Click on the avatar to automatically open the application in small window mode.

After opening the small window mode, you will see four icons on the top of the small window. From left to right are resize, minimize, display in full screen, and close.

The minimized rendering effect, similar to EMUI 11, is to attach application icons to one side of the screen. Unfortunately, OriginOS cannot minimize multiple apps at the same time like EMUI.

When OriginOS closes the small window mode, it can only be operated by clicking the close button. Therefore, when minimized to the floating icon, it cannot be turned off directly.

In the landscape mode, the small window mode of OriginOS is the best optimized among the above-mentioned systems. Whether it's the notification method of the floating avatar, the suitable size of the floating keyboard, and the concise and clear closing method, it is very user-friendly.

However, OriginOS is slightly cumbersome in opening the small window mode, and the aesthetics are slightly weaker. In portrait mode, the message pop-up window does not support opening in small window mode, and it needs to be optimized.

ColorOS 11

Since ColorOS 7 began to pay attention to the small window mode, after several generations of optimization, the small window mode on ColorOS 11 has been very mature. We used OnePlus 9 Pro to experience the latest version of ColorOS 11.

In the opening method, ColorOS 11 provides 4 methods.

1. Open the small application window directly from the smart sidebar

2. On the task manager page, click the icon in the upper right corner of the application to quickly choose to open the "floating window", "mini floating window" and other modes.

3. In the application interface, when you swipe up from the bottom and pause, two icons will appear at the bottom, corresponding to "floating window" and "mini floating window". Drag the application card to the corresponding icon to achieve the corresponding operation.

4. At the bottom of the message notification pop-up window, there is a "small window reply" button. Click to reply to the message in small window mode.

After the small window mode is turned on, long press the top of the window will pop up three options: full screen display, close and hang. Move the window to the corresponding icon to realize the corresponding operation.

In addition, drag the small window mode outside the sides of the screen, the application will be minimized to the sidebar, and click to call it up again.

The way to close the small window mode is also very simple. The most convenient way is to click the "Close" button on the upper right corner of the window. In the floating window mode, long press and a closed icon will appear, just drag it to the top.

We also tried to experience the small window in landscape mode, and the closing method is the same as in portrait mode. In addition, it supports floating keyboard and free movement position. The functions are rich and easy to use.

summary

The nature of human beings may be one mind and two purposes. The small window mode can be said to allow more efficient use of attention.

From the hands-on experience, the small window modes of the above five operating systems have their own characteristics. In terms of beauty, Flyme is better; in terms of simplicity and ease of operation, EMUI does my part; in terms of the diversity of gameplay, ColorOS, MIUI, and OriginOS must have names.

However, various systems still have room for optimization for the small window mode. At present, it is difficult to say which operating system's small window mode is 100% satisfactory to me, but the small window mode of Flyme and ColorOS can be said to be relatively closer to "perfect".

In fact, there are some operating systems, and the small window mode is also very careful. For example, Samsung's One UI, and then the nostalgic SmartsianOS. But because there is no suitable equipment at hand, this article will not evaluate their small window mode.

Of course, everyone likes the small window mode, and I hope iOS can follow up as soon as possible. In addition to "Picture in Picture", more small window functions can appear.

TalkFresh. Work email: wanghelong@ifanr.com.

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