I remember that when Xiaomi announced its cooperation with Leica, we thought that this was the key point of "Mi Chonggao", even more important than the return of the MIX series to the peak.
And this time, Xiaomi did not disappoint, let the market cool down, and even the senior Xiaomi users around me sighed, "Let me be a rice fan again."
Xiaomi Mi 12S Ultra can be said to be a phenomenal product of Xiaomi in recent years. In the past, Xiaomi digital series or Xiaomi mobile phones became the "explosive models" of the year, and more revolved around factors such as configuration, specifications, and price.
The Mi 12S Ultra is an " image ", and it can even be said to be a feature brought by the cooperation with Leica.
There is an interesting episode. After the launch of the Xiaomi Mi 12S series, the camera app related to the Leica watermark was extracted and "cloned" into many Xiaomi and Redmi products, which unexpectedly caused a round of heated discussions.
Even in the follow-up, some WeChat mini-programs also launched related DIY watermark functions, triggering a new round of communication. Whether it's a joke or an imitation, the cooperation between Xiaomi and Leica this time has a little momentum of going out of the circle.
Leica's halo aside, the Mi 12S Ultra uses a one-inch- size image sensor with a huge camera module, but Xiaomi has designed it to be similar to a lens, and even the outer diameter of 58mm is similar to the outer diameter of many lenses (UV can be used universally).
This kind of "symbolic" design element is easier to accept, and with some detailed adjustments, the whole Xiaomi Mi 12S Ultra looks very comfortable, and to put it bluntly, it is "good-looking".
Similarly, when Xiaomi released the MIX Fold 2 a few days ago, the above process came again.
The Xiaomi MIX Fold 2 features the "light and thin" feature, which is easy to remember and the focus of Xiaomi's promotion.
In terms of overall color matching and design, Xiaomi MIX Fold 2 is also very attractive, especially the color matching of "Xing Yao Jin", which is very elegant and has a somewhat noble temperament.
Whether it is the Xiaomi Mi 12S Ultra, or the design style displayed by the Xiaomi Mi MIX Fold 2, or even the overall design style of the Redmi K50 Universe, there has been a lot of progress compared to the past, and it is getting better and better.
Consider high performance first, then industrial design
Even though Xiaomi Mi 12S Ultra and Xiaomi Mi MIX Fold 2 have made obvious progress in design, the details page of Xiaomi official website still adopts rational specifications.
The Xiaomi Mi 12S Ultra mainly introduces the imaging system, while the Xiaomi Mi MIX Fold 2 mainly focuses on the mechanical structure.
If you look further forward, Xiaomi Mi 11, Xiaomi Mi 10, and Xiaomi Mi 9 are all around the first Qualcomm flagship processor, which brings much performance improvement (running score).
The Xiaomi MIX series is the decomposition and explanation of the "full screen" technology, as well as the description of the related ceramic back cover.
Even in the early days, the Mi 4, which was designed to be rebuilt for the Mi 3, was actually made a fuss about the body material of "a steel plate" in terms of publicity.
"Stylized design" seems to have nothing to do with Xiaomi phones. It is more like a "science student" trying to explain everything about the product with objective data.
In the details pages of Xiaomi and Redmi products, there are almost piles of data specifications, and the focus at the press conference is also on the screen, camera, processor (performance), and price.
If you do a collection of products released by Xiaomi in the past 12 years, the most impressive thing for everyone may not be the moment when the product was unveiled, but the price number of the product, and the moment when it "jumps" into the screen with the sound of "Duang".
Even when I wrote the above paragraph, there was a corresponding picture in my mind. It used to be 1999, and then the number became 2999 or something else.
It is true that Xiaomi mobile phones initially relied on "cost-effectiveness" to gain popularity, and successfully knocked down the price of smartphones.
One year after the establishment of Xiaomi, Lei Jun once bluntly said in an interview with Sina Technology that "what we do is cost-effective mobile phones. The first consideration is high performance, followed by industrial design."
He also emphasized that "no one can dislike the appearance of the product. The design team's plan is that no design is the best design, simple and restrained."
No design is the best design
"No design is the best design" has also become a generalization of the design of Xiaomi mobile phones at that time, which naturally caused considerable waves, of course, most of them were negative.
This golden sentence has also been over-interpreted to mean that Xiaomi mobile phones do not need to be designed. In fact, in 2011, the competition in the mobile phone market was relatively moderate, and the market gap was large. Even if there was "no design", Xiaomi, which cost 1999 yuan, was able to win a lot of shares.
In the following years, Xiaomi still continued the "simple" design style, and Xiaomi's mobile phone changed its design almost every year. While bringing freshness, it was also looking for a design that made the public "less annoying".
However, the contemporaneous smartphone giants have begun to "family" design. At that time, Motorola, HTC, and SONY, which were in full swing, continued to lead the public's aesthetics with their consistent design styles.
▲ HTC One X, HTC Butterfly and HTC One Picture from: anandtech
Among them, HTC launched the HTC One in 2013, which swept the world with its near-integrated metal back cover design, becoming the best product that combined design and material at that time, on par with another giant, Apple.
In the domestic smartphone market, Xiaomi's success has sparked a wave of "Internet-based machine building". New entrants are keen on 1999-style cost-effective magic machines, but they don't pay much attention to design.
More pursued is the product strategy of "it's 1999, what else do you need a bike for".
▲ Meizu M8, Meizu MX and Xiaomi Mi 1
However, Meizu is an exception. Whether it is the M8 that became an instant hit, or the M9 and MX that were later switched to the Android track, the main focus is a unique design.
Different emphases have also made Meizu a benchmark for domestic mobile phone design and the "white moonlight" in the hearts of many users.
At that time, cost-effective is to seize the market, while focusing on design taste is to manage the brand, their choice is no problem.
Over the past few years, cost-effective brands have faced the challenge of breaking out into the high-end market, while brands with high-quality management have also faced pressure to increase their market share. Slowly, they also began to look like each other.
Good design is as little design as possible
At the Xiaomi Mi 9 launch eight years after saying "no design is the best design", Lei Jun also admitted that his previous expression of design was wrong. The original intention was that "no deliberate design is the best design."
This is also closer to the theory of "Good design is as little design as possible" in the "Ten Commandments of Design" by German modern design master Dieter Rams.
What's interesting is Dieter Rams' design style, and the clean design that Steve Jobs insisted on in the early days. Recently, Lei Jun said that Xiaomi will fully benchmark against Apple, which can be regarded as a kind of premeditated?
Also at the Xiaomi Mi 9 press conference, Lei Jun admitted that the early Xiaomi phones were not beautiful enough because of their lack of comprehensive strength, not because they didn’t pay attention to design.
In fact, after Xiaomi Mi 6, Xiaomi mobile phones have become a lot more "exquisite". Especially the emergence of the first generation MIX can be said to be the pinnacle of Xiaomi mobile phones, both in appearance design and design concept.
▲ Xiaomi Mi 6
After MIX became famous, Xiaomi also began to try high-end, differentiated the Note series from the digital series, and made a brand premium together with MIX.
However, the difference between the Xiaomi Note series and the digital series is not obvious enough, the iteration of the MIX series has problems, and Xiaomi's high-end attempt has been suspended.
▲ The first generation of Xiaomi MIX
The Xiaomi digital series has returned to its familiar rhythm, focusing on configuration and specifications. With the advent of the 5G era, the overall price of smartphones has risen, and Xiaomi has begun to think about how to get rid of the "1999" label again.
This time, it is Redmi. After the brand became independent, it took over the banner of Xiaomi 1999, and Xiaomi also hit high-end again.
High-end products do not only rely on "hardware stacking", but also require a sense of refinement, design and brand taste, and Xiaomi's style design, which is not so good at it, has also become a shortcoming.
▲ iPhone, a model of family design
OPPO and vivo, which are also planning to hit the higher price segment, have introduced the concept of "family" design in their products in recent years, using recognizable design to become part of the brand image.
Concepts such as "integrated curves" and "ceramic cloud windows" continue to appear in products of the same brand. Over time, these stylized design elements are also easily bound to the brand.
Just like when the iPod was popular all over the world, the white plastic body and earphones were synonymous with the iPod, and the logo was enough to remind people of the brand.
The appearance of Xiaomi Mi 12S Ultra and Xiaomi Mi MIX Fold 2 are indeed very attractive, and the color matching is also exquisite enough, but overall, there seems to be less connection between each product of Xiaomi. In the fuselage design, there seems to be one less iconic element.
But the continuation of the design style requires a process, and the improved appearance of Xiaomi Mi 12S Ultra and Xiaomi MIX Fold 2 is like the first step in this process.
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