And frankly, that gorgeous flat-edge design was a main reason why I bought my iPhone 13 mini. I just loved how the iPhone 5 looked, as well as its spiritual successor – the first iPhone SE, but those were pretty outdated by the time I started paying attention to design. But here came that small, modern flat-edge iPhone mini, and of course – I picked it up.
However, I’m more of an Android fan, since I really like tinkering with my smartphone, customizing it and having the freedom to run whatever apps I wish to on it (e.g. emulators), so I’ve long been pining for a flat-edge Android phone.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, most of my favorite Android phone manufacturers (namely Xiaomi and Samsung) keep banking on curved-edge phone designs, however. I’m willing to guess that’s what those companies consider to be a more visually-appealing style for the majority of consumers.
But recently I reviewed the Xiaomi 12 Lite, and I loved it. Not just because of the fact that it has some impressive flagship specs for a mid-range price, but because, finally – it’s an Android phone with iPhone-like flat edges. A good one!
The Xiaomi 12 Lite looks like a cross between iPhone 13 and Motorola Edge 30, and it’s beautiful
Xiaomi isn’t subtle about “borrowing” ideas from Apple, and if you’ve ever used a Mi (now just “Xiaomi”) phone, you’ve likely noticed the obvious – Xiaomi’s MIUI Android interface is very, very iOS-like.
But that was pretty much all, because on the outside, Xiaomi phones were just somewhat generic-looking curved-edge Android slabs, with occasionally a huge camera to drum up attention. Until the Xiaomi 12 Lite came out.
Interestingly, even the big daddy Xiaomi 12 Pro itself has rather generic and subjectively outdated-looking curved edges. Especially its needlessly curved display is particularly reminiscent of an old Galaxy phone to me, and yeah, I don’t like any of that.
So I was pretty surprised that the Xiaomi 12 Lite is the one that Xiaomi finally decided to iPhone-ize in its design, giving it a flat display, a flat back, and some nice, flat edges.
And while it’s very iPhone-ish from the front and sides, turn it around and you’ll be getting some strong Motorola Edge 30 vibes, because its back panel features a similar, eye-catching, light-refracting effect, plus a vertically-arranged camera set-up. The Moto has a vertical camera, the iPhone has a square one, so Xiaomi clearly wasn’t trying to fully copy an iPhone, clearly.
Is the Xiaomi 12 Lite the illegitimate child of the iPhone 13 and the Moto Edge 30? Did iPhone and Android have a night out to settle their differences, things went way too well, and nine months later this is what happened?
Well, whatever the case, I love it. And I believe you will too, especially if you’re an iPhone user, because…
It doesn’t just look like an iPhone on the outside – the software inside is pretty iOS-like too
As I mentioned above, Xiaomi is pretty shameless, for better or worse, in copying the iOS operating system. Xiaomi’s MIUI Android overlay is very iOS-like, from the squircle shape of the icons, to the soft background blur you get when you slide down the notification shade over your homescreen… To how other elements like sliders and quick toggles look… It’s all heavily iOS-inspired.
But putting the morally-questionable aspect of all that aside, I believe MIUI’s appearance can actually be a huge plus for the right kind of user.
I, personally, love how iOS looks, but again – I prefer Android – so this is like getting the best of both worlds. The complete freedom of Android, plus the pretty design of iOS! Having your cake and eating it too, or… whatever that phrase was.
But there’s another type of smartphone users that I believe could greatly benefit from Xiaomi perfecting the art of copying iOS on the Android platform…
This is the perfect phone to buy if you wish to transition from iPhone to Android easily
The Xiaomi 12 Lite has a flat-edge design like the iPhone, plus an iPhone-like software experience, thanks to MIUI 13 looking so much like iOS 15. It’s functionally pretty iOS-like too – it has a handy screen recorder, a “Read Mode”, which is kind of similar to Apple’s “True Tone”, that makes the display warmer and easier on the eyes, and so on.I’ll be the first one to admit that switching from Android to iOS, and especially the other way around, isn’t exactly a smooth process.
Say you’ve used an iPhone your whole life, but you’ve decided that it’s time to expand your horizons a bit, try out a different cocktail in the smartphone bar, instead of just ordering Apple Martinis.
Well, your first obstacle is choosing an Android smartphone brand. Choosing an iPhone is easy – there’s the newest ones, and the budget ones. You can also buy an older model if there’s a good deal, and save a buck while staying in the flagship lane.
But choosing an Android phone for the first time – ooh, baby – it’s like choosing the ripest grape in a barrel full of grapes.
If you manage not to drown in the seemingly endless amount of budget Android phones, from both brands nobody has ever heard of, and the likes of Xiaomi, Realme, Oppo, Alcatel (it still exists), ZTE, Nokia, Huawei (depending on your region, of course), and big daddy Samsung… And swim to the surface, where the slightly less confusing amount of mid-rangers and flagships live – well, congrats, you still have way too many options to choose from. So clear your weekend, because this project won’t do itself!
Now you need to research Android smartphone brands. Sure, the one biggest name, sort of the Apple of Android, would be Samsung, right?
The Galaxy S22 does actually have flat edges (-ish), but maybe its $800 price (equal to that of an iPhone 13) seems a bit much to you at first, because you don’t know that it’s crammed with features yet. But what you do know is that an ultra-powerful iPhone 13 mini costs $100 less, yet you don’t find a Galaxy S22 mini option, if you wish to get a smaller and cheaper flagship.
So you start reading and watching reviews, and that’s when you discover that different Android phones have different-looking interfaces. Samsung has OneUI, OnePlus has OxygenOS, and so on and so forth – so which one of those would be right for you? More choices!
Basically – which phone brand and Android overlay looks easiest to transition into from iOS, yet still has all the iOS features you’re accustomed to?
Well – Xiaomi’s MIUI does. If “iOS separation anxiety” was a thing, MIUI would’ve been the cure. And again, the Xiaomi 12 Lite in particular not only has a familiar software experience, but feels familiar in the hand too.
So for anyone looking to give Android a chance – I’d recommend that your first step would be to check out our Xiaomi 12 Lite review, and give that phone a chance if you like what you see. Inside of its comfortable iOS-like interface is still the ultra-powerful and open Android, ready for you to start tinkering with it, customizing it and installing different launchers when you’re ready.
And who knows, you’ll love all that customization and power user features like running multiple apps at once so much, you’ll eventually graduate to the Galaxy S22 Ultra and its S Pen stylus. Or even the power user Android beast that is the Galaxy Z Fold 3?
Before you know it, you’ll be comfortable with Android, and seeing all of those crazy smartphone options at your disposal as an exciting plus, and not as a complex high school project. Just take it easy, one step at a time.