While some individuals may think that one of these three brands is superior to the others, from the perspective of user experience, Xiaomi and TECNO and Infinix phones are all birds of the same feather.
First, they all have a custom user interface – a custom skin – that runs on top of Android OS. Xiaomi has MIUI, TECNO has HiOS, and Infinix has XOS. Each of these skins add various useful features and tools that users enjoy. Each is also distinctively different from what stock Android looks like. And all 3 brands are budget-centric brands. That means, they produce smartphones that cost less than what the competition offers.
As you can see, all three brands have a lot in common. And none of these is the problem that I have with them. But they are part of the similarities that exist between all 3 brands.
What else do Xiaomi and TECNO and Infinix smartphones have in common?
But there is one other thing that they have in common, and that is a huge problem for not just me, but also many other smartphone users – advertising. Smartphones made by Xiaomi and TECNO and Infinix run ads – pop-up ads, ads in the notification shade, ads that appear while switching between apps, ads in all shapes and sizes.
It is downright annoying and intrusive. These ads interfere with the user’s flow. They are distasteful, and that is putting it mildy. When someone says that they prefer Xiaomi to TECNO, the first thing that flashes through my head is, “You prefer Xiaomi’s annoying ads to TECNO’s annoying ads?” It is like emigrating from Nigeria to Afghanistan. It is a matter of going from one painful experience to another.
When a smartphone has ads implemented in it, it impacts on your data consumption, it impacts on performance, and it impacts on the users mind. It may not look like a big deal, but it is a really big one. This is the one reason I dislike Opera browsers now. Once you install one on your phone, obstructive ads and intrusive notifications become a part of your experience on your phone.
Smartphone custom skins like MIUI, HiOS and XOS that inject ads into the user experience of their host phones are abusive, as far as I am concerned. As far as I am concerned, the only TECNO, Infinx and Xiaomi phones that really interest me for personal use are those with stock Android. They lack the manufactuer’s custom skin and so do not have those pesky ads that we all hate.
This review of the Infinix S4 includes a small section that addresses this annoying practice:
One thing I hate about XOS is the inclusion of intrusive ads. I do not know who thought this is a good idea but I find it annoying. For anyone planning to buy this phone, I would suggest you download a third-party launcher and my favourite if Nova launcher. It will help avoid some of those annoying ads that you definitely don’t need.
We are so bombarded with intrusive ads everywhere. As a blogger, I create, publish and share content for free, and implement ads on this blog and others to generate income. I can understand that. When I read other blogs and see ads everywhere, I understand it. Someone has to pay for the free content, so ads are understandable in that situation, as long as they are not obstructive.
But I pay to purchase a smartphone. Whether it is a budget or premium smartphone, there is an exchange of money. Why should I have to endure intrusive ads after paying for the product? No, sirs.
Which is why no matter how great or beautiful the innovation that I see in a TECNO, Infinix, or Xiaomi smartphone, no matter how excited I am about one super feature or the other, I almost always stop myself from taking the step of using one as my personal daily driver.
I will not be subjected to more ads than I am already on a device that I look at and use hundreds of times daily. And I know that a lot of users of those phones find those ads problematic. How? Many tech blogs have articles that provide tips on how to remove those same ads from Xiaomi and TECNO and Infinix phones. We even have on here on MobilityArena: How to block ads on your TECNO phone. Here is a tutorial detailing 7 different procedures a user needs to follow to disable ads in a Xiaomi phone. That means people are complaining and looking for a way to get rid of them.
Not me. I vote with my wallet. If you put something that annoys me in your product, I weigh my options. Where it serves my purposes, I prefer to not buy the product at all than buy it and then hunt around for solutions to the problem.
In an odd twist, TECNO Mobile Kenya’s Twitter handle even posted a video showing how to stop the obstructive ads on their own phones:
Those ads THAT COME ON your phone? How to stop them? Please watch below. pic.twitter.com/pts3Xi3xMU
— TECNO Mobile Kenya (@TECNOMobile254) September 24, 2018
There is such a thing as a product that just works out of the box and that does not irritate you or annoy you in any significant way. That is the kind of product that I am most inclined to spend my money on. None of that distasteful interference from ads for me.
Like I said already, Xiaomi and TECNO and Infinix smartphones are birds of the same feather. You are welcome to disagree.
September 2019 Update: Xiaomi is working on a switch to let users disable ads in MIUI
Xiaomi has confirmed to Android Authority that they are working on a manual toggle which can be used to turn off apps in MIUI. Here is the statement:
[Xiaomi] can confirm that [the ad switch] is being tested. MIUI in China will be rolling out an update with an option to switch off display ads with MIUI 9.8.29. This will affect system apps (such as Calendar, installer, Download manager, etc.). As for a rollout timeline, I’m afraid there isn’t any that I can share at this point.
Apparently, increasing backlash from users have forced Xiaomi to reconsider this part of its business model and give users the option to disable ads.
It is nice to see Xiaomi address this. Will TECNO and Infinix do likewise?