HarmonyOS 4 Experience Smooth and Fun, Old Models Can Still Fight for a Few More Years

HarmonyOS 4 offers a smooth and enjoyable experience, and older models can still be used for a few more years

【Phoneauto Review】At the Huawei Developer Conference in 2019, HarmonyOS 1.0 made its first appearance, and since then Huawei has embarked on the road of HarmonyOS. By the end of 2022, the number of Huawei devices equipped with HarmonyOS has reached 330 million. On August 4, 2023, HarmonyOS 4 was officially released, bringing personalized and efficient interactive experiences, allowing users to “play freely and play together”. After experiencing it, I am willing to summarize this upgrade of HarmonyOS 4 as “omnipotent” (upgrading HarmonyOS 4 model to Huawei P60 Pro), the mystery of which I will slowly explain.

The highlight of HarmonyOS 4 this time is the freedom to play. When we turn on the phone, the “play” has already begun.

I can choose some favorite photos, such as family, pets, etc., and then select the corresponding theme style. HarmonyOS 4 can automatically complete the cropping and theme design. At this time, lighting up the screen will give us a lock screen picture full of magazine style. All we need to do is choose what we like, and let HarmonyOS 4 take care of the rest. Isn’t this “AIY”?

When unlocking the phone, we see the theme and wallpaper. HarmonyOS 4 brings new ways to play in both of these aspects. For example, in terms of themes, a panoramic weather theme has been added, which can change the theme style according to the current weather conditions. If this is not cool enough, it can also achieve a perspective effect when viewed from different angles, just like our eyes.

There are new ways to play with wallpapers. We can choose up to 6 emojis based on our current mood, and the system will generate exclusive mood wallpapers.

HarmonyOS 4 also brings new ways to play on smartwatches, with new styles, colors, and customizable function options for users to choose from.

When we have a lot of installed apps, the notifications from each app sometimes feel like an information bombardment, and opening the notification panel can be messy. In HarmonyOS 4, Huawei brings a brand new notification center, abandoning the previous logic of sorting by time and instead displaying them in levels of importance. Real-time notifications and social messages will be displayed at the top, while news-related messages will be placed in a unified area below, making it clear at a glance. At this point, iOS users may not stay calm, as it does look quite similar and works well.

The design of the live window allows some push notifications to be presented in a timeline format. Taking ordering takeout as an example, previously we would receive separate notifications for when the food is being prepared, when the order is accepted, when it’s ready for pickup, and when it’s delivered. This easily distracts our attention, and during the delivery, we need to frequently check the distance. This is where the live window can solve these problems. After ordering takeout, a timeline resembling a 100-meter race will appear on the screen, clearly showing the progress of the delivery. When the delivery rider’s avatar reaches the finish line, it means the food has arrived.

Of course, these can also be displayed in a capsule format at the top of the screen. We don’t need to open the app or pull down the notification center to see the desired information. It’s really worth playing around with. Since HarmonyOS 4 is designed like this, does it imply that the upcoming Mate60 series will also have the “Dynamic Island”? After all, the island design on the P60 Art was quite popular. The P series creates islands, while the Mate series lands on them. Isn’t this Huawei’s design romance?

In addition to the live window on mobile phones and tablets, Huawei has updated the crescent window for smartwatches. Important information can be displayed on the upper right corner of the watch face, just like the crescent moon. It is more suitable for smartwatch users. From the incomplete crescent window to the perfection of the watch itself, isn’t this just like the phases of the moon?

I have been using Huawei’s smart search on my phone and I can’t live without it once I get used to it. HarmonyOS 4 has further enhanced this capability, supporting super file search and the ability to search through applications. It not only searches for file names, but also unlocks the full text of local files. The search results are highlighted and straightforward. With application search, you can directly search for browsing history or notes within a specific app. This capability requires developers to provide services and content within the app. Currently, it has been adapted to apps such as Kwai, Xiaohongshu, and Taobao, and more will be added in the future, making it more boundaryless to use.

In HarmonyOS 4, the super transfer station has added the ability to preview files. Simply click on a file in the transfer station to preview it. Currently, text, images, videos, audios, and documents are supported. This makes it more user-friendly. It’s like having a zoom preview button when selecting images in the gallery, which improves efficiency and avoids the embarrassment of sharing the wrong content.

In addition, there is a magical linkage between the smart screen recognition and the super transfer station. The 2.0 version of smart screen recognition can recognize screens on any interface. When you need to copy text, long press to copy, and then you can directly drag and drop it to the transfer station for sharing, all in one step.

Humanization is easy to understand, which means that the smart assistant is no longer the “stupid” one we used to complain about. This time, Huawei has introduced the Pangolin large model to Xiaoyi, giving Xiaoyi powerful natural language understanding capabilities. When I speak in colloquial language, it can understand. After understanding, it also needs to be able to see. Xiaoyi in HarmonyOS 4 can intelligently recognize the text and objects in images, such as scanning QR codes in images, which is pretty cool, right? Being able to listen and see naturally also means being able to speak. In the past, smart voice machines had a strong artificial flavor, but this Xiaoyi brings a voice closer to a real person.

Personalization means that Xiaoyi understands us better, it can remember, ask, and remind us. At this time, treat it as a personal assistant, it will help us arrange things properly according to our thoughts. Another aspect is learning through teaching. It can intelligently arrange smart scenes through conversations with us, create tasks after logical reasoning, and automatically execute them by perceiving different situations. There is also the more user-friendly Xiaoyi suggestion. In addition to perceiving our high-frequency scenes, it also introduces scenario suggestion cards for the first time, generating different cards for different scenarios, which can be considered quite thoughtful.

The intelligent Xiaoyi with intelligence has the style of the current large models. For example, things commonly done with large models, such as summaries, meeting minutes, and writing assistance, can all be achieved. Just say a few words, and Xiaoyi will give us a satisfactory answer. Huawei has indeed taken the lead in applying large models to smartphone smart assistants. The new Xiaoyi’s intelligent capabilities will be pushed in the future, and we will conduct another real test for everyone at that time.

“” is a slogan that Huawei has been promoting for the past two years. With HarmonyOS 4, I think it can be called “” (constantly playing and constantly refreshing). Its biggest features are smoothness and security.

HarmonyOS 4 is equipped with the new Huawei Ark Compiler, which solves performance and power consumption issues, allowing both new and old smartphones to achieve smooth and seamless performance. Compared to HarmonyOS 3, HarmonyOS 4 can increase battery life by 30 minutes, improve system smoothness by 20%, and increase click response speed by 9%. When you actually use a HarmonyOS 4 device, you will find that it is indeed very smooth. Of course, this is more useful for old users, as older models like the Mate40 series can now last for another two years.

In terms of security, HarmonyOS 4 introduces a new application control center. When we install an application, HarmonyOS 4 automatically adds risky applications to the application control center, restricting access to sensitive data and pop-ups. If an application exhibits risky behavior during runtime, the application control center can actively intercept and prevent associated applications from launching, effectively limiting the misconduct of such applications. This time, HarmonyOS 4 also adds a desktop card for the Pure Mode. When applications are running normally, a green shield is displayed, but when there is a risk, it turns into a red shield, making it more intuitive.

Digital care includes children’s remote guardianship and Huawei Super Account. The former allows better management of children’s smartphone usage, preventing excessive and random usage. The latter allows parents to manage underage payments on the parent-side to prevent unauthorized consumption. It also introduces digital asset inheritance, which can inherit the gallery, contacts, memos, cloud storage, personal information, etc. It would be interesting if social platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and TikTok can also have the ability to inherit digital legacies in the future.

Above are the four capabilities summarized from using HarmonyOS 4, and based on these four, there are eight that actually connect Huawei with consumers in eight directions.

The first and second are Huawei’s understanding of consumers’ personalities and meeting their needs. The diversity of consumer needs makes HarmonyOS 4 more fun;

The third and fourth are Huawei’s help in improving user efficiency, reaching the destination in one step. Consumer needs continuously streamline HarmonyOS 4, bidding farewell to redundancy;

The fifth and sixth are Huawei’s efforts to reach every consumer with large models, making the experience more intelligent. Consumers become nutrients for the large models, constantly innovating and achieving each other;

The seventh and eighth are Huawei’s escort for user privacy and security, allowing users to play with peace of mind. Consumers make security the touchstone of HarmonyOS 4. Whether it is safe or not, you will know with just one try.

From HarmonyOS 1 to HarmonyOS 4, Huawei has gradually built its own software moat. From its birth to now, HarmonyOS has gone through countless doubts and numerous tests, and has already had an impregnable defense. On HarmonyOS 4, Huawei continues to make efforts in smoothness, security, and efficient gameplay, bringing users the guarantee of “play freely, play together”. The upcoming Mate60 series is expected to be the first model pre-installed with HarmonyOS 4, which will be a complete version of HarmonyOS 4, worth looking forward to.

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