MIUI (pronounced as Me you I), the android skin byXiaomi tech has come a long way and it is not only made available in their devices but also can be put officially in other vendors’ smartphones. The MIUI 8 was released alongside Mi Max on May 10 and after Alpha, beta testing in several devices ranges for more than a month, Chinese developer version is now made available for almost all of their devices (from Mi2/2S to Mi5, Mi Note, Redmi 1 to Redmi 3s, Redmi Note to Redmi Note 3).
The first version of MIUI that I had used was MIUI V4 on Mi2s phone which is still running smoothly. It is with this device that I can regularly experience the newest MIUI, as the Chinese developer version can update from the inbuilt updater apps easily over the Air. For devices with other versions, you have to download the ROM package for your device and either uses fast boot or recovery mode for the update. The latest version is MIUI 8 6.6.17 Chinese developer version which updates weekly and after solving issues with the range of devices, optimization and adding more features, they will release the stable versions which are known to take months. After a day of usage, here is my experience with MIUI8.
As I take a lot of pictures and have heard about the all-new camera app in MIUI, the first and foremost thing I look for is the camera app. The camera modes (like Panorama, Manual) which used to be shown after sliding, are now put in the bottom middle of the UI with filters and camera toggle (switch between front and rear camera) on either side. The flash and HDR modes are put in the upper left and right corner of the UI. As it does not have good manual controls and PDAF, I could not test the optimization that is done from the new camera app or if the changes are made only in the UI.
The most noteworthy features in the new MIUI are the cloning and second space. Cloning feature lets you have multiple versions of the apps on your phone, with which you can have two Facebook, Viber, Twitter accounts running without installing third-party apps. The second space feature will let you have another login to the phone with the customization of apps, access to the content and the easy switch between two spaces.
The inbuilt apps like Notes, Calendar and Calculator have changed a lot but as I happen to use other apps for syncing with Google as in Evernote, Google Calendar, it is not much of significance to me. In the notification shades of the new MIUI, you can either have a separate window for notifications and toggles layout or combined into one by putting horizontal scrolling of toggle switches. The new MIUI even has the option to search within settings that were there in Samsung for quite some time.
Picture and video editing have improved a lot with which you can edit videos, put text watermarks and doddle your photos without downloading an extra app for the same. The sharing of pictures and files is made smooth with the easy interface. The contacts icon, dialer, and the call closure animation are made much more beautiful. The battery saver features in the security app turn off sync, disable animations and monitor background processes to save battery juice significantly. It even lets you optimize the battery performance to keep it run longer.
One of the most hyped features, split-screen or multi-window feature is not made available with this version for which I was confused to be not there only for my 4.3-inch screen and relatively low-end phone (which was the flagship killer back in 2013, I had even written a blog back then).
The new MIUI is fast and looks wonderful with the new design but it kept on crashing while clicking the “About Phone” section which I am sure will be solved in next week’s update. Though I am eager to put it on my Mi5 I will wait till the Global stable version becomes available with much more enhanced features.