I have been using the rom MIUI for a while now. I have used plenty of roms with custom themes and have like most of them; however, MIUI has always stood out to me. Sure I am still very impressed with Saphire and of course the rom juggernaut Cyanogen, and I still use them, but I want to take the spotlight off them and focus on MIUI for a while. MIUI originated as a Chinese rom so it took quite some time for developers to translate it to English. It is in full English now, and it is a fantastic rom.
There are many ways that you can describe MIUI. Some may be instantly turned off by that fact that at first glance it closely resembles iOS. Let me tell you though, this is completely and 100% Android. If I had to describe MIUI, I would say that it is like one giant melting pot of Android and its many custom skins. MIUI takes in elements from skins such as TouchWiz’s power control in the notification bar to HTC Sense’s double tap home to view all home screens. However, it also leaves out something all Android skins have: an app drawer. This rom really takes a lot of the good things about Android and wraps it up into one package.
MIUI has a very clean user interface. It has a nice elastic bounce to everything. Whether you are scrolling through texts, browsing menus, or shuffling through your home screens, MIUI has a smooth elastic bounce whenever you come to the end of the list. This rom has some great takes on some utility apps as well. The phone app is probably the closest to iOS that MIUI gets. It combines the call log and dialer into one panel, and when browsing the contacts down the right edge of the screen it shows you the alphabet that you can drag through. The in-call menu is also very similar to iOS’s, but not in a bad way. It is very smooth and easy to navigate and, in my opinion, is easier to use than the stock in-call menu. As I mentioned earlier, it also has a hint of TouchWiz in that at the bottom of the notification bar, there is power controls. MIUI however, takes it a step further than TouchWiz by giving you the ability to scroll through all of the power controls that your heart could desire. Almost every setting that you would want to quickly change is there. Another thing they revamped is the messaging app. It is in bubble form (hooray!) and is very easy to use. It actually has its own little theming option so you can personalize it to be just about anything that you want. The lock screen is similar to HTC Sense in that you pull down (or pull up) to unlock. They have added a cool little option though. On the left is a little phone icon and on the right is a messaging icon. If you scroll up or down to unlock with your finger on these icons it will take you straight into that specific app. This is a fast way to get to the things you want, and I find myself using it fairly often.
Read More on MIUI After the break
For some reason the developers of MIUI felt it necessary to leave out the app drawer. Now for some this may be an instant deal breaker. I don’t find it as a huge problem. I like the app drawer, but with all of the additional features that MIUI gives, it doesn’t really kill the whole thing for me that all of my apps are on the home screen for me. This doesn’t limit the amount of apps you can have (at least I haven’t reached that limit so far), and you can add home screens more easily than ever before. Simply double tap the home button and click the little plus and you have a new home screen added to your phone. Little features like this is what makes MIUI shine.
They have also revamped the way you place widgets. This is one area that I do not like better than how you would normally perform an action with Android. To add a widget to the home screen you go into “editing mode”. This sets the home screens up like a grid and allows you to drag and drop all of you widgets onto them. You get to see all of your widgets in a scrollable view at the top, and all of your home screens at the bottom. From that point you just drag the widgets you like and drop them onto home screens. This all works well, but it isn’t particularly my favorite way of doing this. It just seems like a little too much of a hassle for me to have to go into editing mode every time I want to add a widget. It doesn’t take forever, but I like the normal way of adding widgets a little better.
Another thing that MIUI changes is the system settings. There are four different tabs in the settings: common, personal, system, and programs. In the common tab you get to manage the general things such and ringtones and Bluetooth. In the personal tab you get to manage things like sound, display, wallpapers, location, etc. One thing that you can change in personal that is particularly cool is theme. If you have ever flashed a rom before you know about custom themes. Sometimes a rom can be completely different with a certain theme, and it can change your whole perspective on it. With most roms, if you want to change the theme you would have to download it and then boot into recovery to change it. This isn’t the fastest process in the world by a long shot, and the folks at MIUI clearly understood that. They added a little theme manager built into the rom. All you have to do is go out and download a theme and then change it right within your settings. For those of us who have spent hours rebooting to get the right theme, this is an awesome feature. In the system tab you can manage things like date, time, battery, and view your about phone. The programs tab is like the applications option put into one tab. I like the way they pulled this out to put emphasis on it. You can do all of the normal things you would do with managing your apps.
MIUI has tons of cool features. I love that it pulls together all of the great things that we can complain about it custom skins and put them together and make it awesome. It is stable and works very fast and efficiently. I have never had a time where it didn’t load my apps or froze on me. This rom is the complete package. MIUI is available for a lot of devices. A few that I know of are the Evo 4G, Motorola Droid, Droid Incredible, and of course, the good ole Nexus One. More devices are getting the rom ported to them every day. If you would like to download get this rom for your phone visit www.miui-dev.com .
WARNING: if you have not rooted your phone and flashed a rom before I highly recommend you do not do so until you do some research and figure out exactly what to do. If you are not comfortable with doing this then I suggest you do not until you have visited forums and understand what you are doing and why. The Droid Guy and thedroidguy.com are not responsible for any damage that may happen to your device when rooting or flashing this rom.
about the writer: Elijah Ketchum is a 16 year old sophomore in High School in Cincinnati OH. His Android experience started with the Motorola Droid. He enjoys everything about Android and convincing his iPhone fan boy classmates to switch. He recently convinced his father, a long term Blackberry user to switch to a Motorola Droid X. Like Elijah’s writing? Have advice? email firstname.lastname@example.org