Xiaomi has launched the revamped version of their popular MIUI Android user interface. MIUI 6 gets a new look with a colorful, minimalistic design that also incorporates several new security and and phone features. Although the update is currently at beta development stage, it should soon make its way to the Mi3 and the recently launched Mi4 soon.
MIUI was launched with the slogan ‘Less is more’… which seems to be a general trend in software interface design in recent years with almost zen-like simplicity becoming the norm. The new MIUI certainly has been influenced by Apple’s iOS 7 and forthcoming iOS 8 with a simple and very colorful design that is easy to navigate. Sure, it does borrow from Apple’s design philosophy but there is plenty of new features that make MIUI 6 worthy of praise. I have been using MIUI on on my Xiaomi Mi3 for some months and I rate it pretty highly – the new updated version looks even better. Let’s have a look at what you are getting with version 6 in some detail.
Simple and Flat
The new design follows a general trend in the industry (arguably led by Apple..) that offers a flatter, non-3D looking interface. Almost all of the icons are 2D, containing one simple color coupled with a white imagery. The icons themselves are similar to previous MIUI designs but on MIUI 6 the flat simplistic design ethos seems to have been implemented on pretty much all the apps, and they look good.
The actual iconography involved in the design looks impressive. There is plenty of attention to detail involved in the images depicted by the icons.
Check out this marketing video which shows the new MIUI is all its glory:
MIUI 6 features new home screen gestures allowing you to access the Notification Center from any screen, including the lock screen. The UI also debuts what Xiaomi refers to as the Notification Shade which now has ‘toggles’ such as a music control panel which gives you quick access to your music. You can customize what toggles you want to include.
In terms of design however, the new MIUI 6 is actually not so far away from what we saw on previous MIUI versions. Check out the current MIUI 5 design found on the Xiaomi Mi4:
We want to create a ROM with the best user experience. It’s not just how you use a product, but how it makes you feel. So we’ve stripped away unnecessary distractions so did you can really focus on the right things, in the right place, when you finish need them. This is MIUI redesigned in its Simplest form.
Improved Battery Life
Aside from the aesthetics and other more cosmetic changes, there are also plenty of other features to look forward to. Not least of all there are battery life optimizations. Battery configurations include Default, Marathon (disables WLAN and Mobile Data), Sleep mode (disables all networking and notifications except alarm clock) or My Mode, which allows you to create a customized mode. You can also elect to have certain mods kick in at preset battery levels.
Xiapomi claim that the MIUI 6 will give your device better performance, having made improvements to the Linux kernal itself. Changes include how installed apps use the devices RAM, making apps faster and more efficient. Xiaomi talks about ‘Super Aweseome’… guess we will have to wait and see before we can verify that.
Enhanced security features
I have always been impressed with the security features of MIUI which among other things, does a great job of telling me what permissions or data access apps demand. The new MIUI 6 has security beefed up a bit with scans for malware and possible virus detection of all third-party apps.
The Phonebook app also been beefed up, allowing you to identify unknown callers, mark service numbers (as banks, scams etc) and also see a visible menu of your carrier’s hotline numbers. I am feeling more secure already.
The Xiaomi user experience continues to evolve with MIUI 6 which marries plenty of innovation with some good looks. The only quibble that we could have with Xiaomi is that it all kind of feels just a bit too Apple. The reputation as the world’s most successful Apple clone will not be diminished by MIUI 6, which demonstrates once again just how heavily influenced by Apple the company is.