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Xiaomi Mi-3 Review Part 2 - The OS, MIUI

I have been an iPhone user since the first generation was released in the United States. Having been accustomed to the way iPhone works for more than 7 years, it makes switching to an alternatives an uphill task. During the past few years, I have tried Samsung Galaxy, HTC One and Windows Mobile but weren't able to convince myself for the switch. Hardware speicifcations on these phones are always almost impressive but none impressed me in terms of their Android customisations.

Not till I met MIUI last year when I was in China.

The familiarity of MIUI makes me take another look at Android. MIUI turns Android inside out. You will get familiar and settle down with it easily. MIUI is no simple copy of the Apple iOS. It offers enough unique features of its own to distinguish between itself, iOS and the rest of the Android world.

MIUI put an emphasis on the visual appeal to the Android ROM. Whether it be its transparent portions, the Gaussian blur, animations or even the color scheme, MIUI has the entire package yet doesn't appear overloaded. It is pleasing for the eyes if you happen to like its bright and playful look. 

MIUI has an app for pretty much every area of use just like iOS, with something extras. It has Notes, Virus Scanner, Usage monitor for mobile data, app permissions, compass, voice recorder and flashlight to name a few. Not only do the apps look great, they offer a great range of functionalities.

One of the feature that I find it useful is the phone recorder, you can record your conversation directly from the phone app. 

The phone dialer is great especially for those iOS user. The dialer pad is context sensitive, you can either hit the number that you wanna call or just enter the name using the dial pad conveniently without having to search for them in the Contacts.

MIUI offers a truck load of themes. To download and use new designs though, you'll be forced to set up the free Xiaomi account. If you don't like the default bright and playful look, you can always find something that you like here and applies the theme that changes the entire look and feel of your user interface in the blink of an eye. This is what iOS users had missed all these years. 

There are a multiple of bugs/issues with MIUI due to its deep customisations. 4 notable bugs/issues are the SMS, auto-correction, camera Selfie and HDR option.

This is a major bug and issue. If you try using those one-time pin issued by the bank such as DBS, you will never receive the SMS. Those 3D-Secure pin by the banks can never reach you too. If you intend to use MIUI, have a hot standby phone.

As you type along and make a spelling mistake, you would most likely touch on the word to make the correction. At this instance, a row of suggested words are displayed above the keypad along with suggested words on the pop-up. If you tap to select any of the word in the pop-up, the app will quit unexpectedly. The workaround is to tap the back key and select the suggested word from the row above the keypad. This is irritating if you have type a long sentence.

The HDR option to shoot an object back off a brightly lit background is really bad. See the photo for yourself below. This should be something basic, and shouldn't have happen.

All your selfie taken are mirrored! Of course you can flip the photo after you have taken it, but it is very irritating.

Other Considerations 
Memory Leakage
I realise that you can never get back your memory used in full. With 2G of RAM, you are good to start with about 1.2G after every reboot. As you use your apps, it will shrink down to about 800M even though you kill all the active apps.

Music Player
If you have ever play with the China ROM, you will realise that lyrics for your song are automatically sourced and displayed along when your song are being played. You can also search online for the song that you have wanted. Unfortunately in the International ROM, MIUI integrate the music player with Realplayer and it doesn't work as well as the China ROM does. There's no online streaming option too.

Video Player
The China ROM video player provides tons of video that you can stream online for free. This is not available in the International ROM due to legal and privacy issue. It's such a disappointment. Even though you can easily download other apps such as PPS.TV, PPTV and Souhu etc, but I am one who likes to use default apps.

Where is the RAW camera mode? It's one of the listed feature on their website and it's never found in the International ROM.

Bottom Line
MIUI v5 will be loved by everyone who wants to use the Android system but still likes the way iOS works. MIUI is beginner-friendly, yet offers some customisation options though not as much as a stock Android would. If Xiaomi could sort out the bugs, I wouldn't see why you wanna give it a miss. 


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