MIUI 9.0 in-depth review
Hello friends. At the end of 2017, we told you about the innovations in MIUI 9, that article was relevant for those who are already familiar with the shell and would like to understand what new features they will get after the update. Today we have prepared a detailed review of the entire shell, listing all the features and capabilities that are present in it.
In MIUI, since the very first versions, the principle of "all applications on the desktop" has been in effect, so there is no separate program menu in the launcher. This solution has both pros and cons. On the one hand, this approach encourages you to maintain order on your desktop, on the other hand, if you do not sort programs by folders, then the screens will be a mess.
Initially, a 4x5 grid is used, 4x6 and 5x6 options are available on devices with large displays. Also in the settings you can change the animation of paging on the screens.
Interestingly, a long press does not bring up the widget panel, you need to pinch with two fingers to access them.
In the settings, you can select the default screen, enable auto-completion of empty cells and protect the launcher from changes. My mother has Xiaomi Mi Max 2, I specifically enabled this option for her so that her icons do not accidentally fly off, this is convenient.
Until recently, almost all icons in MIUI had an ugly white rim, but in nine, the Infinity theme appeared, in which each application has a default icon.
Separately, I note that scrolling through desktops is a strong point of MIUI since Android 2.1, the shell is very fast in this regard.
Xiaomi has one of the best built-in dialers, its analogue exDialer is a very popular application, I put this program on almost every new smartphone.
The number pad supports Smart Dial - you just need to enter the first letters of the contact's first or last name, and the application will immediately find it.
The contacts themselves are sorted in the following order: favorites first, then all others in alphabetical order. If desired, in the settings you can select sorting by first or last name.
If you assigned a photo through your Google account, MIUI will crop it around the edges when you call so that it is displayed in full screen. It looks ugly and sloppy, as the image detail drops.
In the settings, you can turn on the recording of all calls or calls from specific contacts. I can’t help but note that when using an iPhone, I sometimes miss this opportunity.
During a call, a call recording is available, a contact photo is displayed, you can quickly open a note or put a call on hold.
The SMS application is standard, it does not have any special features, unfortunately, it does not even know how to quickly mark messages as read from the curtain.
From the lock screen, swipe left to launch the camera, swipe right to launch the Mi Remote app and flashlight. In the settings, you can set the display of notifications: with or without information from them (so that strangers do not see your SMS messages, for example). You can also turn on the wallpaper carousel so that each time you turn on the lockscreen, they will be different.
Previously, MIUI had a double curtain, on one side there were only notifications, on the other - interface switches and a brightness adjustment slider. Now this display has also remained, but, fortunately, it is easy to turn it off in the settings.
The number of switches and their sequence can be changed right there. By the way, a long press on the switches opens their settings, I really like this feature.
Interestingly, by default, app notification icons in the status bar are disabled, they need to be specifically enabled in the settings.
The browser in MIUI was convenient a few years ago, nothing has changed much over the years, it can also be used as the main one without any problems.
The start screen contains your bookmarks, the search bar (interestingly, Yandex search is set by default) and recommended sites. The last tab is ad-supported, but if you hold your finger on any of the recommended tabs, you can easily disable the entire panel.
The browser supports night mode, it is easily called by the rightmost button at the bottom of the screen.
From other functions, I will highlight a separate reading mode, traffic saving mode, the ability to quickly access downloads and download an entire page offline, as well as enable full-screen mode.
Those who like to read a lot of articles from their smartphone will like the ability to scroll through the text using the volume rocker, and those who change their smartphone can enjoy the synchronization of history and bookmarks using Mi Cloud.
MIUI used to have a very cool and functional player: playlists, playback by folders, online search for texts and covers. Now the player interface has changed, but all these features are still available to you. By the way, if you want to enable display by folders, click on the icon with four squares, I didn’t immediately figure out where it was.
The video player looks rather austere, but out of the box it supports most popular formats, and it can also work with multiple audio tracks and subtitles. At the same time, if there are no subtitles, then the player can search for them on the network. Also, the player is able to broadcast the picture on TV via Wi-Fi, however, this function did not work with my Samsung TV.
The file manager in MIUI was the most advanced a few years ago and has not lost its capabilities since then. On the main screen, you can sort all your files by type (photos, videos, etc.), the traditional tree system is also available. A nice bonus is the use of a smartphone as an FTP server, I often use this feature.
In fact, the photo editor is also located within the gallery, its possibilities are quite wide, considering that this is not even a separate application. You can crop your photo, apply filters, add text, change the white balance, and more. A cool option is the ability to rotate the photo right when viewing with a two-finger gesture.
The built-in weather app is beautiful and functional. You can see a detailed forecast for a day or a week, there is a lot of additional information. The forecast source is AccuWeather. By the way, in ancient times, the weather widget was constantly buggy and did not work, now there are no problems with it.
Initially, the camera interface seems very concise, but in fact it has a lot of additional options: enabling filters, activating scenes for shooting, turning off click sounds when taking pictures, detecting age (it works strangely), and enabling geotagging. When you turn on the front camera, the beautifier automatically becomes available.
We must pay tribute to Xiaomi. They are almost the only ones who continue to equip their devices with an infrared port. For its operation, a proprietary application is used. It has presets for a huge number of manufacturers, from TVs to air conditioners.
Here you can turn on a separate reading mode, it is very finely tuned: from the intensity of yellowness to the schedule for automatic activation. In the next section, the color scheme is configured, you can choose one of the presets or change the settings yourself. Changing the font size is also available here.
Sound and vibration
Fine tuning of sound and vibration mode. Do not disturb mode and its scenarios are configured in this section: you can choose who can call you in silent mode, whether vibration should work when it is turned on, etc. One of my favorite features, I use it regularly.
Xiaomi offers to look at the statistics of the energy consumption of applications and limit their background activity. I recommend that you do not use these settings and turn them off altogether, otherwise you will receive notifications with a significant delay.
Buttons and gestures
All Xiaomi devices use a panel of buttons: "Menu", "Home" and "Back", you can fine-tune the behavior of each of the buttons, swap them, determine what will happen with a long or short press, activate the backlight buttons or remove it altogether.
Headphones and sound effects
This section configures the behavior of the headset buttons. Interestingly, not only Xiaomi headphones are supported, but also third-party solutions.
A popular feature to reduce the size of the display, in this "as if" mode it is more convenient to operate the smartphone with one hand. Several reduction settings are available depending on the screen size. For example, the small Redmi 5a has only two presets, while the large Mi MIX has three presets.
The function is called by swiping left or right from the Home button. It needs to be activated in the settings for it to work.
Allows you to create an additional copy of the application. A very handy feature for owners of Instagram publics or public accounts. Also suitable for fans of multiple accounts in messengers.
MIUI has fine-tuning of app permissions. If you don't like that a banking app, for example, has access to GPS or a phone book, then you can easily disable it. However, keep in mind that after a ban, some programs may not work correctly or not start at all.
MIUI has a huge fan base, so in addition to the built-in themes from the manufacturer, you can also download one of the many themes from the web. At the same time, the themes in MIUI are very sophisticated, they change not only icons, but also wallpaper, ringtone, display of the lock screen and a number of other parameters. Of course, a lot depends on the developer, but the potential of MIUI themes is huge.
As a separate note, I'm terribly annoyed that almost all icons on the stock theme have a white border. Now this is fixed by the Infinity theme, but in MIUI 8 it was a real problem.
MIUI can make backups both to the cloud and on the device itself. By default, only 5 GB is available to you in the cloud, while the system itself very intrusively suggests saving all photos and videos there. I disabled this option in the settings. But the synchronization of phone calls and SMS turned out to be useful, while practically not wasting precious cloud space.
The "Security" application is a kind of hub, which contains all the options that protect the user in one way or another. Here lies the cloning of applications, and the blacklist for sms and calls. Even cool features like second space (when there are two copies of desktops) are available.
You can immediately clear the memory of garbage, the smartphone will automatically show how you can save space.
At the moment, MIUI is one of the most functional shells, it is perfect for both advanced and ordinary users. What I don't like about the shell:
- Round rims in launcher (fixed by theme);
- Crop contact photo when calling;
- Ignore notifications. Unfortunately, even if you have turned off all power-saving modes, some notifications still arrive late.
I'll make a reservation right away that learning MIUI-level shells requires a lot of time. I tried to cover all the basic and advanced features of the shell, but I won't be surprised if I missed one or another feature. I apologize in advance if this is the case.
By the way, if you are a Xiaomi owner, you can share your impressions of the shell in the comments, what you like, what you don’t, what you would like to fix.