Another day, another ROM. There are so many ROMs to choose from that members of the Android community have created. Today we have a rather unique one. MIUI, a Chinese ROM that’s been translated to English by a team of developers called MIUI.us. There are many teams that create different versions of the ROM, but today we’re gonna focus on MIUI 1.8.22 for the HTC Inspire 4G. Also note that your ROM many vary depending on the device you’re using.
MIUI features a user interface unlike almost any other ROM out there. It almost makes it seem like it’s a whole new operating system, just with some Android features. But rest assured, it runs on top of Android 2.3.5. This specific version actually uses a CyanogenMod kernel. It may seem confusing, but it translates to a smooth interface. First, there is no app drawer. I know, that’s part of Android. Instead it fills your home screen pages with apps. And don’t worry about not having enough room. It can hold up to 9 pages of apps. Of course, there are always home screen replacement apps, like ADW launcher. There is also a custom lock screen.Unlock by pulling down a tab, and on either side of the tab is an icon for calls and messaging. When pulling down on these tabs, it automatically launches their respective apps.
All this creates a very unique interface. While some may love it, others will hate it. Personally, I find it very productive. The only part I dislike is the fact that there’s no app drawer. Otherwise it operates much like any other Android, in terms of productivity. The ROM is also very fast, with little to no lag. I haven’t received any crashes after updating to 1.8.22 a week ago, which shows how stable the ROM is. Again, usage may very depending on the version and device you have.
One of the most unique features of MIUI is the level of customization. When the ROM is first flashed, it shows an app on the home screen called Theme Manager. In this app there are hundreds, if not thousands of themes for the ROM. Each of these themes changes the whole look of the ROM, right down to the apps. Granted, when looking for themes most of them are in Chinese, but they will translate to English when downloaded. Another great feature about these themes is they can be mixed and matched. This means a theme can be used, but one part can be changed to look like a different theme, to a users preference. All of this together creates one of the most customizable ROMs out there.
Themes are one of my favorite parts of MIUI. I currently use We8OS, a theme that replicates webOS. It all really shows how customizable Android is, so Android purists (like myself) may actually prefer this ROM. Of course this is all preference, and everyone has their own opinions.
The Chinese MIUI team decided that custom apps were in order for their ROM. The version being reviewed includes all of the standard AOSP apps, but it also has a custom Music, Camera, Gallery, File Explorer, and Notes, as well as a whole tools folder. The Music app is setup in tiles, one for each of the basic music functions. Once a song is selected, it appears as a tab you can pull up anywhere in the music app. Using the music player also shows controls on the lock screen, for pausing, skipping songs, and going back. Next is the camera app, which is basically of copy of iOS’. It features a single camera button, with another button to the right which opens a whole suite of camera editing features. The gallery app features three tabs across the top: favorites, all folder, and SD card. Each one features albums, that lead to each picture. The File Explorer is pretty self explanatory. Finally, the notes app is one of the best out there. It shows all the notes, with a tab to start a new one at the bottom. In a word, it’s beautiful, and a joy to use. All of the apps result in one gorgeous interface, rivaling most of the manufacturer-created apps.
I prefer all these apps to their Google counterparts. Why? The MIUI team didn’t just make them pretty, in most cases they gave them more functionality. The Music app is one of my favorite apps in general. This is simply because it is more productive than any other music app out there. The Camera’s simplicity also gives it a boost, making it one of my preferences. Those three tabs at the top of the Gallery app? They make it the best gallery app out there. All together, they make a very powerful app package.
Everything about this ROM makes it unique to just about any other ROM out there. Visually, it’s a whole new experience. Yet it still features all of the core components to Android, making it a special hybrid. This is not a ROM for Android purists, as it is about as customized as they come, but some might like the added customization. Personally, I see this as being my daily driver for a long time, and may even pick up one the of the MIUI phones. But for anyone getting bored of their Android phone, or just looking for something new, this is a must have ROM.