Why I switched to the MIUI Android Rom on my HTC One M7


After getting my second Android phone, the HTC T-Mobile G2, or Desire Z known internationally, there was one custom Android Rom that stood out to me. That rom was called MIUI. For those who don’t know or have ever heard of MIUI (pronounced me-you-I), it is a custom Android-based Rom developed by a Chinese team called Xiaomi that received a lot of english ports to now close to 300 or more phones, who later went on to form their own company that features phones, smart appliances, and more. At the time, the current version was MIUI Version 3, and I figured why not give it a try? I liked the concept of it, having all the icons on the homescreen similar to how iOS has their homescreen layout, but with the ability to place icons anywhere and also have widgets on any page wherever you want. The only thing about it was that it wasn’t really visually appealing to me, as it wasn’t as refined in my opinion as iOS. Keep in mind throughout reading this that I have used an iPhone 2G, 3G, 3GS, and the iPhone 4 up until I broke it before I switched to an Android phone. I ended up flashing back to a custom HTC Sense based Rom. Later on a port of MIUI Version 4 arrived for the Desire Z. I went ahead and installed that, but it was still kind of lacking something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, so back to Sense again it was. My next Android phone was the Google Nexus 4, although that lasted about 2 weeks until I shattered the screen rendering it useless. I picked up the Moto G 1st gen a few months later, which I found had a port of MIUI v5. I really liked how Xiaomi had updated the looks of the icons, how the system got a mild visual improvement including the lockscreen which I really did not care for on versions 3 and 4. I would’ve used it and explored it further if it wasn’t for the particular model of the Moto G I had, which was the Boost Mobile CDMA variant so it did not have cellular signal support. Fast forward to my current phone, the HTC One M7. I’ve always been a fan of HTC’s products and I really enjoyed their Sense 6 and 7 interface. About 2 months into owning it I found there was a port of MIUI 7 beta. I decided to install it to see the change of 2 revisions. I instantly fell in love. It is so much more refined than any previous version that I have tried. Sure the flat icons and flat design are somewhat reminiscent of iOS 7 and onwards, but they are unique and different at the same time. The overall design language that is prevalent throughout all of the system applications is visually appealing, and the built in theme application brings a very nice addition to find a theme that suits very well. In the screenshots at the end of this post I have the High Life theme selected, one of the four stock included themes. The lockscreen is very minimalistic, with swiping up to unlock the device, swiping left to access the camera, and swiping right to access what is called Mi Home. I have no use for Mi Home, as I do not have any other Xiaomi home products, and almost all of it is in Chinese. Xiaomi has built in a security app which I do find very useful. You can scan for viruses, see how many files and cache files are taking up space by apps and choose to clean it all up to free up space, allow root access for apps, it tells you the battery level, and allows you to block certain callers such as telemarketers, exes, and unwanted spam/con artists. My favorite aspect and feature of the security app is the ability to set individual permissions for every app you have on your phone. You can pick what apps have the ability to read your text messages, contacts, call history, location information, calendar events, camera, and quite a few more. One thing I have done is for almost every application, and Facebook and their Messenger app being a big one, is block access to almost every permission that they had no use to read, locate me or edit system functionality for added privacy. The only setting is having Facebook, Messenger and a few other social apps set to pop up a notify prompt to access my camera and camera roll only because of the occasional picture I wish to send to a friend or relative. They do not have the ability to access it freely at will. If you have gotten this far in this review, I applaud you for myself not boring you. The reason I love MIUI 7 so much is the familiarity of iOS, what I used for 5-6 years prior to switching to an Android phone, and the functionality of Android which is my favorite mobile OS. My next phone might very well be an international Xiaomi Mi 4i or Mi 5 model. In conclusion, the performance, the features, and the aesthetics of MIUI is what keeps drawing me back to making that Rom my daily driver. I no longer find myself flashing a new AOSP, CyanogenMod or Sense-based rom almost every other day (I was a flashaholic, which is the addiction of flashing a new/different rom quite often. I also stopped because redownloading 40-60+ apps every time got tiresome). In fact, it’s been about 3 months since the last time I flashed a rom other than MIUI updates. There are also still numerous features that I have not covered. I highly recommend people look into seeing if this Rom, or even MIUI 6, is available for their phone. Watch some YouTube reviews, give it a try for a few days. You might be pleasantly surprised like I was. I also highly recommend this for people such as myself who came from iOS over to Android. Thank you for reading, screenshots are below. Have a great day!

-Nate

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