From the beginning of Xiaomi, back in 2010, MIUI has been the one who has given life to the smartphones and tablets of the firm . Despite starting from the bases of the Android AOSP code, MIUI modifies the basic pillars of the system to the extreme . This lies in what is, practically, an operating system totally different from the original concept of Google, something that generates hatred and love to almost equal parts.
Today, it’s time to thoroughly compare MIUI with Android “Pure”. Technically, Android Pure should be understood as an AOSP ROM without Google Apps, something practically unusable and without much sense. Thus, we will use the Pixel ROM , Google’s concept of how Android should be.
Let’s go, then, to compare, MIUI 9.5 with Android P. Yes, we know that MIUI already has its tenth beta version , but we wanted to do it with MIUI 9 for its popularity, and with the beta of Android P that has been with us for quite some time and is very, very polished.
MIUI vs Android Pure, to the detail
In Android Stock
What better to start with the first thing we see when unlocking our device, the launcher. In the case of Google, we have a launcher that advocates adaptive icons , and as you can see, the appearance is quite uniform. The applications are adapted to the type of icons that we have selected, and we can add elements at will, in the position that we want.
Regarding the Google feed, shows us information about everything that you think is relevant to us . If it is not, we can tell Google that the card does not interest us, and you will immediately learn that this type of content should not be shown to us. A few years ago, the Google Now page was a badly optimized hell with lag . To this day, the fluency of this page is remarkable, and the consumption of resources is minimal.
In the case of MIUI, we find a launcher very similar to the one with iOS devices . There is no application box, the standard row is only 4 icons, and Allows apps to automatically line up when moved , so there are no gaps.
The problem comes in that We found quite inconsistent with the applications, at the design level . We have to search for a specific theme to unify the design of all the apps, since some appear with another line of design, size … Not adopting 100% Material Design standards creates problems, and this is one of them .
The left panel of the MIUI Launcher is quite powerful at the functional level. We find fully configurable shortcuts, cards to write notes, calendar … MIUI 10 is trying something more similar to Google Now with personalized suggestions of information, but for now, this is the information that is displayed.
The panel of Xiaomi ends up being little useful, since the magic of a direct access is in having it accessible – pure logic -. Accessing a secondary panel is somewhat unintuitive, which we just do not do.
Despite its potential, I have to say that, personally, I have not used this panel ever . Google Now is interesting for me to see news quickly, however, when I want to access an app I do it from the launcher, not from a secondary page.
In Android Stock
Another of the basic aspects in a phone, is the settings menu. Google is committed to minimalism, the material interface, and a powerful search engine . At the design level, we think it is much superior to MIUI 9, basically, because this other menu has been almost unnumbered for years, leaving some aspects with the same interface that we saw from Android Lollipop.
The search engine, as we said, is much more powerful than MIUI . We have done several tests, and we leave you with a couple of graphic examples so you can see it for yourself.
When writing the keyword battery , Android P shows us a lot of adjustments related to this aspect . The same goes for any other keyword. In the case of MIUI, it does not offer us only results, or in the most extreme cases, it may end up showing absolutely nothing about what we are looking for.
Regarding the MIUI settings menu, although it is more complete, It is much more complex and less intuitive than the other Android ROMs . We have too many sub-sections within the main sections, and to find some basic options, we have to do too many laps.
The premise is basic, do not do in two steps what you can do in one. While MIUI is more feature-rich, it’s too tedious to get to some of them if you’re not an expert user.
Some will argue that they prefer to have this overload of options, but It is never good to take two steps to do something you could do in one , so MIUI should readjust its settings to offer its extra functions, but without dizzy both the user.
When we want to access some aspect related to notifications, battery, development options or any other aspect that, by sheer inertia, we already know where it is in most Android ROMs. MIUI requires a learning curve that can be even fun for one more user geek , but at the same time it can be hell for the average user, who will find access to certain functions quite complicated.
In Android Stock
In relation to what we told you before, as you know, the battery menu is one of the most consulted on Android . In the case of the Google ROM, at a glance, and after intuitively pressing in the section of battery , we access the time of use, battery saving, percentage activation … If we want to access the graphic, we have to access it with the menu icon.
In MIUI, by giving battery , we accede to a parco menu in which it shows us the options of Energy , Y saving apps in the background . We must give Energy , to access a visual menu, which shows the time of use, battery temperature, amperage of the same, as well as options to activate such as the saving mode -which is duplicated in its translation into Spanish-.
If we want to see the graphs or screen time, we have to take another step further. After having given Energy and access the battery screen, we should go to use of the battery . East, divides its use in Applications and Hardware , being in this last menu the processes of screen, spending in wait, inactive telephone, and WiFi. If we want to see screen time we should go to Hardware , screen .
That is to say, To see the screen time in Android Stock, we must press on the battery setting , but to see it in MIUI you have to take these steps.
4 more steps to see the screen time! Really, the MIUI settings menu regarding the battery does not add much value , and even more so taking into account the intermediate steps that must be taken to reach basic functions.
In Android Stock
While Google Pixel have some exclusive development options, the menu is still the one Google considers most appropriate for most Android phones. Here, The additions of Xiaomi . We can check if the device has the bootloader blocked or not, in the section State My Unlock . We can also adjust the optimization of the memory, as well as activate or deactivate a section called MIUI optimization whose function also seems to be to manage RAM more efficiently.
The development options are a basic pillar in Android in which MIUI has not been able to interfere too much, letting you see that the base of this ROM is still Android , and that there are certain aspects that must be respected. At interface level, they have not wanted to play too much either, which is logical considering how hidden these options are.
RAM memory management
In Android Stock
Historically, the huge consumption of RAM memory that MIUI had has been criticized a lot. It is not true that the more RAM occupied , at least, not taking it to the most radical end. Android automatically adjusts processes to keep enough RAM busy, but it is not good that the system ends up being saturated and having to close apps or slow down because of not being able to manage RAM well , something that happened generations ago.
Although it does not make sense to talk about exact figures, since the consumption of RAM varies every second, according to our use, we can talk about the efficiency of it . It does not happen like a few years ago, in which MIUI barely left 100 or 200 megabytes of RAM free, with which we could barely move between apps, much less open new ones.
It is not true that Android needs to occupy 100% of RAM to work well. It is always necessary for the system to have the processes loaded, but there must be free memory so that the system does not become saturated.
MIUI manages RAM with the same efficiency as Android Stock , filling it with necessary processes, and leaving enough space for the system to move freely and be prepared to open any new application that is necessary.
In Android Stock
For the first time in the history of a Google Phone , we have the option to choose themes in this type of mobile. Nevertheless, Google’s theme system is half done . It only applies to the launcher, folders and status bar, leaving the applications and the settings menu in white, regardless of whether you have chosen the black theme.
It seems that MIUI has had some problems to bring the issues to Spain, but we are going to give you a little tip . If you change the region of your Xiaomi to India, you can access the theme application . This is one of the strongest points of MIUI, and that is that we can change the interface quite noticeably, with lots of free themes.
It’s still not completely customizable, but it’s certainly a more efficient system than Google’s, and it opens up a world of possibilities for those who want to change the interface of their phone.
In Android Stock
With the arrival of Android P, Google is closer than ever to Apple in terms of multitasking . We are faced with a series of cards arranged vertically, which now move horizontally. The main key is that we have suggestions through artificial intelligence of the applications that may interest us, according to our daily usage patterns. Gestures are also integrated with this multitasking , so we can move between apps without even touching the cards.
In MIUI we have a pretty similar interface. It is striking that we can eliminate all applications of multitasking from the first moment we opened it , while in Android Stock we can only do it when we move to the left until we reach the last application. Personally, I think this is a better design than the vertical, which is so abundant in Android . It is more visual, comfortable and fast.
The status bar is one of the most important control centers of Android. In the case of clean ROMs, this panel is quite customizable. Without unfolding, it has a row of 6 toggles , more than enough to access all the shortcuts we want in an instant.
When deploying, the configuration becomes a 3 × 3 grid, with 9 shortcuts in said panel, and another 9 add-ins to a secondary panel accessed by swiping to the left.
In the case of MIUI, the panel has a different aesthetic, that adapts according to the state of the climate, a detail . At functional level, we have a row of 4 toggles, something that may be insufficient. When expanding, we move to a 4 × 3 grid, obtaining 12 toggles without a second space. The latter is not too relevant, since practically nobody uses so many toggles in the day to day .
Everything related to notifications
Let’s talk about both systems
In Any ROM that is not MIUI -even in EMUI-, if you send a notification, it arrives , as dictates the most strict logic. The MIUI notification system is complete nonsense , which covers virtually all applications, and forces you to activate them one at a time – emerging banners, blocking screen, notification icons … – Some users tell us that they prefer it that way, since they do not want to receive notifications.
No offense, 99% of users who use their mobile to find out when someone writes to them, are not at fault that a marginal percentage does not want to receive notifications , so there is no excuse for having something as well as notifications.
Even for an advanced user, it is a real hell to configure dozens of applications to show us the notifications . Systems like EMUI work in a similar, but logical way. They allow more individual control of notifications, but by default, they are activated , because when someone buys a phone, in general, they want to know about the content that comes to them.
In our opinion, notifications are too important to not give them the weight they deserve . We are not talking about layering options that nobody is going to use, or small details that we do not notice. We talk about cutting the wings of the magic of Android, the notification system , something that MIUI must nip in the bud, to be a recommendable system.
In the Google Pixel
Talking about photography on Android is talking about the Google Pixel. The Google application is more complete than many people think , and its minimalism is the cause of the good results it throws. A trigger, and the HDR options activated by default. There are several interesting options such as integration with Google Lens, or the compatibility with augmented reality stickers . As a photographer, I have to say that I am enjoying this app more than other more complex ones with manual modes and hundreds of options.
If I like something from the MIUI camera, it’s its good functioning and its exquisite interface . On a personal level, it seems to me an outstanding, intuitive design that makes clear what you are playing at each moment.
For the obsessed of the manual mode, we have it, so we can adjust all the parameters of our photographs without any problem.
Conclusions and final reflection
Leaving aside personal tastes, and posing the purest objectivity, it is simply impossible to define that one system is better than another . At the performance level, as long as the hardware and optimization accompanies, we talk about the two most fluid experiences of Android . Both Google and Xiaomi take great care in the section on latency, so that everything runs smoothly and in line with expectations.
On the one hand, the minimalism of Android Stock facilitates updates, consistency in performance, experience smooth … On the other hand, MIUI has applications that provide a lot of added value , the design, although it does not follow the lines of Google, is quite careful, and good performance is a basic pillar.
Personally and personally, I would recommend MIUI over Android Pure to average users , if not for the section of notifications. Today, the mobile that I recommend most to friends, family and users of the blog is Redmi 5 Note, and I always get the same message: I do not receive notifications on this phone. After a few minutes of completely unnecessary configuration everything is arranged , but it is an action that we should not have to perform.
Android Stock is a wonder, but forces you to download third-party applications to perform certain basic functions , and if you are one of those users who do not know how to choose what you download, you will end up with a Pure Android ROM full of junk apps – you can not imagine how much I see this in the Xiaomi Mi A1 -.
As usual, on Android is the power of choice . I am a user of a Google Pixel, I value the work that the great G does with Android, and I consider that these are the lines to follow. Nevertheless, MIUI is a great option , my environment is full of Xiaomi phones, and I will continue to recommend these devices with my eyes closed.