Most people have been raving about the specs and the price of the Xiaomi Mi 3. However, one of the most notable features of the phone is also its interface, the MIUI. Although we are stubborn fans of stock Android, we must confess to being very impressed by Xiaomi’s overlay, which so far has not only not shown any sign of slowing down the device (as many others tend to do) but also comes with a stack of features that we really would not mind seeing in the official Android either. Here are our ten favourite MIUI features that we would love to see not just in Android, but other mobile OSes too:
1. Activate torch from the lockscreen
This is incredibly common sense. No more scrabbling around in settings to find the torch. Just long press the home button when in lock screen mode. Take your finger off the home button to switch it off.
2. Built in QR Code Scanner in the camera
Once again, common sense at its best. No need to download a separate QR Code scanner app – the camera can also act as a QR Code scanner. It switches to scanner mode the moment you point it at a QR code. Very nice indeed.
3. Swipe down on Note to get a new Note
The MIUI does have a handy notes app, but if all you want to do is quickly start writing a note, just swipe downwards from the Notes app icon and up will pop a fresh new note. Simple, fast, effective. Works with the music app too, where a swipe down from the icon leads to a smaller version of the app popping up on to the screen, but we loved the application in notes.
4. Hold an icon with one hand, swipe with another
Uber cool, we think. Unlike in other phones where moving app or shortcut icons means holding them down with a finger and dragging them across different screens until you come to the right one, here all you need to do is use one finger to hold on to the icon and switch screens with the other. Elementary, really.
5. Simpler cleaning up of apps running in the background
A long press of the multitasking button will show you all the apps running in the background. Yes, that’s routine enough. What’s not routine is the broom icon in the middle that lets you shut all of them down by a simple tap. Want to keep a few apps running? Just drag them down to ‘lock’ them.
6. Lock the phone when it’s in your pocket
There is actually a setting in the display menu which asks you if you would like to prevent ‘pocket dials’ (accidental calls and responses when the phone is in your pocket). And yes, it works too.
7. Double tap lock screen to start music player
Want to access the music player from the lockscreen? Just tap the central icon (from which you swipe in different directions to access different features such as telephone, messaging, camera and unlocking the screen) and the music player will appear. As simple as that.
8. Connection speed right in the notification bar
One of the problems of Internet connectivity in India is that one does not really know the actual speed at which one is accessing the Internet. In the MIUI, you get your browsing speed right in the notification bar. Very handy.
9. Private message area
A very neat touch once again. One of the problems with most text/SMS apps is that they show all your messages together, even those you would rather others did not see. In the MIUI, you just need to pull down for a while on the top message to enter the private messaging area where you can keep messages which you do not want others to see. You can also restrict access to this via password.
10. Music pauses when you disconnect the headphone
Incredibly simple and yet it’s amazing how so many manufacturers actually miss out on this. If you are listening to music on your headset, pulling it out or disconnecting it over Bluetooth pauses it automatically.