MIUI MiHome Launcher review [Android]
We review ROM MIUI to see if it's an iOS-wannabe or whether it genuinely improves your Android experience
Created by Chinese studio Xiaomi Tech, this heavily customised Android OS has become popular thanks to its attractive design and sweeping navigational changes, both of which allow it stand out from other homebrew ROMs.
Although MIUI’s previously released MiLocker application allows you to use the MIUI lock screen on any Android device, until now the only way you could get the full MIUI experience was to root your phone and flash a custom ROM image - something which isn’t all that difficult, but carries inherent risks and is probably beyond the technical ability of many Android users.
Thankfully, because of Android’s ability to accept custom application launchers, you can now give your handset a MIUI face-lift using MiHome. This launcher basically gives your phone an entirely new visual appeal, as well as changing a few other things. However, unlike a custom ROM, it doesn’t tinker too much with the underlying OS - you still have the same dialer, same messaging app and same applications as before.
One of the first things you will notice when you load up MiHome for the first time is that your application drawer has vanished. This is one of MIUI’s biggest changes, and makes it feel more akin to Apple’s iOS. Instead of having your apps on a separate screen, they are spread out over several home screens, just like on the iPhone.
Whether or not you can cope with this will ultimately decide how much you like MiHome; it’s a pretty sweeping change from the stock Android interface and many staunch Google fans dislike MIUI because of it. However, in many ways it makes more sense, and allows you to be a little more selective with how your apps are grouped.
The downside is that it takes an awful lot of management to get things just as you want them. There’s no way of automatically sorting apps into alphabetical order, so expect to spend your first half an hour with MiHome dragging app icons around until they are in an arrangement you’re happy with.
Also included with MiHome is the aforementioned MiLocker, which gives you alternative lock screens. Some of these are pretty creative, and there’s a vast repository of user-created lock screens available for download from within the launcher itself. You can, of course, choose to disable MiLocker entirely and use your default lock screen instead. MiHome also grants access to a wide variety of home screen and lock screen wallpapers.