Xiaomi has already started rolling out MIUI 8 stable ROM to its devices through OTA updates. While MIUI 7 brought in lot of performance improvements & power saving features to MIUI, MIUI8 brings in cool features like second space, dual apps, quick ball, scrolling screenshots, video editing etc. to MIUI fans. Also, there has been feature additions and design overhauls to Gallery, Camera, Dialler, Notification shade, Calculator, Notes and Battery saver.
With second space, you can create another user profile/workspace in your phone with its own mi account, google account, wallpaper, home screen, apps, files, photos etc. with completely different device settings from the primary workspace. In a nutshell, second space allows you to have two profiles say one for official use and another one for personal use on the same device.
You can setup different pass-codes or fingerprints to access the primary and secondary space directly from the lock screen. You can also switch between these two spaces any time by authenticating with the passcode or fingerprint. After creating a second space, you can import photos, files, apps from first space. You can also download apps separately from second space later. Finally, second space also allows you to export contacts, photos and files to first space.
Dual apps feature is a boon to dual-sim smartphones which unlocks the limitation of setting up two different user accounts for a given app on the same phone. Basically it allows you to have two instances of the same app, thereby letting you to login into two different accounts on the same smartphone. What it means to you is now you can have two accounts of Whatsapp, Facebook, Skype, Viber or any app on the same device.
Cloning an app is as simple as going to settings à Dual Apps and enabling dual app support for a given app which creates a fresh clone of the app immediately with its own set of data and settings. Now a different account can be added to the duplicate app. There is a clone symbol shown on the left bottom corner of the clone app’s icon for differentiating the duplicate app.
In MIUI 8, you can quickly share your favourite photos in gallery. Gently do a swipe up gesture on your picture to share it with friends using Mi Drop, Bluetooth, Email or on any social media platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook etc.
Mi Cloud Photo Sync
With MIUI 8, you can free up close to 90% of storage space utilised by high resolution photos & videos by enabling cloud photo sync. In other words, when the “optimise local storage” option is enabled, full-resolution photos on the device will be replaced with optimised versions after backup to the cloud, thereby freeing up more space in the local storage.
Now you can easily share a long article on a web page or news app to a friend with a single screenshot instead of taking multiple screenshots. So, whenever you take a screenshot using the quick toggle or keys, there is a quick thumbnail of the screenshot shown for 5 seconds towards the right top corner. Clicking on the thumbnail will allow you to scroll through the page and capture a screenshot longer that what is currently shown on the screen. Please be aware that the scrolling screenshots cannot be taken in few apps. Finally, you can crop, doodle or apply mosaic to few areas before sharing.
Redesigned Notification shade
With MIUI8, the notification drawer and quick toggle screens can be combined together into a single window which shows the quick settings on top as a single row followed by notifications below. Please be aware that the new layout may be difficult for single handed usage. For users who would still prefer the old layout, there is an option to go back to separate windows.
Quick Ball is Xiaomi’s answer to Apple’s AssistiveTouch, in Android. It is a quirky touch assistant which is a circular transparent button available on screen all time. Quick Ball is a blessing in disguise for people who prefer single-handed phone use and to users with large screen devices like the Mi Max or Redmi Note.
Quick Ball provides a fully customisable 5 gesture shortcut that pops up on tapping it. You can add your favourite app or frequent actions like Rotate Lock, Enabling WIFI, Mobile Data, Bluetooth, Screenshot, Screen Lock etc as of one of the 5 shortcuts. The quick ball can be kept anywhere close to the left of right of the screen for left handed or right handed usage.
There has been a major design overhaul with the dialer on MIUI8. With the redesigned dialler, you can now add a relevant note quickly during a call. Also, MIUI 8 is the first OS to support Hindi T9 dialer.
Caller Identification is now integrated with the native dialer app. You can instantly identify calls from popular services like Swiggy, Zomato, Domino’s Pizza and more. Using crowd-sourced information, you can now identify and avoid scam and sales calls right before answering.
You can even contribute to the community by flagging telemarketing/sales calls to the database, so that other users do not fall into their trap.
In addition to the existing calculation functions, calculator in MIUI8 now provides scientific & mortgage calculation functions and a set of handy conversion tools, thereby eliminating the need for thirty party apps once again. Conversion options include standard units like Currency, Time, Length, Volume, Temperature, Speed etc.
The Mortgage Calculation feature comes up with detailed monthly repayment information (principal, interest, balance amount) for the entire period for a given sum, period and interest rate.
Finally if you have entered a wrong number during a series of calculations, then you need not redo all the steps. Fixing the erroneous entry is as simple as clicking on the entry itself and correcting it on the fly as below.
In MIUI 8, the Notes app has been redesigned completely. A set of beautiful background templates have been added for a refreshing experience. There is a new double swipe up gesture that delete an existing note with a cool animation. For privacy, a passcode or fingerprint can be added to unlock the Notes app.
The camera interface has been given a face-lift in MIU8. The new layout and text reminds us more of the iOS camera interface. The live camera filters are no more present on a separate screen and they are now available on the same screen as a row at the bottom pretty much like 3rd party photography apps and there are new filters available as well.
Beautify feature on the front camera has two new Smart and Pro modes. While the Smart mode enhances only the skin tone and complexion, the Pro mode offers a slim feature in addition that can make your face look slimmer on a user scale of 1-10.
Image & Video Editing
Image editing in MIUI 8 has been improved with new filters and options. Now you can even doodle on your favourite picture from the image editor. Gallery now supports native video editing. You can now trim, apply video filters, add title & credits and even add custom background music to your videos right from your smartphone before sharing.
Power Saving features
MIUI 8 takes MIUI 7’s battery saver features to the next level by offering a new battery optimising app which analyses current power usage and warns user of apps consuming high battery. Needless to say, Xiaomi has been constantly replacing all 3rd party apps in your phone with their native app as part of every release. In one way this is good since there are no bloatware/ads with the native apps.
If you are not too concerned about being online all the time or receiving frequent notifications, you can go one step further and enable a new battery saver setting which disables mobile data when device is locked.
Also, the new battery saver when enabled limits chain startups which prevents unnecessary apps from starting up and in turn reduces any lag and additional power consumption. When the ultimate power saver mode is activated, it will freeze all background app activities and suspend sync, updates and background tasks which may otherwise consume additional power.
List of devices that support MIUI 8 include Redmi 1S, Redmi 2, Redmi 2 Prime, Redmi Note 3 Qualcomm, Redmi Note 3 Special Edition, Redmi Note 2, Redmi Note 3G, Redmi Note 4G, Redmi Note Prime, Redmi 3, Redmi 3S/Prime, Mi 2/2S, Mi 3, Mi 4, Mi 4i, Mi 5, Mi Note, Mi Max 32GB.