Chinese device maker Xiaomi has built a reputation for offering high-quality smartphones at low prices. But that’s not the only thing that’s unusual about the company’s phones. While they run Google Android software, they also have a heavily skinned user interface called MIUI that looks something like a cross between Android and iOS.
Now the team has unveiled MIUI 7, which promises improved performance, longer battery life, and a number of new features.
MIUI 7 is available for the Redmi 1S, Remi 2, Redmi Note 3G, Redmi Note 4G, Mi 3, Mi 4, and Mi 4i smartphones. While the most recent of those phones will get a version of MIUI based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, older models will get the new user interface, but they’ll be stuck with an Android 4.4 KitKat base.
Here are a few of the things that are new in MIUI 7:
- Xiaomi has partnered with Opera to include Opera Max for data compression, enabling apps to use up to 50 percent less data.
- If you use a Mi Band fitness tracker, MIUI 7 will detect when you’re sleeping and activate do-not-disturb mode on your phone.
- Showtime lets you record a 5 second video loop that’s attached to your contact info, so when you share your contact details with another user, they’ll get the video as well as your phone number, email address, photos, etc.
- Child Mode lets you white-list apps that your kids can use on your phone.
- There’s an option for larger “XXL” text mode in many apps.
- Xiaomi’s new MUSE engine makes it easier to develop third-party MIUI themes.
- You can automatically create a “baby album” using facial recognition to save photos of your kid. Then you can create a lockscreen that automatically rotates through baby photos from that album.
Xiaomi says MIUI 7 also offers up to 30 percent faster system response time, up to 25 percent battery life (by optimizing battery consumption of popular apps while in standby mode), and optimized system app start up times.
MIUI 7 will begin rolling out to supported devices on August 24th.