Finally…The time has come for me to discard the iPhone and iOS in favour of the Mi 4i running Android MIUI. I thought that the steady degrade of the quality of hardware and software coming from Apple would keep them ahead for at least another few years, but, Apple seems to have stepped on the gas to make sure that the original Apple experience no longer exists. With the possible exception of FaceTime, there appears to be no advantage to using an Apple device anymore.
While I had been fiddling around a variety of Android based handsets, I never found anything usable until recently. I had seen the Redmi 1s earlier and also had a brief look at the older Mi 4 and I liked what I saw overall. With the Mi 4i, the equation seems to have tilted away from iPhone and iOS.
While both iOS and MIUI have their own share of nuances and bugs, they seem to be on an equivalent level now. I like the Mi 4i hardware a lot better despite it’s 5″ size. In fact, the screen is very good as is the battery life and the overall UI/UX. I had tried the MotoG (2nd Gen) for a few months and that worked fine as well. Motorola has included some useful apps unlike the useless app cram most other Android vendors do. The Moto G experience gave me the courage to try out the new Mi 4i which is also based on the latest Android.
MIUI seems to combine the best of both worlds at a reasonable compromise. Considering that iOS devices are a commodity item now, with prices ranging from 5k to 50k, it’s no longer a premium device with a great user experience. When I compare this scenario with a Mi 4i priced around 13k, I get an equivalent UX and far more flexibility than the iPhone 6 for 1/4 of the cost.
Having used the Mi 4i for over 2 weeks, I have gone through a couple of updates, reset the handset, tried the apps that I use and have switched over from the iPhone and changed my existing nano-SIMs to Micro-SIMs. MI has a very responsive user forum and there is active work on enhancements and bug fixes unlike any other similar company. Hopefully, their service centres will improve over time as well.
I think Google should take a lesson from MI and stop talking about technology like “Material Design” and concentrate more on usability and consistency. They can also learn from Apple and not keep adding features just to be able to talk about those “new features” without making sure that the existing ROMs and apps work as expected to create a seamless user experience. I still feel that Microsoft had, and still has, the best chance of taking over this arena, but, they seem to lack direction almost completely.
On the app side, there seems to be considerable improvement on the Android end and I hope that more apps will get better on the Android systems, compared to iOS. Given the better hardware and larger screens that are quite affordable now, apps might just get better on Android systems overall. Since developers now have to cater to multiple iOS versions, it would be somewhat equivalent to catering to a couple of Android versions.
It is sad where Apple stands currently and where it seems to be headed. Having used the iPhone since the first one, it was not easy to find another device to switch to. MI with its devices running MIUI seems to have taken up the game where Steve Jobs left off.
I will share my experience of the Mi 4i and the MIUI in a later post and talk about some of the nuances and issues with it. Overall, the experience has been good so far. The only thing I dis-like about the Mi 4i is the volume and power buttons. These feel out of place with the rest of the device.
So, for now, MIUI on the Mi 4i it’s going to be…For me!