MIUI V5: The Vanilla Purist's non-Vanilla Dream.
"Nexus or nothing!"
"Friends don't let friends buy non-Nexus Android phones."
These are just a few of the smart-phone mantras of mine. I've got three of the four Nexus phones (never had an S) and a handful of Galaxy S phones which all ran Cyanogenmod or similar. I really like stock android, and especially since 4.0 being released (Duarte on the scene), I have found it just short of painful to use any Android flavour other than the stock vanilla experience coming out of Mountain View, Ca.
However, there's been one version of the delicious mobile operating system that's always been in the corner of my mind: MIUI (pronounced however-the-heck-you-want). MIUI, developed by Chinese electronics company, Xiaomi, is essentially a modified version of android akin to the likes of TouchWiz (Nature UI), Motoblur, etc. However, where MIUI differs from the rest is that it's really, really well executed - the design is impeccable and it can be said that the functionality of MIUI is greater than that of stock Android (even now).
With MIUI v5, the developers have outdone themselves. I was lucky enough to find some screenshots comparing MIUI v4 and MIUI v5. Unfortunately, no high-res shots yet, since the OS isn't set to hit the scene until March 1.
Dialer and Phone
Yes, it's a T9 dialer, and it's really attractive. Granted, I liked the photos in v4, but right away, it's obvious what makes this version of Android so different from the other manufacturer skins out there: It's unique and not half-assed.
More of the same here with the contact list: while v4 was easily recognizable as Holo (which, I, by the way, love), v5 is carries its own design language with it, and it's nice, too.
I'd love to see how some of these shots of the contact cards and contacts (people) lists would look with pictures, but so far, it looks really good. Again, I love the way stock Android in its current iteration looks, but doesn't this make you want to take a spin?
There's not whole lot I can say about this that can't be said by just looking at the screenshots. It's really quite beautiful.
Coming from stock messaging on my Nexus 4 (which I love), I definitely appreciate the splash of color. The lines look nice and clean, too, with none of the glossy nonsense like iOS's messaging app.
CONTROLS & MISC
I'm actually not sure what's going on here but it looks pretty...
What sets MIUI V5 apart from every other non-AOSP version of Android is that it isn't just different - it's completely different. It's almost like a whole new OS aesthetically without changing the way you interact with your phone too much. I can't wait to try it. Thoughts?
Screenshots taken from MIUIandroid.com.