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Xiaomi makes speed and battery life the priority in new MIUI 7 Android skin

Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi has launched MIUI 7, its own user interface that’s placed over the top of Android on its devices. Introduced by Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s head of international projects, the MIUI 7 event was held in New Delhi, India — showing the importance of the growing market for Xiaomi. MIUI is used by more than 150 million people in 156 countries around the world.

According to Barra, the company had been asked to improve battery life and overall performance with MIUI 7, and he claims the company has achieved this. App startup time has been reduced, as has the time spent on animation and launcher response, resulting in MIUI 7 being 30-percent faster than previous versions. The video below shows the speed difference between MIUI 6 and MIUI 7, and it’s instantly noticeable.

Turning its attention to battery life, Xiaomi has spent time optimizing the way apps and system resources use power, which it says will extend the battery by around three hours a day for the average user. That sounds ambitious, and something that other manufacturers only achieve using low power modes. It’ll be interesting to see how it performs.

Related: Xiaomi announces the Redmi Note 2

Xiaomi also made a big deal over the level of customization, a long time benefit of MIUI. In version 7, there are four different main themes from which to choose, but if you’re not happy with those, there are many more to be discovered in Xiaomi’s theme store. Its Muse app can be used to create your own themes too.

Other features include tighter integration with the Mi Band fitness tracker, where it’ll automatically switch the phone to Do Not Disturb when the band goes into sleep mode. Showtime is an unusual feature that adds a five-second looping video to your contact card, that can be sent to new friends with your number.

A Child Mode keeps sensitive information safe from little fingers, and limits their use to a pre-approved selection of apps, while the gallery automatically groups baby photos into one place, and can cycle the latest ones on the lock screen. Finally, there’s a new XXL Text mode, that increases the size of a font without ruining the style or layout, and the addition of Opera Max and its Data Saver mode to reduce data consumption.

Xiaomi will release MIUI 7 as a developer ROM on August 24, and it can be flashed to the following Xiaomi phones: the Mi 3, Mi 4, Mi 4i, Redmi Note 3G and 4G, plus the Redmi 1S and the Redmi 2.