OnePlus has not only announced the fantastic new OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro smartphones but also given the OxygenOS software a fresh coat of paint and some rather interesting new features, most of which will also be available to existing OnePlus phone users too. There are performance optimizations, visual tweaks, enhanced network support and customization options. These will be a part of the OxygenOS that runs on the new OnePlus 8 phones out of the box, but most of these will also be rolled out to existing OnePlus phones, including the OnePlus 7T series and the OnePlus 7 series, if not already.
First things first, there can be no compromise on performance. OnePlus says they have made as many as 280 tweaks under-the-hood to improve the performance of the Android 10 based OxygenOS to make everything faster. One of the changes are the redone animations, which OnePlus had referred to in the OnePlus 8 launch presentation as well. They will not only look better on the 120Hz refresh rate display of the OnePlus 8 Pro but should theoretically feel faster across the board as well on all phones. Navigation gestures have been simplified too.
Have you also read?
There are deeper customization options as well. And not just the theme, but things such as accent colour with advanced settings for AMOLED Wide Gamut, sRGB and Display P3.
Faster download speeds on mobile are being achieved with what OnePlus calls Dual-channel download acceleration. You can enable this to simultaneously use the mobile data as well as the Wi-Fi connection to speed up things. And as always, the OnePlus phones will also be able to smartly switch between a 3G/4G/5G connection and Wi-Fi, depending on which offers better connectivity at the time.
OxygenOS also gets the Dark Theme 2.0—it is the universal dark mode that OnePlus users wanted, and it is compatible with even more apps. We all love the dark mode, don’t we? There will also be dynamic wallpapers that shift colour tones based on what OnePlus calls “current outdoor temperature conditions.”
One feature that is expected to remain exclusive to the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro for the time being is the ability to call out to Amazon Alexa, the virtual assistant, on their phones. You still need to download the Alexa app on the phone, but once it is there, you can all out to Alexa to open apps, make phone calls and more, all with voice commands.
Smart SMS manager is quite relevant in these times when we are inundated with spam and promotional messages every single day. This new SMS inbox will automatically categorize all messages (such as OTP, Transactional and Promotional), and perform quick actions, namely copying OTP codes or calling numbers sent in those messages. There is categorization of up to 39 types of messages, including tickets, bills and bank messages.
Work-Life balance is something that most people cannot get the hang of. And in way to make themselves feel better, they tend to profess that it is all nonsense and that work is life and whatnot. OnePlus doesn’t believe that. The OxygenOS lets you assign your apps for what is a Work mode and also for what is a Life mode. These can be enabled automatically with triggers such as detected location, Wi-Fi networks you are connected to, and/or a predefined schedule. You can define what notifications you want at what time of the day. You will be able to turn off notifications for work apps (including emails and instant messages) for the after-office hours, for instance. Priceless.
How can we forget the Cricket Card 2.0 feature! These are cricket scores on the Shelf. Users can now customize this card to add their favorite teams and access the scores quickly by simply swiping right on the home screen.
Even though OnePlus had listed the Zen Mode as a separate app on the Google Play Store late last year, it still retains the specific importance of weaning you away from your phone and giving you time to contemplate life. You can set this for specific duration breaks, during which you’ll not be able to waste time on apps—only features available are calling and the camera for photos.
OnePlus is also bundling 100GB worth of Google One storage (that’s for your Drive, Photos and Gmail) with the new OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro phones. This bundled space will be yours for three months, after which you can choose to pay to continue or revert to the default 15GB free space that Google offers. Not entirely sure if 3 months really is a long enough time.