OxygenOS is one of the best implementations of Android currently available. Instead of offering a heavily customized interface like its Chinese rivals, OnePlus has kept things simple, adding a few differentiating features on top of a vanilla user interface. There are enough tweaks and gestures that let you customize your experience, but the focus is on performance.
OnePlus baked new functionality into OxygenOS for the OnePlus 6, and made a few tweaks to existing features that increase their usefulness. Let's take a look at what sets the custom skin apart.
OxygenOS comes with a set of nifty gestures that let you perform certain actions with ease. The three-finger swipe down gesture to take a screenshot is an elegant solution to the default way of taking a screenshot, and you can also control music playback and launch apps with gestures.
One of my favorites is the gesture that lets you take a photo by long pressing on the camera sensor. It comes in handy if you tend to take self-portraits with the rear camera.
Starting this year, OxygenOS picked up navigation gestures that are akin to what you'd find on the iPhone X. The gestures allow you to get rid of the navigation bar — freeing up screen real estate — and offer a more intuitive way of navigating the interface.
Reading Mode made its debut last year with the OnePlus 5, and is one of my favorite features on OxygenOS. Like Night Mode, the feature automatically calibrates the color temperature of the display, making it conducive to reading.
Instead of switching to warmer colors, Reading Mode creates a monochrome effect that's great for reading text. You can activate the mode manually or set it to automatically launch for specific apps. For instance, if you have the Kindle app installed on your OnePlus 6, you can enable Reading Mode to launch automatically whenever you open the app, leaving the rest of the user interface unchanged.
OnePlus rolled out a Gaming DND mode last year, and with the OnePlus 6 the mode is getting an overhaul and a new name — Gaming Mode.
Activating Gaming Mode silences all incoming notifications with the exception of calls and alarms. The feature also prioritizes network traffic for games, limiting how much bandwidth background apps can use. There's also an option to lock in screen brightness so it doesn't change during a gaming session.
Gaming Mode also offers a battery saver option that's designed to maximize battery life by reducing the screen resolution while gaming.
Schedule Do Not Disturb
The Alert Slider has been a mainstay on OnePlus devices since the OnePlus 2, and this year the feature is getting an update that makes it easier to use. With the OnePlus 6, you can use the Alert Slider to toggle between ring, vibrate, and silent modes, with DND getting its own set of options.
During the OnePlus 6 launch, the company announced that it would add the ability to schedule Do Not Disturb mode, and OxygenOS 5.1.6 adds an option to do just that.
You'll finally be able to set up custom rules for Do Not Disturb, and configure a preset time so it kicks in automatically — no more toggling the Alert Slider every night.
OnePlus introduced Face Unlock late last year, and it's safe to say that the manufacturer's implementation is one of the fastest around.
The face unlock feature relies on over 100 data points to verify your facial features, and while the feature isn't as secure as the fingerprint sensor — OnePlus says as such while you're setting it up — it is a convenient way to unlock your phone.
Selfie portrait mode and Light Bokeh
The OnePlus 6 has a dedicated camera sensor at the back that facilitates portrait mode, but if you're one to take a lot of selfies, the feature is now available on the front camera as well.
Starting with OxygenOS 5.1.6, you'll be able to use portrait mode with the front camera. Edge detection for the front camera isn't as fine-tuned as there's a single sensor up front, but the feature offers an easy way to get a blur effect with your selfies.
The 5.1.6 build also introduces a Light Bokeh mode that creates light patterns when you use portrait mode with the rear camera. You'll be able to choose from various patterns — stars and hearts — and the feature adds those patterns in the background of your portraits.
Shelf is located to the left of the home screen, and gives you a quick overview of the date, time, and weather information for your current location, along with a list of your frequent contacts and recently-used apps.
There's also the option to add widgets to the Shelf, and you can add or remove modules as needed.
OxygenOS comes with a built-in app locker that provides an added layer of safety to your private data, whether it's photos stored in the gallery, or social networking apps. You'll be able to add any app to the locker, and select whether their notification content is visible.
Apps secured using the locker will need a PIN or fingerprint authentication.
The Lift-up display gives you easy access to the clock and time widgets, as well as incoming notifications. You'll be able to choose from several clock faces, and set a display message on the screen.
There's also the option to wake the screen for new notifications, and you can invoke the "Ok Google" hotword to launch Assistant even when the screen is off.
OxygenOS allows you to customize the LED notification light for various actions. There's the option to select from eight colors for default notifications, battery full indicator, battery charging, and battery low. You can also select which apps trigger the LED notification light.
As we're on the subject of notifications, OxygenOS lets you choose from five custom vibration patterns for incoming calls.
Bonus: Quick Pay for India
India is OnePlus' largest market, and the company built a feature that's exclusive to local customers. Dubbed Quick Pay, it allows customers to launch directly into Paytm's payment window easily. You'll be able to access Paytm by long pressing the fingerprint sensor, and it works even when the screen is off.
Paytm is the largest digital wallet service in India by some margin, and with digital transactions on the rise, giving customers the ability to quickly access Paytm's payments page is a nifty addition.
What OxygenOS features do you like the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Updated June 2018: This article was rewritten to reflect changes to OxygenOS on the OnePlus 6.
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