Google released Android earlier this week and in a welcome change – a full host of smartphones is compatible with beta versions of the update. OnePlus previously announced an Android 11 developer preview in the month, but has now joined the party with an open beta for Oxygen OS 11 for OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro.
I have been running a beta for OnePlus 8 for the past one week. By doing this I realized all the changes coming to Android 11 as well as Oxygen OS 11. I expected what I would do.
However, the open beta leaves an extra layer of polish. Here’s a look at all the new features coming to Oxygen OS 11 with Android 11 on OnePlus 8.
A new look Oxygen OS: familiar yet fresh
I’ll be honest, the improved interface in Oxygen OS 11 already threw me off. As a OnePlus user for a long time, I’ve become accustomed to the way things are done.
come to know, majority of Changes are for the better. The most obvious change is the OnePlus Sans font and it goes far beyond Roboto. The thinner and cleaner typeface uses significantly wider spacing to reduce visual clutter.
As a fan of minimalism, the typeface really sat well with me and I became accustomed to it quickly enough. I went into doubt about readability from afar, but it was a non-issue.
Most UI changes are designed to make one-handed use easier.
Another major change is the abundant use of white space. In the back of our recent interview with Sam Twist, Senior Product Manager at OnePlus, he explained that this meant one-handed use improvement.
I did not see a huge advantage over the regular OnePlus 8. On the other hand, a tall phone like the OnePlus 8 Pro will also benefit fully from increasing the interface. Having an initial touchpoint about halfway through the large display makes it very easy to tap and scroll through the settings screen.
This same design idea extends to the magazine-style refreshed gallery app, though the effect is not quite so pronounced. OnePlus also claims that Oxygen OS 11 uses AI to capture the best pictures to display in larger sizes.
If you don’t shoot many pictures, the wasted space may come off as a bit off-put. That said, the ability to quickly share images from the camera app without having to dive into the gallery is a nifty addition to Oxygen OS 11.
Likewise, I’m not really convinced of the change in the Weather app. This is the kind of app where users want to pop in notifications, and get involved in their work. OnePlus has done a good job of maintaining continuity of design across the board but comes at the cost of usability.
Ironically, my favorite design change is probably the most subtle of them all. You no longer need to drag the full notification shade to access the brightness bar. A single swipe gives you access to the main toggle and lets you adjust the brightness level of the screen. best.
From brightness to dark, the integrated dark mode can now be set to trigger at sunset or a custom time.
New Features for Android 11
In other major changes, OnePlus has After all Always displayed on display. It is coupled with 11 different design options, which gives you lots of ways to customize it. I opted for one of the more information dense options.
Unfortunately – at least in beta releases – Always On Display is a battery hog and takes away a significant percentage of the charge overnight.
Meanwhile, OnePlus has collaborated with the Parsons School of Design for an option that shows you the number of times your phone is unlocked. There is also a visual indicator for how long you have been using your phone.
It is a nifty tie-in for Zen mode and digital welling. But for someone like me – whose day includes extended use of smartphones – this was not the most intuitive option.
Talking about Zen mode, there have been improvements here as well. I often use the digital detox-style feature when I have a deadline and I really don’t want to bother with the app’s notifications. The productivity feature locks access to all apps except the camera. It will not allow any notification other than phone calls.
Read more: OnePlus Interview – Behind the Scenes with Controversial Oxygen OS 11 Update
Around this time, Zen mode can be configured for intervals starting at one minute and going all the way up to 120 minutes. Additionally, you can create a room and invite friends using a OnePlus phone for a collaborative phone detox session.
While the former worked as expected, I cannot imagine myself using all of the latter – if ever. Additionally, OnePlus has added three new themes to the app.
In addition to all the custom enhancements to Oxygen OS, the upgrade also gets some – but not all – of the features Google introduced with Android 11. In the case at hand, it appears that OnePlus has not yet enabled the new Quick Settings music player. However, you get chat bubbles for supported apps.
Oxygen OS 11 enjoys some useful upgrades to Android 11.
There are still early days for Oxygen OS 11, with the final release expecting more changes and fine-tuning. That said, I like most of the tweaks here. Apart from the lack of new music player in Notification Shadow, the release is a step in the right direction.
Despite concerns raised by a vocal group of enthusiasts, changes to Oxygen OS 11 are mostly for the better. It manages a fine balance between bringing in new features and finely connecting the interface for ease of use.
What are your favorite Oxygen OS 11 features? Let us know in the comments section.