Back in November, when the OnePlus 3T launched, OnePlus’ co-founder, Carl Pei, stated in their forums that the Nougat update would come to both the OnePlus 3 and the OnePlus 3T “later in the year.” But with OnePlus’ fame for unfulfilled promises, it came as a surprise to many that on the last day of 2016, the Nougat update was rolling out to nearly all devices.
If you’ve been using the Open Beta program of Oxygen OS, then you are probably familiar with most of the features that the Nougat update brought to the table. Do keep in mind though that both the OnePlus 3 and the 3T are supposed to be two versions of the same phone and that the software experience should be exactly the same for both devices.
The OnePlus Launcher has always differentiated itself from the others by keeping a simple but yet useful design and mostly following the Material Design standards set by Google. And while its first iterations weren’t very polished, the Nougat update looks better than ever. Their distinctive “shelf” screen allows you to place as many widgets as you like while keeping them all in stylized cards that you can scroll up and down, as well as show you the weather and let you take quick notes that are available for easy access from your home screen. Of course, this isn’t that different from the Now cards that Google provides, but it is no doubt a nice adaptation of the same concept, with many advantages over Google’s approach. The more conventional pages of the OnePlus Launcher have kept their simple design, similar to Google’s Now Launcher and many others, but also letting you customize your icon pack and adding convenient gestures such as swiping down to reveal the notification panel.
The Redesigned UI
Android 7.0 Nougat brought a major redesign of the settings menu as well as the notification area among other things, and Oxygen OS has built upon these changes, always with customization in mind. You can edit the quick settings tiles from within the notification area, and you can even download your favorite ones from the Play Store. The settings app has also gotten a complete redesign as well, with the new pull-out menu that serves as a quick access to any section within the app, as well as a slightly different arrangement of the UI elements. You can change the look of the settings app if you so desire, as well as the general appearance of the interface throughout the OS by changing the “theme” under the Display options. With this update, it now lets you choose between a Light and Dark Theme aside from the Default option which resembles stock Android. The Dark Theme takes advantage of the AMOLED screen to make most of the UI appear pitch black, and thus increase battery life. Furthermore, if you choose either the Light or the Dark Theme you will be able to select an accent color from one of eight options.
Other features present in Android 7.0 Nougat such as multi-window, notification direct reply, and custom DPI support can also be found inside Oxygen OS 4.0.
As it occurs with most software upgrades, better performance and battery optimization are promised in addition to the aesthetic changes, and Oxygen OS 4.0 is no exception. The performance is excellent and I haven’t experienced any lag or overheating whatsoever—even with some of the most demanding apps. And talking about apps, OnePlus has put noticeable effort into making their stock apps look more appealing, with most of them changing their looks depending on the theme you choose, and even adding the new Weather app, with a simplistic design and beautifully crafted visuals.
However, there is one issue to note that I have experienced and apparently many others have as well. After the update, my OnePlus 3 lost all its APN connections, leaving the handset with no data or SMS connectivity. I had to manually reconnect it by adding the correct carrier addresses in the settings menu. If this affects your device, you can normally find your carrier’s APN address with a quick Google search or by contacting their support services. OnePlus has said they are aware of this issue and are working on a bug fix for the affected users.
In short, the Oxygen OS 4.0 update for the OnePlus 3 and 3T is an excellent implementation of Google’s Android Nougat features into OnePlus’ vision of what a mature operating system should feel like—one with snappy performance and plenty of customization options. There isn’t much one can complain about! Feel free to tell us your thoughts in the comments below!