I tried OxygenOS 13 and was afraid of everything

OxygenOS 13 is here. Well, of course. OnePlus released the OxygenOS 13 open beta for the OnePlus 10 Pro on August 9, giving users an opportunity to get an early glimpse of what the future of OnePlus software looks like.

Android betas are always an exciting thing, but especially high is the amount of concern surrounding OnePlus on Android 13. Ever since OnePlus found deeper integration with Oppo, the software on OnePlus phones has found itself in a different place. For years, OxygenOS has been known for being fast, lightweight, and free of unwanted clutter. But when the OnePlus 10 Pro came out with OxygenO 12, it was clear that OnePlus was ready for another approach.

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

In February 2022, OnePlus promised that OxygenOS 13 would “retain the individual visual design” and return to the stock UI. And at its OnePlus 10T launch event earlier this month, OnePlus spent a lot of time affirming to fans that it was listening to feedback, taking notes, and was ready to do things right.

Now that I’ve had to use OxygenOS 13, it’s clear that none of this is true.

Slow, heavy, clunky interface

With OxygenOS 11 and earlier versions, the OnePlus software looked and felt like a stock version of Android. OxygenOS 12 has moved away from the minimal approach, in favor of a heavier and clunkier element design. Unfortunately, OxygenOS 13 only goes further in this direction.

OnePlus says OxygenOS 13 has been upgraded with its “Quantum Animation 4.0” and that much of the UI is inspired by water/nature. More accurately, OxygenOS 13 is — for all intents and purposes — the colorOS software used on Oppo phones. This is seen with redesigned Quick Settings panels, app drawers, clock and calculator apps, etc. Everywhere you look, OxygenOS 13 is a shell of its predecessor.

But it’s not just a matter of aesthetic preferences. While I personally prefer the simple design of OxygenOS 11 and earlier versions, OxygenOS 13 also feels worse. He especially feels numb signs.

When you go home after using the app, an animation shows the app floating back to your home – something every Android phone does. But the animation on Oxygen 13 is extended to be noticeably longer than on Oxygen 12 and 11. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it adds an extra beat for no apparent reason. The on-screen fingerprint sensor animation takes even longer to load, and when you unlock the phone, a slower animation plays to get you back home. There are many small things that give Oxygen 13 a sense of gravity. This was already a problem in OxygenOS 12, and OxygenOS 13 only makes it worse.

And, of course, there are more drastic UI changes. Notification shade/quick settings now open full screen. In addition, the Strategic Settings program has received a significant overhaul. I like the rotating sun that adjusts the brightness when you adjust it, and the two large/rectangular toggles are a nice touch to be able to control. But then again, OnePlus clearly favors maximalism over minimalism. Now the media player is now able to display whatever audio is playing on your phone. It’s there when you’re listening to something, but even when you’re not, it’s still there — you’re just taking up valuable space for no reason.

OxygenOS 13 also introduces new interfaces for the clock, file, calculator and note apps. They’re not completely removed from their OxygenOS 12 versions, but they all look a bit chunkier.

But, most important of all, OxygenOS 13 has the famous “1+” easter egg from the calculator app. If you want to take the simple route that OnePlus is aiming for with the Oxygen 13, there you go.

A feather load at its best

And that’s how OxygenOS 13 looks. The update also adds a host of new features to OnePlus phones. They may find something useful, but in my little testing, I’ve tried to get what I’ve been trying to get.

The 'special features' page in OxygenOS 13, showing all the different features for the software.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

One such feature is the Smart Sidebar. Similar to those available on Samsung and Motorola phones, the Smart Sidebar allows you to access customizable tools and app shortcuts from the edge of your desktop. You can add a screenshot tool, a button in the comments, transfer the screen, and any app you want. It also doesn’t seem to limit how many you can add to the Smart Sidebar. It seems pretty, right?

Unfortunately, it’s a weird trick to the Smart Sidebar. If you open an app from it, the application always opens as a “flexible window” – another new feature in OxygenOS 13. Flexible windows allows you to open apps in a small window on top of whatever else you have on your phone. You can browse Reddit with a small Twitter window on top of it, watch a full-screen YouTube video with an Instagram window on top, etc.

It’s fine, but I haven’t found flexible windows to be more useful than the standard Android split screen feature. In addition, it is forced to open apps as a flexible window from the Smart Sidebar selection. You can turn a flexible window into a full-screen app, but only after hitting another button — removing the convenience the Smart Sidebar would have otherwise had.

There is also a new thing called Quick Return. In Oxygen. 13, OnePlus describes Quick Return as a feature that allows you to “tap a tile to return to an app in full screen or a floating window.” The program gives two examples, such as a ride-hailing app after calling a car or when you die in a game and wait for a respawn. In these scenarios, Quick Return lets you do other activities with your phone, keep an eye on what’s happening, and jump to the app you need. Consultation? My OnePlus 10 Pro shows that none of my apps are compatible with Redi.

As you dig through OxygenOS 13, you’ll also get a new Kid Space, Simple Mode, and a revamped Work System Balance. On the other hand, it is great for adding new functions to your device. But there are so many of these features that I would completely ignore in everyday use. There are no bad or bad things about it, but also like OnePlus feels OxygenOS 13 with features just for the sake of it.

Not addressing any of Oxygen’s 12 problems

More than anything else, that’s what bothers me the most about Oxygen. 13 His failure to address the complaints at Oxygen 12 which were many.

You still can’t edit individual app icons with the default launcher, touch sensitivity doesn’t work with the app drawer and notifications on the wraparound, and it’s still constantly popping up with prompts to consent to use when you open almost every feature/proposal. first If there is anything about Oxygen.

A quick word in Omoji

Finally, I need to say something about Omoji. It is exactly what it sounds like. Omoji are cartoon characters that you can create in OxygenOS 13 that are animated using facial expressions from the front camera. You can change your Omoji’s skin, head, hair, eyes, nose, hat, glasses, etc.

Omoji in Oxygen published an- 13
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Not only the concept of Omoji like Memoji on iOS, but the interface to create a single look identical to Apple implementation. Seriously. According to it, it is almost impossible to tell the two apart.

1 & # 39, ve Gotta give OnePlus / Oppo credit where it believes it from – this is the most obvious Memoji rip off 1 & 39, ve ever pic.twitter.com/E4YQjRSsd1

ecfata; Joe Maring (@JoeMaring1) August 10, 2022

Making it even more funny is the implementation of Omoji. Face tracking with the 10 Pro front camera is bad, you can only use Omoji for always on your display, and the option in the Settings app to make your Omoji appear and disappear randomly with no rhyme or reason. The whole thing is quite incredible.

OxygenOS, as you know, is not

They are very beautiful OnePlus, all these impressions after two days with Oxygen 13 beta. OnePlus has outlined a number of known bugs in the community forum, and more will likely be found — and fixed — in the coming weeks.

OxygenOS 12 and ColorOS 12 Home screens.
Oxygen 12 (right) and ColorOS 12 (left) Andy Boxall / Digital trends

But my biggest issues with Oxygen. 13 do nothing with the bugs. My issues lie with the central idea of ​​Oxygen 13. From various UI changes, to slow animations, to a bunch of ambiguous things, there’s nothing to take away from what made me fall in love with Oxygen in the first place.

It’s no fun writing 1400 (mostly negative) words about OnePlus’ big software update of the year, which is such a huge failure. But, unfortunately, this is where we are. We always saw this coming when OnePlus and Oppo announced their merger. I’m not surprised that OxygenOS 13 is coming, but as a die-hard OnePlus fan after the days of the OnePlus One, it also feels like losing an old friend. Yes, and I hate it.

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