My take on OxygenOS

Today I flashed the new OxygenOS ROM by OnePlus, made specifically for the OnePlus One. I wasn't satisfied.

OxygenOS is very much like stock Android. Too much like stock Android. I mean, it's not bad or unfunctional, it's beautiful, blazingly fast, much more reactive than CM11S, much more than what I thought was possible, but aside from that it's a little more than AOSP Lollipop and a lot less than CM11S with a better UI/UX.

It's odd that the same company which sold devices equipped with Cyanogenmod developed this ROM. It's not even nearly as customizable as Cyanogenmod, it's a ROM more than good for a normal user, who wants its phone to just work, but it doesn't satisfy the needs of the majority of geek users who bought the OPO.

Yes, I read that the main goal of OxygenOS is to be an essential, unbloated, ROM. Well, it turns out that many of the features they dropped from CM11 were neither unessential nor bloatware. Moreover, I think not-mandatory customization can't be enlisted as unneccessary, but that's only my opinion.

Even more unsatisfactory is the annoiyingly long time the OnePlus team took to develop (develop?) this ROM. The first announce dates back to mid-December, thus it's almost five months to release a ROM which major features (as advertised by OnePlus itself) aren't anything new.

Let's see them:

  • Screen-off gestures

    As seen on CM11S and CM12 (and to me, pretty buggy but I haven't tested that feature on OxygenOS, so who knows)

  • Customization

    With customizable lockscreen wallpapers and the ability to switch between hardware and software navigation keys, OxygenOS allows you to make your phone distinctly yours.

    (emphasis mine)

    What? Really? Customizable lockscreen wallpapers? What a revolution! Switchable hardware/software buttons? Never seen before on a One! Really worth the wait, folks (irony also mine).

    But there's more: I can't set, like in my previous ROM (CM11), the same wallpaper for both the home and the lockscreen. Funny enough, the option to do it is present, but doesn't work. So lovely!

  • Quick settings

    With our new quick settings feature, tiles can be added, removed, and re-organized with the click of a button, and it blends beautifully right into the notification tray's UI. It just makes sense.

    Oh, well, something quite different. Unfortunately, that feature is not quite sleek and functional as advertised. Yes, it looks good, but it works meh.

    This is the interface, you tap to hide/show, drag to reorder.


    Can you guess how these icons will look after I confirm? Neither I (spoiler).

    And those ten buttons are not even close to the tens of buttons you can configure on CM (oh, didn't I tell you? You can customize the quick settings also on CM, and you understand what you're doing).

Recapping, of the 3 "top features", 3 are not new stuff on the OPO, 3 comes also with CM, 0.5 is buggy, and 1 doesn't work as well as on the CM.

Disappointing, I'd say.

What's more disappointing is they delayed the release date more than once. One could think they were packing OxygenOS with coolness, but I can't see how the three things above took 4 months to add to the AOSP release which dates back to January.

I don't think the entire OnePlus software team coded for five months for this. And the reactivity of the ROM hints that I'm right.

So why advertise those sluggish features as the best part of OxygenOS? Is it a marketing fail or a development fail?

I don't know, but I'm flashing CM12 right now...