OnePlus has taken the wraps off its next-gen software experience, HydrogenOS 11, in China today. It’s the Chinese version of the OxygenOS software that we have come to adore over the years. HydrogenOS 11 (or OxygenOS 11 minus Google services) is now based on Android 11 and brings a major UI overhaul, always-on display, Zen Mode 2.0, and a lot more.
The core UI changes and features will remain the same across HydrogenOS 11 (China-specific) and OxygenOS 11 (for global variants, includes Google services). So, let’s not waste any more time and take a look at all of the new features in OxygenOS 11:
New Features in OxygenOS 11
1. UI & Dark Mode Changes
As is expected of every major update, OnePlus has introduced some new UI changes in OxygenOS 11 as well. It still appears to be lightweight, smooth, and close to stock Android. The company has introduced the Helvetica font into the mix, along with new icons, ringtones, and even a set of new wallpapers. The stock Weather and Gallery app have also bagged an update with new animations and features.
Note: Download the OxygenOS 11 stock wallpaper right here
OxygenOS 11 also improves on the existing dark mode – not only for regular users but also for the visually impaired. The new dark mode will apply different shades of black across the UI to offer a more pleasant viewing experience. It is now also Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0-certified to offer a more uniform and comfortable dark mode experience to visually impaired OnePlus users.
2. Easy One-hand Use
Reachability has become a huge pain point for many users as our phones have grown bigger in size over the past couple of years. OnePlus is taking cues from Samsung and One UI to push primary options to the bottom of the screen to ease one-handed use.
As you can see in the screenshot of the settings page above, this will leave white space with some text, like the setting name or rarely used features, at the top of the screen. I mean, this is a great thought but we will have to get our hands on OxygenOS 11 to see how well it has been implemented across the software. I want to see if there’s parity in UI changes across the board or is it just the settings pane or weather app?
3. Always-on Display
As promised, OxygenOS 11 brings the much-requested ‘Always-on Display’ feature in tow. This feature has been in the works for a really long time and added to the product roadmap only earlier this year. OnePlus now offers you a variety of options, ranging from minimal clock style AODs to digital health AOD. The latter will show the number of times you’ve locked the phone and your usage on the always-on display.
What’s more, OxygenOS 11 will also allow you to use a photo from your gallery on the Always-on Display – along with the device lockscreen and homescreen wallpaper. It will convert the picture into a high-precision line drawing (as seen above, on the right) and apply it to the always-on display. You can check out the different types of always-on display on Weibo right here.
4. Zen Mode 2.0
The digital detox feature, Zen Mode, was introduced with the OnePlus 7 series earlier last year. It locked you out of your phone for 20 minutes, keeping you away from social notifications and helping you focus on the work at hand. OnePlus has since added new features to Zen Mode but today, it has gotten a UI overhaul and a community-focused multi-meditation feature.
The multi-meditation feature will not be limited to just OnePlus phones. You will soon be able to invite friends or colleagues for a digital detox at meetings and parties, which sounds really handy. This will encourage users to not touch their phones to check for messages from their boss or girlfriend.
5. Voice Memo
HydrogenOS 11 has also introduced a new voice memo feature. It enables you to take voice notes and transcribe them in real-time in Chinese, as you can see below. This is similar to the Recorder app found on Pixel devices. We currently have no information on whether OnePlus will bring this feature to global markets with OxygenOS 11 or not.
OnePlus is currently rolling out the Android 11-based HydrogenOS 11 DP3 (developer preview 3) in China. The company also plans to offer this update to global users today, with an official stable release scheduled for October later this year.