Oppo R11s review
Android Nougat and ColorOS 3.2
The Oppo R11s runs ColorOS 3.2, based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The new v3.2 launcher introduces all the must-haves features trending today - a new AI engine, Face Unlock, new gestures, smarter gallery and sharing options, split-screen view, among other improvements. ColorOS customizations runs deep within the ROM, making it far off from the standard Google-developed mobile experience. Units sold outside of China still come with the full Google suite, which has resulted in having a few apps with similar functionality - one by Oppo, and another one by Google.
ColorOS isn't the most bloated, but we wouldn't call it a "clean installation" either. It comes pre-loaded with social networking apps, a document editor, and few minor-footprint apps.
The inclusion of the so-called AI, is actually building on-device user behavior models for faster app startups and better resource management. It's a thing many launchers do, but now it has a fancy futuristic name and we can see why the PRs love it so much.
The user interface is the familiar mash-up of Android and iOS in looks. There's no app drawer on the default launcher. Instead, every app you install gets dumped onto the homescreen.
The Lockscreen features a constantly changing slideshow of images. You can subscribe to several different channels (e.g. photos of nature or cars or others) or provide your own imagery.
The fingerprint sensor is always-on, very fast and accurate. You can also setup face unlock in addition to fingerprint security, but you will need to wake up the screen in order for it to work.
The face recognition is indeed very fast, faster than on the iPhone X or Vivo V7. It relies on 120 recognition points and supposedly can't be fooled by a picture. It's quite tricky to setup though as it requires the perfect light conditions - not too bright and not too dim - which can turn into an annoying quest. The Face Unlock can't be as safe as Apple's Face ID, but apparently this kind of authentication is now a thing and the makers are offering it, pretty well at that.
The wallpaper on the homescreen doesn't change as the lockscreen wallpaper does, but you can still spruce up the place with Themes. The Theme Store features whole themes and just wallpapers, sorted into categories (including free and paid ones). Themes change the icon pack, the lockscreen wallpaper, and even the system font.
The notification shade features only notifications and nothing else. The toggles, brightness bar, music controls, Oppo Quick Share, and various app shortcuts are all placed in a Control Center-like second shade, which you pull up from the bottom. Yes, it's like the old iOS through and through.
The traditional ColorOS navigation is through the familiar virtual deck with Tasks, Home, and Back onscreen keys. But the new screen suggests a more immersive experience and that's why Oppo came up with new gestures to replace the whole deck. See, came up isn't exactly true those are the iPhone X gestures 1:1. You swipe from the mid-bottom to close an app, half-mid-bottom swipe opens the task manager, a swipe from the bottom-left pops up the control center, while the bottom-right swipe switches between recent tasks.
Those navigation gestures aren't turned on by default, and are somewhat buried in the Settings menu. The R11s doesn't feature 3D Touch, so we agree some gestures to offer a more immersive experience are in order. But copying those from Apple is not the solution we'd have preferred.
The Screen-off gestures though are something we like in the ColorOS a lot. They are simple commands done on a black screen - O to start the camera, V for the flashlight, several symbols to control the music player and a few custom options.
Finally, there is a Phone Manager quite similar to what Huawei and Xiaomi have with the same name. It handles memory cleaner functions, app permissions and encryption, and virus scan, among other things.