2016 saw an interesting shift in OnePlus‘ smartphone strategy, in that the company chose to release a follow-up to the OnePlus 3, the OnePlus 3T, a mere six months after the former. It was an iterative update, for sure, but an iterative update to arguably the most popular OnePlus smartphone since the original OnePlus One would be a beloved one regardless.
Fast forward to 2017, and OnePlus is adopting the same strategy by announcing the OnePlus 5T, the iterative successor to the OnePlus 5 released back in June. The OnePlus 5T has all the makings to go up against the best of them, such as a stretched-out display, facial recognition, and a new camera system, all in a package that promises to deliver a similar experience to that of a high-tier smartphone for a little over half the price.
As a result, the basic OS interfaces are pretty much unchanged from stock Android. The lockscreen, notification panel, settings, and recent apps all function the way you would expect them to with only a few minor tweaks from OnePlus. The home screen has a panel on the left side, which shows the weather, recent apps, and some device specs like storage use. This is super easy to replace if you don’t like it. Similarly, the calculator, clock, and file manager all get custom OnePlus versions that don’t feel that much different from stock Android. If you want, you can seek out alternatives in the Play Store.
OnePlus loves to pack its OS with customization options, and if you dive into the OS settings you can tweak a ton of stuff. You can fully customize what shows up in the status bar, showing or hiding things like the clock, auto rotate status, Wi-Fi, and cellular network. You can set the battery to be the normal battery icon, a circle, or show a percentage readout. You can add seconds to the clock, or show the network speed in kbps. There are a number of options in the “Gestures” settings, too: You can swipe down on the fingerprint reader to open the status bar, or use the fingerprint reader as a shutter button inside the camera app. If the screen is off, you can double tap to wake it or draw a letter gesture on the screen to open something. For instance, drawing a “V” on a turned-off screen could launch the flashlight. There are two system fonts to pick from—Google’s default “Roboto” and OnePlus’ “Slate”—and you can customize the color of the notification LED. There’s also a dark theme, which will recolor the OS and built-in apps, as well as a million other options.