OnePlus has rolled out a 3.1.4 Oxygen OS update to the OnePlus 3 in order to address a few of the issues that early reviewers pointed out. The update, however, is only available for reviewer units at the moment.
We’ve received this 12MB patch on our OnePlus 3 for review, flashed it, and tested it for the past 24 hours. The updates notes had a few miscellaneous fixes alongside three bigger ones that users would be interested in: better RAM management, sRGB mode, and faster application load times. We’ve tried them all out and can now report back with first impressions:
First and foremost, the RAM management has been adjusted after the issues had come to light. Readers of XDA or forum visitors might recall that we had found a fix early on, which involved modifying a build.prop value that limited the amount of background apps and services. The original line was ro.sys.fw.bg_apps_limit=20 and we had modified it to ro.sys.fw.bg_apps_limit=42 although that was just our preference, some users have tried up to 60 and obtained better results — at 42, we were able to use over 5GB of RAM. Looking at the build.prop that came with this OTA, we find the value set at 32 — a standard for Android. Using the illustration we published in our earlier article about the OP3’s RAM as a baselines, we found that under the same test, the new firmware could keep an extra 3 apps in memory. Once more, your mileage may vary.
The second big part of this update is the sRGB mode. After AnandTech’s damning analysis of the OnePlus 3’s display, OnePlus was thrown off balance, but the company decided to act quickly and release this test update with the sRGB mode included. Now, it’s worth noting that the OnePlus 3’s display did have very inaccurate calibration, with neon blues and orange-red that popped out like earlier AMOLED displays.
The new sRGB toggle is found under developer options,just like on the 6P, and gives you the more color-accurate display mode and color space target that OnePlus should arguably have aimed for in the first place. It’s actually rather pleasant to look at, but objective colorimeter tests in the near future shall determine the degree to which it accomplishes its goal. Two small things worth mentioning: on sRGB mode, you cannot tweak the color balance of the display using the slider in the Display Settings, and every time you reboot the phone, you must enable the sRGB mode again (like on the 6P). Finally, I am happy to report that under the sRGB mode, the greyscale banding looks to be slightly diminished (but not through the whole gradient).
Finally, OnePlus claims that they have improved system performance, in particular app and game loading times. Assessing the degree to which this update improved performance, objectively, is a rather complicated task, but the app loading time benchmarks do suggest a slight change (30 repetitions, no other apps installed, same network and application state). I will have to re-do all real-world tests in order to get to a solid conclusion, however, so expect a more in-depth analysis in the full review. But regardless of this update, the OnePlus 3 is one of the fastest devices on the market today, so shaving off a few milliseconds in launch times will likely go unnoticed by the majority of the userbase.
OnePlus has been determined to address the OnePlus 3’s shortcomings, and for that I must commend them. While the RAM tweaks still do not make for a device that truly lives up to the 6GB of RAM, it can now compete with others and the user still has the freedom to choose whether he wants to tune it to perform better (ideally, this would be another setting tucked into the Developer Options). The sRGB mode is also an extremely welcome addition — hopefully, objective screen testing will show it to be just what the doctor ordered, but in my opinion it looks about right and I am sure users not fond of saturated screens will appreciate it.
So good job OnePlus, this is a step in the right direction and we hope that you keep providing software support as timely and focused as this over the course of the OnePlus 3’s life. Hope this is released to consumers soon!