OnePlus One owners were treated to a pretty significant update this week, introducing a fun new Clear Image feature while bringing the device up to Android 4.4.4 (CyanogenMod version 11.0-XNPH30O). Although the device is still frustratingly difficult to come by, it’s awesome to see the developers are still actively supporting the community. Even better, the CyanogenMod experience is improving all the time, making the OnePlus One an even more powerful smartphone than when it was first released.
The OnePlus One update is fairly extensive, but the biggest addition is the new Clear Image feature, which the company describes as a camera on “clarity steroids.” What the new feature does is snap ten individual photos, which are then stitched together for one super high-res photo. OnePlus promises that the feature will use interlacing and compression algorithms to improve clarity, reducing noise in low-light and adding details in everyday shots. Additionally, Clear Image also keeps file sizes at a minimum, meaning your device won’t fill up with the beefier pictures.
We took the feature for a spin here in the office, and images do indeed appear crisper in lower light situations. Noise also seems reduced, though the differences outside, during the day, aren’t quite as apparent. The OnePlus One’s camera already offers excellent performance, and this little boost is a nice touch for those who need it in situations when barely any light is available. (Below is an image taken with Auto, and then the same image taken with Clear Image.)
That’s the biggest part of the update, but there’s more. OnePlus also increased the captive button illumination, though we still feel like it’s very difficult to see them outdoors. It would be great to be able to adjust the button illumination manually, but sadly that option isn’t available just yet.
The screen, meanwhile, is now cooler by default, though you can always adjust it yourself to get the right temperature for you. Other improvements in the update include new versions of Google apps, several fixes to features across the OS, and improved stability throughout. Overall, the update makes the OnePlus One an even more powerful device, and the improvements are definitely worth your immediate attention.
Out of all the big flagship devices we’ve seen this year, the OnePlus One has really grabbed our attention. Sure, we love the One M8, Galaxy S5 and LG G3—who doesn’t? But for the price, you can’t beat the combination of specs, design and software. Of course, not everyone has been able to find the affordable phone, which is a huge shame given the promise the One has shown. Still, if you do have the device, updates like this only make ownership sweeter.
More than half way through this year, and we can already accurately predict which big phones will be on many end-of-year lists. Devices like the Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8) and the LG G3. We’re expecting other high profile phones to hit the market this fall, too, rounding out what will likely be remembered as one of the strongest years in mobile ever.