Although Oppo, Realme and OnePlus call their proprietary Android skins by different names, the three UIs look and feel the same and offer similar features and a similar user experience, much to the chagrin of long-time OnePlus users. Still, some proprietary features of Oxygen OS are disappointing.
Still, regardless of which of the three brands your phone is, you’ll get a mostly smooth and feature-rich experience.
Compared to the older ColorOS 13/OxygenOS 13/Realme UI 4.0, the new Android 14-based ColorOS 14/OxygenOS 14/Realme UI 5.0 versions offer user-facing changes. We’ll cover those as we go.
Lock screen, home screen, always on view
If you’ve used one of the three operating systems, you’ll feel right at home. There are no significant changes to how you browse or how the UI looks. By default, you get a familiar notification shade with standard app drawer and quick toggles.
Home page • Notification shade • Recent applications menu
Many elements of the UI are customizable – fonts, icons, accent colors and even the shape of quick toggles in the notification shade.
UI customization options
The always-on display function also offers a wide variety of improvements.
The most notable feature at this point is the ability to launch an application by holding the fingerprint reader when it is unlocked. A pop-up menu will open with the apps you selected. Oppo/OnePlus/Realme pioneered this feature, and we’re still happy to see it.
Fast fingerprint feature
Gestures and navigation
Navigation is very standard – you can choose between gestures and software buttons. The gesture navigation can be customized according to your preference – separate grain control on the left and right edge of the sensitivity of the back gestures, hide the gesture guide bar, etc.
System navigation options
Some additional gestures are also available – screen-off gestures to open apps by drawing letters on the lock screen, lifting the phone to your ear to answer, and automatically switching to headphones when connected to Bluetooth. In certain Realme/OnePlus/Oppo devices, usually high-end handsets, you can control the phone remotely with aerial signals.
Screen-off signs and air signs
Multitasking and productivity features
Like most Android stacks these days, the trio has a handful of features that are perfect for multitasking. You’ve got the standard Split View (two apps open on the screen at once), Dynamic Window (open apps in interactive mini-windows, you can open a handful at once) and Smart Sidebar (select your favorite apps and tools so they can). Start them by pulling the bar from the side edge).
The sidebar gets a new feature of its own, though. Now you can save any type of file to the file dock and access it anytime. A list of recent files is also available.
Last but not least, the Smart Touch feature allows you to extract images and text directly from the screenshot, and it seems to only be available on high-end devices. However, the built-in Google Lens function will do that for you, even if your Oppo/Realme/OnePlus phone doesn’t support Smart Touch.
Notification features are pretty standard and simple, though there are exceptions. The Smart Notification Hider, for example, is a cool privacy feature found on most Realme/Opo/OnePlus devices, even on more budget devices. When you enable Face Unlock, the system uses your facial data to personalize your notifications. For example, the front-facing camera will hide the contents of a notification banner if it detects someone else looking at your phone.
Notification related features and customizations
Speaking of banners, the system gives you two quick context actions to select directly from a notification in the notification shade.
Smart suggestions are pop-up banners that can stay in the notification shade like regular notifications. They provide real time information as per the situation. For example, it gets you posted about your catering, ride-hailing service, etc. You can also allow them on the lock screen and always on.
Unfortunately, the system does not support smart suggestions from all apps, so your experience may vary.
Similar to Apple’s Dynamic Island, Oppo has implemented some sort of context bubbles. Oppo calls it Aqua Dynamics and it works with certain system apps like the recorder. A small bubble will appear in the status bar, indicating that the recorder is active. We couldn’t get it to work with the Music app, but that’s a shame because it makes a lot of sense to work with media players.
And if you own a OnePlus or Oppo Find N3 device, you can switch between Ring mode, Vibrate mode and Silent mode using the notification slider.
This is not a new feature, but it offers a list of things you can do by connecting your PC and phone or other Oppo/Realme/Oneplus device. You can take screenshots, share files and multitask. But we found the connection process to be very tedious with multiple logins and problems when connecting the Realme to an Oppo smartphone. And you can’t use it with your desktop PC if it doesn’t have wireless adapters. It’s a strange limitation since all the devices are on the same network. It’s definitely not a straightforward process and it’s a far cry from Samsung’s DeX or Motorola’s Ready For Solutions.
Although sleek and feature-rich, the ColorOS/OxygenOS/Realme UI is a bit behind the curve when it comes to implementing the latest Android changes and trendy features. There aren’t any changes to the way you use these three Android overlays, and there aren’t any notable new features. Samsung and Google are integrating AI-powered features into the Android 14 version, and Xiaomi is rolling out MIUI 14 to HyperOS, Oppo, OnePlus and Realme’s approach is somewhat outdated.