ColorOS 13, the newest version of Oppo's interface for smartphones, and as one would expect, it is based on Android 13. Over the last few years, ColorOS has matured in terms of visual appearance and features, becoming ever-so-close to the 'stock' Android while also having a distinct identity. And it continues with the Android 13-based ColorOS 13.
While the ColorOS 13 does not look like Google's Android 13, it adopts the majority of under-the-hood changes with its spin on the visual elements, and the company calls it "Aquamorphic" design. It sounds familiar, isn't it? But there is much to unpack beyond what Android 13 brings to the ColorOS.
We tried an early build of the ColorOS 13 for a few weeks, and here's our first impression of Oppo's newest version of its Android skin.
Let’s talk Aquamorphic
There is not much change between the two versions when it comes to design. Though the ColorOS 13 adopts a new design language, it largely looks and feels similar to ColorOS 12. OPPO calls this Aquamorphic Design, which takes inspiration from water, and you can see the blue colour throughout the interface.
Its naturesque inspiration can be seen in the subtle changes to transitions and animations, which feels smoother; rounded icons, folders, and widgets – resemble the shape of a pebble. Another pleasant change is the new font, 'Oppo Sans,' more recognisable and readable than the older font. And Oppo has borrowed the OnePlus' card-style interface for the ColorOS 13.
Android's theming engine has been a core substance of ColorOS since last year and has been further improved with the new colour palette. One can use the wallpaper colour picker, choose the preset palette, or even make one of their own.
More control inside control centre
The control centre has been overhauled and now houses two large toggles for internet and WiFi and a playback control widget that lets users switch between playback devices and even source. Also, the control centre now spans across the edges in the landscape mode, with toggles on the left and notifications on the right.
Folders go large
Oppo has something big for you if you find the small folders irritating. The ColorOS 13 introduces 'enlarged folders,' which eliminates the two-step process of opening an app inside a folder. So, instead of tapping twice, you can now tap the app icon inside the large 2x2 folders, saving you the hassle.
An insightful always-on display
The irony with ColorOS 13 is that you see the biggest change when you turn off your phone. The always-on display seems to have been worked on and might have borrowed a thing or two.
Spotify plays a big role in Oppo's plan to make always-on display more useful. Under the 'contextual info,' you would find a now playing widget, which has been made specifically for Spotify. So, in ColorOS 13, you can control the playback from the AOD itself. Oppo seems to have also worked with Swiggy and Zomato to enable a new notification for food tracking appearing on the always-on display.
Remember the Insight AOD from OxygenOS? Well, that is now available on ColorOS 13. The Bitmoji AOD from OxygenOS has also made its way to OxygenOS. You will also find a bunch of other AOD designs, and there is also to customise them up to an extent.
Improved privacy and safety options
Visually, both ColorOS 13 and Android 13 look how they were last year, but the two bring a few underlying improvements, especially in the privacy and safety options.
In ColoroS 13, you do not need to give apps access to your entire media library, and rather you can select the media you want to share with the app.
If you are copying any sensitive information like email, phone number or credentials, then the clipboard will automatically clear the history after a while.
Apps will now have to ask you to allow them to send notifications, and you can choose not to receive notifications, so bye-bye spammy notifications.
Lastly, there is a security dashboard to check if any app has exploited any permissions.
There is one more privacy feature, Oppo's own, using which one can pixelate avatars and names in chat screenshots. Another feature is Private Safe, an AES-encrypted folder that can be used to save files privately.
Oppo says battery efficiency has improved with the ColorOS 13, with some of its engineering efforts and the new Android 13 core. Apart from this, more apps can stay active in the background, claims Oppo, and credits its new memory management system -- Always-alive apps.
Oppo says battery efficiency has improved with the ColorOS 13, with some of its engineering efforts and the new Android 13 core. Apart from this, more apps can stay active in the background, claims Oppo, and credits its's new memory management system -- Always-alive apps.
Multi-screen connect now works with Oppo tablets, in addition to Windows PCs. You can sync notifications, transfer files or even edit them, and control your phone through the connected tablet or PC.
The new 'Meeting Assistant' feature in ColorOS 13 ensures your meetings go smoothly. It shows simplified banner notifications during online meetings, enables background network optimization for video chat apps, and lets you take notes in pop-up mode.
What do we have to say
Oppo's ColorOS has improved a lot over the years. Visually, things remain the same, but the new Aquamorphic design has been wisely adopted in places giving ColorOS 13 an elegant and pleasing look. Even the always-on display, which has always been one feature no one spoke of, has been updated with useful additions. Yes, ColorOS has its fair share of issues, including pesky ads and bloatware, but it is good to see what Oppo has done with ColorOS 13. It is not a huge upgrade, but it surely is a worthy upgrade.