Sunday, June 17, 2018

Samsung Messages now lets you add custom ringtones to each contact

Samsung updated their stock Samsung messenger app for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ today with a highly requested feature: the ability to assign different ringtones to different contacts.

This is a great way to help identify certain people in the messenger app. For those who get a lot of notifications or are in lots of group chats, this is certainly helpful when deciding the importance of a message. This will allow a specific message to go through the chimes of the others so you know exactly who this is.

This is an update to the Samsung Messenger app that Samsung re-worked for the Samsung Galaxy S9. It reworks the user interface by changing the colors to a blue accent with a white background. It also adds some new sharing features like the ability to set quick responses and a small drawing pad in the share menu. This revamp of Messages also has a GIF search function and built-in stickers. If you are using the Samsung Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+ it also AR Emoji stickers accessible through it.

Samsung Messages Samsung Messages

To install this on any Android Oreo 8.0+ Samsung phone, download the latest version of the Samsung Messages APK. It should be version 5.0.21.18. Keep in mind that installing this application on non-Samsung Galaxy smartphones won't work.

This feature is great as I am already setting personalized notification sounds for my friends and family. Samsung is doing a great job with supporting their apps recently. They even brought back the beloved Samsung Good Lock app. If we find out anything else about the Samsung Messages app, we'll be sure to let you all know.



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OxygenOS 5.1.8 for the OnePlus 6 brings bootloader vulnerability fix for India

The OnePlus 6 was announced last month with a number of surprises. One of those surprises was an early Android P beta while another came in the form of a security vulnerability. Even with a locked bootloader, it was possible to boot any arbitrary boot image so long as an attacker had physical access to the device and a PC to connect to. A fix for this came in OxygenOS 5.1.7, but because of issues, the update wasn't released in the region. Now, OxygenOS 5.1.8 is available for all and it brings the aforementioned bootloader vulnerability fix for Indians and a few other optimizations.

OxygenOS 5.1.8 for the OnePlus 6


Phone

  • Optimized call quality

System

  • Fixed system stability issues

Networks

  • Improved network stability and general bug fixes

If you want to install the update, you can use the Oxygen Updater application to get access to the OTA immediately. The full downloads aren't yet available on the website so you'll have to wait if you want to sideload the update that way.

Oxygen Updater (Free+, Google Play) →



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LG’s first Android One device may be a T-Mobile USA exclusive

Back in 2014, Google announced the Android One program as part of the company's initiative to expand into emerging markets in South and Southeast Asia. Android One offers users a taste of stock Android even if they can't afford the latest Google flagship. It's a great way to help keep Android users up-to-date as well, as most Android One devices have received updates fairly quickly (though I'm sure Xiaomi Mi A1 owners would disagree). The Motorola Moto X4 on Project Fi and the latest Nokia-branded smartphones like the Nokia 6.1 are among the few Android One devices available in the United States. It seems that LG's first Android One device is coming exclusively for T-Mobile USA, giving customers in the US another option if they want stock Android.

Evidence for an unreleased Android One device from LG emerged from an unexpected location: kernel source code for another unreleased LG device. The LG Stylo 4 will reportedly be launching tomorrow on US MVNO MetroPCS. Almost everything about this device has already been leaked online—either by LG or MetroPCS themselves—so there's not much worth to discuss. However, LG has taken the unusual step in releasing the kernel source code for the Stylo 4 in advance of the device's announcement. Since the Stylo 4 will be LG's first device launching with Android 8.1 Oreo, XDA Recognized Contributor deadman96385 decided to take a look through the kernel source code to see if there was anything interesting. Lo and behold, he found a model for a new LG Android One smartphone that is headed for T-Mobile. (Side-note: deadman96385 found the kernel source code by looking up the model number in hands-on videos published before the device's launch.)


What we know about LG's Android One headed to T-Mobile

Digging through the device tree source code, deadman96385 first discovered evidence of the device by seeing a model called "cv5a" with the carrier "tmo", country code "us", and suffix "sprout." The "tmo" and "us" tell us that the device is a T-Mobile USA device, while the "sprout" codename is used to signify an Android One device. Notably, the "sprout" codename isn't present on the other regional models such as the one for NTT DoCoMo in Japan (dcm_jp), South Korea (lgu_kr, skt_kr, lgu_ldu), or the international variant (lao_com).

LG Android One T-Mobile

For good measure, here's a list of every Android One device and their codename. I hope this list makes it easy to see why we believe this "sdm450-cv5a_tmo_us_sprout" device is an Android One device. I compiled this list based on Google's public list of Certified Android devices.

List of Android One devices

  • BQ Aquaris A4.5 – Aquaris_A45_sprout
  • BQ Aquaris X2 – zangya_sprout
  • Cherry Mobile H220 – ctih220_sprout
  • Cherry Mobile One – H940_sprout
  • Evercoss One X – A65_sprout
  • General Mobile 4G – gm4g_s_sprout/gm4gkc_s_sprout
  • General Mobile 4G Dual – gm4g_sprout
  • General Mobile 5 – gm5_s_sprout
  • General Mobile GM 6 d – GM6_d_sprout
  • General Mobile GM 6 s – GM6_s_sprout
  • General Mobile GM5 Plus – gm5plus_s_sprout
  • General Mobile GM5 Plus Turkcell – gm5plustkc_s_sprout
  • General Mobile GM5 Plus d – gm5plus_sprout
  • General Mobile GM8 – GM8_d_sprout
  • General Mobile 5 d – gm5_sprout
  • HTC U11 life/X2-HT – htc_ocla1_sprout
  • I-Mobile IQ II – imobileiq2_sprout
  • Infinix HOT 2 – Infinix_X510_sprout
  • Infinix Note 5 – Infinix_X604_sprout
  • Karbonn Sparkle V – Sparkle_V_sprout
  • Kyocera S2 – S2_sprout
  • Kyocera S4 – S4-KC_sprout
  • Kyocera X3 – X3-KC_sprout
  • Lava Pixel V1 – PixelV1G_sprout
  • Micromax Canvas A1 – AQ4501_sprout
  • Mito A10 – A10_sprout
  • Motorola Moto X4 – payton_sprout
  • Myphone UNO – UNO_sprout
  • Nexian journey one – Mi438S_sprout
  • Nokia 3.1 – ES2N_sprout
  • Nokia 5.1 – CO2_sprout
  • Nokia 6.1 – PL2_sprout
  • Nokia 7 Plus – B2N_sprout
  • Nokia 8 Sirocco – A1N_sprout
  • QMobile A1 – A1_sprout
  • Sharp 507SH – eve_sprout
  • Sharp S1 – kaleido_sprout
  • Sharp S3 – rome_sprout
  • Sharp X1 – nasa_sprout
  • Sharp X4 – vespa_sprout
  • Spice Dream Uno – Mi-498_sprout
  • Symphony Roar A50 – Roar_A50_sprout
  • Xiaomi Mi A1 – tissot_sprout
  • Xiaomi Mi A2? (rumor)

Now, for the rumored specifications. We based this list of specifications off of files we discovered in the source code such as "sdm450-cv5a-panel.dtsi", "sdm450-cv5a_tmo_us_sprout-pm.dtsi", and others.

Rumored Specifications T-Mobile USA/LG Android One device
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 (running in 32bit mode)
RAM Unknown. ZRAM is enabled, so it's likely 2-3GBs.
Camera Sensors unknown. Rear camera flash. Possibly a camera button exists as there's support for a 2 stage button in the code.
Storage Unknown flash storage
Display 5.5-inch FHD+ (1080×2160) 18:9 panel. (Specifically, this one.)
Audio HiFi ES9218P audio DAC (used in the LG V30)
Battery 3,000mAh with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support
Ports USB Type-C port (TI TUSB422)
Connectivity NFC (PN553)
Software Android 8.1 Oreo (Android One)
Fingerprint No. Other regional variants seem to have the FPC1028 though.
Miscellaneous Vibration motor. Notification/Battery LED. FM Radio. Some form of waterproofing.
Price Unknown
Availability Unknown. Stylo 4 kernel was packaged on 3/14/18, so this device has been in development before then.

If we learn more about this device, we'll let you all know.



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[UPDATE: Video Summary] OnePlus 6 Speed, Smoothness & Gaming XDA Review: Living up to the Slogan

Check out Daniel's video summary of this article!

The OnePlus 6 (which you can soon pre-order) was announced last week, packing the latest hardware as expected. OnePlus devices have been known to be extremely speedy, to the point where the new phone's marketing slogan reflects that reputation. With the fastest chipset from Qualcomm as well as the same copious amounts of quick RAM and storage as last year's models, just how much faster and smoother is the OnePlus 6?

At XDA, we obsess over performance and I personally am one of the pickiest when it comes to these matters. In this XDA analysis, we'll be presenting our thoughts and findings regarding the OnePlus 6's performance, derived from a mix of empirical testing and day-to-day usage. While we can't account for every use case, we hope that this is a useful primer on the OnePlus 6's real-world performance, with relatable examples and quantified overviews of UI smoothness and game framerates which we seldom find in reviews.

This article will be split into three sections covering UX speed, UI smoothness and gaming performance. You can access each section or their respective verdicts by clicking the shortcuts below. Without further ado, let's take a look at how the OnePlus 6 performs.

UX SpeedUI SmoothnessGaming

Conclusion


Real-World Performance

UX Speed


App Launch Times & UI Speed

With OnePlus 6's new motto being "the speed you need", you most definitely would expect them to offer a faster phone than competitors. In fact, they've already been doing this, and it's no secret that the OnePlus 5 and 5T are informal YouTube speed test champions on Android. They've also shown stellar performance on our own tests in the past, and the OnePlus 6 is no different. At the same time, speed is not really just about opening speeds. Indeed, that's especially true nowadays given that virtually every relevant phone packs in 4GB or more of RAM with at the very least acceptable RAM management. This means that you really don't need to launch apps all that often, and with access to apps cached being virtually instantaneous, this is an important matter to take into consideration. Finally, something that I personally believe should be accounted for when discussing the speed of phones is certainly its unlocking speed, and how that ties into the user experience. For these reasons, we'll take a look at the OnePlus' app-launching capabilities, but also its RAM management and the speed of its unlocking methods. Spoilers: It's all very, very fast.


Methodology: We measured cold-start launch-time performance of Gmail, the Play Store and YouTube on the Pixel 2 XL, OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 6. Keep in mind that we are not measuring the time it takes for an app to be fully rendered with all its elements drawn on screen. Rather, we are using a proxy by recording the time it takes for the app to create the main activity of the application. The time measure we include encompasses launching the application process, initializing its objects, creating and initializing the activity, inflating the activity's layout and drawing the application for the first time. It ignores inline processes that do not prevent the initial display of the application, which in turn means the recorded time is not really affected by extraneous variables such as network speed fetching burdensome assets. Also keep in mind that the phones tested either tend to or are forced to immediately top up their CPU frequencies whenever an application is launched, minimizing CPU bottlenecks. We cycled through the three applications, and opened each of them 150 times, to look at how these phones' app-launching capabilities perform over time. This usage scenario is unconventional and we've pushed the phone way past the limits you would encounter in real-world use-case scenarios (at least as far as app-opening goes), but even then, none are afflicted by severe performance degradation throughout this test.


OnePlus proudly mentioned in their OnePlus 6 live keynote that they've added more than 200 optimizations to their device, one of which is ramping up CPU frequencies to their respective core's maximum when an app is launched. This is actually not new nor exclusive to OnePlus, as it's been featured in the OnePlus 3/3T and normalized with Qualcomm offering similar functionality to OEMs since the Snapdragon 821. That said, it does indeed minimize CPU bottlenecks, making the flash storage very important in these tests, as well as software. In my testing, the OnePlus 6 offers a marked improvement over the OnePlus 5T, which can go up to tens of percentage points as shown in the graphs below. Something else to keep in mind is that OnePlus claims they'll be caching resources of apps they detect you launch frequently, meaning that the OnePlus 6 should also perform better with use given the access time would decrease for burdensome assets.

Device OnePlus 5T OnePlus 6 Pixel 2 XL
YouTube (avg. ms) 882.8 553.6 999.3
Gmail (avg. ms) 405.5 270.7 450.9
Play Store (avg. ms) 519.3 337.1 524.0

The runs shown above, however, represent the best runs I was able to record for all of these devices. It's also worth noting that the gains shown here are most certainly larger (percentage-wise) than what you'll see in speed tests. We've writen an entire article about what one should keep in mind when watching speed tests on YouTube, but it's obvious that if the app launch times decrease by some percentage yet the time spent on interacting with the device remains constant, speed test results will underestimate the performance gains. As we've said, though, speed test themselves and app launching speeds in general aren't quite as relevant as more phones acquire a standard 4GB of RAM or more, and often the phones that end up suffering the most in these tests are either those with worse specifications (older chips, slower storage) or poor RAM management.

One area where I saw a very perceptible but rather small speed increase is game loading, which makes sense given that game load times are in the order of seconds instead of milliseconds. Here, differences are a bit more pronounced, with the clips above showing Asphalt 8 opening a tad bit faster, and PUBG was able to reach its main-game screen faster as well (not that the chronometer in the clip runs until the main loading screen, but the game finishes loading before that point). I don't personally think it's very significant, and it's a much smaller bump in speed than what we've seen in previous generations, or with the short-lived F2FS implementation on OnePlus devices. On this note, OnePlus claims that their goals is to ensure their phones remain just as fast a year from their first boot. To this end they've added some of the features described above, as well as others we'll discuss in a future article.

Finally, something that people have noticed in the past and that we've documented in articles is that OnePlus phone animations differ from those of competitors. In order to make their phones look as if they are executing actions faster, the company shortens the completion time of animations by default. When it comes to certain app transitions, for example, OnePlus also adds a transparency to the motion that makes it look as if the animation is completing in its entirety, though it's not. These design decisions do ultimately result in a faster-feeling user experience, and give the user a sense of immediacy that other phones can't quite convey.


Unlocking Speed

The OnePlus 6's fingerprint scanner is just as fast as the previous one, being able to unlock the device in just 0.2 seconds. At this time, however, fingerprint scanner gestures are not present in OxygenOS for the OnePlus 6, so the fingerprint scanner experience might be considered slightly worse than before. The other unlocking method is face unlock, which allows for much-more seamless authentication but at a slower (and not as safer) 0.4 seconds. That said, it's largely easier to rely on given that it's proven quite accurate in my experience, and the range at which it's able to pick up on faces to unlock the phone is surprisingly wide. It's also worked in low-light and despite me wearing glasses, something that my Surface book's face scanning refuses to work with.

In the past year I've come to realize that unlocking speed is an integral part of a speedy UX, given that we tend to use our phones in short bursts a significant portion of the time. I find myself needing to unlock to reply to a single IM or email quite frequently, and something like face unlock makes it very seamless, especially when coupled with double-tap-to-wake which was made less relevant with the advent of biometric authentication. I still prefer the versatility of Samsung's unlocking mechanisms, given that they offer face unlock, iris scanning and fingerprint scanners, all of which have their use (particularly if long winters force you to wear scarves and gloves). That said, I also find the OnePlus 6's face unlock to work faster than Samsung's face unlock. While it's not as secure as an iPhone X's faceID, OnePlus offers a few features such as app-lock and secure box to prevent people from accessing your data easily, even if (and for most of us, that's a big if) they fool face unlock to get past your lockscreen


RAM Management

I did not expect OnePlus to drastically change their new phones' RAM management, and indeed it seems to perform just as well as the OnePlus 5T in this regard. This is a very important aspect of a speedy UX simply because firing up an app from RAM is much faster than a cold launch. My (admittedly flawed) standard test for this is simply setting up both 8GB RAM devices with the same pre-installed apps as well as a few mobile games, then opening apps and cycling back until the first app is kicked out of memory. Both devices began killing the first app in my test at the same cut-off point, though this isn't necessarily representative of all use-cases. In day-to-day usage with all my apps set up, I haven't faced had apps I needed to access die on me, so for in real-world use I don't see either huge improvements but also no steps back. I was still able to load four mobile games and have them remain in memory (in particular, Asphalt 8, Lineage II: Revolution, PUBG and Modern Combat 5), so gamers should appreciate the additional RAM even if the number of apps that can be held at any given time is limited.


UX Speed Verdict

The OnePlus 6 certainly feels extremely fast, and when you do try and measure its speed for improvements you can also find some small steps forward. I get to use multiple phones every year, and often carry two phones at any given time — I get to notice the speed advantage every day, even if it's not always that significant. For example, while I've grown fond of my Galaxy Note 8 (which brought its fair share of improvements) the difference between that and the OnePlus 6 is clear and immediate the moment I switch phones. I'm not just talking app launch speeds here, either, it's an advantage that permeates the user experience. This is an area where OnePlus has been consistently surpassing competitors, and that's almost become popular knowledge with reviews, YouTube speed tests and user feedback all agreeing on the matter.


UI Smoothness

There's a lot more to a fluid user experience than just raw hardware potential, something that's been showcased time and time again in Android's history. Bloated OEM ROMs have typically been criticized for offering sub-par performance, be it slow app launching speeds or serious stutters in scrolling and transitions. Nowadays, we have extremely powerful hardware and Android versions keep getting more optimized at the core, yet we are still able to rank smartphone "real-world performance" across devices. The top contender would most definitely be the Pixel 2 XL, which has not just been extremely smooth across all tests just like its predecessor was back when we tested it last year, but also extremely consistent. Indeed, all of my Pixel 2 XL results have been satisfyingly replicable to an absurd degree, with way more stable frame times across tests.


Methodology: In order to test real world fluidity, we won't just be presenting gifs or screenshots showing GPU profiling bars, but instead we will show you the extracted frame times plotted in histograms across devices under the exact same usage scenario. We put together a tool to extract and parse the frame data, and a UI automation system that allowed us to build macros that mimic real-world use cases by simulating touch input — scrolling, loading new activities or windows, and compound tests with complex UI navigation. These tests were run across a Pixel 2 XL, a OnePlus 5T (8GB) and the OnePlus 6 (8GB) at their default resolutions; this does mean that the Pixel 2 XL is rendering more pixels than the other two devices, potentially decreasing performance, though our test calibration suggests that's not the case. We made sure the tests were perfectly synchronized across devices, measuring the same actions at the same time, with multiple tests across each device to validate our results. Repeated tests continuously show minimal variance in the number of frames captured, though the number of total frames captured on each test varies significantly across devices. This is because these devices behave differently in their scrolling acceleration/final velocity, and set different baseline speeds for many actions and transitions (even at the same 1x setting).

How to interpret the graphs shown below.


With that golden Pixel 2 XL standard in place, we'll be looking at how the OnePlus 6 stacks up to both Google's phone and its own predecessor. Before commenting on the resulting performance, we should keep in mind two things. First, OxygenOS is a rather "stripped down" ROM when compared to those offered by competitors, and while I think it's incorrectly labeled "stock Android" more often than it should, it does offer a "stockish" experience. Furthermore, OnePlus is particularly conscious about the Android community's perception of their phones' performance, going to great lengths to ensure such reputation is up-kept. With the OnePlus 6 in particular, they've made it a marketing slogan: "the speed you need". The company has also created a dedicated team to increase their phones' performance, efficiency and stability, and mentioned that they've made over 200 optimizations behind the scenes to ensure their phones perform like their fans have come to expect. We've taken an in-depth look at some of such optimizations in the past, and the OnePlus 6 further benefits from its chipset's performance gains as well as new Qualcomm Snapdragon available to OEMs.

The second thing to keep in mind is that OxygenOS has improved rapidly over time, owing to its beta model in which fans are able to try out new features and tweaks, and provide feedback before such changes make it to the main release pipeline. I've personally noticed and measured performance improvements for both the OnePlus 5 and 5T since their release, barring the occasional update (many users, for example, are reporting performance issues on the latest Android 8.1 version of Oxygen). This means that we can and should expect the performance of the OnePlus 6 to change over time, and almost certainly improve to some degree across updates, especially given there's a major OS revision in the horizon which OnePlus has already begun working on. For these reasons, as well as app updates in the past few months, you might notice that the OnePlus 5T is performing better than the 5 did under similar tests in our Note 8 performance analysis. Spoilers: The OnePlus 6 is smooth, but measurably not Pixel-smooth.

The first thing I set out to test was scrolling performance, given that stutters while scrolling through lists is one of the most common headaches Android users have complained about throughout the years. Lists loaded with text and imagery can be particularly troublesome, but the OnePlus 6 performs rather well in both our Play Store and Gmail scrolling tests, which feature three long controlled swipes to rapidly scroll through the "Top Charts" and the main inbox, respectively. Also keep in mind that the test makes sure to pre-load the lists, so that thumbnails or entries don't prevent fluid loading and scrolling. While the Pixel 2 XL manages these swipes with frame times that don't even approximate the 16.6ms line at which we being seeing stutters, the OnePlus 5T and the OnePlus 6 see some stutters following simulated user input, likely because of the way their CPU frequencies scale upon interaction with the UI. In this sense, we see a small improvement over the 5T running Android Oreo, and a definite improvement over the OnePlus 5 running Nougat as test in previous articles.

I've also tested two more portions of the UI that give phones trouble and where users are quick to notice stutters, and those include the Play Store's animation when opening an app listing, and the side panel in Gmail (as a proxy for side panels in general). Below you'll find the results of isolated repetitions compared across these devices — I've personally noticed stutters the most in these two areas, and the tests showcase that clearly.

The OnePlus 6 does just as well as the rest when it comes to expanding the app listing of Facebook Messenger. This transition is one of the premier examples of material design animation on Android, but it sadly is known to lose a bunch of frames in almost every instance (it'll seemingly be removed in the future as well, with A/B testers already seeing a newer UI).

Sidepanels are a different story, and the OnePlus 6 performs worse than the OnePlus 5T in this particular test involving the Gmail sidepanel. This is a bit disappointing, but it's not wholly representative of all sidepanels, and even then the action is so particularly quick (in contrast to the one shown above) that it might not be noticeable to most people (although to me, it is).

An area where the OnePlus 6 sees definite improvements is also a spot where I most often find stutters, and that's bringing up the launcher app drawer. I can't tell you how horrid an experience this can be on Samsung phones, and even on some OnePlus devices I've found it to be less-than-stellar. Here, though, we see the OnePlus 6 performing extremely well and better than the 5T, though still not as well as the immaculate Pixel 2 XL. On this note, something I haven't been able to measure but that I'm confident has seen a boost is system animation, as transitions look extremely smooth to the eye under almost every circumstance.

Where we don't see that much of an improvement, however, is with composite tests. These are longer tests I designed to mimic user experience loops, and they navigate a user interface to do a variety of actions such as opening various settings menus, playing a YouTube video or browsing a YouTuber's channel, bringing up the window to compose an email, and so on. These include instances of the tests displayed above, such as opening side panels and scrolling through lists, so as expected the OnePlus 6 performs as well or slightly better than the 5T at best, or measurably worse. Again, we should keep in mind that the 5T and 5 have had six months to almost a year of support, but it's still rather disappointing to see this phone not being any smoother out of the box, particularly when the Pixel 2 XL gracefully showcases how much potential there is at OEMs' reach.


Smoothness Verdict

I can't help but feel disappointed that, all in all, the performance of the OnePlus 6 still doesn't match that of last year's Pixel 2 XL, and even the regular Pixel XL has offered more impressive results in some of these tests (refer to the data found here). At the same time, there are two things I want to remind readers about. First, the analysis displayed above is limited to a few of the most common applications that a large section of Android users might open regularly, but is still not representative of the whole user experience. I must say that for the most part, though, I can personally see those results translating to other apps I use frequently. Second, what I've shown above is admittedly obsessive frame-peeping and while the deltas between OnePlus phones and Pixel devices is measurable, it's most likely imperceptible to a vast majority of users.

Truth be told, a handful of dropped frames in what amount to seconds of interactions is still extremely good, and even the drops in the composite tests should be put into perspective. The frames captures only represent UI updates, which is why I've never spoken of framerate in this section. This means that they show a small subset of the UI usage in which the phone is actively drawing objects and executing transitions, and thus even if you see 10% dropped frames in one test, it doesn't necessarily mean that the phone effectively looks as if it's running at 55 frames per second throughout the sample. And again, all of this is limited to in-app performance, and system animations ultimately look very smooth and crisp, not showing the stutters presented in these tests which are minimal either way.

I also expected somewhat better results because of the newer hardware, but once again we must keep in mind that UI fluidity in general is very much a function of software optimization, kernel governors/schedulers and not so much hardware. Some OEMs have consistently under-delivered in this regard despite packing in the latest chipsets, and sometimes even ahead of competitors. So it's not surprising that the OnePlus 6 doesn't match the Pixel 2 XL in performance (though if I'm honest, I was excited for the move to the schedutil governor, hoping it'd close the gap further). I am confident that OnePlus will improve the device's performance with software support, as I've seen it happen with some of their previous devices and performance seems to be a prime commitment for them with this new generation.


Gaming Performance

Framerate and battery-drain data recorded with GameBench, an excellent service that helps you analyze gaming performance on Android and iOS

The Adreno 630 featured in the OnePlus 6's Snapdragon 845 is actually one of the beefiest specification upgrades this new flagship brings. This GPU features a revamped architecture, with Qualcomm claiming a 30% boost to graphics performance and 30% in power reduction (at the same level of performance as last 2017's Snapdragon 835), something which we were able to verify in our Snapdragon 845 hands-on earlier this year. We've already gone over GPU benchmarks that showcase a remarkable bump in graphics performance for the 845 and thus the OnePlus 6, but those are isolated, discrete testing scenarios that only try to emulate real-world gaming performance. We've thus tried gaming with the OnePlus 6, and in this section we'll offer some of our findings. Spoilers: It's an excellent gaming phone.

PUBG running on the OnePlus 6. Note the notch exclusion.

Mobile gaming is at a bit of an exciting spot right now, with major companies like Epic Games bringing popular games like Fortnite, as well as the recent release of PUBG on Android, the arrival of famous MMO franchises like Lineage and Runescape to mobile platforms, and just a general adoption of Unity and Unreal Engine 4 in the newest titles. That being said, many game companies have sat comfortably on re-tooled versions of their latest big mobile games, like Asphalt 8, which now feature profitable micro-transactions. Not only have mobile graphics on Android somewhat stagnated since gems like Dead Trigger 2 and others, it's also the case that mobile phones are powerful enough to hit the framerate ceiling of many "top graphics games". This is something I've found in reviews and in gaming analysis for the past few years, so for this gaming test I chose to focus two very popular and power-demanding mobile games: Player Unknown's Battlegrounds and Lineage II: Revolution.

PUBG – Framerate over time

The former is a title that should be known to all of you, and the sensational PC game has made its way to Android through the work of Tencent Games in a surprisingly exceptional port. PUBG features gigantic maps and multiple map traversal mechanics, with fast vehicles that forces the phone to keep up with the rendering. The maps being so gigantic means that draw distances and resolution are important, and the OnePlus 6 sadly doesn't offer a high pixel density which might impact your user experience. That said, and as shown in the statistics below, PUBG runs incredibly well on the OnePlus 6, hitting the 30FPS ceiling consistently with 99% frame-rate stability. The framerate ceiling is met regardless of whether you are about to drop from the spawn plane, involved in firefights with multiple people, shooting at a distance with the whole map on your screen, driving (or attempting to drive) a motorcycle at full speed through the hills, and so on. It also holds up over time, which is especially useful for PUBG matches which can last tens of minutes with ease. Given that this is a fast-paced game where reaction times are important, not missing a frame might result in a competitive advantage you very much want to have for that chicken dinner.

PUBG – Other statistics

As discussed earlier in the article, the RAM management of OnePlus phones typically doesn't lend itself to maximizing app-holding capabilities for day-to-day apps. That's absolutely not the case for gaming performance, and that's where the 6GB and 8GB RAM variants shine, being able to keep a game in memory for days at a time with no hesitation. This is especially useful given that PUBG uses an average of close to 900MB of RAM, hitting upwards of 950MB throughout gameplay. PUBG also shows rather acceptable gametime on the OnePlus 6, with an estimate of around (though conservatively, I'd say up to) 5 hours on this 3,300mAh battery. Data consumption isn't bad either, with the packets being sent and received being on the order of tens of megabytes for an hour session (extrapolating the 15 minute sample presented above, though this is bound to differ some depending on various conditions). With Gaming Mode's network boost, you are also less likely to face latency issues, further helping you achieve victory.

Lineage II: Revolution  – Framerate over time

The second game we are showcasing is Lineage II: Revolution. This game runs on the Unreal 4 Engine and makes proper use of its features, with sharp and complex geometry coated in lighting and effects that make it look outstanding. This is also a game that Qualcomm used to showcase its Snapdragon 845 platform at various events, and with good reason. It's an interesting mobile adaptation of the famous Lineage II MMO, with large PvP battles and an interesting "auto-quest" system that takes the hassle out of the smaller parts of the game. It's a massive and spectacularly-looking game, and the OnePlus 6 manages to hit the 60 frames-per-second ceiling with ease, and consistently across 15 minute gameplay sessions.

Lineage II: Revolution – Other statistics

It's also a game I picked up and played for a bunch a few times throughout the day, so having it remain on RAM all week long was useful too. Other specifications show it to be more taxing on the battery than PUBG, but relatively less network-hungry — that's mainly because I was gearing up a new character through single-player quests, and nothing else. If you do want to conserve battery life for this game, you can either use Gaming mode's performance profiles (which can lower resolution and/or framerates for whitelisted games) or by tweaking the rather extensive graphics options for this particular title (of course, all settings were maxed out when testing).


Gaming Verdict

The takeaway of this section is that the OnePlus 6 is just phenomenal for mobile gaming. While I've only showcased a couple of titles' performance here, I'll reiterate that yesteryear's phones were already capable of hitting FPS ceilings on older titles, and given that gaming framerate on mobile is almost solely determined by hardware, I wouldn't expect worse results. The additional RAM on the OnePlus 6 does make it a great phone for dedicated mobile gamers, as do the Gaming mode features, though at the same time companies like Razer and Samsung offer much more thorough gaming-specific tuning out and quality-of-life functionality of the box.

Dash Charge is a really nice perk for mobile gamers to have as well, given that not only does it charge extremely quickly, it also allows you to play graphics-demanding games while getting topped up, without significant throttling or unbearable heat. It's also worth pointing out that, unlike we saw with last year's gaming and benchmark boosting, the OnePlus 6 does not set unusual CPU frequency floors nor max out clockspeeds in the games we've tried. Overall, this has been a fantastic phone to game on and I'll most definitely be my "daily driver" to make the most of the upcoming Runescape Mobile.


The End Result: OnePlus 6 Beyond Tests & Numbers

As chipsets get faster and Android matures, we are starting to see less and less cases of the sub-par real-world performance some phones would offer in the past. Even when we see some devices launch with some odd performance issues, such as last year's Essential Phone, such problems can and often do get swiftly corrected if the OEM cares to listen. Luckily for OnePlus, it hasn't been since the OnePlus 2 (and maybe before the OnePlus 3's launch) that people have criticized their phones' performance. This doesn't mean that they are impeccable in every regard; I still think that getting the 8GB RAM model is unnecessary for most customers, and the Pixel 2 XL shows that there is still room for improvement when it comes to smoothness. But the Pixel 2 XL is the golden standard, and the truth is that the OnePlus 5T (at this point in time) and the OnePlus 6 are both reasonably close, to the point where a vast majority of users would be hard-pressed to spot differences.

The OnePlus 6 is every bit as fast as you'd expect from OnePlus' latest flagship, and it makes good use of the hardware it packs. People have been complaining about diminishing returns in smartphone performance for a few years now, but the differences and improvements are measurable even if small. To power-users and those who obsess over smartphone performance, such differences can also be quite tangible, and I personally appreciate that there's an OEM that focuses on performance to this degree. We'll be digging deeper into just what OnePlus did to make their newest phone so speedy, but potential customers should rest easy knowing that this phone delivers on this specific front. A bunch of details and factors, from UI design to under-the-hood optimizations, coalesce to deliver a responsive and super-fast user experience that provides a constant sense of immediacy. As such, navigating the UI is a breeze, apps react to commands instantaneously, and the phone can juggle between tasks gracefully allowing users to do more in less time.

Gaming one the OnePlus 6 is also excellent, maxing out any game's framerate with superb stability. That's mostly due to Qualcomm's newest Adreno 630 GPU still being ahead of the curve by a good margin. OxygenOS has some neat gaming mode features, and both Dash Charge and the additional RAM provide some perks other phones can't provide. The phone's fingerprint scanner and face unlock also never left me waiting, and all of this meant than my time with the OnePlus 6 was largely spent enjoying the phone, not fiddling with lockscreens or being hooked up to a wall to top up. OnePlus 5 and 5T users in particular already know the benefits of owning a phone with this feature-set and speed — for this reason, it's basically impossible to recommend this new device to 5 and 5T owners on the basis of speed alone. Even when taking into consideration all the other improvements, the OnePlus 6 is a tough sell to previous-generation OnePlus users, which is in part a testament to how solid those phones were and remain. In the end, the performance gains of the OnePlus 6 will mostly appeal those switching from another brand, or upgrading from aging devices. I'm confident those that do make the jump and get the OnePlus 6 will immediately notice the phone's speed and responsiveness, as it's an area in which OnePlus has yet to disappoint me.


Check out XDA's OnePlus 6 Forums! >>>



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Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Asus Chromebook Flip C101 is the next Chromebook to get Linux app support

Mere hours after we provided a definitive list of Chromebooks with and without Linux app support, a commit landed on the Chromium Gerrit confirming that Linux app support will arrive on the Asus Chromebook Flip C101.

Commit verifying that Linux apps are coming to the Flip

Gru is the parent board for both the Samsung Chromebook Plus and the Asus Chromebook Flip C101

The Asus Chromebook Flip C101 is an all-aluminium 10.1-inch 2-in-1 with the same processor (OP1/Rockchip RK339) as the Samsung Chromebook Plus. The Flip gets its name from its 360° hinge that allows you to use the device in the standard laptop mode, a tent mode, a tablet mode, and a stand mode.

Asus Chromebook Flip C101

Source: Asus

The Plus and Flip share a parent board on the Chromium repository. The developers have simply moved the switch for Linux apps from Kevin (the Chromebook Plus) to the parent board (Gru). The Asus Chromebook Flip C101 is the only other device with the parent board Gru, hence this device will also receive Linux app support just as the Samsung Chromebook Plus did.

Support for Linux apps should arrive fairly quickly for those on the Canary channel. For reference, the Canary channel picked up the HP Chromebook X2's support within a day of a similar commit being merged. Those on the Developer, Beta, and Stable channels will have to wait a little longer for the feature to roll out.

Linux apps on Chrome OS are a fairly new development considering the feature was only announced last month at Google I/O 2018. It debuted on the Google Pixelbook but has since started to roll out on a number of other Chromebooks. We'll be keeping track of which Chromebook devices receive support for it, so if you're a developer looking to code on a Chromebook then stay tuned!



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OnePlus 6 gets Android P Beta 2 with Google Lens in camera, Ambient Display, & Face Unlock

OnePlus announced the Android P beta for the OnePlus 6 alongside a number of other device OEMs. Following the release of Android P beta 2 for the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL, the Essential Phone and the Sony Xperia XZ2 also received the latest build. OnePlus has now released the latest version of the developer preview for the OnePlus 6, and it comes with a number of OxygenOS features along with Google Lens support. The update was first spotted on Baidu by XDA Senior Member flo071. It has also been announced on OnePlus' Chinese forums. You can read the changelog below provided by XDA Portal Supporter TitokhanIf you want to install this update, you will need to wipe your device.

OnePlus 6 Android P Beta 2 Changelog


System

  • Fixed an issue that does not support face unlocking

Camera

  • Fix camera stability issues

Application

  • Fix application compatibility issues

Other known issues

  • Wi-Fi SoftAP Device Manager is currently unavailable
  • Camera portrait mode cannot be used
  • Widevine L1 is temporarily unavailable

What's new in Android P Beta 2 for the OnePlus 6

While you get all of the goodies from the latest developer preview, now you also get some OxygenOS features on top of that. Ambient display is present along with OnePlus' system accent colors and their face unlock. The update also now properly supports the device's dual rear cameras. Next, you can now create your own system accent colors according to screenshots supplied by XDA Senior Member jhakjhuk1853. This has been requested by fans for a long time, so it's great to see it finally arrive.

OnePlus 6 Android p Google lens OnePlus 6 Android p Google lens

Other features brought to the table compared with the earlier beta build include the ability to hide the notch and the full-screen gestures introduced on the OnePlus 5T. Lastly, Google Lens has now been integrated into the camera app just as announced during Google I/O 2018. The latest ASUS PixelMaster Camera app and the Moto Camera app also earlier received Lens integration. Google Lens is Google's Artificial Intelligence-powered item identification program. It's pretty simple to use, all you have to do is open it up and tap an item in the viewfinder, and then Google Lens will attempt to identify it.

Google Lens OnePlus 6 Android P Beta 2And that's about it really! If you'd like a quick rundown of all of the major features added, you can check out a video created by XDA Senior Member jhakjhuk1853. Below we have installation instructions.

How to Install Android P Beta 2 on the OnePlus 6

It appears that the process to install Android P Beta 2 on the OnePlus 6 is somewhat complicated, so we recommend you do this on TWRPThe only way to go back to the stable version is to use the OnePlus unbrick tool found on our forums to go back to OxygenOS 5.1.5. We do not recommend installing the beta on your device at this point in time.

Step 1 – Download the ROM File

Download the ROM from the Google Drive link or the Baidu link.

Download Android P Beta 2 for the OnePlus 6 (Drive)

Download Android P Beta 2 for the OnePlus 6 (Baidu)

Step 2 – Preparing for Installation

You'll first want to back up all of your files. Once you've done that, boot into TWRP and perform a factory reset.

Step 3 – Installation

Copy the file to your device (if you haven't already) and flash it through TWRP. Reboot the device (do not boot into the system) and boot into the OnePlus recovery. Select full wipe and boot your device normally after that.

Step 4 – Flash TWRP (Optional)

Once your device has finished booting and you've set it up, you can now flash TWRP and Magisk again if you want.



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