ColorOS 12 First Impressions: More Than a Fresh Coat of Paint!

ColorOS 12 atop Android 12 is easily the most refined and the most improved custom ROM to be introduced this year. And this is not me making just a wild claim out of the blue. Because, beneath the fresh coat of paint, it’s the number of features, customisation options, privacy options etc. that make Oppo’s custom skin absolutely worth it. Apart from this, with ColorOS 12, the Chinese smartphone maker is aiming to reach up to 430 million users in more than 140 countries globally. And I am happy to report, Oppo has included support for 13 Indian languages out of the total 67 in ColorOS 12. 

I’ve been using ColorOS 12 Beta version 2021.10.04 for the past few days. Read on to know about all the latest additions to the new software. 

coloros12

ColorOS 12: Update Roadmap

At the time of writing this article, Oppo’s India website doesn’t show any listing regarding ColorOS 12’s release. However, as per the company’s global website, the Find X3 Pro 5G has already received the software update in October last month. You can also check the list of eligible devices that are scheduled to receive the latest update by visiting the official global website

ColorOS 12: Design & UI

ColorOS 12 follows a new design language that might not look all that different from ColorOS 11, but it’s only when you start fiddling around, you realise the changes. So, Oppo calls it, ‘Inclusive Design’, and it’s not just the marketing name that’s fancy, but it’s the overall visual improvement that you see all around the UI that also looks fancy. Maybe mature would be the correct word, but all in all, the software feels polished and refined. 

1_coloros12_design

For starters, ColorOS 12 features a clean UI and precisely spaced out content. The company has used a lot of colours and clean fonts, making it very easy to get around the UI. Oppo also claims to have added new 3D icons, which frankly look more or less the same to me as in ColorOS 11. Nonetheless, the new icons look good. And did I mention that you can also get rid of the app icon names in the app drawer! This in my opinion presents a much cleaner aesthetic when you look at things and something that I prefer. 

ColorOS 12: Personalisations

ColorOS 12 has an all-new Personalisations section in the Settings, and it’s huge. So, as I just mentioned about the ability to remove app icon names; you can do that from the Personalisations menu. However, the most significant addition here is the option to create your own wallpaper simply based on any photo — new or existing. Trust me, the possibilities are endless here. 

2_coloros12_personalisations

ColorOS 12 also brings a new feature that’s called Wallpaper colour picking. This means, every time you change your wallpaper, the theme colours are automatically adjusted accordingly. Isn’t that cool? Of course, you can also choose custom colours as per your liking for the UI theme. 

ColorOS 12: Privacy

Looks and aesthetics are fine, but I feel Privacy is one area where Oppo has put a lot of thought into ColorOS 12. Starting with Privacy Dashboard, which is an all in one intelligent representation of particular apps that are accessing certain permissions at a given time. For instance, all the apps that have accessed your location in the past 24 hours will be listed here under Location. Of course, you can also revoke the permissions for any app that you want according to your preference. 

3_coloros12_privacy dashboard

Approximate location is another feature that finally makes its way to ColorOS 12. So with this new addition, you will now be able to give your approximate location to an app. Basically, keeping that particular app away from getting your precise location instead. 

3_coloros12_precise location

ColorOS 12 also get privacy indicators function. For instance, if any app is now using your camera or your microphone, there’s going to be a prominent icon present in the top-right, letting you know about the same. You can access this feature from Privacy, and you also get toggles for quick access from the notification panel. 

3_coloros12_privacy indicators

Other than this, ColorOS 12 also lets you remove your private information such as location and other properties from media files before you share them with others. However do note, this feature is only integrated into the first party Photos app. I mean it would have been cool to see this integrated into the Google Photos app as well. Please make this happen Oppo?

3_coloros12_photos privacy

ColorOS 12: Phone Manager

The new Phone Manager in ColorOS 12 has been redesigned and is now much more than just your regular system optimiser. For starters, you now get two tabs at the bottom — Home and Tools. So the Home tab is where you see your usual system optimiser and other frequently used options. As for the Tools tab, this is where you see your device’s security options in more detail, presented in categories. 

4_coloros12_phone manager

ColorOS 12: Smart Sidebar

With ColorOS 12, the newest iteration of Smart Sidebar introduces a new ‘Background Stream’ feature for media apps, which is a huge deal. One of the biggest use cases for this new feature is the YouTube app. So what this means is that anyone who doesn’t have a YouTube Premium subscription doesn’t need to bother anymore. Because with this new feature, play any video on YouTube > slide in the Smart Sidebar > tap Background Stream. That’s it, your video will now be minimised and playing in the background. And, of course, you can also lock your smartphone. If this isn’t huge then I don’t know what is!   

5_coloros12_background stream

Apart from this, Smart Sidebar also lets you quickly access Screen Translate in ColorOS 12. It’s very simple — on any screen, slide in the Smart Sidebar > tap Screen Translate > let Google Lens do its magic. So, be it in images, paused videos or when you’ve pointed your camera at something; Screen Translate works instantly considering Google supports the particular language and you have an active internet connection. 

5_coloros12_screen translate

ColorOS 12: Flexible Windows

Floating Windows now renamed Flexible Windows has also received a major overhaul in ColorOS 12. In a nutshell, the feature is more intuitive with the actions feeling more natural. FOr instance, a simple swipe up, hold and release opens an app in a floating window. You can now resize a window by simply dragging the corners inwards and outwards. You can also drag a particular window to hide it on the left or right edge of a screen. 

6_coloros_flexible windows

ColorOS 12: Other Features

Gaming is a treat on ColorOS 12 thanks to the new and improved Game mode. So you can now amp your phone to the best performance mode while playing your favourite titles. There’s also a baked in screen recording feature along with an orientation lock. There’s also the option to configure the touch optimisation according to your preference. And you can also keep a tab on the FPS in real-time by enabling System status.

7_coloros_game mode

Simple mode is now simpler than ever in ColorOS 12. It now feels more of a particular mode rather than a second thought. The use of large icons and fonts are prominent. The settings menu gets an overhaul and is no longer a font enlarged version of the normal mode. The best part is that exiting Simple mode is very easy now. You simply go to Settings and tap Exit Simple mode. 

8_coloros_simple mode

ColorOS 12 also gives you virtual RAM expansion, something that I have also seen in the ColorOS 11. The only difference here is that now the feature has been on the system level as a part of the software, which is great to see. You also get other nifty additions from Google’s Android 12 such as Conversation widgets, Notification Bubbles and Nearby Share. 

OMOJI is another new addition that lets you create your 3D avatar for clicking photos and videos. Of course, it will remind you of Apple’s Memoji. But anyway, I can’t speak much about this at the moment since I didn’t have access to the feature on my ColorOS 12 device.  

ColorOS 12: Final Words… 

After having used ColorOS 12 for the past few days, I have come to enjoy Oppo’s fresh new design along with the improved privacy and security features. And considering this is just the initial beta version, I am only expecting more polish in the final software build. Of course, whenever the company decides to make things official. 

So, that was everything new in ColorOS 12. Share your thoughts and queries about the new software in the comments. And if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. Have a great day ahead!

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Aman Rashid
aman.rashid@u2opiamobile.com

Aman is the Video-Head for Mr Phone's YouTube channel, based out of New Delhi. He's a true blue sneakerhead, is an avid WWE follower, loves all things tech, and is a huge DragonBall fanboy. He follows a simple mantra in life — Live, Laugh, Love! 💛