OnePlus 3 Tips & Tricks: All you need to know to get the most out of your new ‘flagship killer’.
It’s time for the big boys to step aside. Sure, the iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy S7might get all the plaudits and the retailers’ shelf space, but the new OnePlus 3 is mixing things up. Pairing its seriously impressive set of specs with a wallet-friendly price tag, and a wrapping it all in a design that will make your mates want to chuck their phones in the river, this is definitely a smartphone to pay attention to.
And just because the OnePlus 3 is kind to your wallet doesn’t mean it’s not got a few secret features scurried away too. Hidden amongst the mass of innards are all-manner of shortcuts and hidden features that help turn a seriously good bit of kit into an out-and-out flagship killer. There’s this lot for a start…
1. SWAP THE SYMBOLS TO END ACCIDENTAL PRESSES
Depending on which Android handset you’ve traded in for your new OnePlus 3, you’ll either be used to having your back button on the left and the menu control on the right, or the other way round. Although Samsung, LG, HTC and Motorola all offer the same trio of Android commands, the way they’re ordered can vary and switching to a new system can be a frustrating process filled with infuriating miss hits.
It doesn’t need to be that way though, the OnePlus 3 is a genius in customisation terms, replacing dedicated soft key graphics with simple backlit dots. Doesn’t sound that dramatic does it? Well, thanks to this lack of locked-in design, you can use the phone’s Oxygen OS to set which way around you want the controls to be. Just go to Settings > Buttons > Swap Buttons to make the change.
2. DRAW AN ‘O’ TO LAUNCH THE CAMERA
Those can’t-miss photo moments should probably be renamed ‘photo opportunities you’re likely to miss or cock up’. The amount of time it can take to launch your phone’s camera can often result in that perfectly timed snap turning into nothing more than a disappointing blur. Boo.
The OnePlus 3 has got your back though, letting you launch your camera in near instantaneous fashion, and directly from the lock screen no less. How? Well, simply by drawing a circle on the display while the phone is still asleep – seriously. Activated in Settings > Gestures > Open camera, this is a brilliant way to make sure you don’t miss the perfect shot.
3. GET HANDS-ON WITH YOUR CAMERA SETTINGS
Boom, now that your camera’s running, and in double quick fashion no less, it’s time to go beyond the basic snaps and become a master of smartphone photography. Sure, the OnePlus 3 is capable of capturing solid 16-megapixel stills and 4K videos at 30 frames-per-second, but that’s not where its photography skills end. And no, we’re not talking about its impressive 8-megapixel selfie snapper or ability to capture seamless panoramas, impressive time lapses and stunning slow-mo footage.
Instead, it’s time to get to grips with the phone’s manual mode. In the camera app, tap the three line menu button on the screen and from the drop-down list of shooting options, and click ‘Manual’. This will let you mix everything up from the focal points and ISO setting to white balance levels and even the aspect ratio and colour metering. Have a fiddle and try things out. Smartphone snaps just got serious.
4. MAKE YOUR PHONE KNOW WHEN IT’S NEEDED
Tired of having to manually wake your phone’s screen every time you want to use the thing? Yeah, us too. How much spare time do these manufacturers think we have? It doesn’t need to be this way though, you can claim back all those precious seconds that add up to precious minutes and eventually precious hours by giving your phone the power to know when it’s needed.
How? Well thanks to the handset’s integrated proximity sensor, you can set the phone so it’s aware when it’s been removed from your pocket, kicking the screen into gear automatically when it senses it’s left its denim abode. To turn this on, flick the switch in Settings > Display > Ambient Display and this will let you turn on ‘Proximity wake’. Phone already out of your pocket? Waving in front of its forward-facing camera will have the same effect.
5. FLIP YOUR PHONE THE VS TO LIGHT THINGS UP
Now, we wouldn’t normally suggest that giving the Vs is the best way to get someone’s attention, but on the OnePlus 3, this simple gesture can actually come in pretty handy. Seriously, we’re not trying to get you smacked in the face, honest.
A seriously simple shortcut for launching your phone’s torch feature, drawing the letter ‘V’ on the lock screen will throw down some instant light. Ideal for when you’re busting out a bit of serious DIY in cramped confines and need some effortless illumination, you can activate this feature by heading to Settings > Gestures > Toggle Flashlight. Done with your makeshift lighting? Draw another V and the torch app will shut down without you having to cycle through endless menus.
6. PLAY MUSIC WITH A SCREEN TICKLE
Once you’re done drawing profanities, you can make it up to your phone by giving it a two fingered tickle. Heads out of the gutter people, this is another gesture-based shortcut, letting you instantly launch the phone’s music playing by drawing two fingers down the lock screen simultaneously.
This simplistic drawing of a pause symbol (pressing pause to play, confusing) will only activate your music options once you’ve turned the feature on. To do this, you’ll need to head to Settings > Gestures and check the box marked ‘Music control’. That’s not where the music gestures end either. Drawing a left or right arrow will skip to the previous or next track respectively, handy.
7. DECLUTTER YOUR STATUS BAR FOR A CLEANER FINISH
You know that status bar that sits at the top of your phone’s display – the one that shows your signal strength, battery meter, Wi-Fi status, notifications and pretty much every other sodding icon your phone’s capable of displaying? Yeah, that one. Well it can get pretty cluttered and become a daunting sight quite easily, right?
Thanks to the OnePlus’s Oxygen OS, however, you can keep it clean and clutter free by choosing exactly what you want on display, and what you don’t. Want to kill off the useless Bluetooth indicator? You got it. How about the alarm icon or Hotspot alert? Fine, they’re gone too. By heading, to Settings > Customisation > Status bar, you can pick and choose exactly what’s taking up the space. We call it smartphone Feng Shui.
8. TURN DOWN THE COLOURS TO HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER
‘Hi, I’m Charles and I’m a smartphone addict.’ I’m probably not alone either. How many of you have struggled to get to sleep simply because you’re phone’s display has got your brain all jacked up just as you’re trying to slip off into the land of nod? Most of you? Yeah, I thought so. You can prevent this though. The OnePlus 3’s Dark Mode will tone things down when the lights drop to put less strain on your eyes and stop your mind getting wired.
You can take a significant step to ensuring you get a solid eight hours kip a night by heading to Settings > Customisation > Dark mode on your device. Need more help slipping off to sleep? Well a dedicated ‘Night mode’ can also be found in Settings > Display. Trust us, those bags under your eyes will thank us.
9. USE THE RAINBOW TO DISTINGUISH YOUR NOTIFICATIONS
We’ve all been there, getting excited about that blinking notifications light, hoping to have finally heard from the new potential love interest, only to open up your phone and see “Jim has invited your to play FarmVille on Facebook’. You can do away with these notification-based distractions though by assigning a different colour LED blink to each service of choice.
There are eight different notification colours for you to choose from, meaning everything from Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to messages, missed calls and WhatsApp chats can be handed their own indicator with a couple bonus colours left over for whatever app’s taking your fancy this week.
10. MAKE YOUR SHELF FEEL LIKE YOURS
One of the big Oxygen OS features is the Shelf. Offering every shortcut you could possibly want in one place, by swiping right on the home screen you can jump straight into all of your favourite apps, contacts and services.
There are a number of ways you can really make this feel bespoke to you. To switch the apps on display a simple long press will do the trick, while adding and removing favourite contacts (sorry, Mike, you’ve been replaced) and widgets will require a press on that plus symbol and a bit of options tinkering. Sort it how you want it though, and this will become your new home screen.