ColorOS, or Cyanogenmod?
What does interchanging OS mean? A primer: Android OS, being open source, is open to modification. Many modified versions are available on the web, with Cyanogenmod being most popular. Handset manufacturers usually curate their own version. The Oppo N1, for example, ships with ColorOS, which is Oppo’s take on Android OS.
After incorporating as a company, Cyanogenmod, seeking to further legitimize their OS customization efforts, collaborated with Oppo to officially offer users an option to load Cyanogenmod into Oppo N1, without voiding the warranty.
As such, the N1 is currently the only smartphone with two official OSes: Oppo’s own ColorOS, which is based on Android 4.2, and Cyanogenmod 10.2 (CM10.2), which is based on Android 4.3. Savvy users may find delight in knowing that this version of CM10.2 has passed the Google compatibility test, and thus includes Google Apps, eliminating the need to flash another "Gapps" package. You will of course have to flash the phone's ROM with the appropriate package as the only difference with the Oppo N1 is that it allows you to make the switch officially as you feel fit.
ColorOS can be summed up in one word: Colorful. As a means to ease new users in using an Android phone, it presents a playful user interface. The ColorOS comes preinstalled with a number of useful apps, such as Kingsoft Office. There are also other functions like App Backup, Guest Mode, Permissions Monitor, and more:
Want to show off your new Oppo N1 to your friends, yet do not want them to stray and open your Facebook app? With App Encryption, one can set a passcode on the app, such that whenever one tries to access the prescribed app, one will need to input the passcode.
To a savvy user, this is an important feature. Ever wondered which app is allowed to send SMS? With this, one can see the list of apps that requested a particular Android permission.
For those that are not in the habit of setting a passcode on their phones, whenever the lockscreen gets accidentally unlocked in the bag, or in the pocket, the Oppo N1 automatically prevents the main launcher from displaying. This is done through a check in the proximity sensor; should the phone be in a pocket, the sensor will be covered.
For those who prefer to have an Android experience closer to stock, look no further than Cyanogenmod.
OS tinkerers will have a field day experimenting with the Cyanogenmod version of the Oppo N1. One interesting function, shown only after unlocking Developer Settings, is the ability to tweak CPU performance. Unfortunately, the maximum CPU speed is still capped at the phone’s rated speed of 1700MHz, and therefore cannot be overclocked.
Flashing Cyanogenmod does come with some sacrifice; most of the additional bells and whistles that you can find in ColorOS will no longer be there. Many camera functions will also be missing, especially the burst mode. One will then have to rely on getting third party apps to replace those missing functions.
Fortunately, O-Touch and O-Click still work in Cyanogenmod, however, we've noticed that various O-Touch gestures may differ from that of ColorOS. For one, the O-Touch gesture to trigger a photo is to double tap in Cyanogenmod, while in ColorOS, the gesture is to hold and release.
The frustrating thing about the O-Touch function in Cyanogenmod is that unlike ColorOS, the option to enable this function is hidden deep within Settings. In fact, it is hidden under Language and Input settings - which seriously does not make sense and isn't intuitive. The function is disabled by default, henceforth Cyanogenmod users who want to play with O-Touch, you now know where to find the option.
ColorOS or Cyanogenmod?
To a casual user who just wants to utilize all the fun features of the phone, without the hassle of downloading additional launchers or utility apps, ColorOS will certainly be the way to go. Cyanogenmod is more suited to users who have previously flashed and used Cyanogenmod OS on other phones, liked it, and will want to relive the same experience in the Oppo N1.