PSA: Latest OxygenOS OTA Brings Improved EIS 2.0 to OnePlus 3 & 3T [COMPARISON WITH PIXEL, LG G6]
With the launch of the OnePlus 3T, we saw the revision receive no additions to the rear camera, besides an improvement to video recording in the form of EIS 2.0 which OnePlus said would later arrive to the OnePlus 3 as well.
While the feature was one of the talking points that the company used to advertise the OnePlus 3T upgrade, real-life tests such as those in our review showed that it ultimately fell short when compared to the implementation of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL. Indeed, Google’s flagship duo pack some impressive video stabilization that leverages the gyroscope and its Snapdragon 821’s Hexagon DSP, instead of opting for a traditional hardware OIS approach. The result was phenomenal, with surprisingly small “jello” effects and smooth panning that made customers very happy. Simply put, Google did an excellent job with its camera’s EIS, while OnePlus still had some kinks to iron out.
Their latest OTA to OxygenOS 4.1.0 based on Android 7.1.1, though, is not only timely but also packed with functionality that’s been in beta for a while, such as expanded screenshots. There are some other nice additions to this new update, such as fixes to WiFi performance, March security patches and general bug fixes, but an item in the changelog sat there unassumingly despite being one of the more useful improvements. This OTA brought improved video stability when recording for both the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T (software parity), and this revision of EIS actually does significantly smoothen video panning when compared to the EIS solution we saw from the OP3T’s release and up until now, although it still has room to improve smaller corrections. Below you can find some samples showcasing the OnePlus 3T’s EIS after the update, pitted against the Pixel XL and LG G6. Both devices were propped and tied together to move in the same motion to make the comparison clearer, though some zooming adjustments to match the frames together might have slightly altered picture quality.
The 30FPS sample above shows the biggest improvement, in my opinion. While the Pixel still features tighter panning and less noticeable “jello” distortions, both produce rather pleasant video output and I was surprised to see the OnePlus 3T handle exposure changes so well. The 60FPS sample does show the Pixel handling micro-adjustments much better, and the OnePlus 3T still has trouble correcting some hand shake while taking steps as well as slight twists, but it’s still tighter than what we saw in a previous comparison and overall video is still smooth on the OnePlus 3T. I’ve also confirmed that OnePlus is indeed heavily relying on the Hexagon DSP, with the DSP utilization percentage sitting between 59% and 100%, fluctuating in regular intervals (though they used the Hexagon DSP in previous builds as well). There is no option to disable the stabilization, which didn’t allow me to see how much of a difference it really introduces by itself. However – and specially when looking back at previous OP3T samples of mine – there is a definite improvement here, and OnePlus 3 owners in particular will see large differences in video recording capabilities compared to the software they’ve had for most of the device’s lifespan thus far.
The difference is not quite as apparent when comparing it to the LG G6 and its video stabilization, as shown above. In my opinion, the OnePlus 3T ends up offering good results all around, but the G6 does correct smaller vibrations very well. While it doesn’t feature the same (infrequent) uncanny distortion as the OnePlus 3T, though, the sharpening makes the G6’s footage look a little worse than it could. The footage is set to 30FPS as the G6 also disables video stabilization in the settings when switching to 60FPS or UHD. We should keep in mind that technically this is a pre-production LG G6 not running “shipping” software… but if it’s polished enough to send to reviewers, I think it’s still a fair comparison to make (and, in my experience, “pre-production” software given to reviewers is often identical to the consumer-ready result). It’s definitely interesting to see that even “smaller” OEMs like OnePlus can offer EIS solutions that can at least begin competing with OIS provided by bigger companies.
Overall, the upgrade to Android 7.1.1 through this latest OxygenOS OTA is one of the better updates this device has received. OnePlus has provided solid software support this time around (even if at the expense of the OnePlus 2 and other previous flagships), and it’s refreshing to see Android 7.1.1 land relatively quickly, as not many devices outside of Google’s Nexus and Pixel suite have received the update. Just like we had said last year, the OnePlus 3 and 3T (and Axon 7, which recently got 7.1.1 as well) prove affordable phones don’t have to come at the cost of software updates. Getting unexpected and very-welcome improvements like this is a cherry on top. While OnePlus still hasn’t delivered a truly spectacular camera experience, at least we get to enjoy some of the progress as they inch closer to their goal, without needing to purchase a new smartphone.
We hope OnePlus continues this solid track record, and also that it keeps complying with the GPLv2 by supplying timely source releases (not-so-solid there). Comprehensive software support with updates, new features and community builds have kept the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T fresh for those who don’t want or need custom ROMs, which makes them even more competitive when 2017 flagships still ship with an equal or inferior processing package.
Check Out XDA’s OnePlus 3T Forums!