I haven’t made a habit of reviewing Android or iPhone apps, but maybe I should start since there are a lot of junk apps that don’t even deserve our time… and there’s those on the other side of the spectrum that almost go undiscovered and are absolutely brilliant.
So today I’ll share my review of the ColorOS camera. I’ve been using this app on my OnePlus One, which is running CyanogenMod 12 (Nightlies, Lollipop).
This isn’t the only alternative to the stock android camera I’ve tried. I currently have 3 installed camera apps: The stock Android Camera, Camera FV-5 (Pro), and ColorOS Camera.
I wasn’t really impressed with my OnePlus One stock camera, especially since I pretty much had to avoid using flash because of the flash glitch.
I wasn’t looking for a novelty app… you know the ones that have all those speech bubbles, filters, frames, etc you can add to your pics. They serve a purpose, and the purpose isn’t to take great pics, it’s to enhance them after you’ve taken them.
I came across the ColorOS camera after scouring the internet looking for a camera app that would maximize the potential of my OnePlus One camera.
ColorOS is the operating system of phones made by OPPO, a Chinese electronics manufacturer that got in the phone market in 2008.
It wasn’t the operating system that was so special, it was the camera app that had many interested.
It wasn’t long before people tried to PORT the ColorOS camera and make it available for other roms.
ColorOS Camera Install
You’re not going to be able to go to the Play Store and find it. I downloaded the app and numerous plugins for it all here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/oneplus-one/themes-apps/coloros-camera-port-t3034148
The install isn’t hard. There is two routes you can take:
1.) You can download the flashable zip and flash it through RECOVERY. This is a nice method since all the plugins are now included with the camera. It’s like one step and you’re done.
2.) If you’re not comfortable with the first method. There’s the APK install.
With any APK file you download outside of the Play Store, you have to make sure you have allow installation from “Unknown Sources” checked. You can find this in your SETTINGS. After you do that, just find where you downloaded the ColorOS camera APK and click on it to install.
The Good & Bad
After spending the last 3 weeks messing around with it, I can honestly say it is a great all-around camera. The highlight of this camera is the low-light pictures it takes. It easily rivals every other camera in low-light picture taking… at least the ones I’ve tried.
Another good feature is that with the “RAW plugin” it allows you to take RAW DNG images. This is great for editing the images in Photoshop afterward. The stock Gallery app doesn’t see these files so you’ll have to find them through the File Explorer.
You don’t need to be rooted to use the ColorOS camera. My OnePlus One was rooted prior to installing this app, so it didn’t make a huge difference either way for me, but I know there are plenty out there that haven’t rooted their device.
It’s FREE! You can’t beat free. I would pay money for a camera like this and to get it for free makes it all sweeter.
The features and plugins that come with this camera are impressive. It allows you to customize everything in order to take the perfect pic.
The biggest drawback is that it can be a little glitchy at times. Sometimes it will get a little laggy and force close for me. It doesn’t happen often enough for me to be overly irritated by it.
The video camera isn’t that great. I’ve found the quality to be pretty grainy. So if I need to take a high-quality video I use Cinema FV-5 or the stock camera app.
Final Thoughts on the ColorOS Camera
If your looking to maximize your camera’s potential, look no further than the ColorOS Camera. It works well on my OnePlus One. I’ve heard that it works on other devices that are running CyanogenMod 11 or 12… I don’t know how true that is, but it’s something to check into if you don’t have a OnePlus One phone.
With it being free and an fairly easy install, I don’t see really any disadvantages to at least trying it out.
*UPDATE – 07/29/15*
Since I wrote this article, the ported ColorOS camera has been updated numerous times. Up until yesterday I was still using version “G”, so I decided to flash version “K1” to my OnePlus One and have been messing around with it ever since.
The layout is different and the video recording is definitely better now. I’m still in the process of going through everything and testing it out. I like it so far. Seems more polished. If my view of this camera changes I’ll definitely post another update.