The last time I reviewed an OPPO smartphone, which is a similar month last year, I was at loggerheads with OPPO on a couple of things, the chief being the software. One year later, my bone of contention with the Chinese phone brand has barely changed. However, what makes things different, this time around is that there are actually some visible baby steps being made to address some of the concerns. Like bringing the SIM toolkit from obscurity and making it more visible.
Ordinarily, the SIM toolkit is buried in the settings app of any OPPO smartphone because… Color OS.
I’ve always found that arrangement to be problematic. More so because long before we had a Safaricom app that had M-Pesa, the most widely-used service on any mobile phone in Kenya, the SIM toolkit was the go-to place for accessing mobile money services which, as Kenyans, we can’t live without. Yet some software engineers and designers sitting thousands of miles away saw it wise to subject users of their devices to a 3-step journey in order to access the all-important feature [Settings > Additional Settings > SIM Toolkit].
I am not one to easily get excited about Android smartphone updates since many a time they tend to be just by the ways, tiny and insignificant (I am typing this after this experience, after all). However, when I received the CPH1723_11_A.11_171209 update yesterday on the OPPO F5, I was pretty excited after reading the changelog: the SIM toolkit had finally been set free. After years of being in captivity.
The app-drawer-less Color OS home screen, where the SIM toolkit is now available, is not the most ideal but hey, you win some, you lose some.
Other fixes that come with this update include:
I found the first item on the changelog interesting because it was also, purportedly, fixed in another update that I received on the device in late November. What gives?
Surprisingly, the update does not include a bump to the latest (November or even December) Android security updates. Oh OPPO, you’re hard to love. It’s not like I love whining about such things. I also wish I didn’t have to be doing this all the time but the mistakes, deliberate or otherwise that keep on being committed leave little to no choice for me and many others like me. Android security updates are critical and every device maker should be releasing them. It shouldn’t even be news. I don’t even make a mention of the patch updates when writing about a Nokia device’s latest software update because they come naturally as part of any update being made available to the user.
Have you received the update? It’s rolling out to all OPPO F5s in Kenya and, I guess, beyond. If you haven’t received it, make tapping Settings > Software Updates a daily habit until you get it.