Paranoid Android’s recently teased a return to form with a revamped Pie control and Android Nougat on board, and while a few users are skeptical of their return, the team is ready to unveil that what they’ve been working on in the shadows. The wait is finally over – Paranoid Android has returned with Android 7.1.2 Nougat builds for a bunch of devices.
So what’s new, you ask? The first highlight is obviously the platform upgrade to Android 7.1.2 Nougat. Paranoid Android claims that they have been able to utilize the hardware better as they now have a system which is lighter than ever and which ships with a pre-configured kernel that promises a “fluid, lag-free performance.”
For the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T specifically, the PA team is also claiming significant improvements in their ROM’s picture-taking prowess. The picture quality and image processing is stated to possible be “significantly better” than the stock OxygenOS software! Given that one of the major downsides of switching to a custom, AOSP-based ROM is a reduction in picture quality, we hope that this claim is backed up in practice.
Beyond the general Android and performance upgrades, there are a bunch of features available across all supported devices, as well as a few features available specifically for OnePlus devices. PA’s famous Pie Controls make their return as does a revamped theming interface called the Color Engine (though Substratum themes are also supported). The ROM supports a whole bunch of gestures including drawing letters on the screen to launch applications/shortcuts. The full list of features is reproduced below.
Paranoid Android Features
- Pie Controls
- Color Engine
- On-the-spot controls
- Immersive Mode
- Paranoid OTA Updater
- Battery Styles
- Advanced Power Dialog
- Recent App Locking
- Quick Pull-down
- Substratum Support
- Enhanced Kernel + Control
OnePlus Specific Features:
- Advanced Button Control
- Gesture Control
- Alert Slider Support
- Fingerprint Enhancements
- Camera Enhancements
The much awaited Pie Controls are back with a new design and overall experience. For those of you who haven’t used PA in the past, you’ll need to have Immersive Mode enabled to start using Pie. Immersive Mode can be accessed from a Quick Settings tile in the notification shade. The first time you enter Immersive Mode, you will be greeted with a prompt asking if you would like Pie enabled.
Once enabled, you can initiate Pie from a swipe up from the bottom edge of your screen. You can switch pie positions by holding your finger over one of the snap points on either side of the display. You can also customize Pie to get the experience your prefer on your device. If you hold your finger down while Pie controls are showing, you will see a settings icon to access Pie control customization. Oh, and there’s also an icon right above the Pie control that allows you to quickly launch Google Assistant.
Color Engine is a new feature for Paranoid Android which allows for changing device themes on-the-fly. Color Engine can be accessed under Settings > Display > Theme.
You can set the primary and base colors of the system theme according to your liking. And if you’d like a completely dark theme to supplement the AMOLED display on your device, there is an option for that too! Before you choose your theme, Color Engine will show a preview of your selection so you can quickly decide if you like the new theme.
For those of you who love using gestures to navigate the interface or quickly launch selected favorites, then we have good news for you. PA supports both onscreen and offscreen gestures. Onscreen gestures include such things as drawing letters to launch an application or quickly toggle something like the flashlight. Offscreen gestures include your standard double tap to wake device, but also one finger swipe up/right to launch your selected shortcut.
Other hardware gestures such as double tapping the power button to launch the camera and lifting the phone to check your notifications (Ambient display) are also supported out of the box.
Paranoid Android was once known not only for their innovative features (Pie controls, HALO, and more), but also their style. The ROM was designed to be clean, but beautiful. Thanks to a partnership with Hampus Olsson (the same graphic designer behind the wallpapers on OnePlus phones), the default wallpaper of the ROM is as stylish as it can get.
The list of supported devices at this time is as below. Clicking any of these links will bring you to the download page for the new PA for the phone. (Note: the OnePlus 3/3T builds are unified.)
As with any custom ROM, you’ll need to have an unlocked bootloader and a custom recovery (such as TWRP) in order to install it. Furthermore, you’ll definitely want to perform a factory reset over your existing build before switching over to PA.
The team is undergoing final testing for the following phones. These builds will be released as soon as the team feels they are stable enough.
The team is looking to expand the range of supported devices, so we can expect to see more devices gaining official support depending on the contributions of device maintainers. There are currently 21 members who are a part of the team as well as 5 contributors, per the official release.
Hands-On: Paranoid Android in 2017
We had the opportunity to try out an early pre-release build. Here is a gallery of screenshots showing off the ROM and some of its features.
In our opinion, this is a great start for Team Paranoid. Pie controls are once again a joy to use, especially because it frees up valuable screen real estate without sacrificing navigational functionality. Color Engine is a great way to add your personalized flair to the system without having to switch over to a complete Substratum theme. The gestures are intuitive and allow for quick access to your favorite apps and toggles.
What are your thoughts on Paranoid Android’s return? Let us know in the comments below!