Humans are creatures of habit, and habits are hard to break. When it comes to how you use your smartphone, it's worth giving gesture control a chance. The new innovation is worth the effort of getting used to.
I have been testing the OnePlus 6 for several days now, and at the beginning I refused to use the new gesture control software feature. Although it isn't exclusive to the OnePlus 6 (it can also be used for the OnePlus 5 and 5T with the help of the beta firmware), I was only able to actually try this feature now.
Gesture control is nothing new
Well, gesture control itself is not new. Apple already implemented it on the iPhone X, and Huawei, Honor, Lenovo and many other Chinese manufacturers already offer the feature. But honestly, with the previous gesture controls I felt overwhelmed. The systems I'm familiar with on Android smartphones usually use swiping gestures on the fingerprint scanner and also the areas to the left and right of the biometric sensor. But that was all too complex for me. There were just too many options to choose from.
Huawei, for example, offers four actions with four gestures. If you hold the home button down, you get to the home screen, while a light tap of the same button will trigger the back button. In addition, you can swipe left or right over the home button to get to the screen where you can switch between recent apps, while a swipe up from the left or right side will trigger Google Assistant. Then there's the possibility to show an Android-P-like virtual navigation key. If that's not enough options, you can also show a Navi-Dot, which sits on the screen as a virtual home button wherever you want. Despite the many options, I personally never warmed up to Huawei's solutions.
Simple and intuitive
With OnePlus, the gestures which replace the navigation keys are more limited, and that's not a bad thing. Swiping upwards from the middle of the bottom of the screen always brings you back to the home screen. Swiping from the left or right side of the bottom of the screen triggers the back button. To get into your recent apps list, swipe up again from the middle on the bottom and stop in the middle of the screen until the recent apps screen appears.
iPhone X users will now argue that OnePlus has simply copied from Apple, and they wouldn't be wrong. But now that I've consistently embraced the gesture control of the OnePlus 6 for several days, I find it to be the most intuitive and easy way to replace the navigation buttons. And if you can't get used to it, you can easily activate the navigation buttons again. It's as simple as that.
But it takes some getting used to
As nice as the new gesture-driven world may be, it also carries the risk that you will settle into a habit that you can no longer easily kick. If you have become so used to a specific manufacturer's implementation of gesture control, then it will be really hard to switch phones since you'll have to relearn the gestures. With time you'll get used to anything, but of course, the change will create some friction at first.
Of course, this article is based on my experience, so I'm interested in what you think about gesture control as a replacement for good old navigation buttons? Have you ever had the opportunity to try out the gesture controls of different manufacturers or even those of Android P? Tell us in the comments!