Free has rolled out an update for the Freebox Pop, Delta, Revolution and Mini 4K. It includes a new interface for the Freebox OS virtual desktop. This interface is meant to be more modern, but retains the architecture of the old one. Here is a summary of the news and our impressions.
Free is the French operator which offers the most comprehensive management and configuration tools for its boxes to its subscribers. Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR also offer it. But they are nowhere near the height of the tricolor Internet troublemaker. These are tools that are not only very comprehensive, but also scalable. They are gathered in a virtual office that Free calls ” Freebox OS “.
This week, Free once again confirms its lead in providing management tools for its Freeboxes. The operator has published an update aimed at all subscribers equipped with a Freebox Revolution, a Freebox Mini 4K, a Freebox Delta or a Freebox Pop. That is to say the vast majority of ISP subscribers (some are equipped with Freebox Crystal and One). And the main improvement therefore concerns Freebox OS, which goes into version 4.4.
A visually more modern presentation
So let’s connect to Freebox OS and observe the changes made. The most important change is clearly visual. You can compare the old interface with the new one below. The first is very classic, with a solid background and a dozen icons that are more reminiscent of a work environment for a technician.
The news is more modern. The background uses the colors of the Free brand and incorporates a rocket. It therefore wants to be more fun. The icons are grouped together in a slightly transparent white solid color. The design of these icons is more modern, taking inspiration from mobile telephony. Each section now looks like a smartphone application. You will notice the disappearance of Freebox TV, which has become obsolete, andHelp, integrated into the Freebox menu.
Of course, the layout of the icons changes depending on the window size and display resolution. But it was already the case before.
A reworked taskbar
Another detail, you will notice an aesthetic change in the ” taskbar “At the bottom of the screen: it is now transparent, whereas it was previously completely gray. To the left of this bar, you will find the Freebox menu, with the most recent operator logo on a circular white solid. Previously, the button was horizontal and gray. It had Free written in full in red (that was the old logo).
The purpose of this button remains unchanged: it groups together all the functions of Freebox OS. There are even more than those displayed in the center of the screen. For example, you can restart the Freebox from this menu, or access the help section mentioned above. There is also access to the Freebox APIs : if you are a developer, you will certainly find what you are looking for there.
To the right of the bar, you will find three icons (depending on the case, there may be only two): the fast WiFi activation / deactivation icon, quick access to hard disks connected by USB and, small novelty , an icon to activate the ad blocker. There is always the digital clock. This is more of a nod to Windows than a crucial element, because you also have the time on your computer. It is duplicate.
Read also – Free launches a new remote control for the Freebox Pop: the end of the bugs?
Colors for each module
The aesthetics of the windows of each module have also changed slightly. Each module has its color. And this color serves as a visual basis for the entire module. It’s pretty cool. And that helps you navigate it pretty quickly. However, you will quickly see that the visual changes are very slight. The shape of the ergonomic buttons (minimize in the taskbar, full screen mode, close) is larger and more modern.
Another aesthetic change can be seen in the menu Profiles. It is now in line with the eponymous section of the smartphone application, with an avatar for each profile and a slight reorganization of information on connected devices attached to this profile.
We also notice that, although they haven’t changed much, the icons in the Settings menu of the Freebox are now monochrome. Once again, the influence of Android and iOS designs is felt. For the rest, however, the shape of the windows, the title of the menus and tabs, the position of information, and the architecture of the tools are strictly the same.
The interface is more modern, but it still lacks clarity
This interface was created by the French start-up MesaVolt. And we find that she has done a great job modernizing this interface without disrupting the habits of subscribers who have used Freebox OS regularly for several years. We weren’t expecting any new features, as Freebox OS is complete. However, we would have liked the aesthetic redesign to be a little more daring to also modernize the way information is displayed, a bit like the Profiles and Network Peripherals modules.
Two specific examples. First, the interactive program guide, which remains extremely dated, while the interface guide OQEE TV is decidedly more modern. Then the menus Freebox settings and Freebox state where the information is written very small, where the drop-down menus are of another age, and where the explanations are kept to a minimum. Newbie subscribers will certainly have a hard time navigating it.
As always, to apply the Freebox updates (whether on the server side or on the decoder side), all you have to do is restart hardware. There are several ways to do this on the server: disconnect and reconnect the Box (this is not recommended if you have a USB hard drive connected to it), go through the Freebox Connect application (available on iOS and Android) or go through Freebox OS.
How to connect to Freebox OS?
A little additional reminder, if you are a Freebox subscriber, you can access Freebox OS by entering the address mafreebox.freebox.fr from a computer connected to your home WiFi network (this also works in Ethernet, of course).
If you are not at home, you must enter a specific address that appears in your Freebox OS interface when you activate the remote connection. Remote access requires that you activate Freebox OS the first time locally to set your administrator password, the secure port for remote access and the unique web address.
You can also access most of the Freebox OS tools from the Freebox Connect application. And it works whether you are at home or on the go.