OnePlus has released a new Developer Preview of Android Q for their latest smartphones, namely the OnePlus 6, 6T, 7, and 7 Pro. While it’s based on Android Q beta 5, it is only the third release by OnePlus, hence it’s Developer Preview 3 for OnePlus devices. This new update brings the new Android Q gesture navigation which was missing in earlier builds and some new Oxygen OS-specific changes.
Android Q Beta 5 on OnePlus 7 Pro
Android Q Beta 5 update fixes a number of bugs including major ones related to WiFi and mobile radio. In this new beta, almost everything works. Currently, there are issues with the in-display fingerprint icon not appearing on the OnePlus 6T on the Ambient Display. On the OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7, face unlock doesn’t quite work as expected. Neither of these bugs affects the OnePlus 6 which enjoys the most stable Android Q beta 5 among these devices.
There still are issues in the performance department, however. Not that anything lags, it would be a shame if it did considering the hardware. There are some jitters here and there in the animations though but not everyone might experience them. There are also stability issues. I also couldn’t get SMS to work, for some reason on my OnePlus 7 Pro. There was no way to set any messaging app as the default app and nothing works without it.
Last year when Google brought its own version of gesture navigation, I was intrigued. It was different even though it lacked a clear intention with s mix of buttons and gestures. I concluded that the gesture navigation was bad because Google didn’t know if they wanted gestures or buttons. Another reason was the animations were not quite as fluid. They had an elasticity which was not as good as the fluidity on the iPhone.
Well, this year Google just went ahead and copied the iPhone’s gesture navigation completely. For the most part, it works fine until you want to go back. This is where the problems creep in because there is no back button anymore. Swiping left or right on the gesture bar switches between apps. Swiping from the corners brings up the Google Assistant because clearly, it is more important to google than navigation.
So instead, you now have to swipe in from the left edge of the screen. This is also where you swipe within apps to bring up the side menu drawer, by the way. That has now been changed to tap, hold, and then swipe. Basically, a form of the gesture you’d never use because it’s too confusing. Swiping from the left edge to go back is also not quite as handy. Especially with a phone as large as the OnePlus 7 Pro and more so if you use your right hand like most people.
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So Google basically went ahead and invented a problem that wasn’t there. All they needed to do was smooth out the animations in the previous implementation, and remove the back button in favor of a right swipe. Two changes and it would’ve been perfect but instead, it has now gone from bad to worse.
One more thing…
There’s this little problem that instead of being an overlay like the iPhone’s gesture bar, this is still the navigation bar but only made really thin. So when you open something like Chrome which is predominantly white but doesn’t change the color of the navigation bar to white, you’re left with this little bottom black bar which looks really weird with the rounded corners of the screen.
Android Q Beta 5 Oxygen OS Features
Android Q includes a few customization options such as color accents. Well, Oxygen OS is not often described as the best version of Android (even better than stock Android) for no reason.
With the new Android Q beta 5 update, OnePlus takes the game to a whole new level. The Settings include a separate Customization section. Some of the customization features like the fingerprint animation, wallpapers, etc. have been moved to this new section from elsewhere.
Moreover, you can now find the option to change the color of edge notification lights, and the System icon shapes which affect quick settings and icons throughout the system. This doesn’t affect app icons though. That can still be changed with an icon pack like before.
Game Space is an evolution of game mode with a refreshed UI which is actually more intuitive and better looking. There is a new Graphics optimization setting which claims to enhance details in highlight and shadow areas in games. Could prove useful for a game like PUBG but I don’t see much use on other mobile games. Other than that there aren’t actually any new features here.
OnePlus users have been demanding an Always-on Display for a very long time now but it seems OnePlus is not very keen to give it just yet. Although the Android Q beta 5 update does bring a Smart display feature, tuck inside the Ambient Display settings. This lets the Ambient display show additional information like currently playing music, weather info, calendar events, and more at the bottom.
High-res screen recording
Android Q has a screen recording feature but once again, OnePlus is ahead of the curve. They already brought the screen recording feature to Oxygen OS with the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro. In Android Q Beta 5 they now allow you to turn up the resolution up to 4K (3840×2160), turn the bitrate up to 24Mbps, and even record at 60fps.
Install Android Q Beta 5
If you’d like to try it out yourself, you can find installation instructions by following the link below.