Alongside the Pixel series, the Android 11 Beta is available for a number of third-party devices, which includes the OnePlus 8 series.
We’ve already done a few deep dives into all of the nuances of the Android 11 Developer Preview phases prior to the first consumer-facing Beta builds. There is a decent amount to unpack, but overall, if you were expecting a major overhaul, then you will be a little disappointed.
Android 11 is the refinement of an already mature mobile OS, one that has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. Little tweaks here and there just help take the already superb Android 10 and add flair, consistency, and cohesiveness — something that is often a complaint when talking about the “Android experience.”
If you have a OnePlus 8 series device, then you can install and run a beta build of Android 11. Now it’s a “beta” in name only, as this is aimed specifically at developers. So just for that reason alone, we would wholeheartedly suggest that you avoid installing on your brand-new OnePlus device.
From the very outset, this is not the OxygenOS experience that you have come to know and love, it’s buggy, stripped back, and only exists so that developers can ensure that their software and applications are ready for Android 11 on OnePlus 8 (and other) series devices. We simply cannot recommend installing on your main device, OnePlus knows the major issues, with quite a few listed:
- All data will be cleared while flashing the build
- Face unlock is unavailable
- Google Assistant (“OK Google”) does not work
- Video calling does not work
- Certain UI screens look less than desirable
- Some apps may not function as expected
- System stability issues
That’s not even the most nerve-wracking aspect, as unlike with the Google Pixel series, the risk of bricking your OnePlus 8 when trying to install the Android 11 Beta is much higher. Essentially, we’re in no way suggesting that you install the Android 11 Beta on your device, the naming is a little bit of a silly decision from OnePlus, as it’s not a Beta even in the loosest form.
Because we would rather take the risk for you, we’ve installed the “Beta” on our OnePlus 8 to give you the lowdown on what you might be missing out on — which luckily is not that much at all. These are all of the major new features brought in the Android 11 Beta for OnePlus 8 series handsets.
Dark mode toggle
Before coming to a recent OxygenOS Open Beta build, the dark mode toggle was one of the most requested additions to OnePlus devices. You also get the option to quickly toggle between dark and light modes, though, with a notification toggle in Android 11.
However, the dark mode when running Android 11 Beta on the OnePlus 8 has tons of issues and problems. For starters, text in the app drawer on the stock OnePlus launcher is barely visible, plus there are other weird half implementations within settings menus, and more.
Despite wrongly being announced as part of a recent OxygenOS Open Beta, the dedicated one-handed mode is now present in the Android 11 Beta for OnePlus 8 series devices. This upcoming mode looks as though it was designed more around “reachability” mode than being a proper one-handed mode. It also resembles the method favored by iOS.
We have some bad news though, as at present, it doesn’t seem to work. You can enable the option but it hasn’t yet worked on our own OnePlus 8 devices running the Android 11 Beta. It might be dormant at least until the next update, as OnePlus works out the kinks — but at least the option is coming.
Camera app updates
The OnePlus Camera 5.4 app is bundled with the Android 11 Beta on OnePlus 8 devices and brings a number of changes that might enhance your experience. The most notable is that of “Quick Share.” This lets you use a quick gesture to send photos directly to social media or to other apps installed on your device.
Burst video has also come with this update, which lets you long-press the shutter button when in photo mode to grab quick video clips. This might be great for when you want short-form video for things like TikTok, Snapchat, Byte, and general social media.
On top of those, there is a revamped UI when you “zoom” in on a focal point within the viewfinder when using the burst-video mode. This means you can quickly record videos with one hand while simultaneously being able to digitally zoom in.
New clock styles
OnePlus has added a few new clock options for you to further customize your lockscreen. You’ll find them within the OnePlus theming options. There are some nice minimal options, but hopefully, we’ll see even more come the full launch of Android 11 for OnePlus hardware.
General Android 11 tweaks
The new layout for the notification shade, plus all of the extras that come with the enhanced options. Notifications that are marked as “Conversations” will take precedence over other notifications within your notification shade, putting them right at the top of your list. This makes things like chat and messaging apps much more prominent and easier to access.
Chat bubbles like you’ve seen on Facebook Messenger are part and parcel of the upcoming Android 11 update, with the floating windows also available as part of the Beta. Not many applications actually work with bubbles just yet, but the feature will be great for avid texters.
As part of the full notification revamp you can actually check your full notification history at a glance. It might not be the most important addition, but if you’re missing some, then it might be nice to check back when your phone pinged you.
Profile notification icons
If you set specific conversation notifications as “important” or “priority” then you may see status profile icons within your status bar rather than the app icon itself. This might be great to help you distinguish generic SMS messages you receive from SMS messages sent by friends and family.
What would you like to see from future Android 11 Beta on OnePlus series devices?
In essence, this is not a comprehensive update for those with OnePlus 8 series devices. Again, we must stress that it isn’t an update we recommend installing on your main or only smartphone. However, if you have taken the plunge, what is your favorite new feature? What else would you like to see come to future Android 11 Beta updates for OnePlus hardware? Let us know down in the comments section below.
More on OnePlus:
- OnePlus ‘Pods’ truly wireless earbuds show up in Android 11 Beta
- OnePlus Camera 5.4 arrives in Android 11 Beta w/ quick share, new zoom UI, more
- OnePlus 8/8 Pro gain dedicated dark mode toggle w/ Android 11 Beta
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