Android P Public Beta First-Look Review

At Google IO 2018, the company finally announced Android P Beta and a bunch of new updates to the Google ecosystem. However, a lot of things aren't available yet, so we decided to download Android P and see what is available right now.
Android P

Download Android P From These Following Phones:


  • Essential Phone
  • Nokia 7 Plus
  • Oppo R15 Pro
  • Sony Xperia X72
  • Vivo X21UD
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix2s
  • Google Pixel/XL
  • Googke Pixel 2/XL

If you have any of the devices listed above right now, you can also download it and mess around with it. The phone that we choose was a Google Pixel 2 XL, however remember this is a beta version, it's not a finalized systems so might not be perfect to use as a daily driver.

Once the update has loaded, you'll find Android P most immediate new features staring at you. The navigation along with the Back button, you now have a swipe bar that's reminiscent of the iPhone 10. Some things are familiar like tap to go home and press and hold for Google Assistant, other things are newer.

Swipe up twice to get to the app drawer, along swipe will also do the trick. Having two functions map to one gesture isn't ideal, but at some point you do get used to it. Swipe right and you can switch between your two most recent apps and finally tap back arrow to go back. In contrast to everything else this might feel a little awkward. Sometimes I found myself trying to swipe to go back, despite the fact that I almost never use iOS, other than that Google has refined its design language even more, and it's made everything rounder, for example there are now circles around the Quick Toggles this makes it easier to find what you're looking for at a glance.

In the Settings menu you also have different colors for different settings, personally I wish these colors were customizable because instead of making things easier to find, it actually makes it more difficult because of anesthesia and everything has its own color in my mind. Thankfully, the newly announced material theme could fix that in the long run, although updates are less obvious, the annoying persistent notifications on Android Oreo are now easy to get rid of.

The battery settings you can find a new adaptor battery option which limits the battery for apps you don't use often, some updates are entirely under the hood, like adaptive brightness which better tracks ambient light in your environment and your particular activity and location in order to intelligently change the screen brightness. Unfortunately, some of Android P promised updates won't be available for a while.

Android Slices is an action which can bring up options and partial interfaces from within apps just by typing something in the search bar are absent for now. Google's dashboard for tracking app usage and setting time limits for how much you can goof off is also nowhere to be found, so if you need external self control you'll still have to download a third party app.

Good news, some of the updates are available for everybody who uses Google products, most of these are cloud services that don't need to be tied to Android P, Google lens has been updated so you can now copy text from a photo, although it isn't perfect especially the stranger fonts or ugly handwriting, it works rather well with most printed text. Google Assistant also has six more voices you can choose from.

Android P is one of Google's most significant updates in years, even though the company is promising some pretty cool things you'll need some patients as things slowly roll out over the next couple of months.

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