Hands-On with Android 8.0 Beta for OnePlus 5T

Posted on December 30, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 9 Comments

Hands-On with Android 8.0 Beta for OnePlus 5T

The OnePlus 5T is an unrivaled value in flagship smartphones, with high-end specs and a gorgeous display. And it’s about to get even better thanks to the OxygenOS Open Beta, which is bringing Android 8.0 Oreo to the device.

OnePlus had previously been testing this beta with a limited set of testers. But it’s now available in Beta 1 form for anyone to try. If you’re not a fan of pre-release software, my understanding is that the final release will arrive in about 30 days or so. So the wait won’t be long.

(Also, note that installing the beta means you cannot go back to the currently shipping version of OxygenOS, which is the OnePlus version of Android, without wiping the device.)

But I am a fan of beta software. So I naturally dove right in.

You can find the official instructions for installing this beta on the OnePlus website. The process is pretty straightforward, and I was a bit surprised that the actual installation only took a few minutes.

After rebooting, the update finishes up, which is common for Android updates. But this, too, happens very quickly.

The differences are subtle, and I was curious to see if some of the oddball app icons from the original release were still in place.

Sure enough, the Google Play Store icon on my first home screen had morphed into the more modern version I’m used to from the Pixel phones. But the old-fashioned Settings icon in All Apps retains its dated design. The weather app’s icon might be dynamic now—unless I missed this earlier—as it looks like a snowflake as I write this; it’s snowing right now.

Looking at the changelog, I see that OnePlus has “optimized the app shortcut style,” so I went to see what that was all about; as you may recall, the OnePlus 5T supports three icon packs, each of which provides a unique style. And it appears that the default view, called OnePlus, has been changed to look more like stock Android 8.0 Oreo. Which is fantastic.

More important, the device now supports Oreo features like Auto Fill (basically sign-in for apps), smart text selection, picture in picture (which I tested with Maps), notification dots and notifications previews. And, in that latter case, there’s a OnePlus twist: The little pop-up windows nudge left and right a bit so that you notice what’s new.

Quick Settings has been slightly redesigned, and it, too, looks more like stock Android to me now. That said, OnePlus displays four Quick Settings icons on each row where my Pixel 2 XL only displays three.

In short, this upgrade is about as minor as I expected. A lot of people were freaking out because the OnePlus 5T shipped with Android 7.1.1. But this never bothered me, and I figured the update to Oreo would come quickly and not be disruptive. That appears to be the case so far.


Tagged with , ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (9)

9 responses to “Hands-On with Android 8.0 Beta for OnePlus 5T”

  1. Al Ricci

    Hey Paul, I'd be curious to know what the battery life is like with the beta. It was terrible with the Essential Phone's Oreo beta (what hasn't been terrible software wise from Essential?). Also, do you know if the final needs to be sideloaded?

  2. dcdevito

    It's sad that beta OS software from a 3rd party Android OEM beats Apple and iOS in stability and performance.

  3. arknu

    "A lot of people were freaking out because the OnePlus 5T shipped with Android 7.1.1"

    Yes, for one reason. Shipping with 7 rather than 8 means no Project Treble. And Project Treble should (hopefully) provide smoother updates in the future.

    And of course, it is rather silly to not ship a device running the most up-to-date OS version at the time of release...

  4. Bill Russell

    The reason they might have been freaking was because they want it to ship with Oreo to support project treble. I don't need a new phone yet but in a year or so will certainly be looking for a used flagship that ships with Oreo.