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.