How stable is the first Android Q beta?

It’s always fun when Google releases a new version of Android. There are tons of new features and visual tweaks to dig into, as well as under-the-hood improvements to make our phones run better. The downside? These early developer previews are buggy and not necessarily ready for consumer use (hence the term “developer”).

I’ve been running the first Android Q beta on my Pixel 2 XL since its launch on March 13, 2019. How stable has Android Q been so far? Should you install it? Read on to find out.

Further reading: How to install Android Q on your phone right now

Android Q beta bugs, stability, and battery life

This early preview of Android Q is actually more stable than the very first alpha developer preview we got with Android Pie last year. That doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and roses, though.

The first big issue I’ve run into is poor battery life. This is to be expected on a developer preview so I’m not complaining here. I used to get about four hours of screen-on time on stable Android 9 Pie, but now it’s more like two hours. Standby time is nothing to complain about, but the phone sucks battery when I’m actually using it.

On the plus side, there are benefits to using battery saver mode on Android Q. Now, enabling the mode gives the phone a full, system-wide dark theme that turns your quick settings panel, settings menu, and notifications to black. It’s pretty awesome. Check out the video below to see what I mean.

Full disclosure, my Google Pixel 2 XL does have a Google Fi SIM card inside, so I am receiving messages and phone calls. I’ve also been using this phone to check out social media and answer email, however I haven’t trusted it enough to use as my main phone while I’m out running errands.

I’ve noticed a few inconsistencies with my location when using Google Maps or the trusted places feature in Smart Lock. Half the time my phone puts me at my exact location, half the time it’s a few blocks off.

I’ve also noticed a few random UI quirks, but nothing that makes the phone completely unusable.

Other known issues

Here are some other known issues in the first Android Q developer preview:

  • System and app performance is known to be periodically slow and janky, and devices may become occasionally unresponsive. These problems may become more acute with prolonged use.
  • Battery life may be regressed in this early release for screen-on and screen-off use cases.
  • Launcher icon visibility – In Android Q, the All apps tray displays a launcher icon for every package installed on the device, except for the following cases:
    • System apps
    • Apps that don’t contain any components inside their respective manifest’s tag
  • Sharing a screenshot with the app directly from the system notification may result in a crash. To mitigate this, share your screenshot from the Files app.
  • If using a work profile, granting the Phone permission to the app may cause uploads to fail or crash the app. To mitigate this, disable or deny the Phone permission in the app settings.

There are many more known issues in this developer preview, which you can find at this link.

Should you give Android Q a shot?

Yes, but we’d suggest installing it only if you have a secondary smartphone.

While the Android Q beta does seem stable enough right now, poor battery life and wonky GPS reliability are keeping me from switching my main SIM card over to my Pixel 2 XL. Your mileage will vary of course, but don’t be surprised if you run into any jankiness along the way.

The good news is that you won’t have to wait long for the Android Q beta to be improved. Google is releasing a total of six beta updates between now and the final release in Q3 2019. We’ll update this article again when the second beta arrives in early April.

The official timeline of the Android Q beta rollouts. Google

  • Beta 1 (initial release, beta, March 13, 2019)
  • Beta 2 (incremental update, beta, early April 2019)
  • Beta 3 (incremental update, beta, early May 2019, likely coinciding with Google I/O)
  • Beta 4 (final APIs and official SDK, Play publishing, beta, early June 2019)
  • Beta 5 (release candidate for testing Q3 2019)
  • Beta 6 (release candidate for final testing Q3 2019)
  • Final release to AOSP and ecosystem (Q3 2019)

We want to hear from you. How stable has the first Android Q developer preview been for you? Cast your vote in the poll below, and speak up in the comments if you’ve experienced any bugs or battery life issues.

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