Yesterday Google released the final user beta for Android 12, and as I did since version 10, I have installed it on my Pixel 4a. First thing I looked for is how the new UI colors and fonts look and I found that to really see that you need to be in light mode rather than dark mode. I’ve been using dark mode full time with Android 11.

I did the update late last night so one of the new features I experienced first is the update to the ambient display, the larger clock display is handy at night when I wake up and want to see the time.

I think I like the changes to the notification shade but the larger quick setting buttons look off. Everything in the UI seems larger, which I appreciate.

One other change I looked forward to is the use of the power button to activate Google Assistant, which you have to specifically configure in settings. I disable “Hey Google” mostly to save battery life, but also because I find I don’t use it very much. Wish Google would add a gesture to the fingerprint scanner in which if I press and hold the phone would unlock and activate Assistant. If I just tap the scanner the unlock the phone, if I keep my finger in the scanner then unlock and activate assistant.