According to tipster Kamila Wojciechowska through Android Authority, Tensor G3 is going to be a considerable upgrade with more modern cores, support for the latest storage standard, a new GPU, and more.
Starting with the cores, the Google Tensor G3 will apparently change the core layout yet again, this time with a 1+4+4 layout. This is altered from Tensor and Tensor G2, which both had 2+2+4 layouts.
The single big core will apparently be Cortex-X3, which would be clocked at 3.0GHz. Behind that would be the far more modern Cortex-A715, with four of those mid-cores clocked at 2.45GHz. That’s a huge step forward from the Cortex-A78 that was in place on the Tensor G2. For the “little” cores, there would be four Cortex-A510 cores at 2.15GHz, again being much more modern compared to the Cortex-A55 in both past Tensor generations.
All of this was announced in 2022, so technically Tensor G3 will still be a bit behind, but far closer than ever.
These upgrades alone should provide a solid boost to the CPU’s performance as a whole, as well to to its efficiency. This also brings support for ARMv9, which allows for security upgrades. The Pixel 8, according to Wojciechowska, will use this upgrade to implement Memory Tagging Extensions (MTE) from Arm to help prevent memory-based attacks. This would also entirely remove 32-bit support, which Google had already stepped away from on Pixel 7.
Another major point of upgrade is with storage, with this new chip allowing Pixel 8 to support the faster and more efficient UFS 4.0 storage used in devices such as Galaxy S23 Ultra and OnePlus 11.
The GPU is also getting a considerable upgrade, with Tensor G3 reportedly picking up Arm’s new Immortalis GPU, specifically the Mali-G715. That’s not the latest generation, but the 10-core GPU will provide a considerable upgrade, including support for ray-tracing.
Tensor G3 will further upgrade video decoding/encoding, with the “BigWave” block. It retains AV1 decoding from Tensor G2, but also adds AV1 encoding for up to 4k30. For encoding, the Pixel 8’s chip would support up to 8k30, but it’s unclear if Google would actually ship the feature. An upgrade TPU is also coming under the codename “Rio,” will bring a faster clock speed at 1.1GHz. There aren’t any specifics, but it’s said to be a “considerable” upgrade. A new digital signal processor, “callisto,” brings a 4-core, 512KB/core configuration at 1065MHz, which is said to offload more image processing.
As previously reported, Pixel 8’s Tensor G3 chip also won’t bring any changes to the modem, which probably isn’t a big deal considering the major upgrade that came with the Exynos 5300 modem in Tensor G2. In a previous test, we found the Pixel’s modem performance comparable to Qualcomm.
Google Tensor G3 is also expected to be a 4nm chip made on Samsung’s process. The Pixel 8 series is expected to arrive in October 2023.
Call Screen is a feature on Pixel phones that allows the phone to manually, or automatically respond to spam calls using the Google Assistant. Now, Google is working to simplify the feature’s settings, for better or worse.
As first spotted by some Reddit users late last week, an update to the Google Phone app on Pixel phones is changing the settings for Call Screen.
The existing interface for tweaking Call Screen allows users granular controls over the automatic answering, with the ability to turn Call Screen on or off for spam, faked numbers, first-time callers, and private/hidden numbers. Users can opt to have Call Screen automatically answer the call on your behalf, weeding out spam by speaking to the caller on your behalf before handing the call over to you. Alternatively, the call can just come through as usual depending on the category. The granular controls give the feature quite a bit of flexibility.
The new settings for Call Screen on Pixel, though, change things up to be a bit simpler.
Instead of showing granular settings, there’s a “Protection Level” that users can select which includes three options as the folks at Android Police were able to show. “Basic” will decline only “known spam.” “Medium” will then decline spam and screen calls that are considered suspicious. Finally “Maximum” will decline spam and screen any call that is from an unknown number.
It’s noted that this change is appearing for some users on with Google Phone v106.0.534575879, but it doesn’t seem very widely available at this point.
This seems like a bad change on the whole.
Removing granular controls to this extent severely limits the usefulness of Call Screen on Pixel, and if anything ruins certain use cases. The “Maximum” setting seems far too aggressive, especially given that, at least in our experience, most real callers presented with Call Screen tend to just hang up after a few second. Beyond that, even “Medium” doesn’t seem to be a great middle ground.
Moving from a granular, customizable setup is just bad for everyone. It might be slightly easier to understand for the general user – having a single toggle for automatic call screening is the best change here – but it hurts the usefulness of Call Screen overall.
Motorola’s ThinkPhone has flown under the radar for a lot of users, though it is, in many respects, a great phone. One main feature is the iconic Red Key button, which has a few tricks up its sleeves. Here’s how to use it.
The Motorola ThinkPhone is met up as a business-first device, even though it would be a good device for many different types of users. With Motorola’s Ready For software, you can connect your ThinkPhone with generally any PC. That allows you to pull off certain tasks, like app streaming and even using your phone as a webcam.
Taking after the iconic ThinkPad lineup from Lenovo, the ThinkPhone houses a bright red aluminum button towards the left upper corner of the device. Besides giving the ThinkPhone a little splash of color, the Red Key also provides access to those connection tools, giving ThinkPad and PC users a quick access way to utilize the Motorola Ready For software.
How to use the ThinkPhone’s Red Key
The Red Key has two parent functions. With a single press, the Red Key acts as a quick launcher for any app of your choosing or for performing a couple of specific actions. Those are playing/pausing music, starting an audio recording, and initiating a screen recording.
If you look through the shortcut selections, you’ll find some apps have specific actions. For instance, not only can you assign the button to open Slack, but it can open specific conversations and DMs. Most apps have sub-actions that really give you a chance to fine-tune the Red Key’s singular press. We suggest exploring that huge list of extra actions, though it’s a serious shame you can only choose one.
If you happen to double press the Red Key on the ThinkPhone, you are quickly shown a menu with all of the Ready For software’s actions.
Open the last used phone app on your PC, which can be interacted with as if it were native.
Explore and find files to transfer between phone and PC.
Mirror your phone’s display to a PC.
Let your Thinphone act as an HD webcam.
Project content to a TV or monitor.
Tapping any of these will launch the software and get you rolling on that feature. My personal favorite is the webcam function, which gives you access to the ThinkPhone’s cameras for a better video feed, rather than relying on your PC’s webcam. Born of the Zoom era, this feature comes in handy.
How to adjust Red Key settings
On the ThinkPhone, hold down the Red Key.
Toggle on/off each function, per preference.
Set which app or function opens with a single press by choosing one or tapping the settings cog next to Launch app.
Hit Ready For and choose which functions are available with a double press.
The little red button on the ThinkPhone is a useful tool to have on hand, especially if you find yourself using Motorola’s PC tools. Even as a shortcut for a single app, the Red Key earns its spot on the device and can make using the phone a little faster.
Fixed an issue that could cause a device to crash after finishing audio or video calls. (Issue #279539689)
Other resolved issues
Fixed an issue where, after entering and exiting picture-in-picture mode, the screen flickered when any apps were launched.
Fixed an issue where user restrictions set by DPC admins were not being enforced in Settings.
Fixed an issue where, after taking pictures with the Google Camera app, opening the latest picture from the thumbnail in the app briefly displayed a green-colored shade over the image.
Fixed an issue that could cause the battery percentage to be displayed as 0% after a device reboot regardless of the actual charge level of the device.
Fixed an issue that could cause a device to crash, and then when the device rebooted any wallpapers that were selected before the reboot were reset.
Fixed issues that prevented the Better Bug app from uploading bug reports.
Fixed issues that caused the back-to-home gesture to stop working.
Fixed an issue that could cause the system Settings app to crash repeatedly.
Fixed an issue that prevented users from searching within the system Settings app.
Fixed issues that sometimes caused null pointer exceptions for input method editors (IMEs).
Fixed an issue that sometimes increased system-wide memory usage unnecessarily.
Fixed system issues that could sometimes cause deadlocks.
Leave feedback using the Android Beta Feedback app on Pixel devices. You can access it from the drawer or via Quick Settings to file bugs in the Google issue tracker. There’s also the Android Beta community on Reddit.
Android 14 Beta 2 (UPB2.230407.014) with the May 2023 security patch is available for the Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6a, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro, as well as the Android Emulator.
Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 6a devices that use Verizon as their carrier: April 2023 / UPB2.230407.014.A1
Most people will be installing via the Android Beta Program, but you can also flash or sideload.
If you need help, here’s our full guide on installing Android 14.
A big trend in smartphones over the past few years has been the “periscope” zoom camera, and it seems OnePlus will finally adopt the tech in an upcoming release.
Periscope lenses in smartphones allow for zoom that goes beyond 2-3x. Google uses the technique in Pixel phones to hit up to 5x optical zoom, while Samsung uses it for the 10x telephoto lens on its Ultra devices, and countless other brands have been jumping on board too. Even Apple is rumored to introduce a periscope lens on its next iPhone.
But OnePlus, surprisingly, has yet to use a periscope zoom lens in its smartphones. The OnePlus 10 Pro and OnePlus 11 both maxed out with traditional zoom methods at 3.3x and 2x respectively.
It seems that may soon change, though. Digital Chat Station reports on Weibo that OnePlus has a “periscope arrangement” in the pipeline, with testing underway. It’s unclear what optical zoom level OnePlus is aiming for, but the simple fact the brand is finally jumping on board is great to see.
Presumably, this would make its debut in the OnePlus 12 sometime next year. OnePlus’ next smartphone is expected to be its first foldable, which would be a relatively odd place for the tech to debut. Periscope lenses are quite rare in foldables, with Google’s new Pixel Fold offering the tech, as well as Huawei’s Mate X3 and some others. But most stick with rather basic camera hardware for the sake of space.
Kuo: Upgraded optical zoom to be exclusive to iPhone ‘Pro Max’ cameras until at least 2025. Apple is expected to release its first iPhone with a periscope lens with this year’s iPhone 15 lineup, but rumors say it’ll be limited to only the highest-end iPhone 15 Pro Max. According to a new report from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the current expectation is that this exclusivity won’t change for the foreseeable future…
(3/5) Only one/the highest-end model of the new 2H24 iPhone 16 series may have a periscope camera, not the two models of market expectation. It's detrimental to Largan and Genius since the demand for lens upgrades will fall below expectations.
Periscope lens for iPhone 15 and beyond. A periscope lens is one that relies on a prism to reflect light to multiple internal lenses at 90 degrees to the camera sensor. What this means is that the length of the lens can be much longer than a traditional telephoto lens, which in turn means that periscope lenses can offer much better optical zoom capabilities.
For example, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max both have a telephoto lens that offers 3x optical zoom and 15x digital. Samsung has already made the switch to a periscope lens in its flagship Galaxy S22 Ultra, which offers 10x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom.
The expectation is that the iPhone 15 Pro Max this year will be the first iPhone to switch to a periscope lens. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s implementation of the technology will include a 1/3″ sensor that has a 12-megapixel resolution with f/2.8 aperture, sensor-shift stabilization, and up to 6x optical zoom.
Rumors initially indicated that while the periscope lens would be exclusive to the highest-end iPhone 15 model this year, Apple would expand it to the smaller “Pro” phone in 2024. Now, that no longer appears to be the case.
Kuo reports that he now expects only the highest-end iPhone 16 model in 2024 will offer a periscope lens, whether this is called the “iPhone 16 Pro Max” or “iPhone 15 Ultra.”
There are two reasons Apple may have made this decision. It could be that the company views the periscope lens as a way to differentiate the iPhone 16 Pro Max from the iPhone 16 Pro, giving people a reason to spend more on the high-end model. Alternatively, it could be a technical or engineering limitation.
In the past, the switch to a periscope lens could be one of the biggest changes to the iPhone camera hardware in several years. The lack of greater optical zoom (and digital zoom, to a lesser degree) is the major advantage Samsung’s latest flagship devices have over the iPhone lineup.
The fact that the periscope lens will be limited to the big-screen iPhone until at least 2025 is disappointing for people who prefer smaller phones. The bifurcation here is similar to the days of the iPhone 6s, where the iPhone 6s Plus included an optical image stabilization sensor for video and still pictures, unlike the iPhone 6s.
OnePlus tipped to launch its first foldable in August
2023 is quickly turning into the year of the foldables, and now we’re hearing more about when OnePlus will launch its first entry.
With Oppo being one of the biggest names pushing foldable smartphones, it was only a matter of time until OnePlus took the plunge. Earlier this year, alongside the debut of its latest flagship, the OnePlus 11, the company teased a foldable smartphone to debut later in the year. The company then reiterated that at MWC.
Now, reliable tipster Max Jambor is adding a date to that. Apparently, the first OnePlus foldable will make its debut in August of this year.
That timeline doesn’t come as much of a surprise, really. Last year, OnePlus launched its OnePlus 10T in August, and years prior have seen similar timelines as well. An unveiling in August would also put OnePlus in a good spot as far as the competition goes, with Samsung expected to launch the Galaxy Z Fold 5 in July, a date it has pushed up from previous years. Google is also preparing to launch its first foldable, which is expected to go on sale in June.
Leaks of the first OnePlus foldable have been relatively minor thus far, with one past leak revealing the possible “OnePlus V Fold” name for the product. A recent tweet also made the rounds claiming the device would have an 8-inch inner display, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and triple-camera array comprised of a 50MP main sensor, 48MP ultrawide, and 64MP telephoto. There hasn’t been anything to back up that rumor, but it seems reasonable to expect, especially given that we know the OnePlus foldable won’t be an exact copy of the Oppo Find N2.
During its first launch event of 2023 earlier this month, OnePlus offered a somewhat cryptic teaser that, in Q3 of this year, it would host another launch. The brand offered no context at the time, but it was pretty clear what was coming – foldables.
Now, OnePlus is explicitly confirming that, yes, it will launch its first foldable smartphone in 2023.
During a session at MWC in Barcelona today, OnePlus confirmed that it will launch a foldable smartphone in the “second half of 2023,” likely referring to the previously teased Q3 timeline. The brand offered no further insight into what to expect, beyond saying that more information would be released the months to come.
OnePlus COO Kinder Liu said:
Our first foldable phone will have the signature OnePlus fast and smooth experience. It must be a flagship phone that doesn’t settle because of its folding form, in terms of industrial design, mechanical technology, and other aspects. We want to launch a device that aims to be at the pinnacle experience of today’s foldable market.
It’s notable that OnePlus is referring to this as a singular device, as many expected the company to launch both “book” and “clamshell” foldables. The brand at one point trademarked the names “OnePlus V Fold” and “OnePlus V Flip,” furthering the idea of two devices. That would also make sense, given OnePlus’ parent company Oppo also sells two foldables.
OnePlus hasn’t confirmed if this first foldable will be a “book” like the Galaxy Z Fold 4 or a “clamshell” like the Galaxy Z Flip 4, but given recent leaks it sounds like it will be of the Fold variety. Just last week, a leak claimed the device would have less in common with Oppo’s Find N2 than expected, which supports the idea that OnePlus is aiming for that form factor first.
Whatever the case, it’s certainly exciting, as a OnePlus foldable would bring more competition to Samsung, especially if it ends up launching in North America.
Following the Duet AI announcement yesterday, many more people who signed up for Google Workspace Labs are now seeing the generative AI features in Gmail and Docs that “Help you write.”
To tell if you have it in Gmail on the web, start composing an email, and you’ll see a new “Help me write (Labs)” button next to “Send” and formatting options in the bottom toolbar.
Afterward, a blue/purple-ish messaging field appears at the bottom of your screen for you to enter a prompt, with Google rotating through suggestions. It takes a few seconds for something to generate, and you then have the ability to:
Formalize: Makes the draft more formal
Elaborate: Adds details to build upon the text
Shorten: Shortens the draft
I’m Feeling Lucky: Updates draft with creative details
You can also ask Google to “Recreate,” while “Insert” will paste and let you make further edits. Google marks with brackets where you should delete and enter your name or other specifics.
In Google Docs, opening a new page shows a “Help me write” chip. It’s the same workflow as Gmail, but the “Help me write” button can be found to the left of your cursor on the edge of the page to access it again.
Before I/O, Google said it was expanding its Trusted Tester program by 10x. Generative AI features in Google Sheets and Slides (used to create images) are not yet live — and “sidekick” is further down the road — with today’s expansion continuing the public testing that started in March. We’re seeing it live on the web right now, but not on Android.
You can sign-up for Google Workspace Labs’s Gmail and Google featureshere.
Google branding generative AI in Gmail, Workspace as ‘Duet AI’
Google has been publicly testing features that help users write in Gmail and Docs over the past few weeks. Generative AI is now coming to Sheets, Slides, and Meet with a new name: Duet AI for Google Workspace.
“Duet” evokes a sense of contextual collaboration, which is how Google sees the relationship between users and generative AI. (If the name is familiar, Chrome used it for a redesign that never launched.)
In Gmail, Google Docs, and Slides, you’ll eventually get a Duet AI side panel, called “sidekick.” It can be launched next to your profile avatar in the top-right corner, and it analyze your email or document. In Google Slides, it can create speaker notes for each slide.
In Google Slides, generative AI will generate images from text prompts. You’ll get a “Help me visualize” side panel to enter what you want with the ability to choose a style: none, photography, illustration, flat lay, background, and clip art. You’ll get a grid of 6-8 designs with the ability to “View more.”
Duet AI in Google Meet can be used to create background images: “It’s a subtle, personal touch to show you care about the people you’re connecting with and what’s important to them. And you can change that visual with an equally stunning and original one — all in just a few clicks.”
Google Sheets is using gen AI for automatic table generation with a “Help me organize” field. An example prompt is “Client and pet roster for a dog walking business” with columns like dog, address, email, date, time, duration, and rate offered. You get a preview before inserting.
…simply describe what you’re trying to accomplish, and Sheets generates a plan that helps you get organized.
These three features are coming to Google Workspace Labs, with the Trusted Tester program expanding by 10x just last week. Since March, Google says it has had “hundreds of thousands” of such testers.
These features are hitting general availability later this year for business and consumer Workspace accounts. Check out labs.withgoogle.com in the meantime.
We’re now four (yes, 4) updates deep into the early Android 14 preview phase. There are some new bits and pieces to uncover on eligible Google Pixel handsets. Here are all of the top user-facing functions in Android 14 Beta 2.
Android 14 won’t be a huge update from a user-facing perspective. Google is still refining Material You to better fit with the growing Pixel smartphone ecosystem. Other OEMs will also adopt some things here but not all.
Lockscreen PIN input Material You icons
Google has added a neat extra touch to the lockscreen when you enter a PIN or passcode. Tapping any of the buttons and the input tracker will now be animated with abstract Material You-style icons such as rounded triangles, stars, and more to indicate that you have entered characters or numbers.
Page indicator on Pixel Launcher
To help you understand just what page you’re currently looking at, the Pixel Launcher now has page indicators that are very iOS-like. These dot-style pop-ups will fade out of view after a prolonged period on one specific page but are actually lifted right from the Quick Settings panel – which has similar indicators already.
Monochrome toggle returns to Wallpaper & style
The monochrome theming option has returned to Wallpaper & style which overrides the default Dynamic Color settings. Instead of colorful Quick Settings toggles and menu panes, these areas will adopt a simple black or white color depending on whether you have the light or dark theme applied.
Separate Call and Ring volume controls
Although hinted at in a previous beta release, Android 14 Beta 2 has enabled separate Call and Ring volume controls for some users. This may still need to be enabled for many, but if you heading to Settings > Sound and vibration you will be able to adjust the volume at which you hear callers through the earpiece or the volume of your device ringer.
Cleaner app menu pop-ups
The expanded floating app menus that allow for quick access to specific in-app sections have also received attention in Android 14 Beta 2. When long-pressing an app icon you’ll see that dividing lines or separators are removed to clean up the look. This is more in-keeping with the Material You design principles but the pop-up section is also decreased slightly too.
Keyboard and language sections in System section
The Keyboard and Language sections have now been elevated within the System section of device Settings. Previously this was a combined “Languages & input” section that amalgamated all of the functions. This makes things easier to manage and less confusing.
Android 14 Beta 2 appears to refine and tune some of the animations that we’ve become accustomed to in our favorite mobile operating system. Swiping, scrolling and invoking menus just feels smoother than it did in previous builds. You can see some improvements to the pop-up customization menu in the Pixel Launcher too.
This floating panel fades in then pops into view rather than folding up as in Android 13. This looks cleaner and adds a little extra visual flair. It also mimics the Power menu animation when activating from the Quick Settings panel.
Flash notifications page enhanced
Added back in Developer Preview 2, the Flash notifications page now has an improved UI with a visual element to help you better understand the feature. The toggles are also simplified to “Camera flash” and “Screen flash” with the “Preview” button unaltered.
At a Glance widget alterations
Whether it’s a bug or just a tweak before we see more controls and functions, the popular At a Glance widget appears to have shrunk on some Pixel units with Android 14 Beta 2. It’s still prominent but with the text and icons smaller than in previous updates.
On the lockscreen with media playing, the widget has further changes. The temperature and weather condition icon join the date information while the forecast data now takes up two lines. A new “Daily forecast” text is prominent – likely to confirm that this is data from weather tracking agencies.
New Security & privacy logo in Settings
One cosmetic change you might not notice right away is a brand new “Security & privacy logo” in the Settings menu. The shield icon now has an “S” shape rather than a “check” icon.
Improved contrast control within Developer options
If you have Developer options enabled then you can try the enhanced “Contrast” control menu. Tapping this opens up a pop-up menu where you can choose from three options: Standard, Medium, and High. This looks like it will replace the touted contrast slider that would allow for better integration with your core color choices as part of the Material You and Dynamic Color theming system.
Floating Clipboard tool
The enhanced Android 13 clipboard tool is getting some love in Android 14 Beta 2 but it seems very much like a work in progress. If you invoke the clipboard editing tool and then copy text again from this window you can activate a mini floating clipboard tool. This doesn’t always work perfectly in our testing but might be a neat option if it gets further attention.
Font Quick Settings tile
If you want to quickly adjust or alter system font size there’s a new “Font” Quick Settings tile that allows you to increase text across all areas of your device. This saves the effort of diving into the “Display size and text” menu in Settings.
May 2023 patch
As the most recent public Android build, you can bet that the latest May 2023 security patch is also bundled in with the Android 14 Beta 2 update. This should make it more secure for anyone foolhardy enough to run this preview build on their device.
Android 14 Beta 2: What is your favorite new feature?
That’s everything new in Android 14 Beta 2. When combined with the original developer previews, there’s more to test drive on your device with more expected as the beta phase progresses. It’s important to note that our shortlist includes all of the top user-facing features that we’ve found at this stage.
We do expect to see more little things that might have slipped through the cracks over the coming days and weeks. We likely will have a deeper dive into every single thing that has been added, including some features that require a little work to get fully operational in our full overview, coming very soon.
Ads already appear throughout the Play Store, and Google is now showing them when you start a search alongside other visual tweaks.
When you tap the Google Play search bar at the top of the app, you previously just saw your last four queries. Now, you might see up to three “limited-time events as well as sponsored suggestions,” with past searches appearing below that.
Limited-time events are an existing tool used to promote streaming apps that might have a particularly interesting sporting match later in the day or in-game events. They often appear as cards in the Play Store’s main feeds. They are now surfaced in search history with app name, icon, rating, and download count.
Additionally, Google Play is also showing “sponsored suggestions” that are explicitly labeled as an “Ad,” though some users would consider limited-timed events to be essentially the same thing. Both types disappear as you start typing your search.
Moving search history further down the list is unfortunate and telling in terms of company priorities. Meanwhile, a small tweak sees more prominent icons next to past queries for easier sorting.
This change was announced in the April Google System Updates changelog and has been rolling out in recent weeks. (first spotted a variant of it in November 2022.) Google this week also detailed other Play Store additions, including “key app and game highlights from what others are saying” in Play search results.
You can also get “apps and games to download over cellular data from the download notification while waiting for Wi-Fi.”
April Google System Updates: Play Store gets easier cell data downloads, more [U]
The Google System Updates for April 2023 bring improvements to the Play Store, including making it easier to download apps over cellular data.
There’s so much more to an Android smartphone than just the base operating system, as anyone who’s used a phone without Google apps can tell you. The “smarts” that Google brings to mobile devices primarily come from two crucial apps – Google Play Services and the Play Store – and Android’s monthly “Play system updates.”
Each month, the company rounds up the patch notes for these three components and collectively refers to them as “Google System Updates.” Over the course of the month, as new updates are released, the company will fill in the notes with more details. We do our best to monitor the additions and explain the most important aspects, so be sure to check back throughout the month.
The easiest way to check whether you need to update Google Play Services on your phone is to follow a direct link to the app’s Play Store listing and update from there, if available. To update the Play Store, tap your avatar in the corner, then “Settings.” Under the “About” section, you’ll see an option to “Update Play Store.” Meanwhile, Google Play system updates can be found through the Settings app, under About phone > Android version > Google Play system update.
g an option in the app. In the near future (sometime after the Play Store v35.0 update), the option to download over mobile data will also, conveniently, appear in the active download notification.
Meanwhile, another update to the Play Store (version 35.2) should offer “direct access” to Google’s “My Ad Center,” where you’re able to change your advertising privacy settings and/or adjust the kinds of ads that you see. The changelog doesn’t mention where this shortcut will appear, but the Google Account menu (opened by tapping your avatar in the top-right corner) is a likely bet.
While April may have ended, Google’s patch notes for the month have not. This afternoon, the company shared numerous new features and tidbits.
The biggest highlight is what the notes refer to as “support for Fido2 on the Android Platform.” In practice, this is support for the new “passkey” login for Google Accounts and other supported apps. It seems you’ll need to have Google Play Services version 23.14 to use these.
Nearby Share is getting a small tweak, adding some new instructions to help troubleshoot why your intended recipient may not be appearing.
In the Play Store, the search experience has gotten a revamp. When beginning a new search, your recent search history will also show suggested apps with “limited-time events” as well as “sponsored suggestions.” Meanwhile, the search results page will show useful highlights for some apps/games, including quotes from other people’s reviews.
It’ll also soon be a bit easier to search for apps from the Play Store. An update to Play Services should allow the “All apps” search bar in your app drawer to show results from the Play Store. If done right, this could make it easier to download an app you thought you already had installed.
Lastly, Wear OS watches should see a small boost in battery life after an update to Play Services that tweaks “system management services.”
Google Play System Updates for April 2023
[Auto, Phone, TV, Wear] String improvements to Google sign-in screen shown on enterprise devices.
[Phone] Helpful instructions to discover Nearby receiving device.
[Phone] New developer features for Google and third party app developers to support Maps & Device Performance related developer services in their apps.
Google Play Store
New Features to help you discover the Apps & Games you love.
Optimizations allowing faster and more reliable download and installation.
Continuous improvements to Play Protect to keep your device safe.
Various performance optimizations, bug fixes and improvements to security, stability and accessibility.
[Auto, PC, Phone] Users can allow apps and games to download over cellular data from the download notification while waiting for Wi-Fi.
[Phone] With this update, you will have direct access to My Ad Center.
[Phone] When starting a search, you can now see suggestions for apps with limited-time events as well as sponsored suggestions next to your past searches.
[Phone] On your search results, you can now see key app and game highlights from what others are saying.
Security & Privacy
[Phone] Adding support for Fido2 on the Android Platform.
[Phone] New developer features for Google and third party app developers to support Utilities related processes in their apps.
[Wear] Updates to system management services that improve Battery Life.
[Phone] New functionality allowing users to search for Play Store apps from the All Apps search box on Android devices.
[Auto, PC, Phone] Updates to system management services that improve Privacy and Stability.
[Phone] Bug fixes for System Management & Diagnostics related services.
The Oppo A53 could have been a forgettable budget phone, but thanks to its 90Hz display and decent battery life, it stands out a little from the competition. Don’t expect miracles but do expect a competent device for the price.
Oppo isn’t a hugely well-known name still despite having an extensive range of phones under its belt, among the latest of which is the Oppo A53, a solidly budget model. That’s no bad thing but it does mean that already, we need to temper our expectations.
This isn’t a phone that will revolutionize the market but nor should anyone expect that from such an inexpensive device. On the plus side, it does offer some neat extras that mean it occasionally stands out a bit amongst a busy crowd of cheap phones.
While it’s the low price that’s the main selling point of the phone, the Oppo A53 also bundles in a 90Hz refresh rate, which isn’t entirely unique in this field with the likes of the Realme 6 also sporting that refresh rate, but is still a welcome addition to spruce up an otherwise fairly ordinary phone.
Besides the classy display, the Oppo A53 actually looks pretty nice for the price. It has a premium look reminiscent of the Honor 10 Lite, with a curved back that is somewhat eye-catching and ensures you’re not simply stuck with the same old tedious back that so many other phones stoically stick with it.
Elsewhere, it’s perhaps more unremarkable looking, with the standard bevy of buttons and a conveniently placed fingerprint scanner right where your finger is likely to linger.
At around 186g and 8.4mm thick, the Oppo A53 is quite bulky, but the aforementioned curved back means it sits comfortably in your hand at least, even if your hands are quite small.
Performance wise, the Oppo A53 is about what you’d expect for the price. In our tests, it slightly outperformed the similarly priced Redmi Note 7 when it came to multi-core performance, but it was a fair way behind in single-core performance. In daily use, we weren’t irritated by what the Oppo A53 accomplished but it wasn’t exactly a wizard either.
That’s the general trend with the Oppo A53. It works well enough but it lacks a bit of magic. In general daily use, it does what you need, allowing you to easily switch between apps and games without too much slowdown, but it’s not exactly a revolution in design. We were pleased to see that it arrived with little bloatware attached though, with only the likes of Facebook and WPS Office potentially superfluous to one’s needs.
When trying out the camera, it’s another functional moment for the Oppo A53. It works just fine but don’t expect anything more advanced than a macro mode. Even a night mode isn’t included and we wouldn’t recommend taking snaps in low light with this phone. Again though, it suits the budget reasonably well.
Cutting back on features is a key pattern here, with other absences including waterproofing and wireless charging, but again, these concessions keep the price down. Fast charging is an option at least though and we were pleasantly surprised with how long the Oppo A53 lasted without needing a top up.
So then, the Oppo A53 isn’t everything you could want and more, but your bank balance will like the price and you’ll certainly appreciate how dependable it is.
With some stylish looks and the bonus of a superior screen than some others can offer at this price, it’s not too shabby at all for the money. Just remember to temper your expectations accordingly.
Disclaimer. We can not guarantee that the information on this page is 100% correct.
Four color choices
Sensibly placed fingerprint sensor
The Oppo A53 immediately reminded us of the Honor 10 Lite and that’s certainly a good thing. Our review unit had the Electric Black color scheme and the back of the unit caught our eye quite well. Rather than simply being a dull black color, it has a glint to it that looks rather appealing, although it is prone to attracting fingerprints and smudges.
UK markets have the choice of Mint Cream or Electric Black, with the former typically costing more depending on where you look. Other markets also have Fairy White and Fancy Blue, with white seeming like the one to go for if you want to avoid marks.
Whichever one you go for, the Oppo A53 is a little on the chunky side at 8.4mm but its curved edges and corners mean it still feels reasonably comfortable in your hands. A fingerprint sensor located on the back of the phone just underneath the camera is ideally suited for unlocking your device with minimal hassle.
lsewhere, the volume buttons are on the left edge near the dual-SIM slot, while the right edge has the power button. It’s all perfectly functional and exactly what feels comfortable to use.
The 6.5-inch display is recessed slightly to give it a bit of protection, with a small notch for the selfie camera. We didn’t mind losing that tiny amount of screen space and it all feels reasonably sturdy. The casing doesn’t give away a sense that this is a budget phone, although it’s worth remembering that the phone isn’t rated as waterproof or dustproof.
Along the bottom you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB type-C port, and a single speaker grille. It’s all business as usual then.
6.5-inch 720 x 1600 screen
90Hz refresh rate
It’s a mixed bag for the Oppo A53‘s display. On the one hand, it has that 90Hz refresh rate. What that means for you is it refreshes the screen 90 times per second rather than the 60 times that many other screens offer.
It means a smoother experience while you’re scrolling through things or playing games, and it’s certainly a big plus when considering this phone.
However, the resolution of the phone isn’t Full HD at only 720 x 1600, and that’s not great. It’ll do, of course, but it means in certain cases that videos and text won’t look as sharp and you’ll probably wish you prioritized resolution over refresh rate. Unsurprisingly it’s also an LCD screen rather than OLED.
This isn’t a terrible display by any means but it’s nothing great either. You’ll also find you need to bump up the brightness to full if you want to use the Oppo A53 effectively in bright sunlight outdoors.
Is it a big deal on a phone of this price? Not so much, with movies and shows certainly watchable, but it’s not exactly a shining example of what smartphone screens can offer.
13MP + 2MP + 2MP rear camera
16MP selfie camera
Poor in low light
Let’s get this out of the way – the Oppo A53 isn’t made for photographers. Its camera is fine and functional but it’s nothing special. The rear camera offers a 13MP primary lens, 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensor. There’s no wide-angle lens but honestly, we’re not convinced it would be great if it were there.
The 13MP f/2.2 main camera is just fine, with okay photos but nothing exceptional, and it’s a little slow to shoot. It’s good enough for uploading to Facebook but there’s a certain lack of detail once you look up close.
That’s a similar story for the macro camera, which does the job but feels like it would appeal more to someone less knowledgeable about what smartphones can offer now. Light is key to a good macro shot if you want to avoid any noise on your images.
An up to 5x digital zoom sounds enticing but the picture simply gets less clear the more you zoom, so we wouldn’t recommend using it unless you absolutely have to.
Night shots meanwhile are particularly disappointing here with no dedicated night mode and very underwhelming results.
On the plus side, Oppo‘s software goes some way to improving your photography experience. It includes features like HDR, Dazzle Color, portrait mode and AI improvements. Dazzle Color and HDR in particular are a huge help when trying to get more of the colors of what you’re snapping, even during a clear day outside.
For selfie addicts, the 16MP selfie camera is one of the better parts of the camera here with decent color reproduction, although not as much detail as we’d like to see. Also, it’s worth noting that switching off the AI beautification mode generally improves results.
Like we said, the Oppo A53 isn’t made for photography, although it is functional enough. Predictably its photos don’t really stand up to pricier fare but nor would we expect them to. Still, a night mode would have been appreciated.
Specs and performance
Android 10 OS
The Oppo A53 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 processor, which is distinctly entry-level stuff. 4GB of RAM also means it can’t rely heavily on memory to make up for any shortcomings. We played Call of Duty Mobile to see how it performed and it was fine but rather slow to load. Ultimately, it shouldn’t bother you too much unless you’re impatient.
Geekbench 5 scores came in at 253 for single-core performance and 1,266 for multi-core performance. That’s not great but it is better than some other budget options such as the Alcatel 3L (2020). It also beats the Redmi Note 7 for multi-core performance, but not for single-core.
Benchmarks are irrelevant in day to day use though and we didn’t actually have much trouble with the responsiveness of the Oppo A53. It does everything at a reasonable speed and without any lag or crashes to be seen. We wouldn’t fancy its chances with multiple browser tabs open, but that’s unlikely to be too much of an issue for the average user shopping for a phone at this price.
The Oppo A53 comes with 64GB of internal storage, with expandable memory of up to 256GB being an option. The internal storage isn’t great but it should get you started without any trouble before you consider whether an upgrade is needed.
Android 10 comes pre-installed here and the Oppo A53 isn’t too heavy on pre-installed apps. Beyond the standard stuff, there’s simply WPS Office, Facebook and Oppo’s Game Space app that you may wish to remove.
The last of those aims to speed up gaming performance by clearing the cache and RAM before you play a game. It potentially does improve performance ever so slightly but you’ll probably forget all about using it soon enough.
As a budget phone, the Oppo A53 keeps things simple elsewhere, so of course there’s no 5G.
18W fast charge
Decent battery life
With a 5,000mAh battery, the Oppo A53 performs fairly admirably. That’s a big battery for a phone of this price and size. It easily lasts more than a day even during heavy usage, such as extensive gaming or binge-watching.
On those days where you use the Oppo A53 a little less, it should last a couple of days, although it’s likely that you’ll find yourself recharging it to be on the safe side.
There’s no wireless charging here but we found it took just over 2 hours to recharge fully. That’s not amazing but it’s good enough.
Software features such as Super Power Saving Mode and Sleep Standby Optimization go some way to helping you prolong the battery life.
Suggestions are offered about where you can extend the battery life and they’re usually pretty intelligent, avoiding reducing what you can actually get done with your phone. Just watch out for Oppo‘s Game Space which is likely to hammer the battery life if you use it a lot.
Should I buy the Oppo A53?
Buy it if…
You’re on a budget The Oppo A53 is cheap but cheerful. Nothing about it is quite as exciting as you’d probably like, but it’s dependable enough for the money.
You want a stylish budget phone We were quite taken with how the Oppo A53 looks thanks to its vibrant back that looks a bit nicer than a simple black exterior. You can pretend it cost more than it did.
You’re desperate for a 90Hz refresh rate We’re not sure why you’d be so desperate for a 90Hz refresh rate (more on that in a moment) but if you really want the extra smoothness, then the Oppo A53 is an inexpensive way of gaining that.
Don’t buy it if…
You want a great display The resolution of the Oppo A53 isn’t really up to scratch and the refresh rate can only go so far. It’s fine but don’t expect greatness.
You want to take a lot of photos The Oppo A53’s camera is okay but far from special, and the weak macro mode and lack of night mode is likely to grate after a while. If you love to document your life visually, you’re going to be disappointed here.
You have a bigger budget
If you can afford more, you should buy more. The Oppo A53 looks nice and does the job, but it’s rather forgettable in the long term.
Google has spent the past several years working to replace passwords because of frequent reuse, vulnerability to data breaches, and phishing. Passkeys are the industry solution, and the ability to log in to your Google Account with them is starting to roll out.
With passkeys, signing in to a service no longer requires a password. Instead, you just enter your existing phone or computer password (PIN code, fingerprint, face, etc.), and that’s used to authenticate your identity. In Google’s case, no 2-Step Verification (2SV) is required.
Google Account passkeys
You have to create a Google Account passkey for each device (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, etc.). Behind the scenes, a cryptographic private key gets stored on that device, while a “corresponding public key is uploaded to Google.”
When you sign in we ask your device to sign a unique challenge with the private key. Your device only does so if you approve this by unlocking the device. We then verify the signature with your public key.
If you’re signing in with a new device (or doing so temporarily), you use the passkey on your phone with a QR code scanning process and a Bluetooth proximity check.
On the new device, you’d just select the option to “use a passkey from another device” and follow the prompts. This does not automatically transfer the passkey to the new device, it only uses your phone’s screen lock and proximity to approve a one-time sign-in. If the new device supports storing its own passkeys, we will ask separately if you want to create one there.
As of launch, passkeys serve as another Google Account sign-in option. There are no changes to existing methods, while passwords are the fallback method (used if a device doesn’t support passkeys). That should change in the future:
Passkeys are still new and it will take some time before they work everywhere, however creating a passkey today still comes with security benefits as it allows us to pay closer attention to the sign-ins that fall back to passwords. Over time we’ll scrutinize these more as passkeys gain broader support and familiarity.
If one device is lost, you can revoke Google Account passkeys in settings, while a device wipe is also recommended.
To add a passkey for your Google Account, start here: g.co/passkeys. This feature is actively rolling out, with the following operating system and browser versions required:
Google: Chrome 109+, Android 9+, ChromeOS 109+
Apple: Safari 16+, iOS 16, macOS Ventura
Microsoft: Edge 109+, Windows 10/11
Why passkeys are more secure
Google likes passkeys because, compared to passwords, they cannot be “written down or accidentally given to a bad actor,” phished, or exposed in a data breach. The company believes passkeys offer “stronger protection than most 2SV methods offer today, which is why we allow you to skip not only the password but also 2SV when you use a passkey.” To that end, Google is so confident that the Advanced Protection Program can just work with a passkey:
In fact, passkeys are strong enough that they can stand in for security keys for users enrolled in our Advanced Protection Program.
Google notes how Apple will sync passkeys created on your iPhone across logged-in iCloud devices:
This protects you from being locked out of your account in case you lose your devices, and makes it easier for you to upgrade from one device to another.
Passkey sync providers, like the Google Password Manager and iCloud Keychain, “use end-to-end encryption to keep your passkeys private.” In the case of Google’s Password Manager, it can sync and save other Google Accounts.
Passkeys place a great deal of emphasis on your device password. However, Google believes “most people will find it easier to control access to their devices rather than maintaining the security implications of passwords and the need to be on the lookout for phishing attempts that come with them.”