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How does Android 10 fare on mid-tier smartphones? 3 talking points

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  • 5 min read

Android 10, also known as Android Q, has been all the rage ever since it was announced. It’s Google’s ultimate answer to Apple’s latest and greatest in iOS and matches every feature.

While most new devices started shipping with Android Q preinstalled, apart from the top vendors, this release has been a bit slow in trickling down to budget devices. Nonetheless, it’s here now, and boy was it worth the wait.

In this article, we go over the latest update from Google’s Android and see what it has to offer.

Note that the device I’ll be working with is the Moto One Power that just received the update. It’s an Android One device and Motorola has been delivering updates on time, even monthly security updates. Some features or gestures might be specific to the phone.

Also read: Android Q is officially Android 10 and the OS logo gets redesigned

Google names Android Q as Android 10 and redesigns the OS logo

The dark mode is finally here

The most notable visual difference between Android 9 and 10 is the presence of a system-wide dark mode. I had my phone set to dark mode on Android 9 as well, but it wasn’t quite dark in a lot of places. All the menus still had white backgrounds.

With Android 10 though, there’s darkness everywhere, and I mean it. Everything from your app drawer to menus to the notification bar, everything is dark. This mode also carries over to apps and hence, I got my first taste of the all-black Instagram.

Android 10 review on budget smartphone: Performance and features

The dark mode is meant to keep your eyes relaxed when you’re glaring at your screen midnight and also to conserve battery. While I cannot comment on the battery performance as of now (although it seems to hold up well), the dark mode does go easy on the eyes.

System changes

  • UI: The whole UI seems to be revamped. I’m running stock Android, and the experience has gone up considerably. Almost all system icons are new, animations are nice and smooth, and the phone seems a lot snappier once again.
  • Volume Settings: The volume settings have been changed, as well. Now you can change the volume of any app/source without leaving the screen you’re on.
  • WiFi: There’s a new feature in the WiFi department. You can now connect to a WiFi network by simply scanning a QR Code. Alternatively, you can generate a QR Code if you’re hosting a personal hotspot.
  • Silent Notifications: Notifications have also seen an upgrade. You now can categorise notifications as Alerting or Silent. All the silent notifications are grouped so you can get rid of them at once. You also get predictive responses and suggested actions right there in your notifications.
  • Switching between apps: If you used to switch apps by swiping to the right from your home button, you might be annoyed. The new update only allows you to go back to the last used app. Still, a quick way to jump back and forth between two apps though and the animation makes it look terrific.

Android 10 review on budget smartphone: Performance and features

There is also a reorganisation of the settings menu. Some new settings have popped, and some have been moved around. Overall, your phone is going to feel new again. Oh, but they removed face unlock.

App changes

There also have been several app changes. However, these are most probably exclusive to my phone or Moto devices at least.

First up, some of my favourite Moto Actions are back. This was something I complained about in my review of the Moto One Power. The camera app, however, remains the same. There are several battery optimisations to the Moto Screen as well.

Android 10 review on budget smartphone: Performance and features

The Dolby Audio app on my phone has seen a significant overhaul. It’s much more intuitive and useful than what it used to be. The effects actually work, and the auto-adjust feature is working pretty well. The Spotify notification player now shows a seek as well, and Instagram (finally) started working in dark mode.

How’s the performance?

Top-notch, and it only goes up. The update further streamlines your phone and the way it functions. IT seems to be quite stable, and I haven’t come across any bugs whatsoever. There’ no lag whatsoever; if you were facing sudden lag spikes or system hang-ups on your phone, there’s a chance the update might solve your problems.

If you’ve received the update on your phone, you can go ahead and install it without any worries. The update is only about 844.9 MB, so it shouldn’t be disruptive even if you’ve burnt through your internal memory.

Also read: Focus mode for Android comes out of beta: Available on Android 9 and 10

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: