OnePlus 8 killer upgrade steals one of the Galaxy Note 20's best features

OnePlus 8 Pro
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The OnePlus 8 and other OnePlus phones are about to get the always-on display option that fans have been begging for.

We know this thanks to the announcement of HydrogenOS 11, OnePlus' Chinese-only operating system. The major difference between HydrogenOS and OxygenOS (the OS all other countries use) is that HydrogenOS doesn't use Google Mobile Services, something most western Android users would be lost without.

You can see how this looks in action thanks to this video, shared by tipster Ishan Agarwal. Since the two operating systems share significant amounts of DNA, this clip is a good glimpse into what OnePlus devices will be capable of in just a few months.

The headlining feature is the introduction of an always-on display, which had recently been leaked. This is a common sight on other Android phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, which just launched last week. OnePlus however has often proven stubborn when it comes to introducing other features like IP resistance ratings and wireless charging, common on rival phones, making this a significant move for the company.

(Image credit: Ishan Agarwal)

Along with the redesigned interface and the introduction of a one-handed mode that are also shown off here, there's no guarantee all of these changes will come over. But given the demand that there has been, there's not really a good excuse for OnePlus to not make the changes live for all users.

OnePlus also just launched its final Developer Preview of OxygenOS 11. This isn't something you'll find automatically downloading on your own OnePlus device just yet though, since it's meant for developers and enthusiasts to try out and test pre-launch.

OxygenOS has a good reputation among Android users, thanks to its clutter-free design that only adds small changes to the stock Android experience you'd get with, say, a Pixel phone. While Samsung's One UI comes with a lot of bloatware in the form of Samsung-specific apps, it also contains many handy features, such as an always-on display option, which have until now been missing from OnePlus phones.

With Android 11 (the base of OxygenOS 11) almost complete according to Google's timelines, we will probably see the newest version of Android appear first on the OnePlus 8T series. The update will make its way to the OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8 Pro and OnePlus Nord shortly after, at least based on OnePlus' speedy implementation in previous years.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.