How to get Android Q beta 3 on compatible non-Pixel phones

It’s great to see Android Q beta 3 with so many new features, but it’s also great to see the beta open up to non-Pixel phones. Here’s how to get Android Q beta 3 for compatible non-Pixel phones.

Asus Zenfone 5Z

Zen UI

According to Asus, known issues include SD cards with exFAT format not being supported and no beep when the volume up or down buttons are pressed.

  1. Turn off your Zenfone 5Z.
  2. Hold down the Power and Volume Up buttons until your phone reboots.
  3. Connect your Zenfone 5Z to your PC.
  4. Download and decompress the Android Q’s image file.
  5. Double-click on “update_image.bat,” which starts the flash image command
  6. When the flash finishes, hit the Enter key to restart your Zenfone 5Z.

Essential Phone

Before we start, make sure to download the factory image. Also, download the fastboot tool from the Android SDK Platform-Tools package and add it to your path so the flash scripts can find it.

Finally, turn on OEM Unlocking and USB Debugging from within Developer options. To get to developer options, tap the build number multiple times until you see the “You are now a developer!” pop-up message.

  1. Connect your Essential Phone to your PC.
  2. Use the ADB tool to run the command adb reboot bootloader
  3. Reboot your phone while holding the Volume Down button.
  4. Unlock your bootloader.
    1. Run the command fastboot flashing unlock
    2. Use the Volume Down button to go to the YES option and press the Power button to confirm
    3. While your Essential Phone is rebooting, press and hold the Volume Down button to return to Fastboot mode.
  5. Flash your factory image.
    1. Unzip the previously-downloaded factory image and go to where you unzipped the files.
    2. On Windows, run the command flashall.bat
    3. On Linux and MacOS X, run the command flashall.sh
  6. Relock your bootloader
    1. You don’t have to re-lock your bootloader, though doing so improves security.
    2. Run the command fastboot flashing lock
    3. Go back to Fastboot mode and run the command fastboot flashing lock_critical

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The twilight back of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

Keep in mind that you must have released at least one app on the Google Play Store and use a Huawei Mate 20 Pro to qualify. Also, your Huawei ID must be registered with the same email address used for your Google Play Store developer account.

Finally, the beta is available from tomorrow, May 8 through June 30. After registration, the first version of Android Q beta 3 will be pushed out this Saturday, May 11. Following versions will be pushed out every Tuesday and Thursday.

You can go here to learn more about possible restrictions.

  1. Open this link on your Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
  2. Download and install the Beta app from the aforementioned link.
  3. Log in to the app with a Huawei ID registered with the Google Play Developer account’s email.
  4. Sign up for the Huawei Mate 20 Pro Developer project.

LG G8 ThinQ

LG G8 ThinQ Review display

Before installing Android Q beta 3, LG advises device owners to do a factory reset of their devices. Also, known issues include the camera with limited functionality, SD cards over 32GB not being recognized, Wi-Fi hotspot not working, voice calls over a Bluetooth headset not working, and some apps on the Google Play Store not working due to Q-OS compatibility issues.

Finally, you’ll have to use LG Beta Downloader every time there’s an update.

  1. Download and install LG Beta Downloader v1.0 or later (only works on Windows).
  2. Start LG Beta Downloader and follow the displayed instructions.

Nokia 8.1

The Nokia 8.1 screen.

Note that the beta only supports models TA-1119, TA-1121, and TA-1128 and associated 00WW images. Also, you must go here to sign up for a Nokia account and add the Nokia 8.1 to your account. From there, you can request Android Q beta 3 for your device.

Nokia is cagey on exact instructions, so make sure to have a compatible Nokia 8.1 device and follow the on-screen instructions.

OnePlus 6/6T

Even though the OnePlus 7 series also supports Android Q beta 3, the phones aren’t out yet. We’ll update this section with any new steps once the OnePlus 7 phones launch.

  1. Download the latest ROM upgrade zip package from the specified server, which you’ll find below.
    1. OnePlus 6
    2. OnePlus 6T
  2. Copy the Rollback package to the phone storage.
  3. Go to Settings -> System -> System Updates.
  4. Tap the top right icon, then tap Local upgrade.
  5. Tap on the corresponding installation upgrade, then tap Upgrade -> System upgrade completed to 100%.
  6. After the upgrade is complete, tap Restart.
  7. Your phone will reboot into recovery mode to format user data, then reboot again after updating.

Oppo Reno

Oppo Reno Hands On rear glass panel

Oppo hasn’t yet posted instructions on how to get Android Q beta 3 for the Oppo Reno. We’ll update this section once that changes.

Realme 3 Pro

Realme 3 Pro back of the phone

Realme hasn’t yet posted instructions on how to get Android Q beta 3 for the Realme 3 Pro. We’ll update this section once that changes.

Sony Xperia XZ3

Sony notes that only versions H8416, H9436, and H9493 of the Xperia XZ3 support Android Q beta 3. Also, Sony advises that device owners factory reset their devices before flashing the software.

  1. Go here to download the latest version of the Xperia Companion app on your PC.
  2. Start the Xperia Companion app.
  3. Hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and click on Software Repair on the homescreen.
  4. Tick the checkbox My device cannot be detected or started, then click Next.
  5. Wait for the initialization to complete, then follow the on-screen instructions.

Every subsequent software update for Android Q will be an OTA update. As such, you don’t have to use the Xperia Companion app unless you want to return to factory settings.

Tecno Spark 3 Pro

Press render of the Tecno Spark 3 Pro.

Tecno hasn’t yet posted instructions on how to get Android Q beta 3 for the Spark 3 Pro. We’ll update this section once that changes.

Vivo X27

Press render of the Vivo X27.

Vivo notes that the first version will be released this month, with the second version releasing in early July. Once Android Q is available to the public, Vivo will no longer release beta updates.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Vivo X27.
  2. Copy the firmware package to the root directory of the Vivo X27’s storage.
  3. Tap on the software package, then select Start Upgrade when prompted.

Vivo Nex S

Vivo Nex

As previously mentioned, there will be an update in early July. Vivo will end the beta program once Android Q is publicly available.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Vivo Nex S.
  2. Copy the firmware package to the root directory of the Vivo X27’s storage.
  3. Tap on the software package, then select Start Upgrade when prompted.

Vivo Nex A

As previously mentioned, there will be an update in early July. Vivo will end the beta program once Android Q is publicly available.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Vivo Nex A.
  2. Copy the firmware package to the root directory of the Vivo X27’s storage.
  3. Tap on the software package, then select Start Upgrade when prompted.

Xiaomi Mi 9

Xiaomi Mi 9 hero shot

Xiaomi notes that there are seven known issues with Android Q beta 3 for the Mi 9. You can read the known issues below.

  • Alarm does not ring when the device is switched off.
  • Device restarts after user selects wireless projection device in the Wireless display.
  • Settings app stops running after user deactivates shortcut to mute device.
  • Settings app stops running when Gesture is selected in Settings.
  • File app stops running after refresh.
  • Unable to switch screen color in Settings.
  • Unable to add a fingerprint.

Also, you must opt-in through the fastboot method that’s listed in the steps below.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Xiaomi Mi 9.
  2. Download the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool.
  3. Unlock your device.
  4. Turn off your Mi 9.
  5. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons to enter Fastboot mode.
  6. Connect the Mi 9 to your PC.
  7. Double-click the downloaded firmware to decompress it.
  8. Open the file folder for the decompressed firmware and copy its path on the PC.
  9. Once the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool is installed, open MiFlash.exe and paste it into the address bar the firmware file folder path copied in the previous step.
  10. Click the first button (circled out in yellow) to refresh.
  11. Click the second button (circled out in red) to flash the firmware to your Mi 9.

If these steps don’t help you, you can download the Mi PC Suite. From there, put your Mi 9 in Fastboot mode, connect the phone to your PC, and select the firmware.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G logo

Xiaomi notes that there are seven known issues with Android Q beta 3 for the Mi Mix 3 5G. You can read the known issues below.

  • Alarm does not ring when the device is switched off.
  • Device restarts after user selects wireless projection device in the Wireless display.
  • Default print service stops after device connects to Wi-Fi to print photos from gallery.
  • Settings app stops running after user deactivates shortcut to mute device.
  • Settings app stops running after user selects “Gestures”.
  • File app stops running after refresh.
  • Unable to switch color in settings.
  • Settings app crashes after Automatic brightness is selected.

Also, you must opt-in through the fastboot method that’s listed in the steps below.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G.
  2. Download the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool.
  3. Unlock your device.
  4. Turn off your Mi Mix 3 5G.
  5. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons to enter Fastboot mode.
  6. Connect the Mi Mix 3 5G to your PC.
  7. Double-click the downloaded firmware to decompress it.
  8. Open the file folder for the decompressed firmware and copy its path on the PC.
  9. Once the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool is installed, open MiFlash.exe and paste it into the address bar the firmware file folder path copied in the previous step.
  10. Click the first button (circled out in yellow) to refresh.
  11. Click the second button (circled out in red) to flash the firmware to your Mi Mix 3 5G.

If these steps don’t help you, you can download the Mi PC Suite. From there, put your Mi Mix 3 5G in Fastboot mode, connect the phone to your PC, and select the firmware.


And that’s it! Let us know in the comments if you have any of the devices listed here and plan to install Android Q beta 3.

The most underrated smartphones of 2018

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

We saw plenty of fantastic smartphones in 2018, ranging from the Google Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and OnePlus 6T. All that’s even before we get into the ultra-competitive mid-range sector, where phones like the Pocophone F1, Honor 8X, and Realme 2 Pro fought for supremacy.

These phones got plenty of critical (and likely commercial) acclaim, but what about some of the sleeper hits of 2018? Let’s take a look at some of the more underrated phones of the year.


BlackBerry Key2

Blackberry Key2

The new BlackBerry isn’t generating as many headlines as the new Nokia, but that doesn’t mean its phones aren’t worth a look. In fact, the BlackBerry Key2 might just be the best BlackBerry phone since the brand switched to Android.

Believe it or not, some people out there still prefer a physical keypad. The Key2 should make them feel right at home. Its keyboard has a couple of neat tricks too, such as the ability to assign an app to each key or the unique fingerprint scanner embedded in the spacebar. There’s also the convenience key, which gives you another shortcut to pretty much anything.

The BlackBerry flourishes are felt in the software too, such as the BlackBerry Hub for notifications and messages, the Privacy Shade to prevent people snooping over your shoulder, and DTEK security suite. Despite all that, the phone still looks and feels like a stock version of Android rather than something more garish.

The core specs don’t quite fit the $650 price tag though, largely due to the mid-range Snapdragon 660 chipset. You also get 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage, a rear dual camera with two 12MP lenses (one standard and one telephoto), 8MP selfie snapper, and a 3,500mAh battery.

And how many other phones offer a physical keypad anyway?


LG G7 ThinQ

The LG G7.

The company’s first proper flagship of the year delivered almost everything you could want in a high-end LG phone. That means a wide-angle 16MP secondary camera (albeit with a slightly narrower field of view), quad-DAC audio hardware, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The company also included extras like water resistance, wireless charging, a Google Assistant button, and an interesting BoomBox speaker. The latter uses the space inside your phone to create louder sound, and you can even amplify the sound by putting it on a hard surface.

Related

Other noteworthy specs include a bright, 6.1-inch LCD display (3,120 x 1,440), 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of expandable storage, a 16MP main camera, and an 8MP selfie snapper.

The phone could do with a bigger battery and it’s not a groundbreaking release, our own Lanh Nguyen wrote in his LG G7 review. He still thought the phone had the “firepower” to duke it out with other flagships. With the device available for just under $600, it certainly seems like a wise purchase.


Motorola One Power

A promo shot, showing the Motorola One Power Motorola

The budget Moto series has seemingly been overshadowed by Huawei and Xiaomi devices, but phones like the Motorola One Power show that the company still has a lot to offer.

The phone’s headline feature is a 5,000mAh battery, which means two-day endurance — even more if you really try — should be well within your grasp. You’ll need to look at the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 and the Honor Note 10 for similar endurance from the two Chinese super-brands.

This isn’t a one-trick pony, however, offering a 16MP and 5MP rear camera pairing, a 12MP selfie snapper with LED flash, USB Type-C connectivity, and a headphone jack. Toss in a Snapdragon 636 chipset, 3GB or 6GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of expandable storage, and a 6.2-inch notched full HD+ display, and you’ve got a capable phone for around $226.

You’ll also be glad to hear that the phone is part of the Android One program (hence the “One” in the name, presumably). This means the device is running stock Android for the most part and is guaranteed to receive feature updates for two years and security updates for three years.


Motorola Moto Z3

The front of the Moto Z3.

Motorola’s Verizon-only flagship felt more like a Moto Z2.1 in some ways, with the same fundamental design and 2017’s Snapdragon 835 chipset. However, it’s definitely one of the more underrated smartphones thanks to the $500 price tag.

The Moto Z3 also continued the Moto Mod tradition established back in 2016, allowing you to slap a variety of add-ons onto the back of the device. So if you need a better camera, louder speakers, a gamepad or even a projector, Motorola has your back.

Read: All you need to know about the 5G phones confirmed so far

The Moto Mod system also allows the company to claim it’s the first to launch a 5G-ready phone. Yep, the company confirmed the Moto Z3 will have 5G thanks to a separate Moto Mod accessory in 2019.

Motorola’s phone also sports 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of expandable storage, a dual 12MP rear camera setup (one standard and one monochrome), an 8MP selfie snapper, and a 3,000mAh battery.


Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

If ever a brand was perennially known for underrated smartphones, it would be Sony. The company has quietly been crafting polished flagships for a while now, even if the camera quality is often inconsistent. If you’re looking for a smaller high-end phone, the Xperia XZ2 Compact is pretty much the winner by default.

Staying with the camera experience, the Compact offers a single 19MP f/2.0 shooter. This camera offers proper 960fps super slow-mo (in 720p or 1080p), predictive capture, and 4K HDR video recording too. Selfies are handled by a bog-standard 5MP front-facing snapper.

Sony has generally focused on multimedia, and this rings true for the Xperia XZ2 Compact as well. It has SDR-to-HDR conversion, front-facing speakers, high resolution audio support, and LDAC support for Bluetooth headsets.

Other noteworthy specs include the Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, a 2,870mAh battery, water resistance, and a rear fingerprint scanner. The phone’s currently available for around $500, so you’re definitely getting a good deal.


Sony Xperia XZ3

The back of the Sony Xperia XZ3.

Two Sony phones on the list? You’d better believe it.

The Xperia XZ3 improved on the XZ2 series in a few meaningful ways.

Gone is the XZ2 Compact’s 5-inch full HD+ LCD screen, being replaced by a 6-inch 1,440p OLED screen. The smaller phone’s 5MP selfie snapper has also been replaced, with the XZ3 featuring a 13MP front-facing camera instead. Sony has also bumped the battery size to 3,300mAh, from the Compact’s 2,870mAh pack. And yes, Sony has tossed in wireless charging too.

Editor’s Pick

Probably the weirdest addition is the dynamic vibration system, however, which is essentially force feedback for video clips and movies. It’s not new — first seen on the standard Xperia XZ2 — but it’s yet another feature missing from the Compact model.

The rest of the phone is largely similar to the XZ2 Compact, so that means a Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4GB of RAM, a 19MP f/2.0 main camera with 960fps super slow-mo, water resistance, USB Type-C, and no headphone jack. You can’t win ’em all, right?


Those are our picks for the most underrated smartphones of 2018. What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments section!