Having had a few days of both watching videos of the planned Android 12 experience and playing with what is available in the beta on my Pixel (3a) today, here are my impressions so far:
- Extra dim is finally available by default!
- Moving the notification snooze button to the notification does take up space, but I like that it avoids the half-swipe that could accidentally register as a full swipe.
- I was not a fan of the stretch overscroll effect, but it has grown on me as I have used it more. I am not the biggest fan of elastic overscroll effects in general, but this one might be my favorite.
- I like having cards and home controls in the power button menu, so I appreciate that you can switch it back to that instead of the Google Assistant.
- I appreciate the new style of toasts for apps saving files or copying to the clipboard.
- I am still mixed on the sparkles in touch ripples. I liked them at first, but have started to find them a little annoyingly distracting.
- Notifications have so much padding you can usually only see around 3 notifications when you pull down the notification panel, and an un-expanded heads up notification that pops in while you are using another app has so little room for text it is almost useless. I imagine it is even worse on a phone under 5". I think some people might prefer this, but I wish they had a more compact density option as well. (App icons in bubbles/boxes worked in Android 3-6 because that space was used for any image associated with the notification, would replace it, but now that image appears separately from the app icon and the expansion arrow, and that, combined with the padding for the rounder corners, leaves little room for notification content.)
- Notification icons no longer appear to move smoothly from the notification bar, to the bottom of the notification panel, to their respective notification cards. I am unsure how final this behavior is though.
- The notification panel no longer shows the date when you open it (you have to open quick settings too).
- Only 4 quick settings are available while collapsed (down from 6). This alone might convince me to switch back to custom ROMs if they do not revert it by the final release.
- Touch ripples seem to come from the centers of surfaces now, rather than from where I touch.
There are also some other issues that I am pretty sure are bugs they are already working on, rather than part of their intended experience, so I am not mentioning those here.