Android 4.4 KitKat vs. Android L: A visual comparison

Android L is, unarguably, the biggest update to the OS ever since it was originally released by Google. The update not only brings a major UI overhaul, but also adds many new features to the OS. With the images of the developer preview version of Android L released, we decided to see how it stacks up — visually — against its predecessor — Android 4.4 KitKat.

All images from Android 4.4 KitKat are on the left, while those from L are on the right and were taken from a Nexus 5.

The Welcome screen in the initial Setup process remains largely the same with only the new font in Android L standing out.

The Welcome screen in the initial Setup process remains largely the same with only the new font in Android L standing out.

The Holo dark background has been replaced in Android L with a solid dash of dark grey.

The Holo dark background has been replaced in Android L with a solid dash of dark grey.

The notification panel has received a big visual overhaul in Android L with a card-like design.

The notification panel has received a big visual overhaul in Android L with a card-like design.

The new Settings menu looks radically different from the old one. Also, notice the new end-of-list animation on the top.

The new Settings menu looks radically different from the old one. Also, notice the new end-of-list animation on the top.

Lock screen widgets are missing in Android L...

Lock screen widgets are missing in Android L…

... maybe because they have been replaced with lockscreen notifications.

… maybe because they have been replaced with lockscreen notifications.

The Dialer has once again been revamped in Android L

The Dialer has once again been revamped in Android L.

Google has done away with many tiles in Android L's Quick Settings that were hardly of any use and added a rotation lock and screen cast option.

Google has done away with many tiles in Android L’s Quick Settings that were hardly of any use and added a rotation lock and screen cast option.

The Battery menu has seen a major revamp in Android L

The Battery menu has seen a major revamp in Android L.

What do you think about Android L? Are you liking the departure from the Holo design guidelines or do you detest it? Drop in a comment and let us know!

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  • KERR

    Will be interesting to see how the final version compares to these pics.

  • S. Ali

    They need to get rid of that holo look, it is awful.

  • fuzzmello

    no battery usage data? me no likey.

    • Montrux

      Fresh install, the information isn’t available yet.

  • http://meatcastle.com/ Youre My Boy Bloo

    Whoa, I am not sure I like many of those… I am going to be pissed if they get rid of the battery shortcut on the QS menu…

    • chansterrrr

      I think you can press on the battery at the top next to the settings button instead.

      • Zach

        You cannot. My N7 has L on it at the moment. It’s kinda frustrating.

  • http://www.morningbyte.com MorningByte.com

    Sweet

  • kishan

    Too much spacing.. Wasting the screen realestate.

  • mickey4mice

    weird welcome screen remains unchanged. dialer color scheme is hideous, about as bad as the new tunein update. the rest looks good though.

  • someone

    White screen = Larger battery consumption

    • Pino

      Only on AMOLED Screens

    • Ted Strayer

      Doesn’t this only apply to AMOLED and OLED screens, and even then, to pure black pixels only?

    • SEVEN_BLAZINGS

      There will be an immersive mode, I heard.

    • nick

      Only on AMOLED devices, which are few and far between.

      • fuzzylumpkins

        Yeah, the Galaxy S-S5, Note – Note III and Moto X phones aren’t very popular. o_o

    • Ken

      Even if it doesnt use more battery, it’s annoying. Black screens are easier on the eyes at night.

      • daas88

        Let’s hope the light sensor does it’s job and dims the screen a lot at night.

        • Wally

          There is no longer an option for automatic Brightness.
          Android has introduced Adaptive Brightness, which is significantly less agressive than the current auto brightness option.
          The user set the overall brightness and if adaptive brightness is set to on, android changes the setting slightly depending on the light environment.
          I find that I have to change my setting manually during the day and night, to optimise visibilty. :/

  • Derek

    they need to tone down the whitespace, it’s like gmail with default settings, you need to put it in compact mode.. i hope they add that.

    • thtechnologist

      The use of whitespace is to make things less cluttered and daunting to the average user. If you have too much on screen for most users it becomes overwhelming.

      • daas88

        They should find a balance, too much wasted space is annoying.

  • Schmiddy

    Samsung’s TouchWiz UI looks a lot better…

    • Tom

      Haha! Good one!

  • DirkBelig

    They need a dark theme option.

    • LiamBryant

      And it would be so easy. They should make it a system-level option, device orientation or screen density, and then load the correct resources at runtime. Developers would need to put their resources in different directories like drawable-xdhpi-light and drawable-xhdpi-dark or something, but if the theme were defined across the board, it’d be so easy to just tap into it.

  • Brayden

    I personally think it looks too much like TouchWiz

    • Tommy

      Ha! Good one!

    • Kaero

      I only slightly agree because of their color choice for things like app headers and quick toggle background. It looks very similar to the shade that Samsung uses.

  • sani

    Android L …. ermmm “LimePie”????

    • Wally

      Lollipop*

  • nosedive94

    I think it’s just a bit too 3D. In like a Windows XP or webOS kind of way. Too much beveling. I also abhor the new notification shade. I like the idea of a panel I can pull down. The new one would be better if the background blurred, darkened, or something, and if the notifications didn’t have that little bit of beveling. They’re also too white with no texture to them. The multitasking interface also needs work. Animations aren’t consistent. When I tap on an app toward the back of the list, why does it slide up from the bottom of the screen instead of jumping out of the “rolodex” as would be consistent with the material design concepts?

    Then there’s the fact that the lockscreen no longer has that beautiful, full screen album art when playing music. I love that in KitKat.

    I really hope they polish the whole thing up quite a bit more before the final build is released in the fall.

  • fuzzylumpkins

    Big fan of solid colors vs. gradients. Not a huge fan of solid WHITE though, it can be strenuous on the eyes (but you can always dim the brightness). Assuming it isn’t finished in the visual department, it looks like a good improvement. Can’t wait to get it on my Moto X.

  • Nitesh Chauhan

    to answer the incoming call you have to move your fingers way to the top to click the answer call button which is now moved to a notification style dropdown card.. it suks.. with kitkat it was at the center and easy to answer the call. also kitkat gives priority to the call by putting the currently running app in background.. which is the right behavior since its the phones primary function. i do not like the idea of core functionality event to be just a notification. it sure helps you to focus on the app you are on but i prefer the old style.

  • http://on.the.net highdiver_2000

    Settings looks like MIUI settings. Samsung removed End of list animation due to a Apple lawsuit. And it is back?

  • westwoodwizard

    I was planning on getting the LG Volt from VM USA. It has Kit Kat and of course with LG’s skin. I am fine with the phone specs, price and VM USA’s low cost service. Then, I read about Android L and am wondering is it worth waiting for given the huge time lag between its introduction and by the time it makes it to new devices including those offered by VM USA in which updates will unlikely ever be delivered since the phones do not have unadulterated versions of Android. In other words, is the Android L upgrade so significant that an Android user might want to wait for it before buying a new smartphone?

  • Dougau

    It looks like Google is trying to pull a Microsoft and make it’s OS as ugly as possible.