Google Pixel Camera Specs and Features : What Makes Pixel A Great Cameraphone?

My geeky friends are all raving about Google Pixel's camera -- and it's a bit odd because they haven't even tried it out yet.

"Have you seen sample shots taken using Pixel?" One bud asked me yesterday while we were having merienda at his pad and discussing the latest Android smartphone releases.

"Well, no, not yet. But let me check 'em out now," I answered.

He enthusiastically replied, "Sure, go ahead! Visit DxOMark. The have the best photos."

Google Pixel Camera

I quickly jumped to the site on my mobile browser and this affirmative line about the handset greeted me:

"With an overall DxOMark Mobile score of 89, Pixel, the latest Google smartphone, is the highest-rated smartphone camera we have ever tested. Its image quality scores are impressive across the board." (source)

Apparently, the new Google smartphone has already beaten Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, HTC 10, and Sony Xperia X Performance to become the best cameraphone in the world today -- at least, according to this respected website.

The sample shots, particularly the one below, appear to reinforce the claim.

Google Pixel Sample Shot
Photo Credit: DxOMark

I was impressed by how well Google Pixel performed in all of their tests so as soon as I arrived home, I started reading more about the smartphone's camera specifications.

Here's what I learned.

In terms of hardware, Google Pixel's 12.3 MegaPixel autofocus camera at the back features Sony's most advanced IMX378 stacked mobile sensor paired with f/2.0 aperture that really boost the camera's ability to replicate colors and capture fine details even in conditions where there's little ambient light.

Additionally, Pixel has a dedicated DRAM chip for its camera that helps move image data off the Sony sensor quickly, allowing instant post-processing.

Although the shooter lacks optical image stabilization, the device has a wire connecting the camera module to the hub for the accelerometer, the gyro, and the motion sensors, which makes it possible to have very accurate synchronization among these elements to compensate for shaking or hand movements while snapping images.

Mr. Tim Knight, Android's Camera Engineering Manager, explains how Google Pixel uses lasers to deliver the finest shots possible: "If you look on the back, you’ll see two little holes next to the microphone: One is a laser emitter, and one is a laser receiver. It sends out a cone of IR light which reflects off the subject and bounces back. It’s a time-of-flight laser, which means it uses the phase of the receive light to very accurately figure out how far away the subject is." (source)

From what I've read, it seems that what makes Google Pixel's camera truly shine is the imaging software and algorithms, which the company appears to be not that keen on discussing in great detail. Android Vice-President of Engineering Mr. Dave Burke nonetheless shared that "there’s a post-processing step where it’s working with the shot, and we’ve sped that up in the Pixel phones with accelerated digital signal processing and post-processing."

Interesting, eh? It's really inspiring to see Google taking mobile imaging this seriously.

As yet, I'm not sure if Google's partner network carriers in the Philippines are looking at offering the much-talked-about Pixel and Pixel XL to Pinoy consumers. But with all that I've learned so far about these releases, I sure hope that Smart Communications is considering it. Honestly, I think both of these releases have 'Hit' written all over them.

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