A Closer Look at the Pixel's 12.3-megapixel Camera

Google Pixel Hands On AH 29

For the longest time now, we’ve seen Google team up with a well known Android manufacturer and then release a Nexus smartphone or tablet, running stock Android and giving users easy access to the hardware for tinkering. That appears to be the case this year, but Google is changing things, and they’re releasing these devices under the Pixel branding. We’ve heard a lot about these devices prior to their official announcement today, and now we’ve got the official word from Google, we can start to dissect these new devices and really see what makes them tick. One important part of any phone is of course, the camera.

Inside both of the Pixel and Pixel XL is a 12.3-megapixel rear-facing camera, which is similar in design to the camera used in the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. We’ve seen what Google is capable of when it comes to smartphone cameras with large sensors before now, and if those results are anything to go by, these are larger sensors than you might find in your average Android smartphone, and it really shows. In fact, this arrangement has proven so successful for Google that they’ve been given the highest rating for a smartphone ever by DxOMark, a rating of 89. This is no doubt down to the fact that the 12.3-megapixel camera in the Pixel and Pixel XL use a 1.55 micron sensor, which takes in a whole lot more information than anything else out there, and they’ve dramatically improved the speed and quality of HDR+, too. 4K video is a breeze thanks to some excellent image stabilization that they showed off on stage, and users that choose the Pixel or Pixel XL will be given unlimited full resolution for images as well as video when uploading to Google Photos for the life time they own the device. Key features here include things such as Smartburst, which automatically chooses what it feels to be the best photo from a bunch of photos you’ve taken in a short amount of time.

It does seem as though Google is looking to stick with whatever works here, as the Pixel and Pixel XL are using the same sort of sensors and lenses as last year’s devices, including the front-facing 8-megapixel camera. Megapixels aren’t everything of course, and a larger sensor often results in a better, more detailed photo. Google has tried their best here to make sure that these are the best performing cameras they’ve ever shipped however, which makes the overall experience much speedier. We’ll have more to share once we’re able to take a closer look t what the camera is capable of for ourselves.