Google Camera Update Teaches Old Pixels New Time-Lapse Trick

Users will now be able to use their Pixel-branded handset to snap time-lapse videos, following an update to the official Google Camera application recently spotted rolling out on the Play Store. Found under the "More" selection in the updated camera software's mode carousel, 'Time Lapse' does exactly what its name suggests. Namely, the feature is ideal for shooting videos over set periods of time and shortening them down to easy-to-absorb clips.

Users can select the mode to capture 50, 100, or 300 seconds -- with an additional option to capture 20 minutes -- of footage, compressed down into 10-seconds of video. The time for each time-lapse shot is chosen between captures via a secondary carousel set just about the capture button for easy use.

Those are noted in the UI according to how much change there is to the length of the video. For instance, "5x" denotes that 5-times the length of the final video will be captured while "120x" denotes the longest capture at 20-minutes.

Additional options shown during the recording process also expand the possibilities for more creative users. As a video is being recorded, users will have the option to stop recording via a button at the bottom-center of the UI, which also features a surrounding progress indicator. To the left of that, a dual-purpose pause-play button lets users stop the video and start it again.

Bolstering the latest Pixel devices

The new feature was first unveiled as part of the Google I/O 2019 event keynote surrounding the upcoming Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL handsets.

Like their more expensive counterparts, both of the new devices come packed with top-tier cameras meant to emulate the most popular features of the flagships. That means that on the back, the same 12.2-megapixel (f/1.8 aperture, 1.4um pixel size) sensor found on the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL. On the forward facing side, that's joined by an 8-megapixel selfie snapper that's meant to be every bit as impressive too.

To get potential buyers excited about that, Google revealed that a new time-lapse video camera features would be coming with the devices, stacking atop features such as portrait mode and Night Sight. The new update delivers on that promise.

More than just cameras

The cameras aren't the only exciting aspect of the newest Google devices though. Both the 5.6-inch Pixel 3a and 6-inch Pixel 3a XL are built around an almost identical design language to their namesakes, except that neither ships with a notch and each is comprised of plastics in the chassis rather than glass. That's offered in an extra coloration too, a nearly white "Purple-ish" as well as the standard black and white variants.

On the screen side, both utilize a moderately impressive fullHD+ OLED panel to present users with Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box and Android Q, once that becomes available. Just above that, embedded in the leading edge, buyers will find a 3.5mm headphone jack that can't be found on the more expensive Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL and USB-C charging adorns the opposing edge.

Digging deeper under the hood, either device ships with 64GB storage and 4GB memory stacked behind Snapdragon 670 SoC, backed up by a 3,000mAh or 3,700mAh battery depending on which gadget is chosen. That's a comparatively low cost of $399 for the Google Pixel 3a and $479 for the Pixel 3a XL.

With Pixel sales relatively low, the camera update not only brings a new feature to Google's late 2018 model Pixel flagships -- and older ones too. It gives consumers just one more reason to pick the Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XL instead of rival devices with much weaker cameras in terms of both hardware and software.

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About the Author
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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]