Google announces Pixel smartphone, offers the “best smartphone camera” says DxOMark
posted Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 4:10 PM EDT
Google's Fall 2016 hardware event is finished and it saw the tech giant unveil its new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. DxO Labs' DxOMark site claims the Pixel to feature the "best smartphone camera ever." This is certainly big news if true; let's take a look at the specifics.
The Pixel's 12.3-megapixel camera has a 1.55-micron pixel size, which is quite large for a smartphone camera, and it scored an 89 from DxOMark. DxO Labs says the Pixel's image quality is "impressive across the board", and that it captures images with "relatively low levels of noise for every tested lighting condition." Unlike the iPhone 7 or Samsung's Galaxy S7, the Pixel comes equipped with an f/2.0 lens rather than the f/1.8 and f/1.7 lenses found in Apple and Samsung's offerings, respectively. Nonetheless, DxO Mark found it to be a very capable low light camera. It's worth noting that Apple's latest iPhone 7 scored an 86 from DxOMark, while the iPhone 7 Plus is still being reviewed currently.
There are new camera features which should please more than just the pixel peepers, too. According to Engadget, the Pixel has the shortest shutter lag of any cameraphone ever tested by Google. That short capture time has allowed Google to keep the Pixel's high dynamic range (HDR) shooting mode enabled at all times. While Google's HDR+ was in last year's Nexus 6P phone among others, the Pixel is able to combine multiple RAW images in near-real time. DxOMark states that while Google isn't the first to include HDR functionality in a smartphone camera, it has managed to do it the best so far in terms of both quality and speed. To power all of this photo processing, the phone comes with 4 gigabytes of RAM and has a Snapdragon 821 CPU.
While not extensively discussed during today's event, Google has a handy way for you to store all of your excellent smartphone photos captured with the Pixel. Provided that you have a Google account, you'll have unlimited storage for backing up all of your photos and videos. Speaking of video, DxOMark found the Pixel to be excellent at that too. It can record 4K video at up to 30 frames per second and 1080p video at up to 120fps.
You aren't likely going to buy a smartphone just for its camera, so what else do the Pixel and Pixel XL offer? The former has a 5-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution whereas the latter has a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution. Both Pixel phones come with Google Assistant, making them the first phones to hit the market equipped with Google's updated artificial intelligence companion. (Think Google Now, Siri or Cortana.).
Also, in a move sure to leave iPhone fans even more ticked off at the Cupertino company, Google's new handsets include headphone jacks. Of course, Apple would doubtless note that its phones are water resistant, a feature both of Google's Pixel phones lack. (But then, we've seen plenty of water-resistant or even waterproof phones with uncapped 3.5mm jacks before now.)
And for those looking to hop on board the virtual reality train, the Pixel can power Google's new Daydream View VR headset, which you can learn more about here.
These new phones are available for preorder now. The Pixel starts at around $650 and the XL adds an additional $120 to the cost. The phones come in silver, black and blue color options and the base model includes 32 GB of storage (for an additional $100, you can bump up the space to 128 GB). Verizon will be the exclusive carrier partner for the pair of Pixel phones in the United States, at least for the time being, although you can purchase it unlocked directly from Google for use on other carriers.