Google's rear camera setup appears to include two lenses, a microphone, a flash, and a "spectral sensor" at the top that accounts for things like light flicker when filming an LCD display.
Apple too is planning to use a square-shaped camera bump for its 2019 devices, based on leaked rumors, renders, and cases. Just this week we checked out some cases designed for the 2019 iPhone lineup that have large square cutouts to accommodate the new camera arrangement.
Apple's square-shaped camera bump is expected to house triple-lens camera setups for the iPhone XS and XS Max successors, along with a dual-lens camera setup for the iPhone XR successor.
Based on leaked information, the three lenses in Apple's camera arrangement are set into a triangle shape. There are two lenses at the left as on the current flagship iPhones, along with one lens in between them set off to the right and a flash above that.
Google's setup, meanwhile, has the two lenses for its camera arranged horizontally with a flash at the bottom. Both of these setups provide more space between the flash and the lenses and there may be other benefits to square-shaped arrangement that both companies are taking advantage of.
Apple is expected to launch its 2019 iPhones in September, while Google's are also rumored to be coming in the fall. Historically, Google's new Pixel phones have come out in October, so while Google has beaten Apple to the punch officially showing off a square-shaped rear camera design first, Apple's 2019 flagship smartphones should launch first.
Google may have only just announced its Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphones, but rumors about this year's forthcoming Pixel 4 are already appearing, and the latest alleged leak suggests the search giant's redesigned handset will lack physical buttons.
MacRumors render of Pixel 4 based on leaks
This information has been shared by Jon Prosser's Front Page Tech YouTube channel, which last year was the source of several accurate details about the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL over a month before they launched, and also confirmed the Pixel 3a devices' existence before they were formally announced.
According to Prosser's source, the Pixel 4 will use capacitive touch areas on the sides of the aluminum handset in lieu of clickable physical power and volume buttons. Prosser suggests these touch-sensitive areas may use an extended version of Google's existing Active Edge technology currently found in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 that lets users squeeze their phone to launch Google Assistant or silence incoming calls and notifications.
In addition, Prosser's source corroborates other recent rumors, including the presence of punch-hole front cameras embedded in the display – akin to those seen in Samsung's Galaxy 10 Plus and other smartphones this year – and either an optical or ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor.
The rear of the device is expected to feature a new dual-lens camera setup including either a telephoto zoom or super-wide-angle sensor, and they may be aligned horizontally in the upper left corner of the handset rather than the more typical vertical orientation seen on other dual-lens smartphones.
The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are expected to be 4G LTE devices and will likely be announced during the second week of October – or just a few weeks after Apple is expected to launch its flagship successors to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
Google's answer to the iPhone XR appears to be close to launch in the form of a more affordable version of its flagship Pixel 3 smartphone, if a new video leak is accurate.
Andro News apparently got hold of a pre-production unit of the upcoming mid-range phone, which is dubbed Pixel 3 "Lite". The device closely resembles Google's high-end Android phone from the front, but the big difference is its plastic rear, which is likely more durable than the metal and glass chassis on the Pixel 3.
The upcoming phone is said to use a 5.56-inch 2,220 x 1,080 LCD display instead of an OLED panel, along with a Snapdragon 670 processor, 32GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, and a long-life 2,915 mAh battery. Notably, the device also includes a headphone jack, something that was removed for the Pixel 3.
Perhaps the bigger news though is that the "Lite" model uses the same 12-megapixel camera and optically-stabilized lens as the Pixel 3, which has received high praise across the board for its photographic capabilities. (Regular MacRumors readers may recall our Google Pixel 3 XL vs. iPhone XS Max comparison found that the devices offer comparable camera quality overall, with only a few differences between shooting modes.)
Andro News claims the new phone takes "the same quality photos as the Pixel 3," although given that much of Google's image-processing is software based, it's impossible to say how the cheaper model's mid-range Snapdragon SoC will affect real-world camera performance.
There's been no word on the exact pricing for Google's upcoming Pixel phone, which is expected to come in two sizes, but considering the Pixel 3 starts at $799, there's a good chance the smaller model will undercut Apple's iPhone XR, which starts from $749.
In other differences described in the video leak, the "Lite" model has only one front-facing camera whereas the Pixel 3 has two, the additional autofocus sensor on the back is missing, and there's no additional front-facing speaker on the "Lite".
Google usually makes its big hardware announcements during Google I/O which is held in the spring, so we'll probably have to wait until then for more information unless the leaks keep coming.
At a media event in New York City earlier this month, Google previewed a new low-light camera feature called "Night Sight" that uses machine learning to choose the right colors based on the content of the image. The result is much brighter photos in low-light conditions, without having to use flash.
Google showed a side-by-side comparison of two unedited photos shot in low light with an iPhone XS and its latest Pixel 3 smartphone with Night Sight, and the photo shot on the latter device is much brighter.
Google said Night Sight will be available next month for its Pixel smartphones, but an XDA Developers forum member managed to get the feature to work ahead of time, and The Verge's Vlad Savov tested out the pre-release software on a Pixel 3 XL. The results, pictured below, are simply remarkable.
Without Night Sight
With Night Sight
Without Night Sight
With Night Sight
Without Night Sight
With Night Sight
Google and Apple are both heavily invested in computational photography. On the latest iPhones, for example, Smart HDR results in photos with more highlight and shadow detail, while Depth Control significantly improves Portrait Mode. But, Night Sight takes low-light smartphone photography to a whole new level.
Google's newest flagship smartphones, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are officially launching later this week. With their high-quality cameras, fast processors, and other improvements, the new devices are direct competitors to Apple's newly released iPhone XS models.
We were able to get our hands on the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL ahead of their debut, and in our latest YouTube video, we compared the Google Pixel 3 XL camera to Apple's iPhone XS Max camera to see which one reigns supreme.
Both the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL are equipped with a single-lens 12-megapixel rear camera system, while the iPhone XS Max uses a dual-lens camera system that features a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens.
The two camera system allows the iPhone XS Max to do things like capture Portrait Mode images with an adjustable depth of field and a blurred background, but the Pixel 3 XL has much of the same functionality enabled through software.
Like the iPhone XS Max, the Pixel 3 XL features a Portrait Mode. With its newest devices, Apple introduced some improvements to Portrait Mode with the A12 Bionic chip, and that gave it the edge over the Pixel 3 XL in our image tests. The Pixel 3 XL won out when it came to edge detection in most cases, with less blurring in areas we didn't want blurred, but iPhone XS Max Portrait Mode images were sharper.
Google advertises a new "Super Res" zoom in the Pixel 3 XL, but the single-lens camera system can't compete with Apple's telephoto lens.
With the iPhone XS Max, Apple introduced a new Smart HDR feature that takes multiple images at different exposures and combines them for one ideal shot. Google's Pixel 3 XL has a similar HDR+ mode that does the same thing to eke out more detail in photos with a lot of variation in lighting.
In our testing, we preferred the Smart HDR on the iPhone because it was able to preserve more detail without blowing out bright areas like the sky, but the Pixel 3 XL was not far behind.
Google's Pixel 3 XL uses a Night Sight feature that's designed to create brighter, clearer photos than the iPhone XS Max can produce. Night Sight isn't available at launch, but will be coming to the Pixel phones later and could give the devices a serious edge over the XS Max.
In our low light photo tests, both performed well, but the Pixel 3 XL demonstrated more noise and grain than low-light photos taken with the iPhone XS Max. In Portrait Mode, though, the Pixel 3 XL outperformed the iPhone XS Max.
While the Pixel 3 XL has a single-lens rear camera, Google has implemented a two-camera system at the front of the device with two 8-megapixel cameras for taking selfies. The iPhone XS Max, meanwhile, has a single-lens 7-megapixel front-facing camera and TrueDepth camera system that allows it to capture the same Portrait Mode photos as the rear camera system.
Because Google is using two cameras, there are front-facing features not available on the iPhone XS Max, such as a wider-angle lens that captures 184 percent more of a scene to enable group selfies.
When it comes to front-facing camera systems, the Pixel 3 XL definitely beats the iPhone XS Max. Front-facing Portrait Mode photos look great on both devices, but the group selfie mode is something Apple can't compete with.
The camera systems in the iPhone XS Max and Google Pixel 3 XL both have their strengths and weaknesses, but when it comes down to it, both are so good that determining which one is better is a matter of preference.
Photos from the iPhone XS Max, for example, tend to be a bit more even in color than the overly cool or warm-toned photos coming from the Pixel 3 XL, which some people prefer and others don't. iPhone XS Max images also come out a bit darker due to the Smart HDR feature that preserves detail, which is another visual difference that may influence opinion towards one camera or the other.
Bottom line, though, both the iPhone XS Max and the Pixel 3 XL produce impressive images that are better than both the previous-generation iPhone X and the Pixel 2 smartphones, and both are closer than ever to overtaking more traditional handheld cameras.
You can see all of the full resolution photos that we took with the Pixel 3 XL and the iPhone XS Max in this Imgur album that we created. Do you prefer Pixel 3 XL photos or iPhone XS Max photos? Let us know in the comments.
Google today held its annual "Made by Google" fall event, unveiling a new line of products that included the all-new Google Pixel 3 smartphone, a screen-based smart speaker, and a new tablet. Notably, Google pointed out at the beginning of its presentation that 2018 marks the 20 year anniversary of the search giant.
The central announcement at the event was the 5.5-inch Google Pixel 3 and 6.3-inch Pixel 3 XL. The Pixel 3 XL has an edge-to-edge display and a notch at the top of the smartphone that holds its front-facing camera system, akin to iPhone X onwards. Unlike Apple's smartphones, the Pixel 3 XL has a chin on the bottom of the device.
The company focused on the Pixel 3's advanced camera, including an HDR+ mode and "Top Shot," which automatically captures multiple shots with HDR+ and recommends one that might be better than your photo. Night Sight will enhance photos captured in low-light scenarios, and Google compared nighttime images on the iPhone XS with those taken on Pixel 3. Users can also now edit the depth of field effect in portrait mode, like on iPhone XS and XS Max.
The second camera on the front of the Pixel 3 smartphone allows for a group selfie feature, which captures 184 percent more of a scene than the iPhone XS, according to Google. The new smartphone also has a few AR features on the camera called Google Playground, including characters from The Avengers and an animated version of Childish Gambino created in partnership with Donald Glover.
Outside of the camera, Google Pixel 3 has a Call Screen feature, where Google Assistant can answer a call for you when you can't or don't want to pick up the phone. The Assistant asks the caller who is calling and to leave a message, and the entire conversation is transcribed live on the smartphone, so you can read along as the conversation happens.
Google Pixel 3 is available to pre-order today and launches on October 18 in the United States and other countries, starting at $799. The Pixel 3 XL starts at $899, and both are available in Just Black, Clearly White, and Not Pink. A new Qi-compatible Pixel Stand will also be available for $79.
Google Home Hub is the company's latest smart home speaker, allowing users to access YouTube, Google Photos, and more on its 7-inch screen. Google says it decided to not include a camera in Home Hub to enhance privacy, and an Ambient EQ feature automatically adjusts display brightness in relation to the light in the room.
The company gave numerous examples of how you can use Google Home Hub, including following recipes in the kitchen provided by Tasty, or controlling smart home products. In regards to the latter feature, Google built a "Home View" section on Home Hub, where you can drag down from the top of the screen to see a quick update on your smart lights, locks, and thermostats in one place, like Apple's Home app on iOS. The Google Home mobile app is also updating to match Home View's design.
Google Home Hub will cost $149 and launch later this month on October 22.
The company then went on to talk about the Google Pixel Slate, a new Chrome OS tablet that is aimed at use both in the workplace and for entertainment at home. The tablet has dual front-firing speakers, 8MP rear and front facing cameras with portrait modes, a 12-hour battery life, and a 12.3-inch Molecular Display with 293 pixels per inch.
On Pixel Slate, Chrome OS has been adjusted to specifically fit the tablet. This includes features like split screen, a new app launcher, deeper integration with Google Assistant, family link, do not disturb, and "nightlight" to reduce blue light on the display at nighttime.
Google Pixel Slate will start at $599 when it launches later this year in the United States. A connected keyboard and case accessory, the Slate Keyboard, will cost $199, while the Pixelbook Pen in a new midnight blue color (to match Pixel Slate) will cost $99.
Although Google's major fall event is still about two months away, typically occurring in October and ushering in a new generation of Pixel smartphones and other products, today leaked pictures have been shared online highlighting the upcoming Google Pixel 3 XL.
The images depict an alleged "pre-release" final production unit of the Pixel 3 XL smartphone, sourced from a Russian tech blogger (via Android Police). Images showcase the rear and front of the device, with an iPhone X-like notch at the top of the Pixel 3 XL's display that's not as wide as Apple's, but is noticeably taller.
Previous CAD leaks suggest that a smaller 5.4-inch Pixel 3 will not have a notch, while the larger 6.2-inch Pixel 3 XL is what appears in the images today, notch included. It's believed that Google is using the notch to house improved cameras, including two camera lenses.
The bigger Pixel will include two camera lenses on the front of the phone inside of the notch, one of the people said.
The notch, or cutout, at the top of the new larger Pixel’s screen won’t be as wide as a similar feature on the iPhone X, but is noticeably taller, according to the people. Google aims to eventually remove the bezels completely in a future Pixel, but is retaining the notch and chin this year to keep stereo speakers on the front of the phone, the people said
Additionally, the images suggest that customers will get "Pixel Bud-esque" wired USB-C earphones with the Pixel 3 XL. There also appears to be a charging brick, charging cable, and a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box. The unboxing images depict "what looks to be a pretty new iPhone-like wallpaper," as Android Police points out.
Software running on the units was Android 9 with an 8-core Qualcomm processor and an Adreno 630 GPU. The Pixel 3 XL in the images also has 4GB of RAM and a resolution of 1440x2960 with a pixel density of 494 PPI.
Following the release of the iPhone X in November 2017, clones of Apple's notch style hardware began surfacing in December and throughout 2018. In March, Google announced Android P, which introduced software support for display notches that are built into the Android smartphones mimicking Apple's design.
For Apple, the company decided on the notch-style design in order to maximize the available display area of the iPhone X, while also still leaving room for the various sensors and tech that make up the TrueDepth camera system for Face ID. Although Android smartphones are copying Apple's design, many of them lack the front-facing biometric security features as the iPhone X and instead opt for fingerprint scanners.
Android Central's Alex Dobie shared a photo on Twitter on early Sunday that shows faint outlines of Android's navigation buttons at the bottom of the display. 9to5Google, The Verge, and Ars Technica also experienced the issue.
In a statement to The Verge, Google said it is "actively investigating" the reports.
The Pixel 2 XL screen has been designed with an advanced POLED technology, including QHD+ resolution, wide color gamut, and high contrast ratio for natural and beautiful colors and renderings. We put all of our products through extensive quality testing before launch and in the manufacturing of every unit. We are actively investigating this report.
Google hasn't confirmed how many users are currently affected.
Google sourced the Pixel 2 XL's plastic OLED display from LG, which could be the root of the problem, given that the smaller Pixel 2 and original Pixel's Samsung-supplied OLED displays have experienced far fewer issues.
Apple is also sourcing OLED displays exclusively from Samsung, so if the issue stems from LG, then the iPhone X shouldn't be affected either.
LG's own V30 smartphone has suffered from many of the same display issues, which has also included banding and uneven colors.
Screen burn-in is typically a result of static images or on-screen elements displaying on the screen uninterrupted for a prolonged period of time. The issue can result in persistent discoloration or a "ghosting" effect on the screen.
Two weeks after first unveiling the Pixel 2 at an event in San Francisco, reviews of Google's latest smartphone have now been published online. Many of the reviews written on the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL are positive, with multiple articles referring to the smartphones as the best Android devices on the market, as well as legitimate competitors to Apple's iPhone series. The only slight negatives appear to surround Google's decision to aim for functional, more iterative updates over flashier feature additions.
Like most reviews posted today, The Verge was more impressed by the design and look of the Pixel 2 XL than the smaller Pixel 2, calling the latter phone "humdrum" with "big, chunky bezels" that don't compare favorably to the XL's smaller bezels and larger 6-inch screen. The site noted that each device's Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM resulted in a snappy UI, running "better overall than Samsung's or LG's" version of Android.
The Verge described an all-day battery life that "lasts until bedtime just fine," and said that the Pixel 2 is "easily a contender for best smartphone camera" with photos that are "way sharper than the iPhone 8 and the Note 8." Although the site had qualms with the 2 XL's display quality -- calling colors "muted" -- the overall takeaway came down to being impressed by the smartphone's snappy functionality, despite a lack of "razzle dazzle."
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL do not razzle dazzle. It's not just the somewhat disappointing screen on the Pixel 2 XL, it's that Google has gone out of its way to do things that are functional instead of flashy. Instead of going bezel-less, it added front-facing speakers. Instead of a million camera effects, it focused on one or two, while making the core camera experience much better with machine learning. The list goes on.
The Pixel 2 has many, many things going for it. Were it not for a few problems — the screen, the slightly inelegant design, and (yes) the lack of a headphone jack — it might have received the highest score we've ever given a phone. As it is, it's a great phone, but not quite a home run.
TechCrunch compared the second iteration of the Pixel line -- focusing its review on the Pixel 2 XL -- to an "S" generation of the iPhone, meaning that the Pixel 2 is an "evolution" of a smartphone that was already solid, but lacks a central "wow factor." Still, the site was impressed by what Google accomplished with a single-lens camera system, describing "admirable" performance in low- and mixed-light settings, and mostly positive early impressions from Google's AI-powered "Lens" feature, which automatically tags objects in pictures.
Even though the Pixel 2 XL runs for upwards of $800, TechCrunch ultimately stated that Google's smartphone shows "what can be done without having to charge users $1,000 for a device."
The Pixel 2 doesn’t make a particularly compelling upgrade case for users of last year’s model. The hardware isn’t a radical departure, and many of the new software features will be coming to the first-generation model — after all, Android support for older devices is one of the key tenants of Google’s first-party software approach. The device also doesn’t push the boundaries of what a mobile device is as much as other recent flagships.
The new phones offer a glimpse at that future and, in the case of the device’s camera, show what can be done without having to charge users $1,000 for a device.
Ars Technica looked at the performance of the Pixel 2, calling Google's build of Android for the new smartphones "the most highly optimized, smoothest, and fastest build of Android I have ever seen." Although the site had similar problems with the OLED display as The Verge -- Ars called it "an ugly graniness" most detectable in dark environments -- and the "dated aesthetic" of the 5-inch Pixel 2, its final impression was that Google's new smartphone is "the best Android phone out there."
Every single animation goes off without a hitch. Scrolling is flawless. There are additional, exclusive animations on the home screen like bounce scrolling and folder opening that add to the buttery smooth feel. It's amazing—head and shoulders above every other Android phone out there.
With the Pixel, you get an iPhone-like update experience, a cohesive software package, and super fast UI performance. It offers a harmonious device with a single, cohesive design language and none of the junk that slows your phone down. In 2017, that's enough to merit the title of "Best Android phone."
Interestingly, Ars Technica also pointed out that the Pixel 2 marks Google's first foray into its own custom designed system on a chip (SoC), packed into the smartphone in addition to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. Although not active yet, the chip is said to be "dedicated exclusively to camera image processing" on the Pixel 2, and will eventually make processing photos "faster and more efficient than ever." Google calls the SoC the "Pixel Visual Core," and it includes an eight-core Image Processing Unit capable of more than three trillion operations per second.
A day ahead of Google's October hardware event, serial mobile leaker Evan Blass has shared images of the company's new 6-inch Pixel 2 XL smartphone, revealing a display with thin bezels and rounded corners reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Rumors suggest the Pixel 2 XL will feature a QHD+ display with an 18:9 (2:1) aspect ratio, 4GB of RAM, a 12-megapixel rear camera, and front-facing stereo speakers, with a price tag of $849/$949 for either 64GB or 128GB of storage.
Blass also tweeted images of the smaller 5-inch Pixel 2 (below) which, apart from a less impressive 1080p display, is thought to share the same specs as the XL 2. The wallpaper used in both the leaked images shows a vibrant depth-of-field view, suggesting an upcoming "bokeh" camera feature native to the new Google handsets.
According to a source familiar with Google's release plans that spoke to VentureBeat, the new phones will have a pre-order period followed by a staggered rollout, with October 19 for the Pixel 2 and November 15 for the Pixel 2 XL.