Apparently, Google has a lot of tricks up its sleeve for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, one of which is a hidden image processor that is the Pixel Visual Core.
It's already known that the Pixel 2 is a class of its own in the camera competition, beating the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus and scoring a whopping 98 grade in DxOMark's ranking. Turns out, that's not even its full potential.
Pixel 2 Camera To Get Even Better
According to Google, the Pixel Visual Core in the early review units of the Pixel 2 are turned off. In other words, the photos that are making rounds online don't showcase the real capability of the phone, and yet the handset managed to top DxOMark, followed by the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
The Pixel 2 is powered by a Snapdragon 835, and Qualcomm doesn't exactly let manufacturers tinker with the chip and add customized processors and the like. Of course, that's a limiting factor, but Google thought up of a workaround of sorts by throwing in a custom-designed coprocessor in the mix.
That means the Pixel Visual Core is an independent processor that focuses on images. It even has its own set of eight cores and RAM.
The best part is, image quality will keep on improving, as Google can push out Pixel Visual Core updates to enhance the phones' mobile photography game. Put differently, the cameras are future proof.
On top of that, even third-party apps can make the most out of the component, giving users the option to pick out software other than the stock camera app of the Pixel 2.
What To Expect From Pixel Visual Core
Once Google flips the switch on the image processor, what users will notice is the superb HDR+ of the Pixel 2.
"Using Pixel Visual Core, HDR+ can run 5x faster and at less than one-tenth the energy than running on the application processor (AP)," Google says.
Needless to say, that's an impressive feat that makes the Pixel 2 stand out among the current brood.
Here's a sample from Google to get a better look at things of the HDR+ at work:
The Bottom Line
For the record, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL both sport the same 12.2-megapixel f/1.8 rear camera and 8-megapixel f/2.4 front snapper. Long story short, the hidden Pixel Visual Core will work alongside those sensors to take the phones' photography prowess to new heights.
Speaking of "hidden," the Pixel 2 XL also has a somewhat secret feature. Recently, it's been confirmed that it'll have an LED notification light, a beloved feature that Google doesn't seem to like making a big fuss over.
Google says that it'll turn on the Pixel Visual Core as a developer option for all Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices via the developer preview of Android 8.1 Oreo. Following that, it'll enable the feature for every third-party app that uses the Android Camera API so they can take advantage of the company's aforementioned HDR+ technology.