- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
Apple and Samsung may make the most popular smartphones, but the camera on Google’s Pixel 2 smartphone is considered one of the best on the market.
Google recently announced the Pixel 2 phones will receive an update to improve the image quality on several popular social media platforms, including Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. This move could be Google’s way of showcasing the camera on the Pixel 2, which is easily its best feature.
Here’s why those who share lots of photos on social media should consider the Pixel 2:
1. Portrait mode for the Google Pixel 2’s front and rear cameras is stellar.
- Screencap: Google
Portrait mode is now a common smartphone feature, which allows users to apply professional DSLR quality effects to images. The bokeh effect, which blurs image backgrounds and sharpens the foreground subject, is one the most popular portrait-mode effects.
While many smartphones with advanced cameras include some version of portrait mode, the feature tends to be on only the main rear camera. The Pixel 2, however, can produce portrait-mode images through both its rear and front cameras.
Apple’s iPhone X also allows for bokeh effect and other camera tricks on the device’s front camera through its portrait lighting feature, but the software is still in beta and is not exactly to DSLR quality at this point. By most accounts, the Pixel 2 consistently takes better portrait-mode photos than the iPhone X.
2. Google’s Pixel 2 is the most powerful camera on the market with just one lens.
Most high-end smartphones feature dual-lens cameras these days, including the iPhone 7, 8 and X, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8. The Pixel 2, however, has beat out all of these devices for quality, even though it only features a single-lens camera setup.
Several reviews and benchmarks have named the Pixel 2 the best mobile camera on the market. Many smartphone manufacturers introduced dual-lens setups to enable advanced camera features, such as portrait mode, but Google mastered the feature solely with software optimization.
Camera features from the Pixel 2 have been so highly coveted that many tech-savvy smartphone users have developed ways to port the features on to non-Google smartphones, including the Xiaomi Mi 5, OnePlus 3, Moto G5s Plus, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, among others.
While software tricks might be the less expensive option, it may just be easier to purchase a Pixel 2 to get its stellar camera features.
3. The Pixel 2 is a flagship-tier smartphone that’s more affordable than many of its competitors.
- Screencap: Google
Without the bells and whistles featured on other high-end devices, the Pixel 2 remains relatively cheap in the premium realm, selling for a starting price of $650.
The device has a simple aluminum design, while many competitors have shifted to glass bodies and curved displays. Google also kept the Pixel 2 color options simple – they include Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue for the normal Pixel 2, plus the additional Black & White option for the larger Pixel 2 XL.
This leaves a lot of highlight features on the Pixel 2 relegated to its software, and camera.
4. The Pixel 2 comes with pure Android software, frequent updates, and new camera goodies.
Google’s smartphones are often referred to as the Android versions of the iPhone due to their stock software that does not include any third-party customizations. Google devices including the Pixel 2 also receive frequent updates directly from the software maker.
The Pixel 2 currently runs Android Oreo and any current software updates are made to this Android version, including new digital zoom and HDR+ features.
As the latest Google smartphone, the Pixel 2 is typically the first to receive any update, camera focused or otherwise.
5. The Pixel 2 has unlimited photo storage.
- Tim Stenovec/Business Insider
Pixel 2 users don’t have to worry about losing images they plan to share on social media as all photos are easily stored in the Google Photos stock app.
Google’s Photos app includes easy sharing and editing options. It also helps users pick the best photos for sharing and gives image highlights and reminders of good shots taken in the past. It’s good for a throwback Thursday, or for before-and-after shots.
6. Upcoming updates will make posting photos to social media look even better
- Screencap: Google
Google recently announced it is opening the native AI capabilities on the Pixel 2 to work with third-party social media apps, including Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
These apps will have Google-backed features including digital zoom and HDR+ technology, powered by the Visual Core AI chip in the Pixel 2.
What is even more interesting is this feature will work with Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp, but is not yet enabled within actual camera app on the Pixel 2. Still, Pixel 2 owners will get to see Google’s AI photography capabilities in action on the aforementioned social media apps.
Both the digital zoom and HDR+ features use Google’s AI and machine learning to composite the burst shots into an ideal photograph – sharpening zoomed images and applying brightness and color enhancements to dim shots with HDR+.