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5 reasons why the Pixel may have the best smartphone camera ever

Derek Walter | Oct. 7, 2016
The newest Google phone may be just what you want for all those great moments you want to capture.

Excellent detail

I’m by no means a professional photographer (or even a great amateur one) but I genuinely thought the detail of the many images we got to see was very impressive. 

dxo mark outside

The detail in the bridge is pretty incredible, as you can see the colors very clearly and specific features of the fence.

DxOMark even had this to say about how well the Pixel does with detail: “The Pixel does better in outdoor scenes at preserving detail than any smartphone we’ve ever tested.”

It’s a big compliment from a site that’s become the benchmark at rating and ranking camera performance of smartphones. Outdoor pictures can be achieved with great performance from many phones on both sides of the operating system divide. If you take most of your pictures outdoors, however, this is another perk that may make the Pixel the right choice.

Fast picture taking

I got a good amount of hands-on time with the Pixel in Google’s demo area. Google even brought in a professional photographer who had extensively used the phone and said he felt it was the best one he’d ever tried (but of course, he wouldn’t be there otherwise). But I was genuinely impressed at the speed of the shutter and my ability to rapidly switch to video mode, to the gallery, fiddle with the settings, and back to the viewfinder.

pixel phone table

There’s a reason the camera icon is right there in the dock. Google put a lot of emphasis on camera performance with its Pixel smartphone.

Anyone who’s had a Nexus 6P knows that the shutter lag and shot-to-shot speed can be a serious issue. I’ve even encountered this at times on my Galaxy S7 Edge, which is (to this point) the best camera phone I’ve owned. A full test of firing up the camera time and time again over a couple of weeks is needed before a full verdict can be rendered, but I really liked much better the Pixel camera worked.

Video stabilization

Google had a lot to say about this, offering a demo video of how superior its video stabilization is to competing products. 

Again, this was hard to test in the small and controlled environment we were squished into at San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square. But from the demo video you see the movie goes from practically unusable to buttery smooth. That's obviously a best-case scenario, and you're unlikely to get such perfect results.

The Pixel is capable of capturing 4K video at 30 frames per second, 1080p video at 120fps and 720p at 240fps. These features are dying for a real-world test, so we’ll be standing outside the office once we get word that Pixel phones are on their way for us to review. I was able to take a Pixel and quickly walk around the room and try out the stabilization feature, but I did notice a tangible difference. But I’d need some more time to really render a verdict.


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