Portrait Mode with just one camera: Google publishes Pixel 2/XL Portrait Mode pictures

The Google Pixel 2/XL are the world's first phones to make true DSLR-like Portrait Mode - where the subject is in focus and the background blurred - possible with just a single camera. The effect is achieved through some advanced technology and thanks to the power of AI and machine learning, but how good do photos actually turn out?

While we ourselves are in the process of a detailed assessment of the Pixel 2 Portrait Mode, Google has already released a bunch of real-life Potrait Mode photos made with the new camera and we are eager to share them here.

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus started the Portrait Mode race last year: it was the first phone to introduce a secondary rear 'telephoto' zoom camera with Portrait Mode, but pictures with it often have bad-looking artifacts at the edge between the person and the background. It is particularly bad with hair: the iPhone just cannot get longer hair right and blurs out a lot of it improperly.

While it's too early for conclusions, the photographs below show just how much ahead the Pixel 2/XL is in this regard: it nails every stray piece of hair in sharp focus and has impressive, realistic, lively colors. We have downsized the images in the slideshow gallery so they load faster, but you can also take a look at the original pictures at the link below.

Full resolution Portrait Mode Pixel 2/XL images here

Related phones

Pixel 2
  • Display 5.0 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Single camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2700 mAh
  • OS Android 10
Pixel 2 XL
  • Display 6.0 inches
    2880 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Single camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3520 mAh
  • OS Android 10



12. slannmage

Posts: 289; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

Looks terrible around the edges, you can tell it's software and not hardware.

9. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

iPhone is much better and by so far (as usual).

11. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

LOL you can't digest this amazing shots of pixel 2.

7. cambotodd

Posts: 13; Member since: Jun 15, 2015

Actually the Nokia pureview 808 did amazing bokeh back in 2012.srill a better camera than most phones today

4. igorpro

Posts: 11; Member since: Oct 02, 2017

Great color! Unlike the iPhone, which almost always makes faces yellow.


Posts: 120; Member since: Sep 30, 2015

Don't forget the Galaxys with their incredibly yellow/orange tint, the iPhone at least have some red in it unlike the galaxy.

10. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

You need to change your glasses.

3. maulgandhi

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Apple is mistaken the word innovation for expensive imitation. The first phone with dual camera that provided bokeh effects was ZTE Axon Pro, but the first software based bokeh was done by Google using "lens Blur" feature in Google camera app

6. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 932; Member since: May 07, 2014

I think it was HTC M8 and then a honor phone

1. Remmy

Posts: 191; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

I wish Sony would use the same tech to overhaul their 4-year old Background Defocus app which is quite slow and unintuitive.

2. dnomadic

Posts: 450; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

This is funny, because so many belief that Apple was the first to provide Bokeh from a cell phone camera.... How soon we all forget, HTC, Sony, and even Google's implementations.... The HTC one was pretty good (poor marketing being the killer), the Google implementation was actually good as well (but awkward to accomplish). Glad to see Google and Samsung enhance their defocus (Bokeh) solutions. REALLY glad to see Google's implementation, as it will DEFINITELY, be my next phone once I sell this pesky S8 Plus and Gear S2.

8. therealestmc

Posts: 680; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

It's not about being the first but about trend-setting. That's what apple offers. The competition failed when it comes to spreading new technology.

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