The Google Pixel 2 has a special image processing chip hidden inside

Our Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL review just went up, and surprising almost no one, the devices can take some quite spectacular shots (animal lovers: check out the camera section for photos of two absolutely adorable kitties). And most of this has to do not with the camera sensors, but rather Google's special HDR+ algorithm which can drastically improve upon the quality of images.

But it turns out that Google has a trick up its sleeve this year: yes, HDR+ is back and in top shape, but Google has decided to enhance it on the hardware side as well. That is, just like some rumors have previously suggested, the Google Pixel 2 duo has a dedicated image processing chip called the "Pixel Visual Core" hidden inside of it.

And when we say hidden, we mean it: the hardware is certainly there, but it isn't actually activated. Which is a shame, as it appears to be quite powerful: it's actually a dedicated system-on-a-chip developed by Google itself, with its primary design goal being the acceleration of the HDR+ algorithm.

But potential Pixel 2 buyers, despair not! Google promises to activate the chip soon — in the Android 8.1 developer preview, to be exact. But the best news is that the chip will also be available for use by third-party developers, along with the HDR+ algorithm itself — so your favorite camera app will also be able to take advantage of better image processing.

And in practical terms, this means that your photos will be processed faster and more efficiently: Google claims the image processing unit (IPU) will use a tenth of the energy compared with the currently used implementation. And for the people excited for machine learning and such running directly on their phone (looking at you, Huawei), the IPU will also be suitable for these applications as well.

source: The Verge

Related phones

Pixel 2
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128GB
  • Battery 2700 mAh
Pixel 2 XL
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2880 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128GB
  • Battery 3520 mAh



1. mikehunta727 unregistered

So instant HDR+ processing? Because it takes about a second or two on the Pixel 2, which isn't bad at all just saying. I really love HDR+ by Google, the best HDR hands down

2. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Interesting. So this phone get 98 score in DxO with gimped hardware, probably it could get 100 if DxO retest it after update. (DxO final score formula still a mystery. but I'm sure next year's flagship will surpass 100, lol) Even if it can't give better image quality, faster HDR+ is still sounds great

4. nodes

Posts: 1164; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

100 isn't the max score.

7. AVVA1

Posts: 228; Member since: Aug 01, 2017

Agreed! It is also not averaged

9. sgodsell

Posts: 7614; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I think the new hardware when activated, will also help out in AR as well. Because just like VR, AR is also taxing and eats battery life. So anything that can cut down on constant processing, and save battery life is a win win in my books.

10. KingSam

Posts: 1519; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

I always wondered how third party apps perform without the hdr+ magic.

5. highwaysnobbery

Posts: 59; Member since: Feb 19, 2013

MKBHD did a video on YouTube explaining the DxO scores that is rather informative even if he doesn't get too technical. His Red camera has a 108.

3. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

True. Google really seem to be developing and enhancing this feature to the max. I am not a fan of the phone but the Pixel duo's but I must give credit where credit is due Google LG, and HTC did a fantastic job with these phones as far as cameras and image processing.

6. highwaysnobbery

Posts: 59; Member since: Feb 19, 2013

Thumbs up because I agree and it's nice to hear someone not be a fanboy.

8. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

Google really committed to their cameras.

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