With the launch of the Google Pixel 3 in October, Google continued its reign as the manufacturer of the absolute best smartphone camera. Besting the iPhone XS and Galaxy Note9, the Google Pixel 3 boasts a camera with incredible dynamic range and tons of features.
New users will be floored by the crisp, vibrant photos they can take with the Google Pixel camera out of the box, but once you read our camera guide you can take full advantage of the new Google Pixel features.
Google Pixel Specs
Don’t fret when choosing a Google Pixel 3 vs. a Pixel 3 XL — the front and back cameras are identical, so these specs apply to both smartphone models. Here’s a rundown of the camera hardware:
- The rear camera is a single-lens 12.2 megapixel camera featuring f/1.8 aperture, laser autofocus support, and phase detection. It records video up to 4K resolution at 30 frames per second (fps). It also supports optical image stabilization (OIS) and HDR.
- The front or “selfie” camera is a dual-lens camera. Both lenses are rated at 8 megapixels and feature OIS, autofocus, phase detection, and HDR support. One lens is an ultrawide 97-degree lens with an f/2.2 aperture and the other lens is a standard lens with an f/1.8 aperture. This camera can record video up to 1,080p at 30 fps.
The chip next to the processor, called the Pixel Visual Core, unlocks the Google Pixel 3’s amazing software and image-processing capabilities to transform your raw shots into masterpieces.
Google Pixel Camera App
Once you’ve powered on your Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL for the first time you can find the camera icon on the bottom right of your home screen. To quickly launch the camera from screen or menu (even if the screen is off) tap the power button twice.
Once you are in the camera app you can quickly switch between the front and rear cameras using a gesture. Double-twist your wrist to quickly alternate between the front and rear camera.
If either of these gestures or shortcuts don’t work you will need to toggle them on in the settings menu. Navigate to Systems → Settings → Gestures and toggle on Jump to camera and Flip camera.
The camera app interface is simple and user-friendly. When holding the phone in portrait orientation you will find a list of modes (like Panorama, Portrait, Video, etc) below the viewfinder. Simply scroll to select the mode you want. Below this is the large shutter button. The circular arrows icon to the left of the shutter allows you to switch between cameras. To the right of the shutter is the most recent photo you took — tapping it takes you to the Photos app.
Above the viewfinder are the icons for timer, motion, white balance, and flash. Motion captures several frames before and after your your snapshot to make a short video. White balance is on automatically and we recommend leaving it on — Google uses A.I. to account for the lighting conditions to get the colors right. In most situations you should leave the flash off.
If you rotate the camera to landscape mode the shutter and accompanying icons will be on the right, while the icons for settings will be on the left.
Google Pixel Features
The features and modes packed into the Google Pixel 3 camera are a photographer’s dream. Here are the highlights of the features that blow us away:
- HDR+ — High dynamic range (HDR) is on all the time with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, capturing multiple shots and combining them into a single image that captures bright highlights without blowing them out while also picking up visual details in the shadows of your images.
Pro-tip: in your camera app head to More → Settings → Advanced and toggle on HDR+ control. Now you can turn HDR+ on or off when taking photos, but you can also select HDR+ Enhanced. This option guarantees the best camera output for each photo, though it does take longer to process your shots.
- Top Shot — When Motion is turned on you can select your favorite image from each captured frame with Top Shot. This is especially helpful is someone has their eyes closed or is looking away in the “main” photo.
Open the photo and tap the three vertical dots at the top right. Tap Select shots and scroll to view each frame. Recommended frames on the timeline have a white dot above them. When you find the frame you want to save tap Save copy at the top right.
- Night Sight — Taking photos at night is terrible, right? Not anymore. With the amazing Night Sight feature Google employs the same methodology as HDR+, taking several photos in succession and then stitching them together to drastically improve the brightness and color of images captured in the dark.
You can toggle on Night Sight in the More section of the camera app, but a message will pop up automatically while you are taking photos if the phone detects low light. Try to remain still while taking photos with Night Sight, as your camera is snapping several photos back-to-back.
We’ve just scratched the surface of the possibilities of your Google smartphone — to learn more amazing tricks for your Google Pixel 3 camera read our guide to more Google Pixel 3 tips. If you’re in the market for a new phone or have any questions about Google smartphones and accessories head to your nearest GoWireless location.
Google Pixel 3 Tips & Tricks | GoWireless
Keywords: pixel 3 hidden features, pixel 3 tips and tricks
So you’ve decided to invest in the best smartphone camera money can buy, jumping ship from either Apple or Android to land in the powerful, user-friendly interface of the Google Pixel 3. While one of the leading smartphones on the market, the Google Pixel 3 hidden features may prove elusive to users unfamiliar with Google’s line of smartphones.
Never fear — the experts at GoWireless are here to help you navigate your new phone with helpful Pixel 3 tips and tricks. First familiarize yourself with the Pixel 3 camera and then learn even more about the possibilities of your new smartphone.
Super Res Zoom
The Super Res Zoom feature allows you to zoom in on subjects and retain high quality without a telephoto lens. When using the main camera tap the magnifying glass icon at the top right or bottom of the viewfinder. This opens the zoom slider, which you can slide left or right to zoom. You can also zoom in by touching the screen with two fingers and sliding them apart, or tapping the screen twice where you want to zoom in. A fourth method: head to More → Settings while in the camera app, tap Gestures, and you’ll find an option to set the Volume key as a zoom control.
Hide the Notch
The design of the Google Pixel 3 XL includes a sizable notch up top — if you can do without it you can disable it with a little maneuvering. First, turn on developer settings by heading to Settings → System → About and tapping on your build number multiple times. When developer settings are enabled navigate to Settings → System → Developer Options. Scroll to Display cutout and set this option to Hide. Bye bye, notch!
Can’t fit everyone in? No problem. When using the front-facing camera you will see a slider at the bottom of the viewfinder. Slide this to increase and decrease the width of your selfie so no one’s feelings get hurt.
Flip to Shhh
This is a humorously-named feature that is also extremely convenient. The Flip to Shhh feature, when enabled, will put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode if you place your Pixel 3 face down on a table or other flat surface. It’s a quick, easy gesture to get some reprieve from your family group text or social media notifications. To turn it on navigate to Settings → Digital Wellbeing and toggle on Flip to Shhh.
This feature helps you keep a moving subject in focus while taking photos or video, useful for energetic kids or pets. Tap once on a subject in the viewfinder of the camera app and the phone will track it to keep it in focus. If working correctly you will see a small circle around your subject in the viewfinder. To disable Motion Autofocus tap the small circle.
Squeeze for Assistant
When enabled this feature allows you to call your Google Assistant from any screen by squeezing the bottom portion of your Pixel 3, even if the phone is locked. Head to Settings → System → Gestures → Active Edge. At this screen you can toggle on Squeeze for your Assistant or Squeeze for silence, which silences alarms, notifications, and incoming calls. You can also adjust the Squeeze sensitivity to your desired preference.
Okay, owners of other smartphones are familiar with Portrait Mode. Portrait Mode on the Pixel 3 has some of the best capabilities imaginable, allowing you to adjust the blur of the background and foreground to create a stunning bokeh effect. To take photos in Portrait Mode swipe to the mode while in the camera app. After snapping a picture you can adjust the blur settings using the sliders.
Blue light from our smartphone screens and computers make it harder to fall asleep. Luckily the Google Pixel 3 has a built-in Night Light mode which reduces the blue light emitting from your screen so you can drift off to sleep easier. Navigate to Settings → Display → Night Light to toggle it on. You can also schedule the setting to automatically apply at certain times of the day when you are typically getting ready for bed.
Save Raw Images
Capture photos in JPEG and RAW formats if you are a professional photographer or simply someone who wants more control over the image editing process. Tap More in the camera app and then head to Settings → Advanced. Toggle on RAW+JPEG control to save RAW images. Keep in mind that these images will take up way more space.
This feature takes the original function of a smartphone to a new level. When a call from a random number comes in (or even someone you know) tap Screen call and Google Assistant will answer for you. The caller will hear a message that says “Hi, the person you’re calling is using a screening service from Google, and will get a copy of this conversation. Go ahead and say your name, and why you’re calling.” In real time you will be able to read what the caller is saying on your phone screen, and you can decide whether to take the call, send a quick reply, or report the call as spam.
There’s so much more to learn about your brand new device — read our smartphone guides to familiarize yourself with the full power of your Pixel 3. When learning the ins and outs of squeezing your Pixel 3 don’t forget to invest in GoWireless GRIP insurance to ensure your phone is fully covered. If you need any further assistance with your Google Pixel 3 or you want to buy one for yourself head to your local GoWireless location.