Since the launch of the Pixel 2, the device has been regarded as having the best smartphone camera. In side-by-side comparisons, the Pixel 2 has beat out the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, the HTC U11+, the iPhone X and even Samsung’s latest Galaxy S9.
The Pixel 2’s secret sauce lies in its HDR+ image processing which captures multiple images to produce a single shot that’s sharper, brighter and more vivid. On top of that, the Pixel 2 also use AI rather than a second sensor and lens to capture portrait-style photos with a digitally blurred background. And it can do it with both the main and front-facing cameras.
Many people buy new smartphones each year so they can have the best camera experience possible. But if you’re happy with the phone you have now, there’s a chance that you could get the Pixel 2’s camera experience on your phone simply by installing a modified version of its camera app.
All you have to do is download the APK to your device, install it and start taking pictures. You get all of the major features that Pixel 2 users have, including HDR+ and Portrait Mode support with both cameras.
The Pixel 2’s camera app does not work on all devices. For the most part, the APK is compatible with newer Snapdragon SoCs. If you’re using a device with an Exynos, MediaTek, Kirin SoC, you’re out of luck.
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To assess the difference in image quality between the stock camera and the Pixel 2’s camera, I took the HTC U11+ out and shot side-by-side photos with both apps. The HTC U11+ already captures pretty good photos, but the ones captured with the Pixel 2 camera app typically turned out better. You can see the side-by-side comparisons in the video below.
In my second round of testing, I compared the HTC U11+ with the Pixel 2’s camera pp directly against the Pixel 2. Surprisingly, the images captured with HTC’s phone matched or beat the Pixel 2 in quite a few instances.
If you haven’t yet tested the Pixel 2 camera APK on your non-Google device, there’s really no reason not to. Feel free to share your experience in the comment and don’t forget to include a few before-and-after shots as well.