large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Google Pixel 2 has a secret processor that’ll make photos even better

The cameras are undoubtedly the headline features in Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones. However, according to Google, the photos are about to get even better.

Google has revealed the phones contain a previously-unannounced co-processor that’s dedicated to processing HDR+ images.

According to the firm, the Pixel Visual Core will enable more apps to use the Pixel 2’s cameras for the purpose of taking HDR+ quality pictures, while limiting power consumption.

The chip will be enabled in Android 8.1 Oreo, which arrives in developer preview in the next few weeks. From there developers will gain access in order to build support into their apps.

Related: iPhone X

The blog post says: “Pixel Visual Core is Google’s first custom-designed co-processor for consumer products. It’s built into every Pixel 2, and in the coming months, we’ll turn it on through a software update to enable more applications to use Pixel 2’s camera for taking HDR+ quality pictures.”

Google added: “Using Pixel Visual Core, HDR+ can run 5x faster and at less than one-tenth the energy than running on the application processor.”


The presence of the processor comes as a surprise, given Google negated to mention it during the Made by Google launch event earlier this month.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones pledge to dramatically improve the imaging capabilities over the very capable originals.

Indeed, the influential DxOMark gave the Pixel 2 devices a score of 98, which beats any smartphone ever made.

“The single biggest reason to choose the Pixel 2 over any other handset is the camera,” says TrustedReviews mobile editor Max Parker in his ongoing review.

We’ll have a full score for you in the coming days.

Have you pre-ordered a Pixel 2? Which feature sold you on the phones? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.