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We asked, you told us: The Google Pixel series needs a complete camera overhaul

Readers also want bigger sensors and better auxiliary cameras on future Google Pixels.

Published onOctober 28, 2020

Google Pixel 5 camera macro with bokeh
David Imel / Android Authority

Google’s Pixels punch well above their weight in the photography ring. In our long-term Pixel 4 XL review, we called the camera “astounding,” applauding its ability to extract vivid details from its aging 12.2MP Sony sensor. But this sensor — which has been used since the Pixel 3 — is no longer the pinnacle of camera hardware.

The Pixel 5 employs that same sensor and it shows. While the snapper still captures decent shots, it’s no longer the best Android camera phone available. We believe the only way Google can improve the Pixel’s photography prowess is to invest in new hardware.

Well ahead of the inevitable Pixel 6 launch, we asked readers what they’d want from the future Pixel camera. Here’s what you told us.

What do you want from a next-gen Pixel camera package?


More than 2,200 votes were cast in this poll, and of the four options available there’s one clear winner. With more than 62% of the vote, most of our readers believe that the Pixel series needs a complete camera hardware overhaul. It would be the first major redesign from Google in years, but it would better serve the firm’s focus on computational photography.

Read more: Google Pixel 5 camera tested vs the best Android camera phones

Unsurprisingly then, 23.4% of users want to see a new primary sensor, which we feel should be the top of Google’s to-do list. There’s no need for a 108MP sensor in a Pixel, but a physically larger sensor would allow future Pixels to capture more light, providing more info for its software smarts.

Just under 9% of voters want improved wide-angle and telephoto snappers, while around 5% feel that the hardware is just fine; the real gains will be made through further software development. These two camps seem completely content with Google’s current primary sensor setup.

Your comments

  • Joe Black: Pixel needs a complete camera array replacement – bigger main, bigger, brighter ultrawide, and at least a basic telephoto. I personally do not care for telephoto, but I know many would appreciate if Pixel 5 would not drop it in favor of ultrawide – I mean three is logically better than two, more versatile.
  • feranick: They need to bring back the Pixel Neural/Visual Core. The 765G is struggling already with this hardware compared to the pixel 4 with longer than needed processing time. With more sophisticated sensors and wide/tele, there has to be a strong Neural chip to power it all as it should. Apple gets that, Google seems to have forgotten it.
  • mopedia: Also, it seems like Google doesn’t have any vision or consistency. Look at how quickly they got rid of face unlock hardware and then contrast it to the long term commitment of apple to face id. Then you have the visual core. Here one day and gone the next. It’s as if Google has no faith in its own work/efforts. I guess they just don’t care about consistency and user experience. Google under promises and then manages to under-deliver.
  • PhoenixWitti: Are their algorithms designed specifically to work with old hardware? Maybe that’s why they resist updating.
  • Bwvilla: Better camera (add telephoto) plus dual SIM and micro SD card.
  • samagon: I would like to have seen a bigger sensor, even if that means the phone is thicker to accommodate.

That’s it for this poll. As usual, we appreciate every vote and comment. If you still have any thoughts about the Google Pixel line’s photography smarts or lack thereof, or indeed how you’d improve it, drop a line below.

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