The most magical feature of the Google Pixel 4's camera is astrophotography mode. We checked it out last month and were blown away with the detail you could get with a phone and a tiny tripod.
Now it looks like the functionality will be rolled out to older Pixel models.
One of the biggest upgrades to the Pixel 4 has been the camera, and it's about time. In addition to bumping up those megapixels (and denying us a wide angle lens) Google decided to flex hard by adding a dedicated astrophotography mode into the mix. I'll take any opportunity to escape Sydney's neon claws, so a few of us tech writers headed out to a legit astronomy enthusiast spot to give it a whirl.
The 7.2 update for the Pixel's default camera app has already begun rolling out. One of the improvements it brings is astrophotography functionality for the Pixel 2, Pixel 3 and even the mid-range Pixel 3a. I didn't think that phone could possibly get any better for the price, and yet here we are.
Sadly, if you have an original Pixel you won't get the new photography mode. But considering that Google has also stopped providing updates for this device, this isn't surprising.
The new star gazing mode is an extension of the Pixel's Night Sight mode - which can already take some damn fine pictures in dark and low light conditions. Astrophotography mode allows you to capture stars and even the Milky Way.
The mode automatically toggles on if the device detects enough darkness and stillness. This means that it needs to be secured in a Tripod before it will work. Trust me, I tried holding my hand still for far too long testing this.
If you haven't noticed the Camera 7.2 update on your device yet, you can download it here.
The Google Pixel 3 was a contentious handset when it launched last year. A good phone to be sure, but the price was a touch high for incremental upgrades to what the Pixel 2 was already packing. But Google wasn't done. Last month it came in hot with its lite version of the device. Not only are the specs ridiculously similar to its bigger siblings, so is the camera. Oh and the battery is better. In one fell swoop Google fucked the mid-range phone market. In fact, it may have even fucked the high range one. It redefined what consumers should expect for $650 and thus threw the phone landscape into glorious chaos. And I for one worship it.