Google Playground and its AR Playmoji come to Pixel and Pixel 2 phones, new Travel pack lands [APK Download]

When the Pixel 3 debuted two months back, Google made sure its new flagship lineup was adorned with all the latest bells and whistles, introducing us to a whole bunch of new features in the process. From the get-go, we were curious to learn which of these might also make their way to older Pixel phones, and when. Over the past few weeks more and more have been expanding to new devices, and the latest to spread the love is Playground and its Playmoji packs, now formally available for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL. Read MoreGoogle Playground and its AR Playmoji come to Pixel and Pixel 2 phones, new Travel pack lands [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Pixel Sounds updated to v2.0, and it actually works now [APK Download]

Google laid the groundwork for a new app earlier this month, and now you can (maybe) use it. While the prospect of “Pixel Sounds” isn’t the most exciting, it improves a part of the Android experience that has long needed an overhaul. Pixel devices will soon have a more expansive set of ringtones with a much prettier interface. The app didn’t work when it first popped up, but v2.0 does, and it’s rolling out now. Read MorePixel Sounds updated to v2.0, and it actually works now [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Night Sight camera feature roll-out for all Pixel phones has begun

At the Pixel 3 launch event in October, Google unveiled the phone’s Night Sight feature which would allow the phone to capture incredible images when taking them in impossibly-dark situations. The feature built specifically for the Pixel 3, but Google announced that it would also be coming to the Pixel 2 and the original Pixel phones.
Night Sight was not yet read when the Pixel 3 made its retail debut last month, Google has announced that the new camera feature is being rolled out to all of its Pixel smartphones through an update to the camera app which can be downloaded from the Play Store.
Below are a few sample shots we’ve taken with Night Sight on the Pixel 3 compared to the camera’s Auto mode. As you can see, the images captured with Night Sight are dramatically brighter revealing details that were previously lost in the shadows and even allowing you to see a scene that was otherwise completely dark. Night Sight also comes in handy even if you can capture the Auto mode since it relies more on Google’s computational photography algorithms to fill in the color and deliver much better white balance.

If you’ve tested Night Sight out already, feel free to share a few of your images in the comments below.

November OTA files, factory images, and security patch notes for Pixel and Nexus devices are up

One of the best benefits to owning Google’s hardware is the regular monthly updates, which deliver both bug fixes and security patches at a predictable schedule. Like clockwork, Google has just pushed out its November OTA files and Factory Images for Pixel and currently supported Nexus devices — or, at least, for most of them. Unfortunately, functional patches this month don’t seem to include fixes for any of the recent Pixel 3 issues just yet. Read MoreNovember OTA files, factory images, and security patch notes for Pixel and Nexus devices are up was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Now Playing History arrives on Pixel 2 and 2 XL

One of the coolest little features that came with the Pixel 2 was Now Playing, which would listen out for any music that was playing around you and try to identify it. It’s basically an always-on Shazam that shows you the track names on the lockscreen.
There’s always been one major drawback, though — if you’re not looking at your phone while the song is playing, you’ll miss out. Until the launch of the Pixel 3, there was no such thing as a list of all the songs previously identified. Read MoreNow Playing History arrives on Pixel 2 and 2 XL was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Pixel 3 versus Pixel 2: ultimate camera showdown

There’s little doubt that the Pixel 3 has one of the best camera setups we’ve tested this year. After comparing the Pixel 3’s camera to that of the LG G7, we thought it would be a good idea to see how Google’s new flagship stacks up against last year’s Pixel 2.
The main 12.2MP camera on the back of the Pixel 3 has all the same hardware features as the Pixel 2. The only difference is that it now has a 28mm lens versus the 27mm lens of the Pixel 2. The real difference between these devices comes down to their front-facing cameras. Last year’s model has a single 8 MP sensor with an f/2.4, 27mm lens compared to the dual-sensor camera on the front of the Pixel 3 which is comprised of two 8MP sensors which are respectively paired with f/1.8, 28mm and f/2.2, 19mm lenses. This gives the Pixel 3 extra versatility with the ultra-wide lens, allowing you to fit in an extra friend or two in your selfies or more of your surroundings.
Pixel 3 versus LG G7: camera comparison
 The video and gallery below will give you a closer look at the image and video quality form the Pixel 3 and Pixel 2. Images from the Pixel 3 are on the left and those of the Pixel 2 are on the right. Let us know what you think and which device you’d rather take pictures with. 

Modded Google Camera APK enables Night Sight for all Pixel devices (and it's impressive)

The guys at XDA Developers often like to tinker with APK files to enable hidden features, trigger specific behaviors, or spoil Google’s surprises prematurely. Their latest software shenanigans involve Google’s Camera app and the promised Night Sight feature that is supposed to come next month.

Announced with the Pixel 3, Night Sight is a low-light photography mode that ekes out every wave and particle of light to get clearer, better-lit shots in dark environments. Read MoreModded Google Camera APK enables Night Sight for all Pixel devices (and it’s impressive) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

The Pixel 3's Now Playing History is coming to Pixel 2 'soon'

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 both have a feature called Now Playing that automatically identifies music playing from nearby sources. It’s a neat trick that’s currently significantly better on the Pixel 3, which provides a history of identified songs. That functionality gap will be closing in the near future, though, when Now Playing History makes its way to the Pixel 2.

Now Playing History shows a chronological list of tracks your phone has heard; tapping one gives options to listen to it in any compatible app you have installed. Read MoreThe Pixel 3’s Now Playing History is coming to Pixel 2 ‘soon’ was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

The iPhone XS still can’t compete with the Pixel 2’s camera

There’s a lot of hype around the new Apple iPhone XS and it’s “improved imaging sensor” which captures more light and delivers better images. While Apple’s smartphones have often been regarded as having the best smartphone cameras on the market, things started shifting a few years ago. When the Samsung Galaxy S7 was introduced, it gave Apple’s latest iPhone a run for its money and since then, Huawei, Google and HTC have all delivered cameras which capture better photos than what Apple’s iPhones have been able to manage.
Since the new iPhone XS imaging sensor has been updated to match the 1.4μm Pixel size that most high-end Android phones have been using for the past two years, many were expecting its camera to match or beat the Pixel 2. Unfortunately for Apple, that doesn’t seem to be the case. We have not tested the camera of the iPhone Xs yet, but The Verge has shared a handful of side-by-side shots taken with both phones. The results show that the iPhone Xs has a better camera than last year’s iPhone X, but it still can’t beat the Pixel 2. The images from the iPhone XS are flatter which are better suited for those looking to edit the images after the fact, but the shots taken with the Pixel 2 seem perfectly tuned by Google’s software to be shared immediately with no extra fuss.

These two photos clearly demonstrate just how much better the year old Pixel 2XL (left) is than the brand new iPhone XS (right). And the Pixel 3 arrives in a couple of weeks https://t.co/l6we1J3BDm pic.twitter.com/llMubsASDQ
— James Bareham (@Happicamp) September 18, 2018

Android Central has also compared the cameras of the Pixel 2 and the iPhone XS and has come to the same conclusion. In their comparison shots, the Pixel 2 produces sharper images, better color reproduction and dramatically better white balance in low-light situations. The images taken with the iPhone XS are still pretty incredible, but they’re simply no match for the Pixel 2’s superior image processing.
iPhone XS left, Pixel 2 right (Image credit: Android Central)
With the launch of the Pixel 3 set for October 9th, we’re eager to see what Google’s new smartphones are capable of.