At the Made By Google event Google wowed with the new camera app on the Pixel 4. The dual exposure controls and the Live HDR+ in the viewfinder were two features that stood out.
In our review we tested them out quite a bit and in my opinion the dual exposure controls were the one thing that will make me want to keep coming back to this phone over and over again. The ability to be able to change the contrast before the image is taken allowing you to “see” into the shadows is revolutionary.
Unfortunately though it seems that these features are reliant on the Pixel Visual Core hardware within the Pixel 4 and will not be ported to older Pixel phones, including the Pixel 3 (something I have been asked quite a bit as late as yesterday).
At the media launch Google did say that the Live HDR+ did rely on the Pixel Visual Core but we weren’t as certain about the dual exposure controls. Google’s Made By Google Twitter account replied to a punter yesterday saying that these features require “low-level capabilities in the hardware that are only available on Pixel 4”.
Hi Mahfooz, Dual Exposure Controls and Live HDR+ require low-level capabilities in the hardware that are only available on Pixel 4, so they will not be available on older Pixel devices.
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) October 21, 2019
While that doesn’t rule Google being able to figure out a way to bring the features in the future to other devices but at this stage it is not supported. Google’s team were able to perform some magic with the Pixel 3a photography with lower end hardware so I would not rule it out that they would be able to figure out some workaround.
So much for “buy the Pixel 3, it’ll get all the Pixel 4 features anyway” rule that has been applied by many in recent years. If you want these features on your device any time soon you are going to have to fork out for a new Pixel 4. Now is the time if you want to grab one with some bonuses. You can read our thoughts on the Pixel 4 here.