There''s no question on whether Google''s next Pixel 7 lineup will be the biggest. It''s the new Tensor G2 that powers both Google''s $599 base model and the $899 Pixel 7 Pro.
Google started making its own Tensor chipsets last year with the introduction of the Pixel 6, as it wanted a custom-designed chip to take advantage of the machine learning capabilities its knowledge graph could be. That meant non only beefing-up computational photography tools, but also on-device dictation and translation as well as smarter phone call management.
The Pixel 7, which has the Tensor G2 silicon inside the phone, is bringing new and improved features to Google''s phones. It''s safe to say that some of these Tensor-powered capabilities are the main reason to acquire one of the new Pixel 7 models.
What are the Pixel 7''s Tensor chipset? And if you''ve already preordered your Pixel 7, which phones should you try out first when your new phone arrives later this week. Here are the new Tensor-powered capabilities that we''re most excited to try.
Photo Unblur, the star of last year''s Magic Eraser, attempts to remove subpar shots from a one-way trip to your trash can. In Magic Eraser''s case, this meant eliminating distracting people or objects from an otherwise perfect photo. Photo Unblur helps remove photos by eliminating blurriness that arises from a motion blur, a camera shake, or just a problem with focus.
Photo Unblur has no choice but to take the images with the Pixel 7 in order to perform the job. So long as you have access to the photographs on your Pixel 7 via the Google Photos app, you may then put the Tensor processor to work, making the altered image a lot easier.
Faster Night Sight
The Pixel 7 is improving HDR+ with Bracketing, a technique that combines images at different levels for a better-looking finished product. Tensor''s improved machine learning techniques for reducing noise in low-light scenes also make the phone more attractive.
All of this tinkering results are that low-light photographs are processed twice as quickly, reducing the chances for you to move the camera and despise it.
While we''re on the subject of Pixel 7 camera improvements, let''s talk about Cinematic Blur, a new video capture feature that provides a nicer background blur to videos. The result is the same kind of background blur you get with portrait shots, only applied to video.
Yes, this mirrors Apple''s Cinematic mode, which is now available on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14. I''m pretty sure Pixel fans will not be concerned about which phone got the first capability right now that it''s available to them.
Super Res Zoom improvements
Super Res Zoom has been used as an example of Google''s superior ability to process computational imaging over the years, assisting in generating noise-free zoomed-in shots even on phones that aren''t equipped with a dedicated telephoto lens. That sounds like it''s continuing on the Pixel 7 phones, with an important boost.
Both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will benefit from HDR+, which includes bracketing, working in tandem with each smartphone''s 50MP sensor. That will help produce 12.5MP photos at 2x zoom on the Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro, and Google claims that the finished product should be high-resolution pictures with low noise that look like they were shot with a dedicated 2x photo lens.
The Pixel 7 Pro, which has a telephoto lens that can deliver a 5x optical zoom, should go up. Moreover, Super Res Zoom can capture 12MP shots at a 10x resolution that matches Google''s popular phones. In fact, the Pixel 7 Pro can zoom up to a 30x resolution, which is the largest magnification Google has ever endorsed.
Google''s Guided Frame feature, which received a special shoutout during the Pixel 7 launch event, is understandably proud. Even the video showing how Guided Frame works is available on YouTube (opens in a new tab).
This is a visual accessibility feature that allows Pixel 7 users with impaired vision to take selfies in which they''re perfectly framed. That''s certainly difficult if you can''t visually see your phone''s screen, but Guided Frame comes up with humorous feedback and voice commands to assist users position the camera for a pleasing outcome.
It''s not a feature that every Pixel 7 owner will be able to use. It also demonstrates how Google can use machine smarts to solve a problem that would otherwise hinder people from using basic phone features equally.
Assistant Voice Typing
Another accessibility feature is that a large variety of users can input your message rather than tap it out via the on-screen keyboard. This is especially true when the Google Assistant is so adept at transcribing your spoken voice.
The Pixel 7''s Tensor chip improves things by adding support for more languages you can now dictate in French, Italian, and Spanish. If you prefer peppering messages with emoji, then you''ll be happy to see that the Assistant now provides a relevant emoji, while a search feature lets you see using an emotive app.
Speaker labels in Recorder
My favorite Pixel feature, the built-in Recorder app, is on the record. I love how it transcribes recordings on the fly and makes it simple to search through those transcripts. It''s a snap, too.
The Pixel 7 recording system will be even better for those of us who use it to record interviews or Q&A sessions. The app will include labels for different speakers, making your transcript easier to follow.
Convert audio messages into transcripts
The Tensor chipset''s ease at turning spoken words to written transcripts extends to audio messages your friends text you via the Pixel 7''s Messages app. If you''re in a situation where it''s difficult to hear audio files or you simply don''t want to send that audio message to anyone within earshot, you may tap the technology to transscribe it into text.
At the start of the trial, audio messages are connected to English, Japanese, German, and French, and it appears to be Google that it may even include other languages soon thereafter. For the time being, it will be exclusive to the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.
Direct My Call improvements
The Pixel 6 release spawned a powerful feature in which the Google Assistant may turn those phone directories into text messages. This saves you the trouble of having to remember which number might route to which department.
Google claims that the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will show those numbers before they''re even spoken, bringing you to the correct person more quickly. The feature is expected to work with some of the most popular toll-free numbers in the United States right away, and it promises that more businesses will be added in the long run.
One of the phones that I''m most interested in using the Tensor will not be there when the phones arrive. However, as someone with whom hearing has improved, I''m looking forward to seeing how the Clear Calling feature improves audio quality on phone calls.
Clear Calling, a software that is using machine learning to filter out background noise while also improving the voice on the other end of the line. The idea is that you''ll be able to hear them loud and clear regardless of whether background noise is on their end, whether it''s traffic, chatter, or even wind.
We''ll see how clear these requests are, but if that means I don''t have to struggle to hear the other end of a conversation, I''ll be happy.
Tensor G2 Outlook
This isn''t a complete list of Tensor-powered capabilities. I''m sure that additional features will be revealed as we get a chance to put the Pixel 7 to the test. It sounds like at least some of these features might trickle down to the Pixel 6, which has a Tensor chipset of its own.
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will have a lot of success, but it''s these Tensor-powered capabilities that will merit the credit.