Inside Google’s Secret Lab: How Google Pixel Phone Cameras Are Tested


Google Pixel Secret Camera Lab
Image source: CNET

Google Pixel devices are best known for their camera capabilities. Take a look at DxOMark’s smartphone camera rankings. You will notice that the latest device from the company is sitting comfortably among the top 10s. So, what does Google do to make its phone deliver such a great camera performance?

Well, Google has a secret lab that’s dedicated to testing the Google Pixel phones’ camera performance. But as CNET was recently granted access to the lab, it’s not a secret anymore. At least, most of the aspects of the testing facility have been uncovered by CNET. While this may sound surprising, it’s not actually lab. Instead, it has “simple everyday scenes” that mimic the real world.

Google’s Secret Lab for Testing Cameras of Google Pixel Phones Has Living Rooms, Kitchens, and Many Other Real-world Scenes

As CNET has uncovered, the Google Pixel camera testing facility doesn’t perform tests with generic equipment. Instead, it’s rather a space built to mimic real-world scenarios. These scenes are the places where you would actually take photos. What’s more interesting is that the lab has adjustable lighting conditions.

Google Pixel Phone test

This replicates various situations from late evening light to sunrise. Such a combination of scenes allows Google to properly asses the camera performance of the Google Pixel phones.

What Tests Does Google Do In the Secret Lab?

One of the things that Google does in this secret lab is low-light video enhancement. As you may know, Google Pixel phones have a feature called Night Sight Video. Its main aim is to improve video quality in low-light conditions. The lab allows them to test this feature in various scenarios, such as a romantic dinner with flickering candles.

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Pixel camera test

Another test that Google performs in the secret lab is to check out the autofocus of the Pixel phones. The lab has equipment to test autofocus performance. That includes how the camera focuses on moving subjects. Next is tone mapping, which is a technique for compressing the high dynamic range of a scene. It offers a format that phones can display on the screen.

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The lab also allows Google to test how well the camera can capture detail in both shadows and highlights. Moreover, Google Pixel phones go through audio tests in the lab. The company uses AI-powered speech enhancement to improve the clarity of speech recordings.

Google Pixel Phones Also Go Through Many Other Tests In the Lab

Google also tests how well the Pixel phone’s camera captures colors in different lighting conditions. They even set up a scene with people playing a game to see how the camera handles mixed light.

The company checks the hardware of the Google Pixel phones as well! They use special grease to make sure all the tiny parts in the camera move smoothly. This grease can sometimes gather in one spot, especially if you keep your phone flat for a long time. This can make the camera focus weird at first, so they test for that too.

This is a cool look at how Google tests Pixel cameras, but hopefully, they test other phone features a lot too. That includes how fast it is, how long the battery lasts, and how well it connects to stuff.

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