Google Pixel 4 could have better color capture than any other Android phone

Google Pixel 3.
Google Pixel 3. Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

If there's one small advantage that iPhone cameras have over their Android counterparts, it's that they capture a larger range of colors, but it looks like Google might catch up in that regard, judging by lines of code found in the Google Camera app.

Discovered by XDA Developers, the lines of code would allow the camera app on Android devices to capture images in the P3 color gamut instead of sRGB – and this could make a substantial difference, though notably the code is currently disabled, so Google hasn't made the change yet.

sRGB is the color gamut used by all Android phones, and it captures a 25% smaller range of colors than P3, which all iPhones since the iPhone 7 have used.

Currently Android phones are limited to sRGB not due to their hardware but due to the lack of color management in Android apps. So even though devices with high-end sensors certainly have the ability to capture these colors, the Android software doesn't support them.

Google has previously said that it would move to supporting a wide color gamut (of which P3 is one), but hasn't given a timeline. However, the mention of it in the official Google Camera app suggests it might be coming soon.

If the Google Camera app does expand to capturing P3 colors - and the Android ecosystem is also made to support the move - then we can expect newer Android phones to take pictures that look a little bit closer to real life, especially when it comes to greens and reds, which are most lacking with sRGB.

Since Google's next flagship, the Google Pixel 4, is expected towards the end of 2019, it's possible that this will be the first smartphone that captures this wider range of colors. If so, we could well see the handset take the top spot on our best camera phones list, a spot which the the Pixel 3 held for a while.

We'll need to wait for the Google Pixel 4's release to be sure though, which we're expecting in October 2019, so stay tuned to TechRadar for all the latest news and analysis.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.