Google Pixel 7 could have a big selfie camera upgrade

A screengrab from Google IO 2022 showing the Google Pixel 7
The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro (Image credit: Future)

While Google has already revealed some details about the Pixel 7, there’s plenty that hasn’t yet been confirmed – and the camera specs are among those things. However, thanks to code found in a new version of the Google camera app we now have a clearer idea of what the Pixel 7’s front-facing camera might be capable of.

9to5Google went digging in the recently released Google Camera 8.5 and found code for both the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro. This code reveals that both models should be able to record 4K video using the front-facing camera.

That would only actually be an upgrade for the Google Pixel 7 though, as the Google Pixel 6 Pro is already capable of this, while the Pixel 6 isn’t.

While that would be a handy upgrade, it could point to an even bigger change, as it might mean that the Pixel 7 has the same sensor as the Pixel 7 Pro. We’re not sure what sensor that would be yet, but it could be the 11.1MP one found on the Pixel 6 Pro – which is distinctly better than the 8MP one from the Pixel 6.

However, that’s all just speculation for now, as the camera code doesn’t reveal which sensor is used. But it’s likely to be a different sensor to the Pixel 6 anyway, as slightly more megapixels are typically needed for 4K recordings.

All that said, we’d take these findings with a pinch of salt. Their presence in Google Camera code suggests this is likely accurate, but it’s possible that Google is simply experimenting with features, and that 4K recording may not ultimately be supported on the Pixel 7.

Google Pixel 6

The Google Pixel 6 lacks a telephoto camera (Image credit: Future)

Analysis: not the most essential upgrade

While it looks like the Google Pixel 7 could have a big selfie camera upgrade, this isn’t the aspect of the camera hardware that’s most in need of improvement.

In our Pixel 6 review we were fairly happy with the performance of the front-facing camera for photos – even though it didn’t quite match the Pixel 6 Pro’s, which also benefitted from a wider field of view.

The 4K upgrade for video would be nice, but it’s not something that many users will probably find overly important.

What we really want to see is the addition of a telephoto lens on the back, as the Google Pixel 6 only has wide and ultrawide cameras. The lack of a telephoto camera helps keep the cost down of course and gives the Pixel 6 Pro an additional selling point, since that phone does have one.

But even the standard Pixel 6 is expensive enough that it’s a feature we’d like to see, so hopefully one will be added to the Pixel 7 to help it rank among the best camera phones.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.