Google’s Pixel smartphones are widely praised by tech reviewers for their picture-taking prowess, though that praise doesn’t always extend to the video recording quality. Google is making steady improvements to the video and audio recording capabilities of its Pixel smartphones, though, and there’s evidence the company is listening to feedback from video creators: Our earlier analysis of Google Camera 7.3 revealed that Google is preparing to add support for 24fps video recording. Now, we’ve discovered evidence that Google is also preparing a new video recording mode at 4K (3840×2160) resolution at 60 frames per second.
This feature was brought to our attention by XDA Senior Member cstark27, a notable GCam modder, while examining Google Camera 7.4, an unreleased version of Google’s camera app for Pixel devices. YouTube channel TecnoLike Plus, which is run by YouTuber Julio Lusson, shared this APK with us from the Pixel 4a that they obtained. Within a class related to video recording, cstark27 spotted a new “camcorder.4k60fps” mode. We did not find any evidence for 4K60fps video recording in any asset or resources, though. We also don’t know which Pixel device this feature is intended for.
After the Pixel 4 launch, we determined one possible reason the device doesn’t already support 4K60 video recording is that bandwidth limitations would prevent the camera app from seamlessly switching between the main and telephoto cameras when zooming. On an episode of The Vergecast, Isaac Reynolds, a Product Manager for Camera on the Pixel, provided another reason the Pixel 4 lacks 4K60. He stated that “we have enough memory bandwidth to move that 4K 60 resolution” on the Pixel 4, but that “you can only record for a certain number of seconds before it saturates some bandwidth capacity.” Because of this, the Pixel team determined the feature doesn’t “meet the Pixel quality bar.” However, he acknowledged that “there are people who really want 4K 60” and that the team has “heard the feedback loud and clear.” Thus, it’s possible the feature will be enabled on the Pixel 4 in a future Pixel Feature Drop. Alternatively, Google may be saving this feature for the upcoming Pixel 5 series, for which there is now some (admittedly weak) evidence that they could be powered by the upper mid-range Snapdragon 765 SoC.