Android 15 might finally make your Pixel's webcam a little less frustrating

Android 15 logo
(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Last year's rollout of the webcam feature for Pixel phones with Android 14 QPR1 fell short in image quality, but Google seems to be addressing this shortcoming for the next Android version.
  • The latest Android 15 Developer Preview introduces a High-Quality mode for the webcam.
  • While the HQ mode may impact battery life, the noticeable improvement in video quality could make it worthwhile for tasks like video streaming.

Google seems to be working on beefing up Android's built-in webcam feature to match Apple's Continuity Camera quality.

Last year, Google rolled out a webcam feature for Pixel phones, kicking off with Android 14 QPR1. Though it sounded promising, the actual image quality when using it on an Android device often fell short. However, Google appears to have listened to user feedback and is working on improving it for the next Android version.

In the latest Android 15 Developer Preview release, Google has thrown in a fresh HQ button for the webcam, as spotted by Mishaal Rahman over at Android Authority. It's located in the top-left corner of the viewfinder, and tapping that button brings up High Quality mode, ramping up the video quality big time.

HQ button in Android's built-in webcam interface

(Image credit: Android Authority)

The feature does that by flicking off Google's power optimizations behind the scenes. According to Rahman's experiments, the Pixel phone seems to be pumping out video streams in Full HD at 30 frames per second.

Based on his testing, the video quality doesn't seem to be munching away at the phone's battery life. Plus, even after a solid 2.5-hour grind, Rahman didn't notice his Pixel 8 Pro breaking a sweat and overheating.

Of course, diving into HQ Mode is bound to nibble on your battery life, so if you're planning a marathon video session, it might be wise to leave it off to save juice. But Rahman suggests that for specific tasks like streaming video, it could be worth flipping the switch because the boost in video quality is pretty darn noticeable.

This could be a game changer for users keen on capturing higher-quality video content without breaking the bank. Instead of shelling out for a pricey webcam, you can tap into your phone's potential and save yourself some cash.

It's nice to see Google fixing a big issue with Pixel phone webcams. But remember, this feature is only in the latest Android 15 developer preview. While we're hopeful it'll stick around for the final build, there's always a chance it could pull a disappearing act, as we've seen happen before with Android beta features.

Once Android 15 hits the stable channel, we'll have to wait and see if this stays for the long haul.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.