The Pixel Visual Core, explained

The Pixel Visual Core is a special piece of silicon that's unique to Google's Pixel 2 phones. In short, it's a custom chip designed to help with the Pixel's HDR+ image processing — that's the computational secret sauce that makes the Pixel 2 camera so great.

But it's also a little misunderstood — the visual core isn't necessarily used in every photo your Pixel takes, even since Google enabled it by default in the February update for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

So we're going to take a step back here, and go over what the Visual Core is, what it does and doesn't do — and the differences now that Pixel 2 owners can use it. Check out our explainer video above to find out everything you need to know about the Pixel Visual Core!

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

  • But this is incorrect....The Pixel Visual Core is NOT used by the stock Pixel camera app......
  • Maybe I am mistaken but since I got the update, the HDR+ enhanced is taking pictures and processing them a lot faster than a couple of days ago. I think that the Pixel Visual Core is being used with the stock Pixel camera app.
  • I'm impressed by the Visual Core chip in the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, can't wait to get my Pixel 2 XL