Home / Technology / The new Pixel phones are missing a Pixel Neural Core, but that doesn’t mean they’re missing the features

The new Pixel phones are missing a Pixel Neural Core, but that doesn’t mean they’re missing the features



Google is a major player in machine learning and is leveraging its experience in several products, including the Pixel phones. It used to be the case anyway, none of the new models have the Pixel Neural Core.

These include the affordable Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, and even the $ 700 Pixel 5. Instead, all AI computations are done through the Snapdragon chipset’s NPU (S730G in the case of the 4a, S765G for the other two).

Last year, Google stated that the Live HDR + and Dual Exposure features cannot be enabled for older Pixels because they lacked the neural core (the older Pixel Visual Core was used instead). The lack of it doesn’t seem to be a problem for the 2020 pixels as these features are available to all three (even the 4a).

Google Pixel 4a
Google Pixel 4a 5G
Google Pixel 5

Google Pixel 4a • Google Pixel 4a 5G • Google Pixel 5

The performance of Pixel Visual Core is rated 3 TOPS. While we don’t know how much faster the neural core is, we do know that the Snapdragon 765G is faster than the PVC (5.5 TOPS) while the Snapdragon 855 is even faster (“bigger than 7 TOPS”). The Snapdragon 730G offers around 3.3 TOPS – just slightly more than the Snapdragon 845, which is used in Pixels 3 and 3 XL.

Obviously, Google has revised and optimized its algorithms (since the cores were specialized, they would have used less power). Does that mean the Pixel 4 and 4 XL should get the features too? That still remains to be answered.

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