There are a few contenders for best smartphone camera of 2017, and many would argue that the Google Pixel 2 & 2 XL were the best mobile shooters. That’s thanks in large part to the phone’s exceptional combination of camera hardware with Google’s prowess in image processing software as seen by their famous HDR+ technology. Ports of Google Camera with the HDR+ technology have been shown to dramatically improve the picture quality of budget phones like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and flagship phones like the Essential Phone. The Pixel 2 camera experience is largely an iterative improvement over the first generation Pixel, though it adds some polish with features such as Motion Photos, Face Retouching, and lastly Portrait Mode.
The Pixel 2’s Portrait Mode is perhaps its best new feature due to how the algorithm can produce beautiful photos that focus on one or more persons. While Pixel 2 camera features such as Motion Photos, Face Retouching, and even the new AR Stickers have been ported, it was thought that Portrait Mode would remain a Pixel 2 exclusive for quite some time. Fortunately, XDA Senior Member Charles_l proved that Portrait Mode could be forced to work on other devices, starting with the first generation Google Pixel & Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 5X. Thanks to this preliminary work, other developers have joined in to port the Portrait Mode feature over to some non-Google devices running Android Oreo.
XDA Senior Member Arnova8G2, best known for his work on porting a Snapdragon-optimized version of Google Camera app, has modified Charles_l’s Camera NX 7.3 app to work on non-Google devices. We’re seeing reports that his app brings a functioning Portrait Mode feature to devices such as the Xiaomi Mi 5/5s on LineageOS 15, OnePlus 3 & 3T on OxygenOS 5, Moto G5s Plus, and reportedly even the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 running the leaked Oreo beta ROM.
It seems like many 64-bit devices running Android Oreo are compatible with Arnova8G2’s port of the Pixel 2 Portrait Mode feature. The best part of this mod is that it doesn’t require root to function! The only caveat for now is that it only works with the device’s rear camera, though we’re sure that the developer will be able to get Portrait Mode working via the front-facing camera soon.
Update: Arnova8G2 has uploaded a second set of APKs that reportedly allows for Portrait Mode to work via the front-facing camera, and also has better compatibility with certain devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+. I have added additional download links below.
Arnova8G2 is sharing his work over on our forum. He has posted about the latest update to his Google Camera modifications here and I’ve mirrored the download link below in case the Drive link goes down.
Update: If that doesn’t work for you, you can try one of the updated versions that Arnova8G2 posted after this article was initially published. The new version claims to add better focus and support taking a portrait picture through the front camera. Try it out!
We recommend you follow Arnova8G2’s thread for future updates on his Google Camera mods. We will be following his work ourselves in order to share any note-worthy feature updates (such as when he gets the feature working with the front camera) so you can also follow the XDA Portal if you would like.