One of the key selling points of Google’s Pixel 2 phones is a new camera feature called “Portrait Mode”. However, despite the fact that Portrait Mode functioned entirely through software, Google didn’t roll it out for older generation Nexus and Pixel variants. Fortunately (and quite surprisingly), the developer behind Camera NX has managed to port the feature to a handful of Google phones, specifically, the first-gen Pixel/XL, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 5X.
Camera NX is essentially a Google Camera mod and is designed to bring its features to older handsets. For the Portrait Mode, you’ll have to sideload a free APK file and that’s about it. The mod doesn’t even require root access, and the initialization process is quite straightforward as well. Surprisingly, the Portrait Mode works for both the front and rear cameras.
We tried it on the Pixel (2016) and found the quality to be satisfactory, if not perfect. It usually generates acceptable outcomes with human faces but fails to properly align other objects. Camera NX also integrates the search engine giant’s HDR+ technology. Hence, pictures turn out well even in indoor situations.
Camera NX, just like the official Google Camera app, shoots and saves two pictures. One normal and one with the blur. The Google Photos app, however, doesn’t recognize its a portrait and shows it as any regular burst set. Camera NX is currently available entirely free and you can download it from here if you have a compatible phone. Apart from that, Camera NX comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect including slow-motion, photosphere and more. You can always, of course, return to the original camera app which came preloaded on your phone.