Having great hardware is one thing, but without software to fully take advantage of it, their greatness is reduced. That is the painful truth that owners of the 2015 Nexus phones, the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P, find themselves in. Despite having capable camera hardware and the processors to drive some features, the stock camera apps don’t do it enough justice. Fortunately, this is Android and one enterprising developer, XDA Senior Member Charles_I, was able to take Google Camera 5.1 app intended for the new Pixel 2 phones and put them in a new Google Camera NX mod that will do wonders for the two last Nexus phones.
The Nexus 5X and 6P Google Camera apps was already capable of HDR+ photos. What it lacked, however, was ZSL support or Zero Lag Shutter. This would have enabled HDR+ photos to be taken in quick succession, which is essential for quick moving subjects. But while both the Nexus cameras themselves and their Snapdragon 810 and 808 processors were more than capable of handling it, the camera didn’t expose the functionality.
That was the first thing that the Camera NX modified app brought to the table last year. It essentially backported features Google intended only for the first gen Pixel phones to Google’s previous smartphone darlings. This year, Charles_I is repeating the same pattern, this time with the Pixel 2’s Camera 5.1 app.
What’s new in this version of the Google Camera NX, aside from the version bump, is the addition of Motion Photos and Face Retouching. The former takes a few seconds of video before and after a shot while the latter offers post-processing touchups to faces. Not exactly groundbreaking features but still useful nonetheless.
While the Google Camera NX mod has been ported to different older phones, including the first Pixel, some features will naturally depend on the hardware capabilities of the device. That is why, even with the app, features like Portrait Mode won’t be possible on the Nexus 5X and 6P.