Google has announced that its Pixel smartphone camera technology called Super Res Zoom will be coming to select Chromebook models later this year. The feature uses AI and multiple frames to allow users to zoom in much further on photos without losing quality.
What is Super Res Zoom?
Super Res Zoom is a camera technology that was first introduced on the Pixel 3 smartphone in 2018. It uses a technique called multi-frame processing, where the camera captures multiple shots in quick succession at different exposures and merges them together with AI algorithms to produce a single higher quality image.
This allows the camera to capture more detail and light information, significantly improving the quality when zooming in. Where most smartphone cameras get grainy and lose detail past 3-4x zoom, Super Res Zoom on the Pixel phones allow up to 8x hybrid zoom and 20x super res zoom with surprisingly good clarity.
How It Works
Super Res Zoom takes advantage of the natural tiny movements of your hand holding the camera. Each frame is aligned and merged to build a wider field of view with more detail. AI is then used to process and sharpen the final image.
It is very effective at preserving fine details when zooming as it intelligently fills in missing pixels where data is unavailable with the additional frames.
Coming to Select New Chromebook Models
At CES 2023, Google announced the new line of Chromebooks coming in 2023 from partners like Acer, Asus, HP, and Lenovo. While the hardware specs were highlighted, an understated new feature mentioned was support for Super Res Zoom.
Chrome Unboxed later confirmed that the latest crop of premium Chromebooks and detachable Chrome OS tablets will take advantage of the Pixel phone’s impressive zoom capabilities.
Models expected to get Super Res Zoom are:
- Acer Chromebook Spin 714
- Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip
- HP Elite Chromebook x360
- Lenovo 10w Chromebook Tablet
These tend to be the more expensive premium models aimed at enterprise and power users. The cameras are likely Sony or Samsung sensors similar to the Pixel phones, allowing the multiple frame processing technique to work effectively.
Benefits for Chromebook Users
Having Super Res Zoom on Chromebooks provides a lot more utility, especially on the more mobile form factors. Users can comfortably zoom into documents in the classroom or office to capture details clearly from a distance. The improved quality is also useful for scanning QR codes from further away.
It can make video calling look sharper, allowing small print or facial details to remain clear even when zoomed in. For creative professionals, the extra zoom range allows capturing fine details for social media and presentations. Even hobbyists and students can benefit from high magnification shots for their projects.
Of course it also enables capturing subjects much farther away whether they are on stage, on the field, or mounted on a wall. This makes Chromebooks much more versatile for everyday shooting.
Comparison of Zoom Quality
Here is an example of the image quality difference when zooming in with regular digital zoom versus Super Res Zoom:
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