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About a year ago, Apple caused a stir in the computing world by introducing Apple Silicon M1 chips for its MacBook lineup. It announced a 2-year plan to transition away from Intel chips, and it’s following through with the latest M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

These groundbreaking chips were revealed at the Unleashed event and boast up to a 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 64GB of unified memory, ProRes acceleration, and industry-leading power efficiency. What does all this mean in practicality, and what’s the difference between M1 Pro and M1 Max? Keep reading for all the details about Apple’s M1 lineup.

Source: Apple

What is the M1 Pro chip?

The successor of the M1 chip, the M1 Pro, is based on a 5nm architecture with 22.7 billion transistors, more than double the amount on M1. It features up to 10 CPU cores, including eight high-performance cores, for 70% faster performance than M1.

Further, M1 Pro has a GPU with up to 16 cores, eight more than M1, for 2x faster graphics. Coupled with a 16-core Neural Engine, a ProRes accelerator, and a powerful media engine, it lets you edit multiple instances of both 4K and 8K videos.

You can configure M1 Pro with up to 32GB of unified RAM, with up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth, which is a 2x of M1 chip. M1 Pro supports up to two external displays.

What is the M1 Max chip? 

To complete the M1 family, the M1 Max is Apple’s largest chip yet, with 57 billion transistors and the same 10-core CPU and 16-core Neural Engine as the M1 Pro. The GPU can feature up to 32 cores. 

It also has an enhanced media engine and two ProRes accelerators, making it the ideal chip for anyone working with high-definition video.

Lastly, it offers up to 64GB of integrated RAM and doubles the memory interface of the M1 Pro with a bandwidth of up to 400 Gb/s. It also supports up to four external displays, so it is the ultimate choice for professionals working with games and graphics.

M1 Pro and M1 Max vs. M1 chip: What’s the difference?

The ARM-based M1 was Apple’s first custom chip for Macs. It proved faster than both Intel and AMD’s x86 processors while drawing far less power. Following that revolutionary move, Apple is taking a two-pronged approach with M1 Pro and M1 Max, the latest chips powering the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros.

M1 tops out at 16GB of RAM, which is not enough for many pro users. The M1 Pro and Max support up to 64GB of RAM, making them the ideal choice for pro users. The table below shows an overall comparison of M1 vs. M1 Pro vs. M1 Max. 

What are the benefits of Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max chips?

CPU performance 

The M1 Pro and M1 Max’s new 10-core CPU with eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores delivers stunning performance. Apple has shared that compared to the latest 8-core PC laptop chip, M1 Pro and M1 Max deliver up to 1.7x more CPU performance at the same power level.

Moreover, they match the PC chip’s peak performance using up to 70 percent less power. This means that even the most demanding tasks, like high-resolution graphics and video editing, are a breeze.

The graph below visually captures this blazing-fast performance. 

Source: Apple

GPU performance 

M1 Pro’s GPU can be configured up to 16-core and is up to 2x faster than M1. It’s also 7x faster than the integrated graphics on the latest 8-core PC laptop chip. 

Further, M1 Pro achieves greater performance while consuming up to 70 percent less power than a powerful discrete GPU for PC notebooks. At the same time, the M1 Pro can be configured with up to 32GB of fast unified memory, with up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth, enabling creatives like 3D artists and game developers to do more on the go than ever before.

M1 Max takes this even further with a massive 32-core GPU for up to four times faster graphics performance than M1. The GPU delivers a similar performance to a high-end GPU in a compact pro PC laptop while consuming up to 40 percent less power. This means less heat is generated, the fans run quietly, and battery life is enhanced. 

Apple has shared the graph below to indicate M1 Max GPU performance. 

Source: Apple

Media Engine with ProRes

Moreover, it has dedicated acceleration for the ProRes professional video codec. This allows playback of multiple streams of 4K and 8K ProRes video while using very little power. 

M1 Max takes it further with up to 2x faster video encoding than M1 Pro and two ProRes accelerators. Powered by this technology, the new MacBook Pro can transcode ProRes video in Compressor up to 10x faster than the previous-generation 16-inch MacBook Pro. That’s a fantastic step-up for video creators. 

Other features 

Apart from the impressive performance enhancements, the M1 Pro and M1 Max boast several other features that can take pro workflows to the next level:

The custom image signal processor and the Neural Engine use computational video to enhance image quality for sharper video and more natural-looking photos in the built-in camera. 

Ability to support multiple external displays 

Additional integrated Thunderbolt 4 controllers for even more I/O bandwidth.

Best-in-class security

The 2023 MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips

The latest M1 Pro and M1 Max chips currently come exclusively on Apple’s all-new 2023 MacBook Pro. This beast of a device offers 14- and 16-inch display options with a new design that brings back many of the most-loved external features of earlier MacBook Pros with the mega internal power of the M1 Pro and M1 Max system-on-a-chip architectures. 

Apple has parted ways with the Touch Bar in favor of the more user-friendly physical function buttons. It’s also brought back the SDXC card slot and an HDMI port that will keep graphics and video professionals happy.

On the battery life front, Apple says the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2023) is rated to deliver up to 17 hours of video playback on a single charge, while its 16-inch counterpart delivers up to 21 hours of video playback.

You can charge the new MacBook Pro with a MagSafe charging cable with MagSafe 3, unlike the existing MacBook Pro models that offer charging via USB-C. However, you can still use Thunderbolt 4 for charging using a USB Type-C cable.

Moreover, the display features a notch housing a 1080p webcam. This design change helps reduce bezels and increase screen real estate.

As for audio, there’s a powerhouse six-speaker sound system with two tweeters and four force-canceling woofers for audio. There is also Dolby Atmos and spatial audio support for a superior surround sound experience. 

Overall, it’s one of the most significant updates to the Mac lineup in recent years. It’s the best device for power users in creative fields like filmmaking or game development. 

M1 Pro and M1 Max: Frequently asked questions

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Author Profile


Mehak has a master’s degree in communication and over ten years of writing experience. Her passion for technology and Apple products led her to iGeeksBlog, where she specializes in writing product roundups and app recommendations for fellow Apple users. When not typing away on her MacBook Pro, she loves being lost in a book or out exploring the world.

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Macbook Pro Comparison: How The New M2 Pro/Max Improves Over The M1 Versions

Apple’s latest MacBook Pro laptops are powered by the new M2 Pro and M2 Max custom silicon. Along with a more powerful CPU and GPU, the MacBook Pro machines support up to 96GB RAM, Wi-Fi 6E, 8K output via HDMI, and more. Read on for our in-depth M2 Pro/Max MacBook Pro comparison for how everything stacks up against its predecessor.

Apple overhauled its MacBook Pro laptops in late 2023 with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. That brought RAM up to 64GB, CPUs with up to 10 cores, and GPUs with up to 32 cores. Other additions were a 1080p webcam, Liquid Retina XDR Display with mini-LED backlighting, an updated I/O array with HDMI, SD, and MagSafe returning.

Then the M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pro machines arrived in early 2023 with increased performance, better battery life, up to 96GB RAM, 12-core CPU, 38-core GPU, 8K HDMI, Wi-Fi 6E, and more.

Note – the 13″ MacBook Pro updated with the M2 chip in 2023 is most comparable to the M2 MacBook Air rather than these MacBook Pro machines.

We’ve also got a comparison if you’re on the fence between the Air and Pro:

Let’s get into all the differences between the M2 Pro/Max MacBook Pro and the M1 versions!

MacBook Pro comparison: M2 Pro/Max vs M1 Pro/Max CPU, GPU, memory, neural engine

M2 MacBook Pro (2023)M1 MacBook Pro (2023)ProcessorM2 Pro or M2 Max – 10 or 12-coreM1 Pro or M1 Max – 8 or 10-coreStorageUp to 8TBUp to 8TBRAM16 to 96GB16 to 64GBGraphicsUp to 38-coreUp to 32-coreNeural engine16-core16-coreFaceTime camera1080p1080pSpeakers6-speaker high-fidelity6-speaker high-fidelityMicsStudio-quality 3-mic arrayStudio-quality 3-mic array

Apple says the M2 Pro gives 20% faster CPU and 30% faster GPU performance than the M1 Pro. And the M2 Pro neural engine has seen a 40% speed increase over its predecessor.

You’ve also got up to 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU with the M2 Pro.

For the M2 Max, Apple says the same 20, 30, and 40% performance improvements apply when compared to the M1 Max for CPU, GPU, and neural engine.

The M2 Max now supports up to 96GB of unified memory, 12-core CPU, and up to 38-core GPU.

The overall transistor count has gone from 33.7 billion on the M1 Pro to 40 billion on the M2 Pro and from 57 billion on the M1 Max to over 67 billion on the M2 Max.

Like their predecessors, both the M2 Pro and M2 Max feature dedicated media engines to offer hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes RAW support.

Apple says the new media engine has “twice the ProRes support to dramatically accelerate media playback and transcoding.” The new M2 Max chip continues to include two video encode engines like Apple did with the M1 Max.


The M2 MacBook Pro machines feature the same display with identical specs.

14″ M2 MacBook Pro14″ M1 MacBook Pro16″ M2 MacBook Pro16″ M1 MacBook ProActual screen size14.2″14.2″16.2″16.2″Resolution3024 x 19643024 x 19643456 x 22343456 x 2234Aspect Ratio16:10 + notch16:10 + notch16:10 + notch16:10 + notchPPI254254254254Nits (brightness)XDR: 1000 sustained, up to 1600 peak; SDR 500XDR: 1000 sustained, up to 1600 peak; SDR 500XDR: 1000 sustained, up to 1600 peak; SDR 500XDR: 1000 sustained, up to 1600 peak; SDR 500Liquid Retina XDR display✅✅✅✅ProMotion (up to 120Hz)✅✅✅✅mini-LED backlit✅✅✅✅True Tone✅✅✅✅P3 wide color✅✅✅✅

The latest MacBook Pros come with a notch at the top center of the display for the 1080p FaceTime camera just like the 2023 models.

Unfortunately, Face ID has not arrived with the M2 MacBook Pro machines.

MacBook Pro I/O

The M2 MacBook Pro features almost all the same ports with the same layout as the M1 MacBook Pro. That includes an HDMI port, SDXC card reader, and MagSafe (officially called MagSafe 3). There are also 3 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C 4 ports.

But M2 Pro and M2 Max do take external display support a bit further with an upgrade from the HDMI 2.0 to 2.1 port that supports up to 8K output at 60Hz. That also allows for multichannel audio output.

Two more upgrades include Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3.

Correction: The chart below for the external display row was updated to reflect accurate details.

Size and weight

Physical dimensions are the same between the 2023 and 2023 MacBook Pro laptops. And Apple is still making the computers in two finishes: silver and space gray.

Here’s the full breakdown of size and weight:

14″ M2 MacBook Pro14″ M1 MacBook Pro16″ M2 MacBook Pro16″ M1 MacBook ProWeight3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)4.7 pounds (2.1 kg)4.7 pounds (2.1 kg)Thickness0.61 inch (1.55 cm)0.61 inch (1.55 cm)0.66 inch (1.68 cm)0.66 inch (1.68 cm)Width12.31 inches (31.26 cm)12.31 inches (31.26 cm)14.01 inches (35.57 cm)14.01 inches (35.57 cm)Depth8.71 inches (22.12 cm)8.71 inches (22.12 cm)9.77 inches (24.81 cm)9.77 inches (24.81 cm)Display size14.2 inches14.2 inches16.2 inches16.2 inchesFinishesSilver or space graySilver or space graySilver or space graySilver or space gray

Battery life

Battery life was impressive with the M1 MacBook Pro machines and Apple was able to extend that even further with the M2 MacBook Pro models.

Both the 14 and 16″ M2 MacBook Pro laptops feature 1 hour longer battery life for video playback and wireless web use as compared with their predecessors.

That means up to 22 hours of video use for the 16″ M2 MacBook Pro and 18 hours of video playback for the 14″ M2 MacBook Pro.

14″ M2 MacBook Pro14″ M1 MacBook Pro16″ M2 MacBook Pro16″ M1 MacBook ProWireless web battery12 hours11 hours15 hours14 hoursVideo playback18 hours17 hours22 hours21 hoursIncluded power adapter67W or 96W USB-C + MagSafe67W or 96W USB-C + MagSafe140W USB-C + MagSafe140W USB-C + MagSafeBattery capacity70Wh70Wh100Wh100WhFast charging✅ (with 96W)✅ (with 96W)✅✅

Like the 2023 MacBook Pro models, the current MacBook Pro machines can fast charge which gives up to 50% battery in just 30 minutes.


Prices for the base and middle-level standard configurations from Apple remain the same. However, custom builds with up to 96GB RAM and slightly different GPU core choices mean the M2 MacBook Pro machines can cost up to $6,499.

Model/price14″ M2 MacBook Pro14″ M1 MacBook Pro16″ M2 MacBook Pro16″ M1 MacBook Pro512 / 16GB$1,999$1,999$2,499$2,4991TB / 16GB$2,499$2,499$2,699$2,6991TB / 32GB$2,899$2,899$3,499$3,499Custom buildsUp to $6,299Up to $5,899Up to $6,499Up to $6,099

M2 MacBook Pro comparison wrap-up

The M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pro laptops certainly offer some notable upgrades, but naturally, they aren’t as impressive as the jump from Apple’s Intel MacBook Pro to M1 Pro/Max models were.

If you’re a creative pro or other professional who needs the latest and greatest from Apple, the upgrade may be worth it. The latest MacBook Pros will also be great for those who are coming from an Intel MacBook.

However, for anyone who already has an M1 Pro/Max MacBook Pro and/or doesn’t have workflows that necessitate the absolute fastest performance, passing on these releases may make the most sense.

For those on the fence about which M2 MacBook Pro specs to go with, remember that you can get the same 10 or 12-core processor with the M2 Pro and M2 Max. The big difference you’re paying for is the extra GPU power including the more capable media engine and increased external display support with the M2 Max chip builds.

When it comes to RAM (unified memory), if you have medium to heavy workflows and/or plan to keep your new MacBook Pro for some years, going with 32GB or more will likely be worth the $400+ upgrade.

You can find the new MacBook Pro at Apple, Amazon, Best Buy, and more.

Thanks for checking out our MacBook Pro comparison!

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Save $200 On This Macbook Pro With M2 Chip – Early Prime Day Deals

Last Updated on July 4, 2023

Prime Day is fast approaching, but there are still excellent deals that you can grab ahead of the day itself.

At the time of writing, the Apple 2023 MacBook Pro with M2 chip is down from £1299.00 to $1,099.00 at Amazon, saving you a solid $200.

Save 15% NOW!

Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip

13-inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB ​​​​​​​SSD ​​​​​​​Storage, Touch Bar, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Space Gray

Best Deals

Deal @ Amazon

*Prices are subject to change. PC Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

The Apple 2023 MacBook Pro is a powerhouse device designed to meet the needs of professionals, creatives, and tech enthusiasts. Equipped with the supercharged M2 chip, this MacBook Pro delivers unrivaled performance, enabling lightning-fast processing and seamless multitasking. One standout feature is the impressive battery life of up to 20 hours, ensuring you can work, create, and enjoy entertainment without interruption. 

The brilliant Retina display brings your content to life with vibrant colors and sharp details, perfect for photo editing, video production, and immersive viewing experiences. The HD camera and studio-quality mics enhance your video calls, online meetings, and content creation. With versatile connectivity options, you can effortlessly connect to a wide range of devices and accessories. The MacBook Pro is designed to be user-friendly, providing an intuitive and efficient experience for both new and experienced users.

Here’s what you can get for the new reduced price:

Supercharged by M2: Experience unrivaled performance and seamless multitasking

Up to 20 hours of battery life: Enjoy extended productivity and entertainment without interruption

Brilliant display: Immerse yourself in vibrant visuals and sharp details

HD camera and studio-quality mics: Enhance your video calls and content creation

Versatile connectivity: Effortlessly connect to a wide range of devices and accessories

What We Think

The Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip is a powerful and versatile device that caters to professionals, creatives, and tech enthusiasts seeking unparalleled performance. The supercharged M2 chip delivers blazing-fast processing power and seamless multitasking capabilities. With an impressive battery life of up to 20 hours, you can stay productive and entertained throughout the day. 

The Retina is perfect for demanding tasks like photo editing and video production. The HD camera and studio-quality mics ensure clear and professional video calls and content creation. With versatile connectivity options, you can easily connect to various devices and accessories to expand your capabilities. The MacBook Pro is designed to be user-friendly, providing an intuitive and efficient experience for both newcomers and experienced users. 

If you’re in search of a high-performance laptop that combines power, efficiency, and a delightful user experience, the Apple MacBook Pro with M2 chip is an excellent choice. Unleash your creativity, productivity, and potential with this impressive device.

Best MacBook Early Prime Day deals

Save 15% NOW!

Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip

13-inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB ​​​​​​​SSD ​​​​​​​Storage, Touch Bar, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Space Gray

Best Deals

Deal @ Amazon

Save 20% NOW!

Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop M1 Chip

13″ Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Silver

Best Deals

Deal @ Amazon

*Prices are subject to change. PC Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How Does Apple’s New M1 Imac Compare To Windows All

It’s a little hard to get a bead on just how much the new iMac 24-inch costs, as it won’t be available to order for a few more days and won’t ship until May. As expected, however, it’s premium Apple pricing.

We looked closely at the specs we know about Apple’s new computer, and compared it to the All-in-Ones from major PC makers. Of course specs alone don’t tell the whole story, but on the face of it, the iMac should make its Windows counterparts nervous.

The new M1-based iMac represents a significant upgrade for Apple’s popular All-in-One computer. But PC makers sell All-in-Ones too, though, and some of them are good machines. Can any of them measure up to the new iMac?

The base iMac nets you a slightly slower M1 chip, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD for $1,300. Perhaps in a move only Apple can pull, the base iMac doesn’t even appear to come with Gigabit ethernet or USB-A ports. That’s a cold move, because USB-A ports and ethernet are pretty much a standard feature on every single desktop made.

For $1,700, you get a slightly faster M1, but the same paltry 8GB of RAM, and a barely adequate 512GB SSD.

Still, one look at Dell’s Inspiron 27 7000Remove non-product link with 27-inch screen, 11th-gen Core i7 1165G7, 32GB of RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD, and 1TB HDD for $1,440 tells you there is no value in anything with an Apple logo on it.

We’ll have to wait for Apple to show the cards on how many upgrades it offers on its new iMac, but don’t expect much value.

Screen: The iMac wins

The ringer is once again Microsoft’s exorbitantly priced Surface Studio 2 and its 28-inch “PixelSense” screen with a resolution of 4,500×3,000. The Surface Studio 2 also features pen and touch support, which Apple refuses to add to its Mac line for unknown reasons. Most PC All-in-Ones run from budget 1,920×1,080 FHD panels, which can be decent, to 4K panels. HP’s Envy All-in-OneRemove non-product link features a 31.5-inch, 600-nit 4K UHD panel.

Overall, given Apple’s reputation for good panels, we’re going to put the new iMac 24-inch in good company, with only the very best PC All-in-Ones competing with it on screen quality.


Aesthetics: It’s subjective

People who buy All-in-One PCs typically want a big screen in a space-saving package, and something that pleases their eye. Say what you will about the iMac 24, but it’s eye-catching, with its super-thin screen that looks like it was lifted directly from Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2. The rainbow of color options takes us back to the original iMac.

PC All-in-Ones run the gamut from the elegant Surface Studio 2 or HP’s Envy All-In-One to lower-cost models that often look like they descended from a cash register. This really comes down to the eye of the beholder.

Performance: Too close to call

The reason Apple didn’t tout the new iMac 24 as a Windows All-in-One killer is because you can get fairly beefy performance in some models. That HP Envy All-in-One 32 we mentioned earlier, for example, is built on an 8-core desktop Core i7-10700 and runs a GeForce RTX 2070 or GeForce RTX 2080 for graphics. Yes, that annoying Apple fanatic in next cubicle may want to yammer about how fast the M1 is (and it is decent), but we guarantee the HP Envy 32 will crush that iMac 24 on performance.

Of course, if you really care about performance on a desktop computer, don’t buy an All-in-One computer. Buy a traditional tower desktop instead.


If you want to talk about upgrades, you probably shouldn’t have bought an All-in-One. The only options you can replace on some All-in-Ones are RAM and storage.


We’ll end on something that should be mentioned as a standout feature of the new iMac 24: acoustics. And no, we don’t mean how good the speakers sound (although Apple tends to have generally good audio). We mean by how loud the computer gets. By using what is essentially an iPhone SoC on steroids, the M1 produces an amazing amount of performance while producing very little heat.

Youtube Shows Black Screen, Videos Won’t Play In Chrome On Macbook M1

Since you’re here, you may already be facing this issue on your MacBook M1. It doesn’t appear always but when it does, videos don’t play at all and the YouTube player in Chrome browser shows a blank black screen. So, how do we fix this issue? Well, below are some quick ways you can get rid of the YouTube black screen issue in Chrome on your MacBook.

First of all, I would like to point out that every new M1 Mac does not have the black screen issue while watching YouTube. If you have seen it once doesn’t mean you will see it more often in the future. Therefore, I will suggest restarting your Mac once and then check whether the issue occurs again or not.

When I contacted Apple support, the first thing they asked me was the macOS version my MacBook Pro M1 is running. At that time It was running the pre-installed macOS Big Sur 11.1. The support executive asked me to update my software.

Update Your Mac

The thing is making a transition to a completely different architecture which, as expected, isn’t very smooth. Apple has done well to restrict the issues but still, there are so many different things that work behind every app.

It is safe to assume that the codec and video player YouTube uses for streaming the videos is still not optimized completely for the M1 Mac. In such a case updating Chrome and your Mac is a very suitable way to get rid of these annoying issues.

While digging into forums and discussions I saw a lot of users are suggesting fixes like reset SMC. If you have ever owned an Intel Mac chances are you might be aware of SMC. It stands for System Management Controller.

But what if I tell you the new M1 Macs do not come with a reset SMC option. You can’t manually reset SMC on any of the M1-powered macs. Therefore, Be careful while trying these unauthorized fixes provided in the forums as you cannot reset the SMC on these models.

Another suggestion you might get from random users in the forums is resetting NVRAM or PRAM. It’s just because everyone is so used to trying these fixes on their Mac. Talking about NVRAM, It stands for nonvolatile random-access memory whereas PRAM stands for Parameter RAM.

The NVRAM and PRAM are used to store some settings so the system can access them faster. Similar to lack of SMC reset option in M1 Mac there is no manual way to reset NVRAM or PRAM.

The new M1 MacBooks are a big leap for Apple. They are powerful and efficient but may not be fully compatible with each and every app out there yet. Incompatibility is likely the main reason behind Youtube Video Player showing a black screen on the MacBook.

That said, updating the software to the latest version did fix the YouTube black screen issue on my MacBook. So, all you can do is update the operating system and use the apps updated for M1. It’s just a matter of a few months, and all the issues will be gone.

Also, read- 9 Ways To Fix Google Chrome Crashes Or Won’t Open On PC

All You Need To Know About Google’s Project Soli

On Saturday, a couple of interesting Google Pixel 4 images started circulating on Twitter, showing an oval-shaped cutout on the right of the detached bezels for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL.

A lot of theories have come to the fore since then, but the majority of them hint at Project Soli integration. We are not sure whether the Pixel 4 devices will feature Project Soli or not, but the technology itself is fascinating, to say the least.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

What is Project Soli?

Google has assigned some of its best engineers to create a piece of hardware which would allow the human hand to act as a universal input device. In smartphones and wearables, we currently use the touch panel to interact with the system. Soli aims to remove the middleman (touch panel) by letting you interact with your device using simple hand gestures, without making contact.

How does it work?

The Soli sensor emits electromagnetic waves in a broad beam. The objects in the beam’s path scatter this energy, feeding some of it back to the radar antenna. The radar processes some properties of the returned signal, such as energy, time delay, and frequency shift. These properties, in turn, allow Soli to identify the object’s size, shape, orientation, material, distance, and velocity.

Soli’s spatial resolution has been fine-tuned to pick up most subtle finger gestures, meaning that it doesn’t need large bandwidth and high spatial resolution to work. The radar tracks subtle variation in the received signal over time to decode finger movements and distorting hand shapes.

How to use Soli?

Soli uses Virtual Tools to understand hand/finger gestures and carry out the tasks associated with them. According to Google, Virtual Gestures are hand gestures that mimic familiar interactions with physical tools.

Imagine holding a key between your thumb and index finger. Now, rotate the key as if you were opening a lock. That’s it. Soli, in theory, will pick up the gesture and perform the task associated with it.

So far, Soli recognizes three primary Virtual Gestures.


Imagine an invisible button between your thumb and index fingers, press the button by tapping the fingers together. Primary use is expected to be selecting an application, perform in-app actions.


Imagine a dial that you turn up or down by rubbing your thumb against the index finger. Primary use is expected to be volume control.


Finally, think about using a Virtual Slider. Brush your thumb across your index finger to act. Primary use is expected to be controlling horizontal sliders, such as brightness control.

Soli generates feedback by assessing the haptic sensation of fingers touching one another.

What are the applications?

As no mainstream device has implemented Soli so far, it’s hard to guess how it’d perform in the wild. But if all goes according to plan, the radar could become fundamental to smartphones, wearables, IoT components, and even cars in the future.

The radar is super compact — 8mm x 10mm — doesn’t use much energy, has no moving parts, and packs virtually endless potential. Taking all of that into consideration, a contact-less smartphone experience doesn’t seem that far-fetched.

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