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HTC Desire Eye and HTC Re Review: Camera imaging to the max

Towards the end of 2014, HTC made a big statement in New York, during its heavily orchestrated Double Exposure event. It made its intent about being a serious player in the imaging space with two key launches the HTC Desire Eye, that matched the rear camera with its front facing camera (LED included), and the Re, positioned as an action camera. We took these devices for a spin during that launch and let the rubber hit the road all over again, after their somewhat delayed debut in India.

  • dnaTechReview- HTC- HTC Desire Eye- HTC Re- smartphone- Android- camera

Towards the end of 2014, HTC1 made a big statement in New York, during its heavily orchestrated Double Exposure event.

It made its intent about being a serious player in the imaging space with two key launches the HTC Desire Eye, that matched the rear camera2 with its front facing camera (LED included), and the Re, positioned as an action camera. We took these devices for a spin during that launch and let the rubber hit the road all over again, after their somewhat delayed debut in India.

The HTC Desire Eye:

With the number of self indulgent selfies being clicked today, the rear shooter s moniker as the primary camera seems almost archaic. HTC might agree the Desire Eye s calling card is a 13MP front-facing camera replete with a dual-LED flash.

It matches the rear cam (we didn t say primary cam) spec to spec. The dual-LED flash is a clever addition given the number of selfies that are clicked in low-light settings like nightclubs. This selfie cam takes some beating and is clearly a cut above the pack.

Yet it does not produce astounding results in low-light; the rear cam handles low light scenarios better. The Desire Eye ditches HTC s earlier obsession with ultrapixels and, while 13MP sounds more power packed than the 4 ultrapixels of the HTC One M8, the Desire Eye doesn t quite match the One M8 s rear shooter.
dnaTechReview- HTC- HTC Desire Eye- HTC Re- smartphone- Android- camera
Indoor image clicked with the HTC Desire Eye3 – Ashwin Rajagopalan

The Desire Eye s polycarbonate shell is clear evidence that the all-metal One M8 is still boss of the HTC household. We like the Desire Eye s design aesthetic – HTC uses injection moulded plastic to blend two colours and show us that plastic is not always uncool.

The white with orange strip is our favourite. A SIM Card slot and Micro SD slot blend into the left spine, while the volume rocker and power button sit on the device s right. It s easy to miss the device s slit-like front facing speakers; they are not in the same league as the One M8 but still pack a punch.

The Desire Eye is also the first HTC device with waterproof and dust-proof capabilities, designed for that underwater selfie while you are snorkelling in clear blue waters. The camera hot key should help underwater too! If the One M8 belongs in the boardroom, the Desire Eye is rugged enough to be tossed around the beach.

The device sports a full-HD 5.2-inch display (1920 x 1080p) with an impressive 424 PPI.

It s not just the display, the device s hardware spec sheet is near identical to the HTC One M8 2.3GHz Quad-Core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB Internal Memory (Extendable). The device multi-tasks and handles the heavy duty stuff quite effortlessly. The 2400mAh battery just about manages a day at work and you will need back up on days you push your device further.

Aside from HTC s eye-candy Sense UI, the device also features HTC s Eye experience, with some clever and some gimmicky (like crop me in ) camera options. There s a lot to love about the HTC Desire Eye, including its selfie cam and rugged form factor, but at Rs 35,990 its biggest competition might well be the flagship HTC One M8.
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Outdoor daylight image clicked with the HTC Desire Eye – Ashwin Rajagopalan

What we liked:
Selfie cam
Form factor

What we didn t like:
Average battery life
Slightly overpriced

Specifications:
Display: 5.2-inch LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels / 424 PPI
Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (No extendable memory)
Processor: 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 Quad-core
Camera: 13MP main with dual-LED, 13MP front facing with dual LED

Price: Rs 35990

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HTC Re:

First things first, although it is billed as an action camera, the Re is not a Go-Pro killer or replacement; HTC will agree. The Re has drawn comparisons with a periscope, inhaler and even a door knob, but it shouldn t matter.

This device is about function not form. The Re was designed for those among us who miss enjoying the moment in our effort to capture it on our smartphone.

It weighs just 65g, fits quite snugly into your hand, and comes in a host of bold colours. There s just one button that matters and it sits at the perfect spot, all you need to do is click once for an image and twice for a video.

There s a smaller button below the lens which allows you to shoot 4x slow-motion 720p videos. The device has no power button, it comes on as you grab it with your hand (courtesy in-built sensors). There s no view-finder, HTC believes the 146-degree, ultra-wide angle lens should make amends.

If you don t want to play hit and miss, you can sync up with your Android or Apple device via the HTC Re App. The App doesn t just convert your mobile screen into a view-finder but also allows you to view images and videos that reside on your Re.
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Daylight underwater image clicked with the HTC Re – Ashwin Rajagopalan45

The Re can support Micro USB cards upto 128GB, and comes bundled with an 8GB card. There s an 840 mAh battery that should survive a typical day on vacation, where you re clicking random images of everything in sight.

The 16MP camera with a 1/2/3 CMOS sensor manages to capture images that are not quite in flagship mobile shooter territory. Low-light images are subpar; the lack of an LED flash doesn t help. however, the device is IP57 certified; equipped for basic underwater photography.

HTC has done well to keep the US $199 global price just under Rs 10,000 for the Indian market but, even at that price point, it might be tough to convince impulse buyers.

The Re delivers on its big promises it s an unobtrusive camera and a device with serious potential.

It s perfect to capture fleeting memories at events or holidays or just slices of everyday life,but it s not going to be your go to mobile camera, not until HTC perfects it.

What we liked:
Unobtrusive utility value and design
Waterproof

What we didn t like:
Subpar low-light photography
Too much of a hit and miss without the view finder.

Price: Rs 9,990

References

  1. ^ HTC (www.dnaindia.com)
  2. ^ camera (www.dnaindia.com)
  3. ^ HTC Desire Eye (www.dnaindia.com)
  4. ^ Android (www.dnaindia.com)
  5. ^ HTC Re (www.dnaindia.com)

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