HTC has today announced the arrival of the its latest smartphone, the Desire EYE, and its “remarkable little camera”, the Re, in Malaysia. These photography-oriented products, which were just announced globally in October, will be available from this month.
The Desire EYE is the highest-end model in the HTC Desire series. Featuring an interesting double-shot polycarbonate unibody, the Desire EYE follows in the footsteps of recent HTC devices by offering an IP67-rated chassis for dust and water resistance. Considering that the Desire series has traditionally been mid-range devices, the Desire EYE is markedly different when you look at its hardware: Snapdragon 801 2.3GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 5.2-inch Full HD display, 16GB internal storage with microSD card slot, LTE, and BoomSound speakers. The only potential concern may be with its rather small 2400mAh battery.
But what gives the Desire EYE its name is with its 13MP rear and front cameras, giving it “perfect vision”. The rear camera is a 13MP f/2.0 BSI sensor with 28mm lens with dual LED flash, while the front camera has a 13MP f/2.2 BSI sensor with a wide-angle 22mm lens and dual LED flash.
The Desire EYE trumps basically every selfie phone in the market today not just with its two large camera sensors, but with a whole new suite of camera features HTC calls the EYE Experience. Debuting on the Desire EYE before now being available on other HTC smartphones, the HTC EYE experience consists of Face Tracking (with advanced face-tracking technology that always keeps your face in the frame, in focus), Screen Share, Split Capture (which records on both the front and rear cameras in a split-screen view), Face Fusion (a crazy app that fuses two faces into one totally un-generic face), Live Makeup, Auto Selfie (which snaps a selfie once the user keeps the phone still for two seconds with the front camera app activated), Photo Booth and lastly, Crop Me In (another insane app that crops the subject in the front-facing camera into the frame of the rear camera).
Complementing the Desire EYE is the Re Camera, HTC’s interesting attempt at “reinventing photography”. At just 65.5g, the Re is a tiny, grippy camera that resembles anything from an inhaler to a WWII-era torchlight, but packing a 16MP f/2.8 CMOS sensor from Sony with a 146-degree wide-angle lens, allowing you to capture virtually everything you point the Re at. The camera also captures 1080p video at 30fps, while the slow-mo feature records 720p footage at 120fps. Creative people would also enjoy the painless time-lapse feature, while its IP57-rated body means you can even use the Re underwater.
Since it has no screen, the Re works very differently from conventional cameras. The Re camera is actually an always-on device, where a grip sensor wakes it up when the user holds the camera. Clicking the shutter button once snaps a photo, while holding the shutter button for a second records a video. Clicking a little button underneath the sensor changes the video mode to capture in slow motion.
Besides that, the Re actually connects to a smartphone via both Bluetooth and WiFi Direct, and charges via microUSB. There’s also space for a microSD card to store all photos, and the 840mAh battery is good for 1200 16MP photos, or 1 hour and 40 minutes of continuous Full HD recording. The bottom even has a 0.25-inch tripod connection.
Also, the Re camera connects to all Android smartphones running on Android 4.3 and above, as well as iOS devices from iOS 7 and newer. The Re camera app is available on both Android and iOS, allowing users to use their smartphones as a remote viewfinder, transfer photos from camera to phone, and create time-lapse videos. The open API will also allow developers to create exciting applications with the Re camera and app.
The HTC Desire EYE smartphone is now available in Malaysia for RM1699 in two colours (Submarine Blue and Coral Red), while the Re camera will be priced at RM699, but will only be available in mid-December in three colours (Navy, Orange and White).
MORE: Hands On: HTC Desire EYE