HTC plonks a ridicu­lously specced cam­era on the front of its De­sire Eye smart­phone and changes the way we take pho­tos of our­selves for­ever

Australian T3 - - RADAR -

TAKE ONE LOOK AT FACE­BOOK, Twit­ter or In­sta­gram and one thing be­comes clear: we love tak­ing pho­tos of our­selves. It’s not hard to see why self­ies have be­come the most common way to take snaps th­ese days: they show that we’ve phys­i­cally been some­where, and front­fac­ing cam­eras mean that we can line up shots to per­fectly cap­ture our nog­gins in any ex­otic lo­cale we choose.

HTC’s new phone, the De­sire Eye, is a smart­phone ex­plic­itly tar­geted at the vainest gen­er­a­tion of all time. At first glance it may look like any run-of-the-mill hand­set, but your eye is im­me­di­ately drawn to the freak­ishly large front-fac­ing cam­era above the cen­tre of the screen. Within it lurks a 13-megapixel sen­sor com­plete with a dual-LED flash and 1080p video record­ing, which is pretty much the same as the smart­phone’s more con­ven­tional rear-fac­ing snap­per.

As well as the su­per-specced shooter, the De­sire Eye in­cludes spe­cial­ist selfie soft­ware. A Split Cap­ture mode snaps for­ward and back­ward-fac­ing pics at the same time so you can record your po­si­tion in time and space. Face track­ing will zoom in on the faces of up to four peo­ple, which is handy for con­fer­ence calls, and voice selfie trig­gers the cam­era with phrases such as “cheese”, “smile” or “please ac­knowl­edge me be­cause I’ve just spent a for­tune on make-up”.

It would be easy to dis­miss the De­sire Eye as a nov­elty smart­phone for the nar­cis­sis­tic, but it’s ac­tu­ally pretty good in its own right. It packs a 5.2-inch 1080p dis­play, a 2400mAh bat­tery and an IPX7 rat­ing, which makes it kind of wa­ter­proof. The pro­ces­sor, mem­ory and wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity are iden­ti­cal to HTC’s topof-the-line One (M8), which we re­gard as 2014’s Phone of the Year.

In fact, the only thing that lets it down slightly is its plas­tic build, but its soft-touch fin­ish does mean it feels a de­cent notch above your av­er­age poly­car­bon­ate smart­phone. It’s not quite in the same pric­ing league as Ap­ple and Sam­sung’s pre­mium iPhone and Al­pha hand­sets, but it’s likely HTC is prep­ping its One (M8) follow-up for re­lease in au­tumn of next year.

The De­sire Eye could be­come the musthave phone for the self-ob­sessed, or it could sim­ply flop into the same realm of for­got­ten nov­elty prod­ucts as HTC’s Face­book-spe­cific First phone. Ei­ther way, there’s no denying that the ante for self­ies has been upped, and we’re ex­pect­ing fu­ture front­fac­ing cam­eras from other man­u­fac­tur­ers to follow suit. $799, HTC.COM/AU, OUT NOW



The De­sire Eye’s rear cam­era es­chews the Ul­trapixel tech­nol­ogy found on the One (M8) in favour of a more con­ven­tional sen­sor. It boasts an f/2 28mm lens, which makes it eas­ier to

achieve pro ef­fects.


Round the front you’ll find a

f/2.2 22mm lens, which gives a wider an­gle of view so you can show a lit­tle more back­ground and squeeze in more of your

big-faced friends.


At 8.5mm, the De­sire Eye is almost a full mil­lime­tre slim­mer than the One (M8), but still not quite as slim as the iPhone 6 (6.9mm) or Sam­sung Galaxy Al­pha

(6.7mm) – see p30. It weighs in at 154g, more than both Ap­ple and Sam­sung’s hand­sets.


Like the majority of HTC phones, the De­sire Eye runs An­droid 4.4 with the Sense

6 UI over the top. Its spe­cial­ist selfie cam­era fea­tures will be rolled out to other HTC phones in the

near fu­ture, too.

With front and back cam­eras that shoot simultaneously, you can cap­ture both your­self and your sur­round­ings

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