HTC Desire Eye
HTC has been experimenting with mobile photography quite a bit recently. Last year’s One (M8) was touted as the world’s first smartphone with a secondary camera to capture depth information. HTC called this the Duo Camera. Later in the year, they ditched their UltraPixel sensor for a 13-megapixel camera in Butterfly 2 while retaining the Duo Camera setup for much greater image quality. Their latest experiment, the Desire Eye features two 13-megapixel cameras—front and back—to cater to the selfie generation.
As more of a fun, lifestyle device, the Desire Eye is made entirely of plastic, which may look like a budget phone at first glance. However, its matte texture offers a good grip and like the Butterfly 2, is dust- and water-resistant with the same open port design so you don’t have to fumble with flaps. With an IP57 rating, it should survive being submerged up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes, but HTC doesn’t recommend actually using the phone underwater as it is not designed for such use.
The Desire Eye comes at a rather unconventional screen size at 5.2-inches (previous HTC models from the One (M8) to the Butterfly 2 had 5-inch screens) with a full HD 1080p resolution. This means slightly lower pixel density though it’s hardly noticeable. We must say that it’s very bright though, even when set to minimum level.
Unlike the front-facing grill-like speakers on the One (M8), the Desire Eye has slimmer and more recessed BoomSound speakers on the top and bottom of the display. It does the job significantly well with loud and crisp audio, but do take note that dust particles will begin to collect at the gaps along the display.
Software-wise, the Desire Eye is loaded with Android 4.4.4 KitKat and Sense 6. While HTC has committed to delivering Android 5.0 updates to the One (M8) and One (M7), there no official
CONCLUSION Sturdy and waterproof with great handling; an all-round device that’ll also take highquality selfies.
word of the Desire Eye (or other HTC devices outside of the flagship One family) will get the same treatment.
So what’s really new with the Desire Eye? Besides the obvious bump in megapixel count for the front-facing camera, it is the first product to ship with HTC’s Eye Experience app, which consist of various camera functional. The app isn’t exclusive to the Desire Eye too, and will be made available to other phones in the HTC family in the coming months, though not all features may be supported on every phone.
Tackling the more obvious functions first, the Desire Eye now has many automatic functions for taking selfies, such as smile detection, face tracking and auto selfies. You can also begin a countdown timer through voice activation by saying “Capture” or “Cheese”, or shoot a video selfie with “Action”. All these functions worked well and were pleasant to use.
Filters and makeup mode have become a popular function for selfie shots and the Desire Eye offers a Live Makeup mode where you can see and adjust the smoothing effect in real time before you take the shot. There’s also Split Capture mode too, where you use both the front and back cameras to take a photo or video at the same time. This feature isn’t exactly new as the LG Optimus G Pro and Samsung Galaxy S4 had it prior, but with it is the first phone with 13-megapixel cameras on both ends.
Speaking of which, both cameras aren’t exactly the same. The rear camera features an f/2.0, 28mm wide angle lens, while the front camera has an f/2.2 and wider 22mm lens to accommodate for group selfies. Images shot with both cameras also have different processing done. Rear camera shots are more neutral with well-saturated colors, while the front camera shoots in a warmer tone. The Desire Eye can also take better selfies in low light with dual-LED flash, which is a better implementation than LG’s tactic of using the LCD screen as a source of illumination.
Battery life was pretty decent, and it lasted more than seven and a half hours in our tests. Performance and user experience is similar to previous HTC phones and in a nutshell, seems like a combination of the plastic One (E8) and the ruggedness of the Butterfly 2, with the addition of a better front camera and Eye Experience app for the selfie-focused consumer. Priced at $728, the HTC Desire Eye finds itself in stiff competition with the recently available Oppo N3 ($849), which boasts a motorized 16-megapixel camera and an even larger 5.5-inch display.
As a water-resistant phone, the Desire Eye is mostly sealed so access to the nano SIM and microSD slots require some effort.
Not only does the front-facing camera boast a 13-megapixel sensor, it also has its own dedicated dual-LED flash.