MISSION: SELFIE

HTC De­sire Eye

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST - by Cookie Mon­ster

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.

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