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Friday, April 17, 2015
HTC Desire Eye Review
The HTC Desire Eye is a phone that presents more questions than answers when you first pick it up.
It's a phone with two 13MP cameras, front and back, that represents one of those moments in the smartphone game, the moments when a brand makes a jump forward by putting technology in a place where it wasn't before.
It's not quite on a par with the first cameraphone, or even the first front facing snapper on a handset, but it is an interesting idea that does raise some questions about what people are looking for with mobile photography.
The other thing that confuses is the name: it's a Desire phone, the branding usually reserved for the sub-premium, non-One range. However, with the powerful Snapdragon 801 CPU, larger battery and 13MP camera, along with a Full HD 5.2-inch screen, it's hard to see where the compromise has really been made here.
In fact, it seems that this phone is designed to replace the HTC One E8, which has all the same hallmarks but arguably has an inferior design - HTC is clearly getting confused over where its phone brands should be sitting.
This is also the first Desire phone that's not got a string of numbers involved - however, it's clear that this should be the flagship Desire phone given it looks so much like a One device, at least in spec.
The HTC Desire Eye might be clad in polycarbonate, but it's an attractive device nonetheless. The rounded casing is not only pleasant to hold thanks to being more matte than glossy, but it's also a very light yet balanced design.
I particularly like the two colour design (there's a red/white or blue/black option) which is a result of HTC's 'Double Shot' fabrication that came with the Desire 820.
It makes the phone look nice and more premium than you'd expect - when you learn it's also IPX7 rated, so you can lob the HTC Desire Eye in a bucket of water without a worry, it becomes a really well made phone.
The great thing is that HTC's joined the ranks of forward-thinking designers in working out a way to leave the charging port uncovered without harming the water resistance. If only Sony would do the same thing.
The little covers over the nanoSIM or microSD slots are strangely hinged, which HTC tells me is 'to do with the waterproofing' - although I've no idea why.
While a little large in the hand, it's impressive that HTC has managed to put in the whopping camera on the front of the phone, yet keep the Boomsound speakers that have marked its phones for years.
What's more, despite the fact the grilles are so much thinner (placed as they are above and below the screen in a very thin strip) the sound output is comparable to the HTC One M8 and others, which means that hopefully the brand can do away with the extra bezels on the One M9.
Come on, I know that's why you're here. You want to see how good the camera is on this phone, front or back.
I'll summarise now: the rear camera is pretty good without being stunning. The front-facing camera is overpowered and clearly a marketing tool that actually hurts the brand in terms of output.
Perhaps saying it causes harm is a little unfair, but the truth is that the pictures you get from the front camera, especially in low light, aren't as good as those on phones like the iPhone 6 or even the HTC One M8, which you'd have assumed this would be superior too.
However, that's not to say you won't enjoy the results - it's just that if HTC had out an 8MP option on here, a sensor that was optimised for low light and working to create a really balanced picture, it would have been a nicer photo set to share.