In the past two years, HTC has released the HTC One (M7) and (M8). They were both great phones in their own right, but now they’ve updated their low-cost phones to pull in more profit. They’ve added an insanely powerful front-facing camera with flash. Overkill, you might ask? I think so.
The EYE sports two versions, a red-and-white version and a black-and-blue version. They have a kind of two-toned look, which looks kind of sporty. The sides are red or blue rubberized plastic, offering a grippable surface. The front sports a big 5.2-inch HD screen, an ambient light sensor, a proximity sensor, dual LED flash, a 13-MP camera, and a microphone.
On the bottom is a micro USB charger and microphone. On the left are the micro SD and nano SIM slots and an unidentified button. On the right is a volume rocker, another unidentified button, and again, an unidentified button. The top yields a headphone jack. The back packs another 13MP camera, dual LED flash, and a microphone. It’s a slippery plastic hard coat finish, a stark contrast to the sides.
Although the EYE is supposed to be a budget phone, it actually sports pretty good specs.
SoC – 2.3Ghz Snapdragon 801
Memory – 16GB Storage, 2GB RAM
Battery – 2400 MaH Li-Ion Battery
OS – Android 4.4.2 KitKat + HTC Sense 6
Cell Networks- 2G, 3G, 4G LTE
Dimensions- 151.7 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm (5.97 x 2.91 x 0.33 in)
Display – 5.2 Inch 1920×1080 Resolution
Front-Facing Camera – 13MP AF f/2.2 Aperure Dual LED Flash, HDR
Back Camera – 13MP AF f/2.2 Aperure Dual LED Flash, HDR
The phone runs HTC Sense 6, a custom Android skin. It’s integrated with BlinkFeed, HTC’s custom news and social feed reader. It has all the features of stock Android, and it seems it’s kind of improving on the system, not getting in its way. It’s basically the same software as on the One.
The EYE camera suite adds a lot of features to the camera app, specifically, selfies. The camera will automatically snap selfies for you just by holding it still two seconds or by saying “say cheese”. When you’re video chatting, face tracking stabilizes the video and keeps you in the frame. You can take split captures with the front and back cameras at the same time. You can crop yourself into a picture from the back camera, although the lighting kind of seems off. There’s also a creepy feature that lets you take a picture of two people and see what their kid will look like. The suite is pretty big, actually.
The ZOE app is available for iOS and Android. It lets you create videos akin to iMovie and share them to HTC’s homegrown social network. Other people can remix them with their own videos from that place. It’s supposed to be like having everyone’s perspective on the event.
HTC touted the EYE’s front-facing camera as its big innovation, but I still have mixed feelings about it. It dominates the top bezel of the display, and seems like a little overkill. With 1 – 2MP, you can get full HD videos and photos, but I guess the 13MP allows for photos with higher dynamic range?
The camera seems to perform alright in ample lighting, but its low-light performance leaves something to be desired. Photos usually end up gray, or just barely visible. Either way, this phone is definitely for those selfie-crazed people.
The Bottom Line
The EYE combines a powerful camera and hardware with an OK build quality, a cheap price tag, and a great camera suite. The HTC EYE is great if you are really serious about your selfies. However, for the average Joe, it’s doubtful you’ll really ever need that powerful camera. None the less, The EYE seems like a great choice for the money.