Review: HTC Re camera
The HTC Re camera is like no other piece of technology that smartphone manufacturers are producing… Yet. HTC has taken a leap into a new product category and although it’s early, we’d say the results have exceeded everyone’s expectations since the Orange Re sold out during pre-orders and accessories have been short due to demand as well. The HTC Re camera is a great companion for those on the go and it is a handy way to avoid catching the moment behind a viewfinder since all you have to do is point in the direction you’re looking and shoot.
HTC isn’t known for following the crowd… HTC set the trend with the HTC Re! [Tweet this]
The size and shape of the HTC Re camera is perfect for handling and shooting with ease. The capture button sits on the elbow of number 7 shaped camera and its design makes for a great conversation starter in any setting.
Hey, what do you have there? An inhaler? No! It’s the RE by HTC!
Since the Re doesn’t have a viewfinder on board there are a few lights and sounds to offer you confidence that you successfully snapped your shot. For photos, you hear a shutter sounds and see a LED flash on the shutter button. From the front you will see a LED near the bottom of the Re. When shooting video, the Re makes a series of beeps and illuminates a solid red light. When in slow motion mode the LED is blue. The Re has a microphone on the top which picks up audio from the person holding it and a mic on the front bottom. The front mic poses a bit of a dilemma for me when holding it, because my fingers cover it up, but it’s fine when it’s on a tripod. There’s a charging port on the bottom, a lid that conceals the slot for a microSD card, and it comes with an 8GB card pre-installed. Also, the Re camera is waterproof right out of the box. Have no fear when jumping into the pool with your latest gadget from HTC!
Here’s a quick rundown of the HTC Re at launch time:
The HTC Re has some outstanding features like the capability to create Timelapse videos without having to stitch the files together or manually shoot each picture which is almost worth the entire cost of the camera. And guess who HTC beat to the punch with this little feature I just described?
I’m not picking on GoPro, especially since their products have a lot of rich features that the Re isn’t even attempting to do, but I am merely bragging that HTC’s first generation product brought something to the plate before a well-known manufacture in a similar category. For the record, the GoPro Hero4 could take a series of photos for a Timelapse, but did not compile the photos into a video internally. Users had to do it manually with other software. With HTC’s innovating spirit, being able to dive into new categories and add improvements upfront makes us wonder what the HTC Re 2.0 will be like.
Will the Re 2.0 hover around you and take selfies when you smile! [Tweet this]
With the Re, users can even share live video directly to YouTube! (a tutorial on this is coming in the near future). HTC told us during the launch event that YouTube streaming would be available soon and three months later they announced it at CES.
HTC’s companion app is available for Android and the iPhone making it marketable to a broader range of customers. A common mistake manufacturers are making is producing proprietary devices that only work with their brand. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to play well with others.
Features of the app are listed below:
- Slow motion
- Timelapse (tutorial here)
- HD Video
- Pic quality
- Remote shutter
- YouTube Live Streaming *NEW!
The website to buy your own HTC Re has seven accessories available for purchase: a bike mount, a clip-on item, charging dock (suitable for long timelapse sessions), a car charger, a wall charger, a suction mount for a window, and a protection pack. The protection pack includes a cap for the lens, seal for the bottom the improves the waterproof rating, and two lanyards. There used to be an extended battery, but for some reason that item is no longer listed. A word of caution though, sadly, I ordered two of these accessories in early November 2014 and have yet to receive them. One item that I did not order was sent in place of an accessory I ordered so I had to dispute that with the Re digital storefront and was reimbursed for the transaction. I re-ordered the original item today so a new countdown begins in my accessory saga. Aside from the HTC-made accessories, the camera has a standard camera mount thread on the bottom so any tripod or camera accessory will attach to the Re’s base.
Here are some sample photos taken with the HTC Re:
The HTC Re is a 16MP camera at its core. It can shoot high quality photos and HD video (1080p at 30 frames per second) and captures anything in front of the ultra-wide 146 degree angle lens. If the width isn’t enough for you, the app will allow you to enable a super wide mode that makes the image output kind of wrap around and curve in a not so natural way. The beauty of this camera is that it doesn’t trap the user behind a viewfinder; it allows the user to stay involved in the moment. For instances that a viewfinder comes in handy, the app can pair your phone to the camera giving you a live view of what the Re can see. I like to mount my Re in the car and activate the live view from the app so I can make sure I get the best shot of the road. I also initiate the record process from the app.
HTC made this camera function with very little effort. To turn on the camera simply grip it and it will wake up. To preserve the battery, I usually power the Re off when I know I’m not gonna use it right away and to wake it up I hold the shutter button for a couple of seconds to power it on. As mentioned previously operation is easy, press the button once to take pictures, press and hold to record video, and press the button on the front to enable slow motion recording followed by the press and hold to record.
The Re by HTC is an excellent camera for every lifestyle. It’s so compact that it is easy to stow away when necessary and easy to pull out and start snapping pics right away. With a handful of features it isn’t that hard to justify spending $199 on it. HTC did more than just get their feet wet with the HTC Re they jumped in head first and took their product in the water with them (because it’s waterproof).