The HTC Desire Eye is the selfie-centric version of the bestselling One M8

Saqib Shah
October 8, 2014

HTC has revealed its newest smartphone; the HTC Desire Eye. The new device follows the trend for selfie phones by introducing a powerful 13MP front-facing camera – which is one of the best lenses to make it on to the front of  handset.

Although there were rumblings that the Taiwanese manufacturer would also release a selfie version of the One M8, it did not mention that at a secret press event it held last week. Frankly it doesn’t need to, as the Desire Eye brings its mid-range collection even closer to its premium One range by retaining the One M8’s core specs.

Those of you who frequent our site will know that we’re big fans of the One M8 – the flagship Android handset even received our prestigious Editor’s Choice label in What Mobile magazine.

The new Desire Eye will come in two dual-colour variants (blue and light-blue and white and red) and its body is made out of a single piece of polycarbonate. It looks as though HTC chose to skip the premium materials of the One M8 in order to reduce its price tag. However, that cash was invested elsewhere. Namely, its insanely powerful front camera.


The 13MP lens on the front of the phone matches the rear-camera and both also contain an LED flash. Consequently, users will be able to take the same high-quality pictures from the front as the back.

The main functions of the camera include a split capture mode that allows users to capture images and videos simultaneously via the front and rear cameras. The footage you want to shoot will appear on the phone’s split-screen display.

Elsewhere HTC has gone overboard by adding some rather cheesy features, which include ‘crop me in’ and a ‘face swap’ function. The former is an editing tool that allows the image from the front camera to be cropped in to an image from the rear-camera when taken through the split-camera mode. The latter feature allows you to combine two individual selfies to see what the two faces combined would look like. The result is usually rather odd or just plain comical. Think of it as an elaborate take on the face swap apps that litter app stores. A ‘photo-booth’ function snaps four quick images at once and stitches them together to produce a better photo. Some of these functions are already available on the HTC Desire 820 – which is similar to the Eye in that it carries a 13MP selfie camera but doesn’t boast the same high-end specs – and will roll out on other HTC devices under the ‘Eye Experience’ branding.

Another visual aspect that HTC is debuting on the new device is a video calling feature that makes the most of its 13MP front lens. As a result, the front camera boasts a unique new software that allows it to track your face (a bit like what Amazon did with its 3D imaging software for its Fire phone, through the use of five front cameras). HTC has built the software on top of its rather large front lens to hold the main object – i.e. you – in the centre of a frame, even when you’re on the move. The Taiwanese manufacturer hopes this will encourage more people to video call from its device while out and about. The software can also recognise when it is filming additional people during a video chat. It will subsequently zoom in on each individual and allocate them a section of the display, in a visual format not too dissimilar to Google Hangouts – although in the case of the Desire Eye, all the people need to be filmed through its lens for it to work and therefore cannot be in different locations.

Additional features include an instant beautification function (as seen on other handsets, such as the Huawei Ascend P7 – another selfie device) to smooth out blemishes. The camera can also be operated via voice control and boasts a screen-sharing feature for video-calls.

Rounding out the handset will be those core One M8 specs we love so much. The Desire Eye will come packing a 801 Snapdragon quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, expandable to 128GB via a microSD card and a 2,400 mAh battery. On top of that it has the great Boomsound audio quality and motion launch function of the One M8. Finally, unlike HTC’s flagship, the Deisre Eye has an IPX7 waterproof rating – meaning it can be submerged in water up to one meter.

HTC states that the Desire Eye will be released in the UK in early November. The pricing as yet has not been revealed.

Finally, HTC also revealed that its Zoe photo app will now be coming out of beta. The Zoe app is a social platform that allows users to share photos and videos, a lot like Instagram.

About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

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