DESIGN - 9.5
PERFORMANCE - 9.7
FEATURES - 9.3
BATTERY LIFE - 8.5
PRICE - 8
At some point in a person’s life they have taken a photo of themselves and this has been a constant in human history. The only thing that has changed over the centuries has been the tools used to capture our own image. We have moved from stone to paint and canvas to film and in the age of modern technology computers, smartphones and tablets. Humanity has always been in love with its own image, now called a selfie, and is always searching for the next great tool to capture it.
HTC has stepped up and decided to create such a tool. The HTC Desire EYE is that tool and if you love taking selfies then this phone is a step in the right direction. With Dual 13-megapixel cameras and Dual two-tone LED flashes present on this phone you can say goodbye to having to stand in a mirror to take that great selfie or hoping your aim is spot on with your rear-facing camera.
Although this camera is a selfie lover’s dream, the cameras are just the toping of this red velvet cake of smartphones and just for the record guys love red velvet cake too. Its design and specs are those of a great device making this a must have smartphone for cataloging you in your daily adventures.
The HTC Desire EYE measures 5.97 x 2.91in. The EYE is only 0.33 in thick and weighs 0 .34 pounds (154 g). When held in my hand (right-handed) I found the phone a little large and it was difficult trying to reach across to the upper left, having to readjust my grip on the phone in order to reach far corners.
Still despite the size of this device, HTC has outdone itself with the new Desire EYE, finding a way to create two distinct tones in one piece of plastic giving the phone its seamless, clean and minimalist design and look.
My first thought when I looked at the demo unit I received was that the color scheme made me think of Red Velvet Cake. Hats off to HTC’s design team, keep up the work. Though some may see fault in the plastic (polycarbonate) body but it feels premium and provides a good grip.
The volume and power buttons are located on the upper right edge of the phone and the dedicated camera button is on the lower right. The buttons are slightly raised, not enough to take away from the streamline appearance of the phone. I have found the buttons feel to be a little soft but nothing to interfere with my everyday use.
The nano-SIM and microSD trays on the left edge feel solid, are easy to access and stay closed thanks to a small rubber seal. The Desire EYE is also water-resistant up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
The internal Boomsound speakers on the Desire EYE are some of the best I’ve heard and are ingeniously hidden just above and below the screen, providing solid stereo separation.
As previously mentioned the Desire EYE comes packed with Dual 13-megapixel cameras and Dual two-tone LED flashes. The front facing camera has a f/2.2 aperture and rear camera has an aperture of f/2.0 allowing the cameras to suck in as much light as possible in low light settings.
What also lies beneath the skin of this selfie behemoth and drives this device is the Snapdragon 801, 2.3 GHz processor with 2GB RAM. These specs make this capable of more than just taking selfies.
The 5.2-inch IPS (In-plane switching) 1080p screen on the EYE is both bright and vibrant. The 1080p resolution on this device ensures sharp enough viewing of all your media, whether reading or streaming videos on YouTube, you are provided with crisp and clear viewing. We can’t very well forget the big screen on the EYE which makes this a pleasure to use for browsing the web, watching a movie or reading an eBook.
With the inclusion of an IPS screen colors are richer which makes icons pop off the screen and improves video viewing. Viewing angles and screen responsiveness are greatly improved.
As a multimedia device the Desire EYE is quite capable, for alongside the 5.2-inch screen, HTC includes their BoomSound Technology which offers rich clear audio whether watching movies, listening to music (Miles Davis being my preference most mornings), gaming or surfing YouTube.
The Desire EYE is currently only available on the AT&T’s 4G cellular network and is $150 with contract. Although the Desire EYE comes in two color options: white with blue trim and white with red trim, the latter is only available in the US market.
Call quality on the Desire EYE is solid and the internal speakers are as clear as the external ones. When at maximum volume it’s very loud but this produces some voice distortion. If you often have problems hearing the other end or your call you will appreciate the punch of the Desire EYE’s earpiece.
Voice one the receiving ends of your calls is also clear, due to the noise-cancelling mic on the back of the phone which filters out background noise and makes a huge difference when you’re in a noisy environment and you need to make a phone call.
Media being an important aspect of all smart devices available today, where and how much space we have to store music, videos and photos maybe even more important than the files themselves. That is not a concern with the EYE; it comes with 16GB internal storage and has the option to expand up an additional 128GB via a microSD card. Therefore you can selfie and pretty much make a movie if you so desire.
Sporting a 2,400mAh cell (that is inaccessible), the Desire Eye totes an impressive 10 hour battery life (from a full charge) when under heaving usage (video streaming and all social notifications active. However, if you are not consuming large quantities of data on a minute by minute basis the EYE can sometimes go up to two days before having to recharge and that’s without the Extreme Power Saver mode kicking in.
The Desire EYE comes loaded with Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) which is a stable platform with HTC Sense layered over it. However, I could not help but wonder how the device would handle Andorid’s new 5.0 (Lollipop) OS. After completing my search I found that the Desire EYE should be receiving the 5.0 update in the following 2 months.
The Snapdragon 801 processor is the chip of choice among many top smartphone makers and the Desire EYE has joined that family. This processor coupled with the 2GB of onboard ram gives the EYE all the power it needs. The Eye does not stumble or miss a beat when running up to twelve apps in the background proving it isn’t just another pretty face.
To match the cameras on this phone HTC has included a ranged of shooting modes into the EYE, some of them are functional others are just fun to use. The most interesting is the face transplanting from one person to another, and the results aren’t that bad. You also can have complete control over camera settings ranging from ISO to setting White Balance, giving you the power to take the photo just the way you want.
In benchmark scores the device does very well rating this phone as a great phone to have. The Ice Storm Unlimited score of 16505 makes the Desire EYE great for android gaming, while the Geekbench score of 2843 ensures that it will power through productivity apps.
Connectivity and Features
HTC hasn’t skimped on the Desire EYE’s connectivity, including GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi – but not the fastest 802.11ac standard. It comes with the usual sensors, such as accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. What’s missing is an infrared blaster, so you can’t use the EYE as a remote, also there’s no barometer for tracking elevation in fitness apps.
The only issue I found with the Desire EYE was that it was a little to large and at times I couldn’t use one hand to navigate the phone. For some the size of the phone would not be an issue since the overall size of smartphones is getting larger.
Now that I have said that, the HTC Desire EYE is a selfie-lover’s dream, and as a phone it isn’t too shabby if I say so. The phone performs no matter what is thrown at it and performs well. Being water resistant is always a great addition so there is no need to purchase a 3rd party case (usually huge) to protect your phone, leaving you able to enjoy the beautiful design of this device.
The camera software is fun and simple to use providing you with filters and the editing power before you upload to you favorite social media platform.
Bottom line, if you love taking selfies and want a phone that does this well without sacrificing the power and functionality of a smartphone then the Desire EYE is the phone to get.
Photo Credit: Sherridon Poyer