HTC Desire Eye vs iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G3 vs Sony Xperia Z3 Camera Comparison

October 9, 2014

HTC Desire Eye rear camera

HTC pushing digital imaging innovation forward with the new HTC Desire EYE smartphone and the new RE, a small handheld wireless camera. It’s great to see something different in the mobile photography business. There is plenty to talk about, so let’s take a look at the HTC Desire EYE, see what so special about them and see how the HTC Desire Eye is compared to the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z3 cameras.

Before we start comparing the HTC Desire EYE vs the iPhone 6, LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z3, let’s first take a close look at the Desire Eye key features.

HTC Desire Eye Camera Features

The HTC Eye smartphone was designed from the ground up to satisfy the demands of people who love taking photos and don’t want to compromise image quality and advanced features. Those who want to be more creative with their camera, take gorgeous selfies, shoot beautiful high-quality videos in both daylight and low-light.

HTC Desire Eye front and rear cameras

HTC Desire Eye front and rear cameras

The HTC Desire Eye features a two high-resolution front and rear cameras. The rear camera has a 13MP 1/3.06″ (4.69 x 3.52 mm) BSI-CMOS sensor and 28mm F/2.0 (35mm equivalent) lens. The rear camera uses the same Sony IMX214 Stacked CMOS Exmor RS image sensor module as the rear camera, but has a wider angle of view of 22mm instead of 28mm and a F/2.2 aperture lens, which is 0.275 stops slower (1.21x times less light) compared to the rear camera. The sensor incorporates closer photodiodes placement for better low-light gathering efficiency and reduce crosstalk, reduced power consumption compared to the IMX135. The result is a smartphone camera that can take clearer pictures and higher quality videos. This is the first time this type of sensor is implemented in the front camera. This is also the main selling point for the device, a high-res fast, dual-LED flash front-facing camera.

22mm vs 28mm focal length angle of view

22mm vs 28mm focal length's angle of view comparison

The above image illustrated the difference between 22mm and 28mm equivalent focal lengths. The rear camera was designed to offer a wider field of view to allows more subjects on the scene to fit into the frame. Of course you’ll use this camera to take selfies or group shots in most cases. This is where where the wider angle of view can help, as it allows you to shoot selfies without the need to hold the camera much further away from you, and it allows more people to be visible in the frame when shooting groupfies (group selfies). Both cameras have a 1.12 µm pixels, which is an average size, not as high as some other phone cameras on the market.

The front lens is a bit slower, but that’s probably due to be able to maintain the slim profile and probably to not make the camera more expensive, so it’s affordable to a larger percentage of consumers.

The HTC Desire EEYE smartphone is also water resistant with IP 67 rating, which basically means that you can use it up to 1 meter underwater (freshwater) for up to 30 minutes. Both cameras employ a dual-LED flash.

It’s worth mentioning that the HTC Desire Eye is not the first phone to have a high-res front-facing camera. In fact, the Oppo N1 also has a 13MP camera with dual-LED flash, but instead of having two cameras, rear and front, the Oppo N1 has a rotating camera, so you enjoy the advantages of a single high-quality camera for both rear and front capturing. This is my favorite innovation and I personally don’t know what other companies haven’t replicated this, it’s a very cool idea.

Both the front and rear cameras can shoot at a maximum ISO3200, which should pretty much suffice for most low-light situations, and it’s of course much noisier at higher ISO speeds. The lowest shutter speed is 1/9 sec. but unfortunately the HTC Desire Eye lacks an optical image stabilization. There is a dedicated camera button, which you can use to quickly snap photos.

Here’s a list of the HTC Desire Eye main features (HTC EYE Experience):

  • Face Tracking
  • Selfie Effects
  • Wake your camera with Motion Launch Snap
  • Instant selfies and videos using voice commands
  • Auto selfies by just raising your phone and smiling (smile detection)
  • Enhanced group video calls (up to 4 people) – takes advantage of the Face tracking technology so you always stay in focus (compatible with Skype, Line, Hangrouts, and more)
  • Real-time screen sharing
  • Split Capture – simultaneous front and back camera captures for both stills and mobie clips. The photo or video will include both you and the subject side by side
  • Crop-Me-In tool – Embed your portrait onto the scene taken from the rear camera. The camera combines your selfie without the background from the front-camera and merged it seamlessly with the front camera background capture
  • Face Fusion – Merge two faces into one new Face. Use this features to mash two portrait images and you can control which face will be more prominent in the final image. For example, you can mash your portrait with the face of a celebrity – how cool is that!
  • Live Makeup – effects designed for taking the perfect selfies
  • Photo Booth – vintage photo effect to enhance your slefie pictures  (using 4 photos)

The HTC Desire Eye can capture Full HD videos in 30 frames per second, unibody camera design, the phone has a 5.2-inch 1920×1080 pixels display, 2GB RAM, Boom front stereo speakers, 2.3GHz Quad-core processor, 16GB built-in storage, 2500 mAh battery (not replaceable).

The HTC Eye is certainly an excellent option for people that love taking lots of photos and best of all, enjoy shooting lots of selfies. The Desire EYE is a selfie-oriented camera, and one that comes with an very high-res front-camera and many cool software features that were designed to compliment that high-quality camera and give you hours of  creative and fun time with it. Having a front camera that is capable of capturing high-quality photos as the rear camera is certainly a huge plus and put it in a very competitive position compared to other flagship smartphones. It always makes me wonder why couldn’t apple come up with this.. oh, I see, it wanted to make the phone slimmer, and that’s more important than a higher-quality front-facing camera :)

Desire Eye vs iPhone 6 vs LG G3 vs Xperia Z3

OK, nough talking, let’s move on to see how the HTC Desire Eye cameras are compared to the iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus, LG G3 and the Sony Xperia Z3 cameras. Should the HTC Desire Eye be your next smartphone? Is it better than the iPhone 6 Plus for taking photos? — Let’s find out!

HTC Desire Eye size comparison

HTC Desire Eye size comparison (click to view on

Desire EyeiPhone 6 / 6 PlusLG G3Xperia Z3

Rear Camera

SensorSony Exmor RS IMX214
1/3.06" (4.69x3.52 mm)
1.12 µm pixels

reduced height structure

*IMX214 improved over the IMX135
(aka iSight)
Sony ISX014

1/3.0" (4.89x3.67mm)
1.5 µm pixels

Sony IMX135
1/3.06" (4.69x3.52 mm)
1.12 µm pixels

Sony Exmor RS IMX220
1/2.3" (6.17x4.55mm)
1.2 µm pixels


AF SystemContrast-detectionHybrid

On-sensor Phase-detection +
Contrast-detection AF
uses Laser AF system +
Contrast-detect AF
Contrast-detect AF
Lens28mm (35mm equiv,)
F/2.0 aperture
Largan Precision Optics
29mm (35mm equiv.)
F/2.2 aperture

- Hybrid IR Filter
- 5 elements plastic
- Sapphire Crystal glass (protection)
29mm (35mm equiv.)
F/2.4 aperture

- 5 elements plastic
- Sapphire Crystal glass (protection)
Sony G
25mm (35mm equiv.)
F/2.0 aperture
Image StabilizationDigital6+ : Optical + Cinema Digital
6: Cinema Digital

SteadyShot™ video stabilization
Max ISO32002000290012800
FlashDual LEDDual LED
("True Tone Flash")
Dual LED
("True Tone Flash")
Pulsed Single LED
Video1080p30 (front as well)1080p60
1080p30 (front as well)
720p240 (slo-mo)
2160p30 (4K)
1080p30 (front as well)
720p120 (slo-mo)
2160p30 (4K)
1080p30 (front as well)
720p120 (slo-mo)
Water Resistant
IP67 rating

- Dust tight

- Up to 1.0m immersion for up to 30 minutes in fresh water
NoNoIP65/68 rating

- Up to 1.5m immersion for up to 30 minutes in fresh water

- Dust tight

- Protected against low-pressure jets of water from all directions

Front (Selfie) Camera

Front (Selfie) Camera
Sony IMX214


28mm (equiv.) F/2.2 lens

31mm (equiv.) F/2.2
Sony IMX208


1.4µm pixels

1.8mm (non-equiv.) F/2.0 lens
Other Features- Improved Face Tracking
- Selfie effects
- Motion Launches camera app
- Instant and Auto selfies
- Video using voice command
- Enhanced group video calls
- Real-time screen sharing
- Split capture
- Crop-Me-In tool
- Face Fusion
- Live Makeup
- Photo Booth

and more
10 fps in continuous shooting mode
- (Improved) Face detection
- HDR video
- Self-timer (3 or 10 seconds)
- Real-time Image filters
- Exposure Compensation
- Manual exposure control (exposure, ISO, shutter speed, aperture)
- Picture during video
- Panorama
- Time-lapse videos
- Continuous AF in video

and more
- ISO control
- Burst shooting
- Panorama
- Smile detection
- Simplified UI (cleaner)
- Touch & Shoot (one touch to focus and shoot)
- HDR mode
- "Dual" shooting mode (Picture-in-picture)
- Magic Focus (area to sharpen in the image)

and more
Face Detection
- Panorama
- Capture photos while shooting videos
- ISO control
- Time-shift (30 shots in 2 seconds) = burst mode
- Image effects
- Self-timer
- Smile detection
- Continuous AF in video

and more

As you can see from the above Desire Eye vs iPhone 6 vs G3 vs Z3 camera specs comparison table, there are significant differences between those four devices (five if you count both iPhone 6 Plus). We can see what makes the HTC Desire Eye  so.. well.. Desirable.  It has by far the best selfie camera among the five devices. Indeed, the resolution might not play such a huge role for people who prefer a better low-light performance for video chat and low-light selfies, and some people might not prefer having their portraits in very high resolution. That said, the front camera high resolution compliment the software features, and that’s where the fun part begins. The dual side by side photo and video capture, the selfie effects and crop-me-in tool, there are just a few features that take advantage of the high quality front camera.

HTC Desire Eye 1080p sample video by GSMArena

The selfie camera will give you the same image quality as the rear camera, but the rear camera is slightly faster and has a narrower field of view. Pictures will look slightly better because the camera can shoot at faster aperture and therefore reduce the need of a higher ISO speed in certain type of shots. The optical lens design is different, so that something (although not tested yet) that can have an implication on the final IQ.

Image quality is very good, and noise is handled quite well. I expected it to be more prominent, but very impressed with what I’ve seen so far.  The Sony Xperia Z3 rear camera has the widest field of view of 25mm. It also enjoys the fastest aperture together with the Desire EYE – both having f2.0 aperture. The LG G3 has the slowest aperture among the five cameras. f/2.4 is approx. 0.5-stop slower than f/2.0, which means that the lens transmits 1.44 times less light.  That said, the LG G3 has smaller pixels than the Z3.

The Desire EYE utilizes a new Sony Exmor RS IMX214 sensor which has an improved design over the IMX135 of the LG G3. The reduce height structure and the reduction in the lens gaps allowed to improve the image quality. Considering both have the same resolution and sensor size, and in fact, the IMX214 inherits most of the IMX135 features but improved upon them, we should expect a better performance from the Desire EYE. The Desire EYE also has a faster aperture, so all in all, the Desire Eye should outperform the LG G3 in the IQ department, but that still yet to be seen.

Having said that, the LG G3 utilizes some premium technologies, including an optical image stabilization and the Laser AF system, both are absent on the Desire Eye, which should give the LG G3 a significant AF performance and stabilization advantages. The LG G3 can also record 4K video s and have 120fps slow-mo vids. The LG G3 is not water-resistant, but it’s in my opinion has the most advanced features that enthusiast photographers need. Selfie wise, the Desire Eye certainly looks more interesting and offers the best selfie features among the five cameras. This phone will certainly appeal to those who like to take lots of selfies wherever they are and share them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

The iPhone 6 Plus already owned the #1 position in DxOMark test so it’s a leader as far as image quality goes. The iPhone 6 Plus OIS and the advanced Cinematic Digital stabilization certainly helps when shooting in low-light and when recording videos. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cannot compete against the Desire Eye as far as image quality and built-in selfie features. In fact, the Desire Eye is in my opinion, one of the best if not The Best selfie-oriented smartphones on the market right now.  Let’s not forget that it’s also water-resistant – a lesser degree than the Xperia Z3, but better than having a non WR phone. I know, you probably already imaging yourself shooting amazing underwater selfies at the pool – that could be awesome, have to try that myself sometime.

All in all, The HTC Desire EYE brings something different to the market. I’m sure that now other companies will also upgrade their front-facing camera to one that it in higher-quality. It’s time to move forward, and it’s great that in some areas, HTC does that earlier than the competition. Still there are features that are still missing (e.g. OIS, phase-detect AF), but for those selfie enthusiasts out there, you should certainly take a look at the Desire Eye – It might be the perfect phone you’ve been waiting for.

I personally find the LG G3 to be my top pick, mostly for its incredible AF performance, optical stabilization and image quality. I mainly shoot with the rear camera and less into selfies and such. So the HTC Desire Eye might not be the perfect phone for me, but I’m sure that it has a wide audience that is waiting to buy it. So again, if you are a SELFIE ADDICT – the HTC Desire Eye is the phone for you.

Check out the mobile phone size comparison that shows the Desire Eye size versus the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Xperia Z3 and LG G3!

What’s your opinion, do you like the new HTC Desire Eye or you’ll pass? — share your opinion in the comment section below. Thanks for reading.

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