HTC has announced the HTC RE, a little portable ergonomic-mobile-friendly portable camera. The HTC RE was designed to be use in one hand and stream photos and videos directly to your smartphone. In this article we’ll take a closer look at the RE camera key features and see why you also should be excited about this new little camera.
I have to give it to HTC for being very innovative this time, and I think that the HTC RE will appeal to a large audience of enthusiast mobile phone phtogoraphers and for every person looking for a camera this is very portable, waterproof and very easy to yes, I repeat, very easy to use. So what is this RE camera exactly?
First of all, RE, as far as I understood is, is short for “Remarkable”. This is according to the official video, an evolution of the stills/video camera.
As you can see from the above product rendering, the RE camera was designed with a unique ergonomic design and with great simplicity. The RE camera is unique in the market because it lacks any viewfinder and operates using two buttons found on the front and back. You use a short press on the button at the back of the camera to capture stills and long press to capture videos. The front button is used to switch between slow-motion and regular videos.
The HTC RE is a standalone digital camera, which means that it’s not dependent on a mobile device connectivity to operate. The RE camera is equipped with a 8GB micorSD memory card which is used to store your photos and videos. The RE is compatible with microSD cards up to 128GB.
You have the option to remotely bind the HTC RE with an external mobile phone device using the RE App for Android and iOS. Using the RE app you can use your phone as a remote viewfinder for the RE camera and have a live view of the scene and see through the lens of the RE camera. You can also control trigger the shutter from the phone itself. Using the RE app it’s easier to view and share your RE stills and video clips with other people online. It’s the same type of functionality that you get with a conventional Wi-Fi-enabled digital camera. It also allows time-lapse recording over WiFi.
The RE app features:
- Trigger stills, video and time-lapse recording
- Remote viewer
- Geo-tag images (the HTC RE doesn’t have a built-in GPS)
- Backup your images using Google+ Photo synchronization or Dropbox photo synchronization function (backup your photos on the cloud)
- Flight safety mode
- Format the memory card
- Software update
The RE camera has a 16MP 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS sensor with a 146-degree ultra-wide angle lens with f/2.8 lens aperture. 146° field of view is equivalent to 17mm focal length on a 35mm camera (the actual focal length is 4.1mm). This a very wide angle, much wider than the iPhone 6 29mm (rear camera), the LG G3 29mm (rear camera) and the Sony Xperia Z3 (25mm, rear camera) — all in 35mm equivalent focal lengths. The wide angle is suitable for many type os shots and video scenes, especially when shooting selfies, group shots, interiors, creative shots from different angles, etc. Of course the main advantage of this camera that it’s pocketable, so it’s not a burden to carry around.
Because the HTC RE camera can produce quite heavy distortions due to its very wide angle of view, the camera has a built-in image distortion correction function. By default this features is active, so you get a non-distorted image, but you can choose to have it in the ultra-wide-angle mode that doesn’t correct the distortions.
Added to this is the fact that the HTC RE is also IPX7 water-resistant (IPX8 with the waterproof cap, sold separately).
- IPX7 – Protected against water immersion – Immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter.
- IPX8 – Protected against water submersion – According to this page, the waterproof increases to 3 meters and up to 2 hours
The HTC RE camera weights only 65 grams and it’s made of glossy plastic. The RE has a front capacitive sensor that automatically detects when you hold the HTC Re in your hand and automatically turns on the camera. This has two advantages: the RE camera is ready to shoot the moment you hold it in your hand, and second, it prevents accidental capture when the RE camera is in your pocket.
HTC RE Camera time-lapse video:
The RE camera is fully automatic camera, and it was designed to offer the fastest and most convenient way to capture spontaneous moments. No more missing important shots. You don’t have to unlock your phone, run an app, compose your shot and tap to capture. With the Re camera you just point-and-shoot.. and in fact, it’s the camera that best answer to the term point-and-shoot in my opinion. Indeed, without using the mobile phone for composing your shot and without having any viewfinder on the camera itself, you might get the composition in correctly. That said, this is a small compromise you have to leave with, and remember, we are not in the film days, you can capture many shots one after the other and later on decide which photo to save and which to delete.
I think that the easiest way to compose the image is to keep your hand in a straight line as your eye sight, so that increases the changes that you get a bad composed image. Above that, the wide-angle lens ensures that even if the camera differs slightly from the subject direction, you’ll still be able to get the subject in frame.
Does the HTC RE camera has an optical image stabilization? — No, the HTC RE camera doesn’t have a built-in optical image stabilization.
The RE camera has a 820mAh battery which rated to 1600 frame or an hour and a half video recording. The battery is charged via a microUSB interface. Other features include a Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n specification and built-in microphone. The Re camera is available ins four colors at launch, including white, teal, orange and navy blue and we’ll be sold for $199.99 at launch.
HTC also introduces a large range of optional RE accessories that you can equip the RE camera with. This includes: RE Bar mount with adjustable clamp, the RE clip-on, RE charging stand, RE suction mount, RE A/C charger, RE head mount, RE car charger, RE extended battery (portable battery stick) and RE protection pack . Quite a lot of accessories I have to say. You’ll need one of more of those accessories if you want to mount the RE camera to your bike, desk, helmet or backpack for example. This certainly opens up a whole new world of creative possibilities for the amateur photographer. You’ll come home with more unique shots and record your precious memories of special moments that you’ve gone throughout your day.
Alongside the RE camera release, HTC also released an API/SDK for developers that allows taking advantage of the camera hardware features and develop app for iOS and Android devices that are dedicated to the HTC RE camera.
Let’s take a look at a few videos taken with the HTC RE..
HTC RE sample video shot from an helicopter over New York, shows the advantage of shooting with a 17mm wide-angle lens (inc. slow-motion)
Another camera footage by Engadget
Pretty good quality I have to say, as long as this camera gets good light it can produce good quality captures. The f/2.8 and BSI sensor should promote a relative good low-light performance, but don’t expect any miracles. There isn’t any on-board flash so you are dependent on the ambient light.
HTC RE Camera vs GoPro
The question that you might ask yourself is whether this pretty little gadget worth $200 and how it compares to GoPro cameras. GoPro is the choice of professionals, and the RE camera wasn’t intended to compete with that. I wouldn’t choose the RE camera for extreme sports shooting, for that I have the GoPro that I can buy starting from around $150 depends on the model. The new GoPro Hero, which is an entry-level model costs around €125 and offers 1080p30 / 720p60 video recording, has 40m waterproof housing, ultra-wide FOV, 5MP captures, 5 fps burst, interval shooting, f/2.8 lens with high-quality optics and much more.
As you go up from the basic Hero model you can find the GoPro Hero3, Hero3+ and Hero 4. The Hero4 sells for $399.99 on Amazon for the Silver edition , which is the most popular edition (#1 best seller in Camcorders on amazon.com). The Black edition is 100 Euro more expensive than the Silver model. It can shoot 4K30 videos, as well as 2.7K50 and 1080p120 fps videos. It has 12MP stills and 30 fps burst shooting mode. It has 40m waterproof design, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, manual exposure control, it records high-fidelity sound and accepts external stereo mics. You have complete control over the ISO, White Balance, Exposure and other advanced camera settings.
All in all, the GoPro camera is not comparable to the HTC RE — it’s a camera in its own league for what it was designed for. It’s much more durable, flexible, advanced and more powerful in every way than the HTC RE, but it’s less portable. The GoPro camera has a large selection of complimentary accessories and mounts to fit every type of shooting style.
Take a look at this amazing GoPro Hero4 4K video.
WOW!!! – Not even comparable to anything that you’ll be able to get with the HTC RE. The image quality is just mind blowing and the creative product of human imagination is just unbelievable using this product. Again, do you still thinking those two products are even comparable?
The HTC RE was designed to a different audience. Amateur photographers that want a very convenient (fully automatic) way to capture spontaneous moments on the go. If you compare the HTC RE to the GoPro price wise, the HTC RE is relatively very expensive. I’m sure that many people will find it useful for their needs, but if size isn’t of a concern and you need a portable camera for a serious work, GoPro is the way to go.
The HTC RE camera is a cute little gadget that I’m sure many people will find useful for getting beautiful captures on a daily basis. This is no doubt a camera that best answers the term “point-and-shoot”. A pocket underwater camera with wireless capability, wide angle of view, fast aperture and high-res photos — all that packed in a stylish compelling an ergonomic design, you can’t go wrong with this product.
It isn’t cheap, and for some people it’s an unnecessary product. You need to ask yourself whether this little camera has any advantages as a sole product compared to your mobile phone camera.I personally I feel that it will less bother me to take photos in public places, and I can just take the HTC RE camera out of my pocket and grab that shot. It’s great for taking pictures of spontaneous moments and watch them later at home or on your phone later on the day.
Those pictures are automatically backed up in the cloud using the built-in app, so you know your photos are secured and it’s easy to share them with others.I think it’s also cool to just shoot quick snaps during the day and come home and watch those photos and videos later on, when you have more free time to enjoy them. I wish it was less expensive, but overall I like this product quite a bit.
No doubt that for professional work I would choose GoPro every day, but for everyday snapping, the HTC RE camera is a very compelling product. Just take it out of your pocket and click to take the shot, put it back in your pocket and move on — Super simple, even your grandmother can use it (maybe I’ll buy this for my grandmother..mm.. excellent idea!).What’s your opinion about the HTC RE unique camera design, do you like it, hate it? — share your thoughts in the comment section below, and thanks for reading. Oh, don’t forget to share this article if you enjoy reading it. Cheers.