HTC Desire Eye camera review: an eye for detail

With millions of selfies being uploaded on social networks every day, it’s clear that the selfie phenomenon is here to stay. And, it seems that HTC is poised to take the biggest advantage of this with its Desire Eye. While most manufacturers are now offering 5- or even 8-megapixel shooters at the front, HTC has gone a step further by offering a 13MP secondary camera –  that too with a dual-LED flash to capture selfies in low-light environments. But enough about tech specs – the real question is whether all this is actually useful. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the shots taken by the front snapper of the HTC Desire Eye.“Can the Desire Eye live up to its name with its camera performance? Let’s find out”

Front camera

HTC Desire Eye front camera performance

Taken with the 13-megapixel front camera adorning the HTC Desire Eye, the image displays excellent colours without missing on details. The gloss on the subject is also captured well, along with the reflection of light on it.

Front camera in low light

HTC Desire Eye front camera review - low-light shot

It’s no surprise that the camera will face difficulty in shooting in poor lighting conditions, and the shot reflects the same. While the subject is visible, the image is extremely noisy.

Front camera in low light with flash

HTC Desire Eye front camera review - low-light shot with flash

This is one area where the Desire Eye shows why it’s a worthy offering for selfie enthusiasts. With its strong dual-tone LED flash, the device can shoot good images even in the dark.

While the front camera seems to be the star of the show in the Desire Eye, for shutterbugs, its rear camera performance also matters. In terms of optics, the primary snapper is same as the front camera, i.e. a 13MP sensor with dual-tone LED flash, but has a wider f/2.0 aperture. Here are a few shots taken by the main camera of the Desire Eye at 4:3 aspect ratio.

Long shot

HTC Desire Eye camera review - long shot

While the image looks fine at first glance and shows enough detail  even after zooming in, there’s noticeable amount of blurriness. The reason is that the focus is centre-weighted and not balanced for the whole scene.

Close up

HTC Desire Eye camera quality - close up

Compared to the previous image, this shot taken at the close quarters with the 13-megapixel primary sensor on the Desire Eye manages to impress. Even though it has tight focus, both leaves and their petals are easily discernible and colours also seem natural.

Close up (zoomed in)

HTC Desire Eye camera quality - close up (zoomed in)

Magnifying on the same image doesn’t destroy its beauty. In fact, if anything, it makes it even better since the tight focus gives it a nice depth-of-field effect. There’s no loss of sharpness and colours are also pleasing.

HDR off

HTC Desire Eye camera sample - HDR off

Here is a standard shot taken to gauge the HDR capabilities of the smartphone’s camera. In normal settings, the image shows a good amount of detail and colours, but let’s see if the HDR mode manages to improve it further.

HDR on

HTC Desire Eye camera sample - HDR on

With HDR on, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference… although the contrast is slightly better, it suffers from whites which are prominent when you see the colour of the sky, especially towards the left.

Low-light shot

HTC Desire Eye camera test - low-light shot

Most phones struggle in dimly-lit environments and the HTC Desire Eye is no different. While the globe is slightly visible in the shot embedded above thanks to its white colour, the ball alongside is hardly noticeable.

Low-light shot with flash

HTC Desire Eye camera test - low-light shot with flash

With the use of dual-tone LED flash of the Desire Eye, the whole scene comes to life and so do the objects we wanted to capture. The image offers good detail and the flash isn’t as overpowering as we’ve seen with many devices.

Night shot

HTC Desire Eye camera review - night shot

At night with only street lights as the light source, the phablet manages to capture the entire scene well with enough details. However, the image suffers from the same problem as our long shot, i.e. the focus is biased towards the centre resulting in blurriness on the sides when viewed in actual resolution.

The HTC Desire Eye is certainly a one-of-a-kind device with a pair of good snappers both at the front and the back. However, the rear camera isn’t the best we’ve came across, especially because of its metering mechanism. The front camera gains an edge because of the high resolution, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the perfect choice for selfie addicts. However, the front LED flash, which is a rarity, makes it a option worth considering.

The cameras are just one aspect of the HTC Desire Eye, and that’s why you should keep an eye out (pun intended) for our review where we will discuss everything about the smartphone in detail.

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One of the earliest members of the 91mobiles' editorial team, Nitansh is a walking encyclopaedia of product specs. Name a phone and he’ll tell you the specifics on screen resolution, processor and camera without blinking an eyelid. Ask him if he remembers the launch date of a noteworthy phone, and he'll tell you the dates when the device first leaked, its global unveil, its Indian launch, and when it got a significant update. He’s a lover of all things Android, and loves writing reviews and scouting for new apps. A Wordpress whiz, he’s always ready to help out a fellow writer. While he juggles between many things at 91mobiles, he always manages to find time to write. In his non-tech avatar, Nitansh is a philatelist, which is a fancy word for stamp-collector.