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HTC Re review - now with YouTube live-streaming support

Richard Easton
8 Jan 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
129
inc VAT

The HTC Re has a unique design that makes it a delight to carry around but it feels like a first attempt at an action camera for HTC

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Specifications

Sensor: 1/2.3in Sony CMOS, Sensor pixels: Not disclosed, Max recording resolution: 1080p (30fps), AV connections: None, Size (HxWxD): 97.7x26.5mm, Weight: 66.5g, Warranty: One-year RTB

There are essentially three types of action camera: boxy, miniaturised cameras like the GoPro Hero3; long, tubular-bodied cameras like the Ion Air Pro 3 Wi-Fi and flat, squat-bodied cams such as the Drift Innovation Ghost-S. HTC’s Re, however, is a complete change from the norm. We imagine HTC drew inspiration from periscopes when coming up with the unique design, but the people we asked said it resembled a smoker’s pipe or an asthma inhaler depending on the colour. The Re is available in white, blue, orange and pink, although some colours will be exclusive to certain retailers. 

The tall, elongated design has both advantages and disadvantages. The Re is incredibly comfortable to grip, feeling intuitive to hold and direct the lens, capturing every moment as still images or 1080p video. It’s waterproof but isn’t ruggedized so isn’t designed to be thrown around. You’re safe down depths of 1m for up to 30 minutes, which doesn’t come close to matching many of its rivals. You can buy an optional cap for greater depths, but HTC has yet to confirm how much this will cost.

A grip sensor automatically turns the camera when you pick it up on so there’s less chance of missing a moment. The large shutter button rests comfortably under your thumb and another button on the front toggles slow-motion video. There are no other controls on the camera itself, keeping operation simple.

HTC Re in hand

The small speaker emits a shutter sound when you take photos or start capturing video and you can adjust the volume from the Re’s companion app on iOS or Android. Your fingers naturally obstruct the speaker when gripping the camera, however, so unless you increase the volume the noise is muffled and you can’t hear it. With the shutter sound turned off, it’s not obvious if the Re is recording unless you’re looking directly at the shutter button’s blinking LED, which glows blue when in slow-motion mode and blinks red when recording video.

This isn’t practical if you’re shooting with an outstretched arm, or if the camera is mounted out of sight. We would have preferred haptic feedback, at least to indicate when video is being captured. Action cameras like the Ion Air Pro 3 will vibrate when it begins recording, which is perfect if the camera is mounted to a helmet or you’re in a loud environment.

HTC Re front LEDs

Capturing selfies and fleeting moments is certainly one of the Re’s strong points. There’s something incredibly convenient about being able to just grab the Re from a pocket to capture a moment with its wide-angle lens. Its fast operation is a real positive compared to grabbing your smartphone, after which time the moment might be gone. The inconspicuous design is a bonus too.

HTC Re base

A Micro USB charging port and microSD card slot are hidden behind a plastic flap on the bottom of the Re. An 8GB microSD card is included in the box but up to 128GB cards are supported. There’s also a standard tripod thread on the bottom, meaning you can use the HTC Re with a whole host of mounts. The placement of the charging port means you can’t charge the Re while it’s mounted or even just stood up on its base, which immediately rules out long videos or time lapses. It would have made more sense for the charging jack to be on the side of the tubular body.

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