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HTC Re review – now with YouTube live-streaming support

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


Sensor: 1/2.3in Sony CMOS, Sensor pixels: Not disclosed, Max recording resolution: 1080p (30fps), AV connections: None, Size (HxWxD): 97.7×26.5mm, Weight: 66.5g, Warranty: One-year RTB


As there’s obviously no LCD screen to compose your shots or view your images, you’ll need to use the Re app for iOS or Android. We were impressed with how intuitive the app was; after initially pairing your smartphone via Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi direct connection is created automatically to view files or transfer them across to your smartphone. It remotely controls the camera, providing a live view from the sensor and a virtual shutter snap photos or shoot video. This goes some way to getting around the uncertainty of whether the camera is recording or not. There’s about a half second delay, which is what we’re used to see on other connected cameras. Transfer speeds were sometimes a little inconsistent, however.

You can adjust the camera’s settings, changing video resolution and toggling the 146 degree ultra-wide angle mode. You can also have the Re automatically back up its contents to your connected smartphone, which is useful.

The Re app is also the only way to create a time lapse video, although the app makes this easy by letting you decide how often photos should be taken and for how long. You can then set the playback speed of 1, 10 or 30fps, which will result in either rough or smooth playback. The app will even tell you how long the resulting video will be based on your settings, then share the resulting video to services such as Instagram. 

Disappointingly, you can’t go back and change the playback speed if you decide it’s too choppy or too smooth. The Re does at least save all of the images to the microSD card, so you could feasibly transfer those images into a separate app to create another time lapse, but this isn’t the most elegant solution.

HTC has also announced that the Re app will soon support live-streaming to YouTube. Android users can download a free update to the Re app from the 9th January 2015 to start taking advantage of this new feature, but iOS users will have to wait a little longer, as the free update is currently dated for sometime during Q1 of 2015. We’ll be testing out this feature shortly and will update this review once we’ve put it through its paces.

The Re doesn’t come with any mounts as standard. We shot mainly with the camera handheld where the image stabilisation did a good job of reducing camera shake. We did attempt to mount it to our test remote control car using an adhesive mount from another action camera but the Re wasn’t able to stay attached for more than a few short seconds. It would be unfair for us to judge the Re too harshly without its own official mount but its tall design and small mounted surface area didn’t do it any favours. The Re will have a handlebar mount, head mount, a suction cup mount and a simple clip mount available. 

You can shoot in ultra-wide angle mode but this introduces a lot of barrel distortion – best viewed full screen, 1080p

The Re is able to shoot 1080p and 720p video at 30fps as well as slow-motion in 720p. That’s not a lot of options compared to other action cameras at a similar price, such as the Toshiba Camileo X-Sports that can shoot at 60fps at 1080p or even 120fps at 720p resolution.

Image quality in our outdoor video test shooting at 1080p was average. In grey, overcast conditions the resulting footage was a little soft and there was a lot of detail missing from elements such as brickwork in buildings. The scene was well exposed, however, and the microphone was surprisingly sensitive, picking up all of the ambient noise of our rooftop.

The HTC Re did well in the static camera test

Footage from our short-lived remote control car test was also what we would expect of a camera at this price. It didn’t rival more expensive action cameras such as the Drift Innovation Ghost-S for sharpness but colours were good. Slow-motion footage at 720p was underwhelming with a lot of noise and compression artefacts. It did respectably with the static image test with detail in the foliage and leaves and video was nice and smooth at 30fps.

The Re captures 16-megapixels stills and in good lighting it performs respectably, provided you’re not expecting to make massive prints. For sharing the images on social media it’s perfectly fine but doesn’t live up to any scrutiny when blown up. Shots were well exposed and colours were well saturated. If the camera is set to ultra-wide angle the Re app can correct the barrel distortion, which is handy and makes for more flattering photos of people.

Where the HTC Re falls short is in its low-light performance. Both stills and video were very noisy and soft. The Re’s F/2.8 lens is unable to capture enough light for faster shutter speeds, making it difficult to capture sharp images.

The HTC Re is an interesting action camera. It has its shortcomings, including limited video shooting options and average image quality. A battery life of 1hr 12 minutes of continuous 1080p video is also rather poor, and the placement of the charging jack makes poor battery life even more of an issue as it’s difficult to use the Re while charging. However, its shortcomings are partially negated at just how delightfully fun it is to carry the HTC Re around with you, capturing fleeting moments. It’s the perfect size and shape to make it there ready as a life-logging device, more so than your traditional action camera.

HTC Re shutter button

The Re is HTC’s first attempt at an action camera and it has many of the hallmarks of one. Should HTC decide to make a follow up, we’ll certainly be interested as the HTC Re has lots of potential. If you’re after a ruggedised, more traditional action camera, however, you won’t go far wrong with the Toshiba Camileo X-Sports, which offers great value and performance for the money.

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App controliOS, Android
Sensor1/2.3in Sony CMOS
Sensor pixelsNot disclosed
LCD screen sizeNone
Video recording formatH.264 MP4
Video recording resolutions1080p (30fps), 720p (30fps)
Max recording resolution1080p (30fps)
Time lapse mode intervalsUser defined
Video recording mediaMicroSD
Sound48kHz mono
Maximum still image resolution4,592×3,456
Memory slot (card supplied)MicroSD (8GB)
Data connectionsMicro USB
AV connectionsNone
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery life1hr 12m
Battery charging positionCamcorder
Size (HxWxD)97.7×26.5mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price including VAT£129
Part codeHTC Re

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