The HTC RE is a brave little camera that reinvents point and shoot photography


HTC is a remarkable company that thinks there's nothing remarkable about taking photos the old, time-tested way - whipping out a camera, switching it on, gazing through its viewfinder, tuning the picture, taking the photo, and whatever follows next in this complicated, yet so ubiquitous chain of events. That's why it dug itself deep into research & development, and emerged from the other side with its most eccentric product to date. It's a snorkel! An inhaler! No, it's the HTC RE – a "remarkable little camera" that wants to reinvent pointing and shooting. What's up with the looks, though? We figured that, and the actual purpose of this thing need a proper explanation.

The HTC RE is a brave little camera that reinvents point and shoot photography
The HTC RE is a brave little camera that reinvents point and shoot photography
The HTC RE is a brave little camera that reinvents point and shoot photography
The HTC RE is a brave little camera that reinvents point and shoot photography
The RE cam wasn't made to hang from your neck or tug your shoulder from a carrying pouch. It's also not especially concerned whether it's paired with a smartphone or not, although it happily takes advantage of HTC's bespoke Android & iOS app if you like it that way. The RE is made to be held, fitting into your palm like a well designed instrument. A hammer doesn't have an On switch, and neither does the HTC RE. Instead, it has a built-in grip sensor which kick-starts it into photo taking mode the moment you grab it. 

Of course, every self-respecting gadget needs a button - everybody loves buttons for they make awesome stuff happen - so HTC added a big circular shutter key that you reach for with your thumb. A quick press nets you a photo, and a longer press starts video recording. There is no view-finder. Seriously, there's no view-finder - HTC wants it obsolete! 

In terms of dimensions, the RE cam measures a tiny 3.8 x 1.04 inches (96.7 x 26.5 mm) at 2.31 oz (65.5 grams). Obviously, you shouldn't worry about dropping it due to excessive size and weight, but even if you do and it hits water, don't worry - the RE cam is rated IP57, meaning it's good for at least 30 minutes under 1 meter of liquid gadget death.

Photos and videos are taken care of by a 16MP 1/2.3" CMOS sensor with a 146-degree wide-angle lens (f/2.8) and 1080p video recording capability at 30 frames per second. HTC has thrown in simple slow-motion and time-lapse recording options to make those videos more interesting. Apparently, slow-motion video is slowed down four times and rendered in 720p resolution. And, strangely enough, there is no flash of any kind. We're curious how HTC has dealt with that.

RE stores photos and videos on a microSD card (an 8GB card is included), meaning you can have up to 128GB of storage on it. Power is supplied by a frugal 820mAh rechargable battery that should be good for taking up to 1200 16MP photos in a single session, or 1 hour and 40 minutes of continuous 1080p recording. Hey, that's enough to make a movie! Sound is fed through a HD microphone, and heard through a tiny speaker. Connectivity-wise, the RE is fitted with Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, a microUSB port, and a 1/4-inch tripod connection to appease photographers.

Now, what about that app we mentioned? The RE is compatible with Android 4.3 and above, or iOS 7 or later. And So is the RE application, which HTC designed for syncing photos, videos, and time-lapse recordings from the camera to your smartphone or tablet – seamlessly, over Wi-Fi. The app also works in concert with HTC Zoe, making for easy making and sharing of video highlight reels. You can also control the RE cam through your tablet or smartphone, using it as a remote control and viewfinder. Other notable features on the app front include real-time streaming video to YouTube, and a partnership with social platforms Tencent and Instagram. Neither have been detailed at this point.

The RE cam will hit the US market by the end of October, with other markets to be announced later. A price hasn't been mentioned, but HTC has shown some of the accessories it will sell together with the cam. There are items like a dual port charger, charging station, head mount, arm and neck strap, and three clips (simple, bar, and suction cup) that let you attach the HTC RE to many various surfaces and objects. The head-mount alone could be enough to turn the HTC RE into a viable alternative to the eponymous GoPro camera. Whether it will succeed as such, it remains to be seen.

Check out all official photos of the HTC RE and its accessories in the gallery below.

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26 Comments

1. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

does it vibrate?

11. Deaconclgi

Posts: 405; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

a 1/2.3 sensor....my interest became 0 after that. EDIT: Uhhhh...my reply should have been a new comment and not actually a reply to your comment.

17. ankitp

Posts: 138; Member since: Feb 19, 2013

so girls can take selfies of their V now lol

23. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

YEAAHHH!!!!! I LIKEEEE (Borat voice)

2. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Wow ... where are camera samples

9. Jobayer

Posts: 167; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

Waiting for low light camera samples ....

24. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

lol right?

3. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

It looks like a tool to connect drainage pipes together.

4. sipha

Posts: 439; Member since: May 12, 2012

Wheres the flash??

6. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

Its an action cam, they usually dont have/dont need flash.

20. onyx143

Posts: 31; Member since: Sep 09, 2014

what if i want to have some "ACTION" at night?

25. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

Exactly ;-)

7. yellowdgg

Posts: 4; Member since: May 09, 2014

The flash comes out next year! It will be bluetooth and it will only be 150 bucks and the battery life will last about 20 mins. LOLZ

5. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

it looks like a military flaslight to me...any sample shots pa?

8. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Interest name this Re. What is it? Re inventing the s**t cameras on their phones?

10. cncrim

Posts: 1571; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

This produce has no compel need, the only thing I see good for is replace the GoPro.

12. DnB925Art

Posts: 1167; Member since: May 23, 2013

Too bad it has no viewfinder or screen to see what you are shooting.

13. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

you can use ur phone or tablet as viewfinder

16. DnB925Art

Posts: 1167; Member since: May 23, 2013

That would defeat the purpose though. You might as well use your phone's cam. I know in SOME situations you can use your phone or tablet, but in most spur of the moment photos and videos, that would be annoying.

14. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

is it me or does it looks like a pipe from Super Mario Bros? and HTC should stick with phones this looks hideious.

15. solidsnake695

Posts: 132; Member since: Jan 04, 2013

this will never beat sony qx10

18. pegasso

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 27, 2011

...or any Canon connected cameras + CameraWindow apps

22. chocolaking

Posts: 495; Member since: May 22, 2012

have you ever used a qx10? than you won't appreciate the time it took to set it up. when you wanted to take a shot

19. jiezel91

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 28, 2011

Most likely aiming for GoPro. Could be used as a spy cam too. But does this one have optical image stabilization?

21. onyx143

Posts: 31; Member since: Sep 09, 2014

Upskirt anyone?

26. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

Right here baby!!!!

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