HTC has started to get serious about cameras in the last little while what with its Ultrapixel HTC One M8 and the great shooters on the HTC Butterfly and One Mini 2. Now we fear the head of the imaging department may have just got a little carried away with this one, in the best way possible. Meet the HTC Re: an adorable little action camera meant for everyone.
HTC calls it the Re because it's a "remarkable little camera". PR guff aside, we're inclined to agree. The manufacturer is pitching this at people who don't already have a GoPro. More specifically: the GoPro is for extreme kayakers, skydivers, space jumpers and BMX riders, while the Re is for everyone else who might just want to record a special event, cool party or the rare outing into the wilderness.
HTC calls these people the GoMamas and GoPapas, rather than the GoPros.
So how would we describe this cute little camera? Well, it's basically like a mini-periscope for your hands. Or, if you've ever seen a Ventolin inhaler, you're spot on. It's equipped with a grip-sensor so the Re knows when you've picked it up in order to turn on, and capturing photos and videos is delivered via a giant button on the top of the device mounted towards the user. Your thumb naturally falls on it and it's a great way to snap an image, given that a little pulse tells you that the shot is safely stored inside the microSD card.
It's packing a 16-megapixel BSI compact sensor, capable of shooting HD video at 1080p or 720p. The Re can also shoot slow motion, 120fps video, at 720p.
The lens on the Re is a 146-degrees super-wide angle affair. It's all powered by an 820mAh battery and weighs just 66.5 grams.
The Re doesn't come with a viewfinder, mostly because HTC wants you to focus on the moments you're taking photos of instead of the camera you're using to shoot it. Mount it on your lapel for a wedding or your helmet for some extreme kayaking, press record and live your life.
The Re is waterproof in one metre of water for 30 minutes thanks to an IPX7 certification, or you can buy an optional cap to clip over the bottom of the device where the USB slot lives which turns it into an IPX8 device. That's three metres of immersion for up to two hours whilst still being waterproof.
The battery allows for 100 minutes of HD video recording, or for 1000 photos. So you can get back in the action quickly (because who remembers to charge their action camera before they go?), HTC has given the Re a fast-charge capability that gives it 100 per cent of its charge within two hours.
All of that is pretty standard action camera faire from one of our favourite phone companies, but the mind-blowing part comes not from the design or the resolution, but it's just how much detail HTC has gone into to think it up.
For example, an action camera would be nothing without mounting equipment for various scenarios. No problem: you get five different mounts to choose from as optional extras.
Also, you're probably going to be using it out and about, so let's create an extendable battery pack that clips onto the bottom and keeps with the aesthetic of the whole camera.
The main problem with most cameras, as well as action cameras in general, is that you need to actually pull the memory card out of the unit, stick it into an adapter and find somewhere to put your photos. HTC thought of that too, and integrated the device itself (not the remote app, the device), with automated Google Drive or Dropbox backup. It uses either your phone's data connection or a home Wi-Fi connection to do it, without having to really tinker with software.
To transfer stuff off the device, it's equipped with all the trimmings, from a Bluetooth 4.0 (Low Energy) through to 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi.
In case you do want the job of pulling stuff off a memory card, HTC is bundling an 8GB microSD card in to keep you happy.
You can get a Re in orange, navy blue, white and maybe green, depending on how the paint boffins at HTC go in the next few weeks before launch. Speaking of launch: HTC hasn't got an Australian price for the Re yet, but it has indicated this will be in stores before Aussie Christmas. It launches in the US in just a few short weeks from now at $US199.
Stay tuned for our hands-on with the gorgeous little Re.
Luke Hopewell travelled to New York as a guest of HTC