When it was announced in early October 2014, the HTC Desire Eye was a game changer in its own right, one of the many that we saw in 2014. This was the first phone to have two 13M cameras facing both sides of the phones. It was almost a why-didn’t-we-think of that one moment for rival manufacturers. However, by the time HTC Desire Eye was finally announced for the Indian market, Micromax had announced a phone with similar dual camera capabilities, at least on paper. Till that one reaches stores, the HTC Desire Eye is the only phone that can click the same quality photos on both sides.
Design: In looks, the HTC Desire Eye has some traits of the Desire family. However, it has a multi-coloured body with the sides showing a vibrant colour. The review unit I got was red and white. The material seems to be a soft plastic that is good to touch, however, the white rear flap on the phone got dirty within a week. The most striking element of the phones is the large front camera, the likes of which we have never seen in any other phone. It has the same size of the rear camera and has a flash too. The power and volume buttons are on the right, where you also have a dedicated camera button below. On the left you have flaps for the nano SIM and SD card slots.
Display: The display is really good and every appears extra sharp on this one. It is bright enough to be effective in sunlight too.
Performance: The processor is top end and you will have no reasons to complain. I tried some virtual reality visualisations on the phone to test a Google Cardboard I had recently acquired and was impressed by how smoothly the heavy graphics rendered on the phone. Unlike some other top-end phones this one did not heat up during benchmarking. For those who care, the phone has similar benchmarking as the HTC One M8, which is really top draw.
Software: The HTC Sense software has been much written about. It is still among the best Android tweaks out there and really gels well with the hardware. The Desire Eye was also the first phone to feature the new Eye camera app from HTC, which has since be released for other phones from the company. The Eye camera software lets you exploit the abilities of the dual cameras at the same time, allowing both sides to shoot simultaneously. It is also easier to click a selfie with the phone and there are many options to do so without shaking the phone. However, the Crop-Me-In feature which was showcased during the launch was not to be seen in the review devices. I don’t really miss this feature as I found it weird anyway.
Camera: This is where the phone really leaves everyone else behind. This is at the moment the best selfie camera around. And it also lets you click a selfie and regular rear camera shot at the same time, what HTC calls dual exposure. However, getting both the pictures to be really sharp needs a bit of luck as only the rear camera as auto-focus when the two are clicking simultaneously. The fact that it has a very powerful flash along with the f2.2 wide angle front lens means I could click really good selfies even in pitch darkness. Plus, the video quality of both sides is also great. And as I have stated before, HTC cameras are the fastest around.
Storage: You get to keep about 12 out of the 16GB. But given that you will be clicking a lot of large photos and videos with this phone, it is recommended that you invest in at least 16GB more.
Battery: The 2400mAh battery can give you 12 hours of regular use. But given the price point, HTC could have pushed for a 3000mAh battery that would have made life easier for users.
Verdict: The HTC Desire is good mid-range flagship, especially for those who wants a stellar camera which can do a little bit extra. The phone guarantees top-end performance, but there is no doubt that those buying this phone will be eyeing its camera first.