The day is finally here. Selfies have won and we now have a smartphone with a high-res sensor for the rear AND front camera. WITH flash on both! And unsurprisingly it\’s HTC who has got there first, with the desire to keep their eye on being quietly brilliant. For those who\’ve recovered from that pun already, that\’s not the only story with the Desire Eye. Its guts are packed with a formidable hardware and even though newer chips from Qualcomm are already out, the Snapdragon 801 running the show here is no slouch. The phone doesn\’t have the metal body that adorned the One M8, but the polycarbonate plastic body feels rather good to use on a continued basis. And the 5.2-inch form factor feels just right not too big, nor small. So, should you buy it right away? Well..
Design & Build
The Desire Eye has a nice matte finish all round, making it very grippy to hold. The two cameras are hard to miss in the front and rear, but more so on the front cam we\’ll take some time getting used to dual tone LED flash for a secondary camera. The dual-colour scheme adds to appeal and the Desire Eye will never be confused with any other smartphone in the market. The slots for your SIM and microSD cards are sealed shut, because the phone is IPX7 certified, but at times you\’re not confident whether the tray goes upside down or the other way. Anyway, since you have to do this only once, it\’s no deal-breaker. The Full HD display on the 5.2-inch IPS panel is bright and has great viewing angles, but the levels of white are not as warm as on other phones plus, the blacks aren\’t as deep as we would\’ve liked. But, the display is really bright and that means outdoor performance is great.
Hardware & Software
The Snapdragon 801-powered, Adreno 330 GPU toting chipset firing 4 Krait 400 CPU\’s is the star of the show here. The 2 gigs of RAM supporting it ensure the phone performs smoothly and without any stutter. All games we tested ran without hiccups, even on max settings. There was hardly any heating issues and the phone can handle a good amount of heavy-duty multi-tasking on an everyday basis. Sense UI 6.0 has got a cleaner and flatter looking BlinkFeed, with an integration with your Social Media that feels more sensible and visually more attractive. The app drawer is the same, with on-screen buttons for Back, Home and Multi-Window. There\’s not a whole lot of customization options available here, but whatever HTC has included makes sense. Little things like swiping from the lockscreen differently to get to either BlinkFeed directly or the homescreen makes a lot of sense. Multimedia was always going to be the strength of HTC\’s products, it\’s a given that it\’ll be top notch and the same holds true with the Desire Eye. Music sounds crisp, warm and fuller than any other smartphone (barring the iPhone) and videos, gaming and browsing on the IPS display is a pleasing experience.
The 13MP rear cam is still quite a bit better than the front 13MP cam, with everything else kept the same. There tends to be more noise in the images taken by the front shooter, mostly because the wider capture area for a selfie cam is not going to have the more optimized optics of the primary camera. Speaking of which, the colour accuracy, contrast and sharpness of each image taken with the Desire Eye is great. It has a wider f/2.0 aperture compared to f/2.2 of the front, giving it sharper results in every lighting conditions. The images taken from the front cam tended to have a slight yellow tinge to them, but are possibly the best images you can take from a front shooter on a smartphone right now. Video quality was also super, though the dynamic range isn\’t all that flattering.
While there is no denying that you cannot possibly justify that price tag of ~35K for a selfie-centric smartphone, it must also be said that the Desire EYE is a powerful phone even if you don\’t use either of the cameras. Yes, the competition from Chinese smartphone makers is going to make it even tougher for the coming months to keep devices priced at those levels, but they aren\’t as well built, nor have the same BOOM sound nor the same assurance of brand servicing. And yes, it still feels overpriced but there is more to love about the Desire EYE than just the great cameras and multimedia. If you\’re selfie-obsessed, you know you\’re gonna buy this phone and y\’know what? You won\’t be disappointed either.
5.2 inch Full HD IPS LCD display
2.3 GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core Chipset
Android OS v4.4.4 (Kitkat)
13MP rear cam, dual LED flash, 1080p video
13MP front cam, dual LED flash, 1080p video
2GB RAM | Adreno 330 GPU
16GB internal storage, microSD card support up to 128GB
Non-removable Li-Ion 2400 mAh battery
Exhibit Rating: 4/5
Price: Rs. Rs. 35,990/-