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HTC unveils the RE Camera. A snapper built for life logging, we go hands-on

HTC hopes to break into the life logging/action camera market with a new periscope shaped snapper called the RE Camera.

An innocuous little camera that HTC pinning big hopes on
An innocuous little camera that HTC’s pinning big hopes on

HTC’s New York ‘Double Exposure’ event gave us a smattering of intriguing new products to sink our teeth into before Christmas and hinted at the direction the company is looking to take to out-manoeuvre the financially unsavoury path it’s currently on.

Whilst there’s no denying the success of HTC’s most recent flagships; namely last year’s One and this year’s One (M8), it would appear that phones alone aren’t going to cut it against the company’s competitors, all of who have other avenues in other markets to help support their mobile endeavours. As a result HTC has turned its talents to imaging with a new oddly shaped little snapper dubbed the RE Camera.

 

Just as we saw in the original leaked press imagery, the RE is a small periscope-like handheld camera that offers action cam specs in a pick-up-and-play body. It is in fact just that, pick it up at the RE Camera will immediately switch on, signalled by the brief glow of a single green LED.

Unlike certain rival cameras in the same space the RE forgoes a screen and in the words of one of HTC’s own representatives is designed to return you “to the life that you were living,” as opposed to watching a gig or enjoying your beach holiday through the viewfinder or your camera or smartphone.

At launch the RE Camera will be available in a range of colours
At launch the RE Camera will be available in a range of colours: orange, teal, white and navy blue

The simplistic design of the RE isn’t just aesthetic either; it plays on simple functionality to offer the user hassle-free operation. Whilst picking it up switches it on, a tap on the chromed button on the back will snap a still image, whilst holding for a few seconds will set video mode into motion. The RE captures Full HD footage at 30fps using a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor. The small button under the 146-degree wide-angle lens enables 720p HD slow-motion recording at 120fps and there’s time-lapse functionality that can be fine-tuned via a dedicated Android or iOS app currently in the works too.

 

On the inside the RE Camera will come pre-installed with an 8GB card (there’s no usable inbuilt storage) but can take anything up to 128GBs in size. Whilst battery longevity wasn’t expressly discussed the 820mAh should keep things going for a good few hours. The screw thread on the base also means it’ll be easy to mount to a tripod head should the mood grab you.

Contrary to how HTC would have you believe, the RE Camera looks as though it’s squarely trying to tackle the likes of GoPro and other action or life-logging cameras. Its cross-platform support is a great bonus, as is its IPX7 (IPX8 with an additional case) dust and water resistance. There’s a range of mounts too, but despite all this, one question remains. Will it sell?

It’s a left field offering from a company whose entire reputation is built on pushing well made, well specced smartphones. Consumers won’t see the RE Camera solely in phone shops either, HTC is making an openly blatant play into the camera market and it’ll be up to fans of rival devices like the GoPro to decide whether there’s space for the RE in their lives too.

Do you think HTC can make it the camera market? What would you like to see the company release? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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