The camera has evolved from a clunky device you had to hold with two hands to today's selfie-optimal smartphone, and now it's taken a strange turn on its evolutionary path. The new HTC Re camera is unlike any photographic device you've ever seen before. That's because HTC wants to redefine how we take pictures, hoping that the Re will gradually replace our smartphones as the go-to gadget. Which is a tall order, but let's give it a whirl.
Right off the bat, the Re's unusual design might jar you a bit. There is probably a pretty long list of things it looks like more than a camera — pipe, flashlight, robotic alien life form, the breathing tube on a scuba mask, etc. You might feel more like a doctor looking down someone's throat than a photographer when you go to snap a picture, but HTC designed it this way for a reason.
HTC made the Re screenless because it wants you to enjoy the moment through your own eyes instead of through a display screen. So the next time you're at a concert, birthday party, or on a hike, you can snap pictures or record a video while still taking in what's around you. (If this means there will no longer be six tall dudes in front of me at every concert holding up their cameras the entire time, then I'm all for the Re.) Essentially, the Re combines the traditional photography process of the pre-digital age with today's advanced technology.
The Re will be available for $199 at certain retailers later this month. Here's what you need to know now.
It's Mobile Like the GoPro, But More Practical
The Re can be handheld or mounted with any camera mounting hardware, making it a competitor of the GoPro. However, HTC is not trying to out-corner the "action camera" market. Instead, the Re is being branded as a "lifestyle" product targeting not the extreme-sports demographic but the everyday consumer. But if you do decide to take it to the beach or white-water rafting, the Re is also waterproof.
The Design Doesn't Compromise Picture Quality
Just because it doesn't have a screen and looks like a Pez dispenser doesn't mean it doesn't take high-quality photos. Despite its narrow build, the Re is equipped with a wide-angle lens able to take pictures within a 146-degree field of view. The Re can take 1,000 still pictures at 16 megapixels and record 1.5 hours of video.
It's Simple But Intuitive
Simplicity was clearly a priority because the Re only has two buttons, the main one being the big silver capture button on the opposite side of the lens. Tap it to take a still pic or hold it down to record video. If you have clumsy fingers, an audible cue will let you know which mode you're in. And in place of an "On" button, the Re's handle responds to your touch and automatically comes out of standby mode when you pick it up.
How to Share Photos
Pics are saved on a microSD card and video footage is saved on an 8GB card, which allows for easy transferring onto your computer or smartphone. In conjunction with the Re, HTC will also roll out its Zoe app, an photo-centric social network that allows users to create montages and highlight reels and share them with other people. The app is available in beta for the Android and will be made available for the iPhone later this year.
Images: Re Camera