Point & Shoot cameras are already reeling under the attack of smartphone cameras which have become a really convenient way for mobile photography. HTC thinks it has an even better way for you, and has introduced RE, an oddly looking action camera which is meant to appeal to selfie-taking teens, busy parents, and urban socialites in need of an easier way to take photos.
As Brad Molen of Engadget puts it, RE looks like a tiny periscope or a PVC pipe or an Asthma inhaler. The first thing one would assume is that HTC RE is competing with GoPro, but according to HTC, it’s not. Interestingly, it’s competing with your smartphone cameras. And HTC has a heck of a job convincing people to pay $199 for a gadget like this.
RE comes with a 16-MegaPixel camera with a very wide-angle (146 degree) f2.8 lens which is fixed-focus and can shoot 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second or slow motion 720p video at 120 frames per second. There’s no viewfinder, no display, and no graphical user interface. Instead, you can use your iPhone or Android smartphone as the viewfinder after pairing RE via Bluetooth 4.0.
RE is small enough to slip into your pockets or bags and comfortable to hold and shoot unlike a GoPro. It’s waterproof and can be submerged under a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. HTC is also offering a range of accessories for the Re Camera, including a handlebar mount for bikes and a case for better waterproofing.
It powers on automatically when it’s picked up. The shutter button rests under your thumb and takes pictures with a single press or starts recording video with a long press. There’s a 820mAh battery that can shoot up to 1 hour and 40 minutes of continuous 1080p video, or up to 1200 still images before needing to be recharged. There’s also a 8GB microSD card included, but RE can support up to 128GB.
HTC says the RE Camera isn’t supposed to be an extreme sports action camera and is for people that are just living normal lives, which sort of makes sense. Every time I personally thought of buying a GoPro, I just couldn’t convince myself as my lifestyle isn’t anything like the people shown in their ads. But I’m not convinced if RE is a better replacement for my smartphone camera. It comes with a fixed focus lens which means that anything taken in a close range tends to be out of focus, and the 146-degree field of view can capture a lot of unwanted stuff that you might not want in your photo.
HTC RE will be coming to the US first in late October/early November and the UK in November for $199.