The first time I held HTC's Re camera, I wondered why the company bothered.
As a camera, it was no different from the GoPro or Sony Action Cam devices.
These wearable cameras are small enough to fit in your palm or be
attached to your body, are unobtrusive and meant to record images or
video for activities that would be difficult for a regular camera to
capture. Think jogging, swimming, cycling or bungee jumping.
But just as you would not think about taking a compact camera for rock climbing, you would not take a GoPro to a wedding either.
With no viewscreen, users cannot preview photos or frame their
shots. In fact, users are pretty much at the mercy of whatever subjects
and objects that fall within the frame of the lens.
But HTC believes that the Re can be a regular camera; and it does
not believe you need a screen to do that. After all, folks already lift
their phones over their heads to record a performance, or choose to
take a selfie, without once checking the screen to frame the shot.
To counter the idea that portable cameras are meant for rugged use,
HTC has redesigned its wearable camera. Instead of a small cube, the Re
camera looks like an inhaler, or a miniature periscope. There is a
small tube-like grip for your fingers and a part sticking out at the
top where the lens sits, that leans over, like a periscope.
Point the lens at an object and press the metallic touch button just behind the lens to take a photo.
Directly under the lens is another button to toggle between stills
and video, and you press the same metallic touch button to get
And that is basically all you need to know about the Re camera. Its
use is deceptively simple and the camera goes just about anywhere. It
is waterproof, so you can take it swimming and it fits snugly in your
palm, so you can lift your arm to fire off a few shots, without anyone
realising you have a camera tucked away.
Its barely-there profile means that few people will actually notice
you are wielding a camera, so your unsuspecting subjects tend to behave
The quality of the photos is as good as those taken with
smartphones. With a 16MP CMOS sensor, it shoots full-HD (1,080p) video
and is great for daytime shots, but falters in low-light conditions.
It has a 146-degree wide-angle lens. If you are shooting underwater,
the clear water of a swimming pool works better than murky seawater. It
helps if you have a light source in the pool.
You can pair the Re with an HTC smartphone, and use the phone as a viewfinder for the Re.
The unit uses a microSD card to store content and has no built-in
storage. While it fits nicely into my pants pocket, the touch button is
sensitive. So if you accidentally wake your phone up each time you
reach into your pocket, you are likely to do the same with the Re.
HTC also offers a selection of accessories for the Re. There are the
usual helmet and body attachment accessories, as well as for bicycles
If you have ever wanted a small camera like the GoPro, but found
<NO1>that<NO>it to be too blocky in design, this is the
more elegant solution.
Camera: 16MP, 1/2.3-inch Sony CMOS sensor
Features: 1,080p, 30fps Full HD video; 720p, 4x slow-motion video; 146-degree wide-angle lens with f2.8 aperture
Memory: Expandable microSD storage up to 128GB
Value for money 3/5
Battery life 3/5