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HTC Desire Eye vs. One M8: Does a better selfie make a better phone?

HTC has continued to quietly make some of the best Android devices on the market. The latest flagship model from the Taiwanese phone maker arrived in the spring of this year. The gorgeous HTC One M8 is a critic’s darling. It’s a jack-of-all-trades phone that provides a well-rounded experience for most customers. The company’s newest smartphone has a tighter focus, which is fitting since it’s sporting some impressive camera lenses. Is the selfie-centric approach of the new HTC Desire Eye tempting enough to catch your eye, or is the One M8 still your best bet? We take a look at the specs to see how HTC’s most interesting handsets hold up.

HTC Desire Eye

HTCDesireEye

HTC One M8

silver-us

Size 151.7 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
Weight 154g 160g
Screen 5.2-inch LCD 5-inch LCD3
Resolution 1080×1920 pixels 1080×1920 pixels
OS Android 4.4.2 with HTC Sense 6 Android 4.4.2 with HTC Sense 6
Internal Storage 16GB 16/32GB
Expandable Storage Up to 128GB Up to 128GB
SD Card Slot Yes Yes
Processor 2.3GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 801 2.3GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 801
RAM 2GB 2GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, USB 2.0, HSPA+, NFC Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, USB 2.0, HSPA+, NFC
Gesture Controls No Yes
Front Camera 13MP, 1080P HD 5MP, 1080P HD
Rear Camera 13MP, 1080P HD 5MP, 1080P HD
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.0 Yes, version 4.0
Extra features BoomSound, Blinkfeed, HTC Eye BoomSound, BlinkFeed, dual-lens camera
Water Resistant Yes, IPX7 No
Battery 2,400mAh, embedded 2,600mAh, embedded
Charger Micro USB Micro USB
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color Options White and red, two-tone blue Silver, rose, gold, grey
Ave. Price N/A $200 with a two-year contract, $600 no contract
Availability N/A AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
DT Review Coming Soon 4 out of 5

Cameras

Without a doubt, the biggest difference between these two smartphones is the camera. One of the biggest complaints with the HTC One M8 was the relatively unchanged camera. Even as the rest of the handset evolved, the cameras on the One M8 lagged behind. The back camera still uses the UltraPixel sensor to compose its images. The front camera is accompanied by a second, 2-megapixel lens that serves as a depth-of-field sensor. The depth-of-field sensor makes it possible to apply filters to specific parts of an image a la the Lytro camera. Results vary with the lens and the depth of field sensor eliminated optical image stabilization, which HTC replaced with a “smart stabilization” feature.

In contrast, the new HTC Desire Eye is all about the lenses. It sports a 13-megapixel camera on both the front and back of the body. Both cameras are equipped with a back-illuminated sensor (BSI), can record in 1080p, and have dual LED flash. The rear camera sports an f/2.0 aperture and a 28mm lens, while the front camera has a f/2.2 aperture and 22mm lens. As far as we can tell, that’s the most impressive spec set for a front-facing camera we’ve seen. While a lot of companies have started to improve the front-facing camera in the name of “selfies,” HTC made its secondary lens a near equal to its primary.

Additionally, the HTC Desire Eye benefits from a feature set called HTC Eye. We’ll need to see it in action before we determine how functional it is, but it promises an awful lot. Face tracking capabilities will help keep faces in frame, a split-screen feature provides a shot of the user and their surroundings, “Voice Selfie” snaps a picture with the spoken command of “say cheese” or starts filming on “action.” Live Makeup, Face Fusion, and other image modification features that we’ve previously seen from HTC are also included, as is a screen sharing function.

Processing power

Although it debuted half a year after the One M8, the Desire Eye sports very similar internals. The processor is the same Snapdragon 801 from Qualcomm, and both phones offer 2GB of RAM. The Eye’s internal specs may not be very different, but the significant camera upgrade may prove tempting for photography fanatics.

The one thing that throws off the benefit of high resolution pictures and videos is the lack of internal storage on the Desire Eye. It offers only 16GB, though it is expandable up to 128GB through its microSD slot. Still, it seems a larger hard drive would make sense for a phone that wants you snapping selfies everywhere you go.

Body build

One of the things that made the HTC One M8 a stand out when it debuted earlier this year was its unique metallic body. It was sleek, slick, and shiny, and made the smartphone look appealing before you even hit the power button. The M8 has a premium look, one that compares well to the body of the iPhone. It’s one of the best-looking handsets on the market.

The Desire Eye ditches the metal chassis and opts for a soft touch plastic body with a more playful look. If the One M8 compares to the iPhone’s build, the Desire Eye is similar to that of the iPhone 5C. It comes in two different designs, both sporting a multi-color look. One option features red and white, while the alternative is a two-tone blue. The Desire Eye also benefits from some basic waterproofing with IPX7 water resistance, which is good for submersion in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

Conclusion

If you are a snapshot addict, unable to keep your flash from going off as you attempt to capture every moment of your life for reliving later, then the Desire Eye is made for you. With high quality cameras on both the front and back of the device, it’s aimed at the market that loves to take pictures and shoot video without carrying around a dedicated camera. The Eye sports similar specs to the flagship One M8, but we won’t see the Desire Eye on the market right away and it could be outclassed by the time it arrives.

For a more general purpose, do-it-all Android device, the One M8 serves its purpose perfectly and is on the market now. A price point, carrier list, and release date are still coming for the Desire Eye.