HTC continues to flex its photographic muscles with the Australian release of Re, a camera in the vein of a GoPro designed for the everyman.
Re will go on sale today with a recommended retail price of $249. Telstra will be one of three retailers to stock the camera in the lead up to Christmas, and is expected to offer it as an accessory repayment option with the sale of smartphones.
The Re camera has no viewfinder and looks more like a submarine’s periscope. HTC’s product marketing manager, Thomas Dexmier, said the design of the Re camera allows people to focus on the occasion and not on the framing of a shot.
“People spend too much time behind their phones enjoying their life,” said Dexmier during a product briefing. “Today we have a choice of enjoying life behind a viewfinder...or step out and enjoy the moment.”
A special 146 degree lens was engineered by HTC for the Re camera to capture ‘all’ the action. The company turned to Sony for the 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, and has equipped the camera with various modes, including slow motion recording and the ability to record time-lapse videos.
The camera is waterproof out of the box. Its IPX7 rating covers it against freshwater a metre deep for thirty minutes, though an accessory screw elevates the Re’s rating to IPX8, which covers it in water 3 metres deep for 2 hours.
Comparisons between Re and GoPro have been made ever since HTC’s Double Exposure event in October. Dexmier doesn’t believe the two cameras are in the same league.
“Theres a market for action cams, but you have to be into extreme sports, you have to be a surfer or a sky diver to make the most out of your GoPro.
“We are quite specific in terms of audience. We think there’s a gap in the marketplace for something that is convenient, compact and easy to use,” said Dexmier.
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Such is the simplicity of the Re camera that it doesn’t have a ‘power’ button. Hold it and touch sensors turn it on. One large button positioned under thumbs prompts a photo to be taken. The only other button triggers slow motion video recording. Each mode is communicated via LED notification lights.
Smartphones — not computers — are used to manage Re’s settings. The application is platform agnostic by supporting Android and Apple smartphones.
“We think the fact that we make this compatible with iOS will give us some level of traction because these customers will realise that HTC are doing pretty good stuff.
“It’s a way for us to propagate the brand name,” added Dexmier.
Re will go on sale in three colours: white, blue and coral. Telstra, Fone Zone and Next Byte stores will stock the camera in the lead up to Christmas at a recommended price of $249, with traditional electronic outlets expected to follow in 2015.