Notebookcheck

HTC Desire Eye Smartphone Review

Daniel Schmidt, Tanja Hinum (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 12/15/2014

Selfie show-off. HTC expands its product line around its One M8 flagship and now has a smartphone with high-performance hardware dubbed Desire EYE. It is primarily aimed at selfie fans in view of a high-resolution front-facing camera. The lens promises decent pics with 13 MP and a dual-LED flash, and it is in fact quite compelling. An IP certification rounds off the total package.

For the original German review, see here.

It was usually the low-resolution cameras that gave reason for complaint in HTC's One M8. The Taiwanese phone-builder now wants to teach their competitors a lesson with the HTC Desire Eye and installs a 13 MP lens and dual-LED flash in both the primary camera on the back as well as the front-facing camera.

The configuration is very impressive otherwise. A speedy Snapdragon 801 ensures plenty of computing power, and the 2 GB of working memory is adequately dimensioned. The 16 GB internal storage can be expanded via a micro-SD, and the Full HD screen has a size of 5.2-inches. However, the smartphone is not clad in aluminum, and thus the buyer has to be satisfied with plastic. A larger battery could also have been used; it has an average capacity of 2400 mAh.

Its configuration and an RRP of 529 Euros (~$658) places HTC's Desire Eye in the premium range, and it faces strong rivals. In addition to the in-house One M8 and One E8 models, top-of-the-line products like Samsung's Galaxy S5Sony's Xperia Z3Apple's iPhone 6LG's G3, and Nokia's Lumia 930 step in line.

Case

The plastic casing makes a good impression.
The plastic casing makes a good impression.
The two slots are a bit awkward.
The two slots are a bit awkward.

HTC's Desire Eye is made completely of plastic and is available in the colors "Submarine Blue" and "Coral Red." The handheld is quite big and weighs 154 grams. It is comfortable to hold without feeling too heavy. Pleasing: the phone is IPX7 certified and is thus dust-proof and can be submerged in water up to a depth of one meter for a maximum of thirty minutes.

The casing produced a cracking noise in our warping attempts, but the smartphone proved quite rigid and always returned to its original state. The gaps are very even and flush. The user does not need to worry that too much dirt will accumulate here. Besides that, the Eye is not particularly pressure sensitive. High force on the back is needed to form light waves on the screen.

The slots for the cards are a bit awkward, but that is tolerable since they must be waterproof. The battery is non-removable and cannot be replaced.

151.7 mm / 5.97 inch 73.8 mm / 2.91 inch 8.5 mm / 0.3346 inch 152 g0.3351 lbs146.4 mm / 5.76 inch 70.67 mm / 2.78 inch 9.85 mm / 0.3878 inch 145 g0.3197 lbs146.36 mm / 5.76 inch 70.6 mm / 2.78 inch 9.35 mm / 0.3681 inch 160 g0.3527 lbs146.3 mm / 5.76 inch 74.6 mm / 2.94 inch 8.95 mm / 0.3524 inch 149 g0.3285 lbs146.5 mm / 5.77 inch 72 mm / 2.83 inch 7.3 mm / 0.2874 inch 152 g0.3351 lbs142 mm / 5.59 inch 72.5 mm / 2.85 inch 8.1 mm / 0.3189 inch 145 g0.3197 lbs137 mm / 5.39 inch 71 mm / 2.8 inch 9.8 mm / 0.3858 inch 170 g0.3748 lbs139.8 mm / 5.5 inch 68.8 mm / 2.71 inch 6.5 mm / 0.2559 inch 124 g0.2734 lbs138.1 mm / 5.44 inch 67 mm / 2.64 inch 6.9 mm / 0.2717 inch 129 g0.2844 lbs

Connectivity

The micro-USB 2.0 port of HTC's Desire Eye can be used for both recharging the smartphone as well as sharing data with a computer. OTG is supported so that connecting an external input device or USB flash drive is no problem. The interface is not MHL capable, though.

Memory cards with a capacity of 128 GB can be inserted into the micro-SD card reader. Unfortunately, App2SD is not supported and apps have to be installed on the handheld and opened from there. However, temporary Internet files, notifications, as well as image and audio recordings can be directly stored on an optional SD card.

Upper edge: audio jack
Upper edge: audio jack
Left: micro-SD, nano-SIM
Left: micro-SD, nano-SIM
Lower edge: USB, microphone
Lower edge: USB, microphone
Right: volume, power, camera
Right: volume, power, camera

Software

Google's Android 4.4.4 KitKat operating system is preloaded on HTC's Desire Eye and is covered with the proprietary HTC Sense. An in-depth insight can be found in the review of HTC's One M8. The manufacturer has announced an update to Google's latest Android 5.0 Lollipop for the first quarter 2015.

Apart from a few in-house apps, there is no third-party software on the handheld. A Kids Mode is also preloaded. Power To Give "donates" unused processing power of the Eye for scientific projects. It makes idle resources available for pre-selected projects as soon as the device is connected to a Wi-Fi network and is recharging.

Communication & GPS 

HTC's Desire Eye has a Wi-Fi module that supports the IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n standards and can thus operate in the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz frequency ranges. The latest ac standard is not supported, which is a weak performance in view of the top-of-the-line placement. The range is quite good, though. Even 20 meters away from the router (Fritz!Box 6360, 2.4 GHz band), the handheld displayed an average signal. However, websites needed noticeably longer to open.

In addition to NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 is also installed. The connection proved stable when streaming HD content alongside audio output via an external speaker and did not give reason for complaint.

Internet on-the-move is possible either via HSPA+ or high-speed LTE Cat. 4 (max. 150 Mbps downstream). The manufacturer, however, clearly prefers the newer standard. Only few HSPA+ frequency ranges are covered, but they are absolutely sufficient for Central Europe.

GPS Test outdoors
GPS Test outdoors
GPS Test indoors
GPS Test indoors

Localization is possible via GPS and Glonass. This functioned very fast outdoors. It took only a moment longer until we could link to a satellite network indoors. However, even a small shelter managed to disconnect an existing connection and sometimes a fast movement was enough to lose the signal.

We compared the positioning accuracy of HTC's Desire Eye with the Garmin Edge 500 bike computer. The smartphone was not able to track the route properly, and it simply lost us in the woods. The review sample has a total deviation of approximately 6% compared with the Garmin navigation system. That is a middling result; most rivals do a better job.

HTC Desire Eye
HTC Desire Eye
HTC Desire Eye
HTC Desire Eye
HTC Desire Eye
HTC Desire Eye
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500

Telephone & Voice Quality

The same phone app as in the bigger One M8 is used. It makes a very well-conceived impression and is functional.

The voice quality of HTC's Desire Eye is decent. We heard our call partner loud and clear when held to the ear. The audio quality was impeccable on the other side and made a superb impression. The speaker sounds a bit piercing in high pitches, but it does its job well otherwise. It is a good alternative in quiet surroundings when the hands-free mode has to be used. Although the included headset is useful, it is definitely not a long-term solution. On the one hand, it is very bass-heavy and on the other hand, calls are accompanied by an incessant noise.

Cameras

The difference between both cameras in HTC's Desire Eye is found in details. The rear-facing lens is capable of up to 13.1 MP (4208x3120 pixels; 4:3). The user will have to be satisfied with approximately 10 MP (4208x2368 pixels) when shots are to be taken in 16:9. The back-side illuminated sensor (BSI) operates with an aperture of f/2.0. The focal length corresponds to a 28 mm wide angle. The pictures are sharp and display good color accuracy. However, the lens tends to overexpose bright areas slightly. The low-light properties of the Desire Eye are not breathtaking despite the BSI sensor. Noise quickly arises in poor light and the outlines look frayed. The dual-LED flash counters this effect well and the colors remain quite natural.

The front-facing camera also features 13.1 MP, a BSI sensor with auto focus, and a dual-LED flash. However, its aperture of f/2.2 is a bit smaller. In return, the 22 mm wide angle can capture more people on a picture. In fact, the camera presents quite decent results. It is currently the highest-resolution front lens in a smartphone and can take advantage of this. The Ascend P7 (8MP) comes closest to this unit, and otherwise some devices with 5 MP cameras are found in the market. The quality of the lens in HTC's Desire Eye is also compelling and will absolutely satisfy selfie fans. Although the color accuracy could be a bit better, the focus is really good.

HTC Desire Eye (front-facing camera; 13.1 MP)
HTC Desire Eye (front-facing camera; 13.1 MP)
LG G3 (front-facing camera, 2 MP)
LG G3 (front-facing camera, 2 MP)
Nokia Lumia 1020 (front-facing camera, 1.2 MP)
Nokia Lumia 1020 (front-facing camera, 1.2 MP)

The cameras thus do a decent job. However, not only the picture quality is good, but also the diversity of features is impressive. There are 16 different filters that can be used while taking shots, and HTC has not neglected post-production, either. The picture modes cover everything that might be wanted and offer different panorama options, motive shots, an automatic passport mode and split images that allows combining pictures from both cameras, just to name a few.

Both lenses can shoot videos in Full HD. Again, multiple modes are available here. It is possible to use the cameras simultaneously. Sound is recorded in stereo that is, however, only weakly audible and accompanied by background noise in quiet surroundings.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Accessories

The included accessories for HTC's Desire Eye are comprised of a modular power supply with an output of 5 watts (5 volts, 1 ampere), a headset, and a USB cable.

HTC optionally has better headsets and external speakers on its website (German). The Dot View Cover (German) (40 Euros, ~$49) is also compatible with the smartphone.

Warranty

HTC includes a non-extendable 24-month warranty on its product.

Input Devices & Controls

The capacitive touchscreen of HTC's Desire Eye has a sleek surface that is convincing. The accuracy is very good, and inputs are implemented quickly and precisely.

The virtual keyboard is very well-conceived but makes a slightly unclear impression the first time it is used. Inputting via swipe gestures is also supported. An additional row with automatic word suggestions is also available.

The physical keys feature a short drop and clear pressure point. Only the camera button makes a slightly spongy impression in the first setting, and its release point is a bit sticky.

Portrait mode
Portrait mode
Landscape mode
Landscape mode

Display

The Desire Eye has a superb screen.
The Desire Eye has a superb screen.

Unlike the One M8 (SuperLCD 3), HTC's Desire Eye uses an IPS screen with a diagonal of 5.2-inches, which is until now HTC's biggest premium-range phone. It has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9, as well as a superb pixel density of 424 ppi so that the image is razor-sharp.

The manufacturer has greatly increased the brightness. The Eye achieves an outstanding 655 cd/m², which even outshines the One M8 (max. 508 cd/m²; 93%) or the iPhone 6 (max. 529 cd/m²; 88%). Only Sony's Xperia Z3 (max. 702 cd/m²; 90%) is even brighter. The illumination of 92% is very homogeneous. A minor shortcoming is the faint halo in the lower right corner, which only became visible on a completely black background.

604
cd/m²
624
cd/m²
655
cd/m²
620
cd/m²
635
cd/m²
652
cd/m²
637
cd/m²
625
cd/m²
630
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 655 cd/m² Average: 631.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 635 cd/m²
Contrast: 1176:1 (Black: 0.54 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.11 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 4.29 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
Gamma: 2.59
HTC Desire EYE
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AB, 16 GB eMMC Flash
HTC One M8
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AB, 16 GB iNAND Flash
Samsung Galaxy S5
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Huawei Ascend P7
Mali-450 MP4, Kirin 910T, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Nokia Lumia 930
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
-19%
-27%
-24%
-75%
Brightness middle
635
474
-25%
358
-44%
464
-27%
275
-57%
Brightness
631
486
-23%
364
-42%
470
-26%
278
-56%
Brightness Distribution
92
93
1%
82
-11%
92
0%
89
-3%
Black Level *
0.54
0.54
-0%
0.92
-70%
Contrast
1176
878
-25%
504
-57%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.11
5.86
-43%
5.28
-28%
4.18
-2%
10.99
-167%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.29
5.2
-21%
4.65
-8%
3.71
14%
8.29
-93%
Gamma
2.59 85%
2.29 96%
2.48 89%
2.48 89%
2.16 102%
CCT
6956 93%
7218 90%
7690 85%
6441 101%
6731 97%

* ... smaller is better

The black level does not suffer under the improved brightness of HTC's Desire Eye and achieves a decent rate of 0.54 cd/m². That is ultimately the shortcoming of the brighter Xperia Z3 (0.72 cd/m²; 975:1), which has a slightly increased black level. The resulting contrast of 1716:1 in the Desire is absolutely top for an IPS screen and is only surpassed by the OLEDs in the comparison field.

The review sample's color reproduction is also really good, and we can only complain on a high level. The colors barely deviate; only a marginal shift towards green is seen in the grayscale in the white values. Besides that, primarily green is slightly over-saturated. This will, however, not be noticed adversely in practice.

Color Management (target color space: sRGB)
Color Management (target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (target color space: sRGB)
Grayscale (target color space: sRGB)
Grayscale (target color space: sRGB)

HTC's Desire Eye is convincing in outdoor use owing to its high brightness and very good contrast ratio. There are virtually no noticeable restrictions in cloudy conditions. It might only be strenuous to look at the screen over a longer period in bright sunlight, but the Desire Eye is also superior to many contenders despite its glossy surface here.

The viewing-angle stability is also very good. The IPS screen does not have problems displaying images even in acute viewing angles. We did not ascertain a glow or a ghost effect. Only the brightness starts to decrease slightly from an angle of approximately 40 degrees.

The Eye makes a good impression outdoors.
The Eye makes a good impression outdoors.
Viewing-angle stability of the Desire Eye
Viewing-angle stability of the Desire Eye

Performance

HTC's Desire Eye is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AB. The quad-core SoC clocks with 2.3 GHz each and is supported by 2 GB of working memory. The Qualcomm Adreno 330 is responsible for graphics calculations. The SoC promises plenty of power and also proves that in practice.

The system delivers the expected scores in the benchmarks and is roughly on par with the rivals that are based on the same SoC. The AC version of the Snapdragon 801 is even slightly faster, but the available performance is absolutely sufficient and ensures a smooth system performance and fast opening apps under Android.

We ascertained an impressive browser performance using the stock browser. Internet browsing is swift, as reflected in the benchmarks.

The storage of 16 GB is actually sufficiently sized, but the user only has 8.8 GB available after initial use. Although it can be expanded by up to 128 GB, the lack of App2SD support might become tight quite soon, especially for gamers.

However, the flash storage's speed is really good and can outrun most of its rivals. LG's G3 and the Galaxy Note 4, however, remain to be the measure of things.

Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
2785 Points ∼9%
Huawei Ascend P7
1796 Points ∼6% -36%
HTC One M8
2785 Points ∼9% 0%
HTC One E8
2822 Points ∼9% +1%
LG G3
2323 Points ∼7% -17%
Sony Xperia Z3
2708 Points ∼9% -3%
Samsung Galaxy S5
2885 Points ∼9% +4%
Apple iPhone 6
2889 Points ∼9% +4%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
952 Points ∼20%
Huawei Ascend P7
599 Points ∼12% -37%
HTC One M8
957 Points ∼20% +1%
HTC One E8
965 Points ∼20% +1%
LG G3
941 Points ∼20% -1%
Sony Xperia Z3
979 Points ∼20% +3%
Samsung Galaxy S5
941 Points ∼20% -1%
Apple iPhone 6
1619 Points ∼34% +70%
Linpack Android / IOS
Multi Thread (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
839.138 MFLOPS ∼28%
Huawei Ascend P7
254.016 MFLOPS ∼9% -70%
Nokia Lumia 930
930.16 MFLOPS ∼31% +11%
HTC One M8
575.654 MFLOPS ∼19% -31%
LG G3
608.905 MFLOPS ∼21% -27%
Sony Xperia Z3
700 MFLOPS ∼24% -17%
Samsung Galaxy S5
678 MFLOPS ∼23% -19%
Apple iPhone 6
1439.05 MFLOPS ∼49% +71%
Single Thread (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
389.922 MFLOPS ∼38%
Huawei Ascend P7
83.168 MFLOPS ∼8% -79%
Nokia Lumia 930
232.54 MFLOPS ∼23% -40%
HTC One M8
337.474 MFLOPS ∼33% -13%
LG G3
281.32 MFLOPS ∼28% -28%
Sony Xperia Z3
375 MFLOPS ∼37% -4%
Samsung Galaxy S5
355 MFLOPS ∼35% -9%
Apple iPhone 6
768.27 MFLOPS ∼75% +97%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
9.3 fps ∼2%
HTC One M8
10.5 fps ∼2% +13%
HTC One E8
12.1 fps ∼2% +30%
LG G3
11.3 fps ∼2% +22%
Sony Xperia Z3
11.8 fps ∼2% +27%
Samsung Galaxy S5
11.8 fps ∼2% +27%
Apple iPhone 6
17.8 fps ∼3% +91%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
10 fps ∼3%
HTC One M8
11.2 fps ∼3% +12%
HTC One E8
12.8 fps ∼4% +28%
LG G3
7.3 fps ∼2% -27%
Sony Xperia Z3
12.6 fps ∼3% +26%
Samsung Galaxy S5
11.7 fps ∼3% +17%
Apple iPhone 6
29.8 fps ∼8% +198%
3DMark
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
15872 Points ∼18%
Huawei Ascend P7
13330 Points ∼15% -16%
HTC One M8
9521 Points ∼11% -40%
HTC One E8
17748 Points ∼21% +12%
LG G3
12939 Points ∼15% -18%
Sony Xperia Z3
13674 Points ∼16% -14%
Samsung Galaxy S5
15198 Points ∼18% -4%
Apple iPhone 6
9137 Points ∼11% -42%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
16346 Points ∼3%
Huawei Ascend P7
6599 Points ∼1% -60%
HTC One M8
15928 Points ∼3% -3%
HTC One E8
21263 Points ∼4% +30%
LG G3
17029 Points ∼3% +4%
Sony Xperia Z3
19606 Points ∼4% +20%
Samsung Galaxy S5
19530 Points ∼4% +19%
Apple iPhone 6
22509 Points ∼4% +38%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
16238 Points ∼7%
Huawei Ascend P7
7433 Points ∼3% -54%
HTC One M8
13856 Points ∼6% -15%
HTC One E8
20367 Points ∼9% +25%
LG G3
15911 Points ∼7% -2%
Sony Xperia Z3
17882 Points ∼8% +10%
Samsung Galaxy S5
18367 Points ∼8% +13%
Apple iPhone 6
16985 Points ∼7% +5%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
1062 Points ∼52%
Nokia Lumia 930
579 Points ∼28% -45%
LG G3
635 Points ∼31% -40%
Apple iPhone 6
1086 Points ∼53% +2%
Graphics (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
2412 Points ∼8%
Nokia Lumia 930
1233 Points ∼4% -49%
LG G3
2530 Points ∼9% +5%
Apple iPhone 6
2264 Points ∼8% -6%
Memory (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
422 Points ∼6%
Nokia Lumia 930
1500 Points ∼20% +255%
LG G3
610 Points ∼8% +45%
Apple iPhone 6
709 Points ∼9% +68%
System (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
1512 Points ∼9%
Nokia Lumia 930
1296 Points ∼8% -14%
LG G3
1387 Points ∼8% -8%
Apple iPhone 6
2042 Points ∼12% +35%
Overall (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
1131 Points ∼13%
Nokia Lumia 930
1085 Points ∼13% -4%
LG G3
1080 Points ∼13% -5%
Apple iPhone 6
1374 Points ∼16% +21%
AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
1.77 MB/s ∼1%
Huawei Ascend P7
1.13 MB/s ∼0% -36%
HTC One M8
0.88 MB/s ∼0% -50%
HTC One E8
1.8 MB/s ∼1% +2%
LG G3
1.44 MB/s ∼1% -19%
Sony Xperia Z3
2 MB/s ∼1% +13%
Samsung Galaxy S5
1 MB/s ∼0% -44%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
15.75 MB/s ∼8%
Huawei Ascend P7
9.94 MB/s ∼5% -37%
HTC One M8
10.53 MB/s ∼5% -33%
HTC One E8
16 MB/s ∼8% +2%
LG G3
20.98 MB/s ∼11% +33%
Sony Xperia Z3
15 MB/s ∼8% -5%
Samsung Galaxy S5
8.5 MB/s ∼4% -46%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
22.67 MB/s ∼4%
Huawei Ascend P7
10.74 MB/s ∼2% -53%
HTC One M8
19.51 MB/s ∼3% -14%
HTC One E8
25 MB/s ∼4% +10%
LG G3
23.83 MB/s ∼4% +5%
Sony Xperia Z3
18 MB/s ∼3% -21%
Samsung Galaxy S5
19.05 MB/s ∼3% -16%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
116.14 MB/s ∼8%
Huawei Ascend P7
33.32 MB/s ∼2% -71%
HTC One M8
88.41 MB/s ∼6% -24%
HTC One E8
118 MB/s ∼8% +2%
LG G3
167.46 MB/s ∼11% +44%
Sony Xperia Z3
149 MB/s ∼10% +28%
Samsung Galaxy S5
83.53 MB/s ∼6% -28%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
1122 Points ∼18%
Huawei Ascend P7
794 Points ∼13% -29%
Nokia Lumia 930
526 Points ∼8% -53%
HTC One M8
1164 Points ∼19% +4%
LG G3
1097 Points ∼18% -2%
Sony Xperia Z3
811 Points ∼13% -28%
Samsung Galaxy S5
712 Points ∼11% -37%
Apple iPhone 6
2567 Points ∼41% +129%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
3028 Points ∼6%
Huawei Ascend P7
2775 Points ∼5% -8%
Nokia Lumia 930
2737 Points ∼5% -10%
HTC One M8
3131 Points ∼6% +3%
HTC One E8
2989 Points ∼6% -1%
LG G3
4345 Points ∼8% +43%
LG G3
3892 Points ∼7% +29%
Sony Xperia Z3
5339 Points ∼10% +76%
Samsung Galaxy S5
3875 Points ∼7% +28%
Apple iPhone 6
7478 Points ∼14% +147%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire EYE
593.9 ms * ∼7%
Huawei Ascend P7
1042.7 ms * ∼11% -76%
Nokia Lumia 930
534 ms * ∼6% +10%
HTC One M8
594.2 ms * ∼7% -0%
HTC One E8
546.4 ms * ∼6% +8%
LG G3
900 ms * ∼10% -52%
LG G3
629.3 ms * ∼7% -6%
Sony Xperia Z3
827.5 ms * ∼9% -39%
Samsung Galaxy S5
408.7 ms * ∼4% +31%
Apple iPhone 6
340 ms * ∼4% +43%

Legend

 
HTC Desire EYE Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AB, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei Ascend P7 HiSilicon Kirin 910T, ARM Mali-450 MP4, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Nokia Lumia 930 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
HTC One M8 Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AB, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
HTC One E8 Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
LG G3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia Z3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPhone 6 Apple A8, PowerVR GX6450, 128 GB eMMC Flash

* ... smaller is better

Games

A large screen, a high resolution, and great speakers ensure plenty of gaming fun with HTC's Desire Eye. The Adreno 330 supports all common graphics interfaces and also still offers enough power for upcoming titles. There is currently no game in the Play Store that pushes the GPU to its limits. Both graphically demanding games, like Asphalt 8, and classics, like Worms 3, run smoothly.

The decent touchscreen and impeccably functioning sensors never ruin the entertainment and do not give reason for complaint.

Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8
Worms 3
Worms 3

Emissions

The Desire Eye made losses in the stress test.
The Desire Eye made losses in the stress test.

System Noise

The surface temperatures of HTC's Desire Eye achieved a maximum idle of 30.6 °C. The rates climbed up to 35.9 °C under load that we simulated with the Stability Test app. Those are superb rates. The review sample is thus the coolest handheld in the comparison field. The iPhone 6 (max. 43.6 °C) presents the highest temperatures.

We checked the performance stability under permanent load with the Battery Test of GFXBench 3.0. The T-Rex benchmark is run thirty times in succession, and both the battery state and the frame rates are recorded. The performance of the Desire Eye already decreases after about four runs and ultimately settles to approximately 80% of the initial performance. This throttling is frequently observed in strong SoCs.

Max. Load
 34.7 °C
94 F
33.8 °C
93 F
33.1 °C
92 F
 
 35.9 °C
97 F
34.5 °C
94 F
34.7 °C
94 F
 
 34.8 °C
95 F
33.7 °C
93 F
32.5 °C
91 F
 
Maximum: 35.9 °C = 97 F
Average: 34.2 °C = 94 F
31.5 °C
89 F
33.9 °C
93 F
34.4 °C
94 F
31.4 °C
89 F
34.8 °C
95 F
34.2 °C
94 F
31.3 °C
88 F
35.8 °C
96 F
32.5 °C
91 F
Maximum: 35.8 °C = 96 F
Average: 33.3 °C = 92 F
Power Supply (max.)  36.3 °C = 97 F | Room Temperature 20.4 °C = 69 F | Voltcraft IR-350
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.2 °C / 94 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 35.9 °C / 97 F, compared to the average of 35.5 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 35.8 °C / 96 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.4 °C / 81 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.

Speakers

The speakers are embedded unobtrusively in the front.
The speakers are embedded unobtrusively in the front.

HTC's Desire Eye has two speakers located on the sides of the screen when held in landscape mode. The stereo speakers feature HTC's BoomSound and are compelling. The sound is quite balanced and only gets a bit tinny in maximum volume. The components do a very good job particularly in games and videos.

The included headset is very bass-heavy and the trebles are a bit flat. All in all, they are nevertheless members of the better, included headsets.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of HTC's Desire Eye does not display either positive or negative surprises. It is thus on a similar level as the contenders. The idle consumption ranges from 0.3 to 1.5 watts, and the rates climb up to 6.2 watts during load. The slightly higher consumption rate compared with the M8 is due to the larger screen.

However, the power supply's nominal capacity of 5 watts is too tight. That will noticeably increase the 3 hours normally needed for recharging during full load.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.3 / 1.2 / 1.5 Watt
Load midlight 3.8 / 6.2 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

The non-removable battery of HTC's Desire Eye has a capacity of 2400 mAh. It is smaller than those found in other flagship smartphones, such as HTC's One M8 (2900 mAh) or Samsung's Galaxy S5 (2800 mAh). Nevertheless, the review sample achieves good runtimes and even defeats its bigger aluminum brother in all sectors. Only the S5 presents better results in total.

The best possible comparison is achieved by using a screen brightness of 150 cd/m². All consumers, except for the Wi-Fi connection, are disabled in the Wi-Fi browsing test. A script that loads a new website every 40 seconds is opened. The Desire lasted for over 15 hours here. That is an excellent rate, which is only surpassed by the Lumia 930. The Eye achieves great results in the other tests, as well. The video playback time was astonishingly low because Android devices normally last longer in this test than in the Wi-Fi test.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
23h 53min
WiFi Surfing
15h 14min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
8h 23min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 20min
HTC Desire EYE
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AB, 16 GB eMMC Flash
HTC One M8
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AB, 16 GB iNAND Flash
Samsung Galaxy S5
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Huawei Ascend P7
Mali-450 MP4, Kirin 910T, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia Z3
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Nokia Lumia 930
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
-41%
6%
-19%
-10%
-2%
Reader / Idle
1433
863
-40%
1695
18%
963
-33%
1203
-16%
1387
-3%
H.264
503
385
-23%
556
11%
682
36%
WiFi
914
453
-50%
613
-33%
574
-37%
672
-26%
1002
10%
Load
200
102
-49%
253
27%
228
14%
132
-34%
175
-12%

Verdict

In review: HTC Desire Eye
In review: HTC Desire Eye

HTC's Desire Eye is yet another flagship smartphone that is not clad in elegant aluminum. However, it features an IP certification for the first time making it dust and waterproof. The selfie handheld thus not only shoots decent pictures in every situation and under adverse conditions, it also meets the demands of hardware buffs.

A very swift SoC in the form of the Snapdragon 801 is integrated, which ensures smooth utilization of Google's Android 4.4 KitKat. An update to Lollipop is also in the works. High-speed LTE is also installed, though not in the latest version. Besides that, we miss the latest ac Wi-Fi standard. The GPS antennas additionally sometimes lose the network connection, which leads to a somewhat inaccurate localization. Furthermore, the available storage capacity is a bit tight.

Despite that, the review sample shines with powerful speakers, a good voice quality, and long runtimes. Users who like selfies and groufies will hardly get around HTC's Desire Eye.

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In review: HTC Desire EYE. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.de
In review: HTC Desire EYE. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.de

Specifications

HTC Desire EYE (Desire Series)
Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 330, Core: 578 MHz
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5.2 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, 10 touch points, 424 ppi, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 8.76 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: combo headphone and microphone jack, Card Reader: micro-SD max. 128 GB, Sensors: accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, digital compass, GPS, Glonass, NFC, DLNA, HTC Connect, UICC-NFC
Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4), Bluetooth 4.0, GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900 and 2100 MHz), LTE Cat. 4 (band 3, 7, 8, 20) (all EMEA), head-SAR: 0.405 W/kg, body-SAR: 0.336 W/kg
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.5 x 151.7 x 73.8 ( = 0.33 x 5.97 x 2.91 in)
Battery
Lithium-Ion, 2400 mAh, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 20 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 538 h
Operating System
Android 4.4 KitKat
Camera
Webcam: 13 MP (BSI, auto focus, dual-LED flash); primary camera: 13 MP (BSI, auto focus, dual-LED flash)
Additional features
Speakers: two stereo speakers w/ integrated amplifier, HTC BoomSound, Keyboard: virtual, headset, USB cable, power supply, HTC Guide, Kids Mode, HTC Dot View, HTC Power to Give, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
152 g ( = 5.36 oz / 0.34 pounds), Power Supply: 58 g ( = 2.05 oz / 0.13 pounds)
Price
529 Euro

 

There's not much to unbox.
There's not much to unbox.
The screen is not only bright, but it is also convincing otherwise.
The screen is not only bright, but it is also convincing otherwise.
The front-facing camera can utilize up to 13 MP and shoots decent pictures.
The front-facing camera can utilize up to 13 MP and shoots decent pictures.
The speakers have been cleverly embedded in the casing.
The speakers have been cleverly embedded in the casing.
The Eye is completely made of plastic.
The Eye is completely made of plastic.
The rear-facing camera features a 26 mm wide angle.
The rear-facing camera features a 26 mm wide angle.
The power supply is a bit too weak.
The power supply is a bit too weak.
Not much storage is available.
Not much storage is available.
The latest version of KitKat is preloaded.
The latest version of KitKat is preloaded.
100 GB of Google Drive storage is also included.
100 GB of Google Drive storage is also included.
The Eye can be unlocked and activated via a swipe gesture.
The Eye can be unlocked and activated via a swipe gesture.
The phone app makes a clearly arranged impression.
The phone app makes a clearly arranged impression.
PCMark for Android
PCMark for Android
AndEBench Pro
AndEBench Pro
AnTuTu v5.3
AnTuTu v5.3
3DMark
3DMark
Anomaly 2 Benchmark (High Quality)
Anomaly 2 Benchmark (High Quality)

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Motorola Moto X (2014) Smartphone Review
Adreno 330, Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC
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Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pros

+IP certificate
+Decent cameras
+Powerful SoC
+Great screen
+Good speakers
+Decent voice quality
+Very good battery life
+Power To Give app
 

Cons

-Low available storage capacity
-No App2SD support
-No MHL
-No ac Wi-Fi
-Sometimes inaccurate GPS
-Throttling under load

Shortcut

What we like

Both cameras do a fantastic job and offer many features so that selfie fans can really have a good time. The additional IP certification and dedicated camera button even allow taking pictures under water.

What we'd like to see

The latest ac Wi-Fi standard - that is a must in this price range.

What surprises us

HTC has managed to integrate an even higher-contrast and brighter screen than in its One M8 without worsening the black level.

The competition

The contenders are: Huawei Ascend P7, HTC One M8, HTC One E8, Sony Xperia Z3, Samsung Galaxy S5, Nokia Lumia 930, Apple iPhone 6, and LG G3.

Rating

HTC Desire EYE - 02/06/2015 v4(old)
Daniel Schmidt

Chassis
85%
Keyboard
70 / 75 → 93%
Pointing Device
91%
Connectivity
44 / 60 → 73%
Weight
92%
Battery
94%
Display
86%
Games Performance
63 / 63 → 100%
Application Performance
49 / 70 → 70%
Temperature
91%
Noise
100%
Audio
80 / 91 → 88%
Camera
78%
Average
79%
87%
Smartphone - Weighted Average
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > HTC Desire Eye Smartphone Review
Daniel Schmidt, 2014-12-15 (Update: 2018-05-15)