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HTC Desire Eye vs HTC One (M8): just a camera upgrade?

It goes without saying that the HTC One (M8) is one of the best devices to be released this year on the Android platform, thanks to its great screen and clever design. One of the sticking points of this otherwise solid device, however, was the camera sensor. Here to make up for this minor flaw is the newly announced HTC Desire Eye, featuring both a rear and front-facing 13 MP camera. But does the Desire Eye offer than just sweeter selfies? Find out in our HTC One (M8) vs HTC Desire Eye comparison.

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How does the HTC One (M8) (above) compare to the new HTC Desire Eye? / © ANDROIDPIT

HTC One (M8) vs HTC Desire Eye: Design

In terms of overall design, these two devices are worlds apart. The HTC One (M8) makes use of a brushed aluminium unibody; smooth and cold in the hand. The curved back and rounded corners soften the appearance and it sinks into the palm nicely. It’s a little heavier than other plastic devices, but this only adds to the “premium” feel.

The Desire Eye, on the other hand, takes a completely different approach. It looks very similar to the Desire 820 revealed at this year’s IFA; a white plastic body with a fire-engine red trim. The corners are perhaps a tad sharper than the One (M8)’s, and the back is flat, rather than convex, making the Desire Eye slimmer overall.  

The large camera sensor and are loud and proud at the top of the Desire Eye, but HTC’s Boomsound speakers, which are present at the top and bottom of the HTC One M8 face, could be missed at a glance. Fear not, they are still present on the Desire Eye, being housed inconspicuously in small black grills at the upper and lower portions of the display.

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The HTC Desire Eye is thinner than the HTC One (M8) and has a plastic finish, rather than aluminium. / © ANDROIDPIT

HTC One (M8) vs HTC Desire Eye: Display

The HTC One (M8) features a 5-inch full-HD, 1920 x 1080 pixel (441 ppi) LCD display and the Desire Eye sticks to this design choice with a very similar Full-HD LCD panel, containing an only slightly lower ppi count (424), as the result of the screen size being increased to 5.2-inches.

The end result? Both screens are essentially the same to look at. The HTC One (M8) display is still one of the best on Android, so this should come as good news even if there hasn’t been any real progression. Somewhat disappointingly, however, the Desire Eye once again features the screen-squashing HTC logo band at the bottom of the device - the sooner HTC ditches this and widens its displays, the better.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One (M8): the 'premium' device comparison

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The HTC One (M8)'s display can still compete with the best on Android, as can the HTC Desire Eye. / © ANDROIDPIT

HTC One (M8) vs HTC Desire Eye: System

The HTC Desire Eye arrives with Android 4.4.4 and the latest Sense 6.0 features. The HTC One (M8) will be upgradable to KitKat 4.4.4 with Sense 6.0 in the near feature, meaning there isn’t much between them in terms of OS.

The Desire Eye does have some extra BlinkFeed, Zoe, and newly revealed Eye Experience functionality that the HTC One (M8) is missing out on for the time being, but we’ll have to delve further into these before we can make a call on how much this separates the devices in practice.

Update: The HTC One (M8) has started receiving the Android 4.4.4 update with the new Eye Experience features in Europe with US to follow shortly, meaning the software gap between the two devices is even smaller.

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Both HTC devices make use of HTC's Sense UI, but the Desire Eye comes with some interesting new camera features, such as crop me in and split capture. / © ANDROIDPIT

HTC One (M8) vs HTC Desire Eye: Performance

With 2 GB of RAM and a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, the HTC One (M8) is no slouch. The response times are always quick, with very little stutter or lag. Thankfully, the Desire Eye comes with the same specs and in our brief time with the device, though we didn’t exactly get a chance to push it to the limits, everything ran as smoothly as we expected.

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The HTC One (M8) and Desire Eye should beform equally well, given that they house the same processing power and RAM. / © HTC

HTC One (M8) vs HTC Desire Eye: Camera

This is where the real distinction between the HTC One (M8) and the HTC Desire Eye is made. The HTC One (M8)’s 4 MP rear-camera, while high performing in certain conditions, suffers in bright light, and doesn’t contain much in the way of “fine detail” when zoomed in.

The Desire Eye features not just a greatly improved 13 MP rear-camera, but also the same camera on the front of the device. This is obviously the main selling point of the Desire Eye, as it is capable of taking the infamous “selfie-shot” to a very high standard. The HTC One, by comparison, cannot come close to competing, even with its not-entirely-awful 5 MP front snapper. The Desire Eye also takes advantage of a slew of new HTC branded camera features, like Eye Experience, and the newly upgraded Zoe.

The difference in quality is clear: with 13 megapixels and dual-LED flash at both the front and back, the Desire does photos very, very well.

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You can see the front facing camera on the Desire Eye (above) is larger than is normally found on smartphone faces. / © ANDROIDPIT

HTC One (M8) vs HTC Desire Eye: Battery

We were unable to gather much information about the Desire Eye’s battery performance in our short time with it, but as the HTC One (M8)’s 2600 mAh isn’t great given its full-HD screen, our expectation is that the smaller 2400 mAh battery of the Desire Eye means it will probably perform about as well. That is, until you start taking photos all day long.

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The HTC One (M8)'s battery life wasn't great, and the Desire Eye's probably won't perform any better. / © AndroidPIT

HTC One (M8) vs HTC Desire Eye: Price

Price and availability for the HTC Desire Eye is unknown right now, but the HTC One (M8) is currently available on for an off-contract price of 653.95 USD. You can expect the HTC Desire Eye to be in a (roughly) similar area.

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The HTC Desire Eye price is still unknown, but given the near-flagship specs, we expect it won't be a "budget" priced device. / © ANDROIDPIT

HTC One (M8) vs HTC Desire Eye: Tech specs

  HTC Desire Eye HTC One (M8)
System Android 4.4.4 Android 4.4
Display 5.2-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi) 5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, (441 ppi)
Processor Quad-core Snapdragon 801, 2.3 GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 801, 2.3 GHz
Battery 2,400 mAh 2,600 mAh
Internal Memory 16 GB, microSD 128 GB 16 GB, microSD up to 64 GB
Camera 13 MP (rear), 13 MP (front) + dual LED flash 4 MP (rear), 5 MP (front)
Dimensions 151.7 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm

146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm

Weight 154 g 160 g
Connectivity HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 UMTS HSPA+, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0
Price (TBC) ~650 USD


The HTC was billed as having “the world’s best selfie camera”, but I think this moniker has done the device a disservice. With basically the same specs as HTC’s current flagship, plus a massive improvement to the camera technology, I think, with a different body, this could have almost been called the HTC One (M8) Two. It wouldn’t have been very catchy, granted, but similar to what Sony has achieved the Xperia Z3, HTC has spent 6-months improving upon a device in the critical ways that users have asked for.

While it may not make a worthy upgrade to the HTC One (M8) just for a fancy front-camera, HTC Desire Eye almost certainly provides for a better purchase if deciding between the two of them.

What do you think of the HTC Desire Eye?


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