The Re app by HTC can be found both on Android and iOS and takes you through the connection in a few easy steps. Connecting the HTC Re to your smartphone is done through Wi-Fi Direct, though on iOS you need to connect manually to the Re's Wi-Fi hotspot and it isn't as seamless. The iOS app also tends to need several attempts before it connects to the Re even after you've went through the initial setup.
The app starts off with a view of all the photos you've taken with the camera in a timeline. You can share individual images, save some to your phone or delete others.
The most important section of the app is the Capture tab where you get a live feed of the viewfinder in camera, video or timelapse mode. The feed was smooth and constantly refreshed on Android but had some issues on iOS and showed fewer fps.
The settings tab of the Re app allows you to backup images, update and reset the Re and also control the shooting parameters - resolution, aspect ratio (you can enable ultra-wide angle mode) as well as toggle the stabilization.
The app has enough features for what it's supposed to, but one thing we noticed is that on the iPhone 6, the live viewfinder feed from the Re tends to tear up and freeze from time to time.
The HTC Re offers a versatile camera in a user-friendly form factor, coupled with great battery life.
What matters the most however is the image quality and whether the camera can push its 16MP and 1080p video for a quality result.
The 1/2.3" CMOS sensor can capture photos at a maximum resolution of 16MP in 4:3 aspect ratio but you can also shoot 12MP stills in 16:9 aspect ratio with the respective reduction of the viewport in the vertical direction.
The Re captures images fast but doesn't offer burst mode. If you hold the shutter button the camera will start capturing video so the only way to get a fast sequence of snaps is by rapidly pushing the shutter button in succession, which isn't ideal.
The HTC Re outputs a lot of detail in its 16MP stills although it's not up to the standards of recent 16MP flagship phones (namely Samsung ones). Detail is nice and sharp in the center of the frame but there is some softness around the corners.
There is some fair bit of distortion in the images, even in those that aren't shot in the ultra-wide angle mode but that's to be expected - you can see this in stills from all action cams. The action camera is suited to capture people and action and as such it's not the best option for architecture snaps.
Colors look pleasing and the automatic white balance was able to sort out every scene correctly.
The dynamic range is especially good, which is of key importance for this sort of camera. The center of the images was always exposed correctly but we also saw a good amount of detail in the highlight areas such as the sky.
Toggling the shooting mode to ultra-wide angle mode will distort the image severely, especially around the edges. But this mode will allow you to capture more of your surroundings, which is great if you've mounted the camera on yourself or your gear for capturing some action scene video.
The following camera samples have been shot successively in normal and wide angle view mode.
Noise is a bit of an issue for the HTC Re even when there is sufficient light. In low light its noise performance becomes far from stellar, though the level of detail is still acceptable.
Here are more images taken with the HTC Re.
We realize the HTC Re is a completely different kind of camera but we still felt compelled to compare it to something from the smartphone scene.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 takes 16MP images in the 16:9 aspect ratio and has a bit smaller sensor at 1/2.6". Nevertheless, it delivers much sharper results with superior detail compared to the Re. The Re has a wider field of view so there's certainly a trade-off.
If you're considering buying the HTC Re then video is likely very important to you. The camera can record 1080p footage at the basic 30fps and 720p at 120fps for slow motion.
You also get timelapse at 720p resolution. You can also choose the output file's fps (30fps is the smoothest).
Videos came out with good detail and look smoother than 30fps. They never stuttered and share the great dynamic range and solid white balance of the stills.
While definitely good, the detail level isn't amazing, even at 1080p. We would've preferred them to be sharper and noticed the same corner softness in the videos as well.
The HTC Re offers video stabilization but it doesn't appear to be too aggressive. We still witnessed a lot of shaking when we shot hand-held while walking.
Here's a timelapse video shot on the dashboard of a car (no stand or accessory).
You can also check out a 1080p@30fps (00:10s, 23.2MB) video straight out of the Re.