HTC Desire Eye review: Undercover flagship

Undercover flagship

Orlin Milinov, 24 November 2014.

Unboxing

The AT&T version of HTC Desire Eye we tested comes in a carrier branded box, which contains just the basics. The handset comes bundled with a charger, a USB cable, and the usual array of booklets.

HTC Desire Eye Review HTC Desire Eye Review
The retail package

There is no bundled headset with the AT&T Desire Eye. The accessory could well be region specific.

HTC Desire Eye also works with the company's rather brilliant Dot View case. The software behind the accessory has received several updates already, so the cover shows all notifications from the device. Its graphics can be customized too.

Design and build quality

HTC Desire Eye is unmistakably a member of the company's mid-range family. With a plastic body surrounded by a contrasting frame, the handset could be easily mistaken for the less capable HTC Desire 820 if it weren't for its 13MP front-facing camera.

HTC Desire Eye Review HTC Desire Eye Review
HTC Desire Eye looks casually handsome

The abovementioned snapper rightfully gives the smartphone the Eye moniker in its name. The camera literally gives the impression of an eye that's constantly looking at you.

HTC Desire Eye is available in two color schemes - white with red frame like the model we tested and a dark blue one with light blue frame. Both color options look good in person, though a slightly more serious black version would have also been appreciated.

HTC Desire EyeHTC Desire Eye HTC Desire Eye
HTC Desire Eye in blue

Overall, the design of the HTC Desire Eye can be described as decidedly casual. The smartphone is handsome in the flesh, though it certainly looks less serious than its hardware suggests.

HTC has always enjoyed a reputation for making solid devices and the Desire Eye is no exception. The smartphone is solidly put together from high-quality plastic. The latter has the same finish as that of HTC One X - the company's 2012 flagship.

The IPX7 certification is another assurance about the device's build. The handset can be submerged under 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. Like in the case of HTC Butterfly 2, the feat has been achieved quite neatly, without sealing off the ports of the device.

Physical measures of HTC Desire Eye are 151.7 x 73.8 x 8.5mm, while its weight tips the scale at 154 grams. The device is slightly lighter and thinner than HTC One (M8), though far from being as elegant as the Moto X (2014) - the benchmark for compact measures in the segment.

HTC Desire Eye Review HTC Desire Eye Review HTC Desire Eye Review
HTC Desire Eye sized up against Moto X (2014)

HTC Desire Eye is surprisingly easy to handle. Its matte plastic body is grippy so you are unlikely to drop it accidentally. The side power/lock key on the other hand, makes the device legitimately comfortable to use single-handedly.

HTC Desire Eye Review HTC Desire Eye Review
Handling HTC Desire Eye

Display

The HTC Desire Eye uses a 1080 x 1920px 5.2" IPS panel, which results in some excellent pixel density of 424ppi.

HTC Desire Eye Review HTC Desire Eye Review HTC Desire Eye Review
The 5.2" display of HTC Desire Eye

The pixel arrangement is standard RGB, just as one would expect.

HTC Desire Eye Review

The more detailed tests we performed on the HTC Desire Eye show the 5.2" panel as a solid performer. Contrast was impressive at 50% and 100% brightness, while the screen is amazingly bright. This lead to not so impressive black levels, but that was to be expected.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
HTC Desire Eye 0.24 329 1345 0.62 806 1311
HTC Butterfly 2 0.19 216 1132 0.5 596 1185
HTC One (M8) 0.2 245 1219 0.46 577 1256
Samsung Galaxy S5 0 274 0 529
Sony Xperia Z3 - - - 0.65 866 1333
Oppo Find 7a 0.33 280 842 0.68 580 852
LG G3 0.14 109 763 0.72 570 789
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 0.17 208 1197 0.52 705 1361
Nokia Lumia 930 0 149 0 347


The brightness also helped the smartphone in the outdoor visibility test, where it posted a very respectable score. We have seen phones do better, but the Desire Eye is easily good enough to be usable outdoors and that's what matters the most.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3.799
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    3.547
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • HTC Desire Eye
    2.815
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
    2.416
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Meizu MX4
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1.943
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    1.887
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Windows Phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.34
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Reader comments

  • Htc desire eye

Htc eye not internet 2g 3g 4g why?

  • AnonD-590018

I have had this phone now for 10 month, I loved it, every single part about it. But now it has don't send error on camera and other apps can not even recognize that I have a camera. Can't decide to buy a new Eye or not, amazon won't take it back nor ...

  • matrix

what do u dislike in this phone and what about his sound because i will but it after 2 days >thanks