The Desire Eye offers decent performance, a good screen and robust design. However, the allure of its 13MP front camera is let down by poor focus and shutter speeds.
Decent design, good screen, strong performance
No Android Lollipop support, flaky camera focus
Processor: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
Display: 5.2in, 1080x1920 pixels, 424 ppi IPS touchscreen
Storage: 16GB, 128GB, microSD, 2GB RAM
Camera: 13MP front and back cameras
Connectivity: 4G, 3G, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Operating system: Android 4.4.4 Kitkat with Sense 6.0
Battery: Li-Ion 2400 mAh
HTC's sales today aren't even close to those in the firm's heyday, but its recent high-end smartphones have been excellent.
However, despite HTC's success at the top end, the firm has yet to make much headway in the mid- to low-end market, a space it once dominated with the Wildfire smartphone.
The Desire Eye is designed to rectify this and offer an affordable, but still well specced, alternative to the One M8.
Design and build
HTC has long been one of a select number of companies capable of taking Apple on when it comes to design. At the top end of its range, the firm has done this by designing smartphones using robust metal frames, like the single piece chassis on the One M8.
Below this, the Desire range has featured less solid and premium feeling polycarbonate frames. The Desire Eye continues this trend and features a three-tone polycarbonate design.
The Desire Eye still feels fairly premium. The plastic has a matte finish that, combined with IPX7 certification, gives it a well-built feel. The certification means the Desire Eye is dustproof and water resistant up to one metre for 30 minutes.
The right hand physical power, volume and shutter buttons also feel reasonably well built and are suitably sensitive and responsive.
Additionally, thanks to the reasonable 152x74x8.5mm dimensions, 154g weight and rounded sides, the Desire Eye feels comfortable in the hand, especially when compared with recent plus sized handsets, such as the Nexus 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.
Our only design qualms with the Desire Eye is that the left hand nano-sim and microSD inputs are prone to pop out slightly when the handset meets with even moderate force and, the blue review unit we used was prone to picking up dirt marks.
The Desire Eye features a fairly large screen by HTC standards and comes with a 5.2in, 1080x1920 pixels, 424 ppi IPS touchscreen.
We found the Desire Eye's display fairly impressive for a midrange device. Compared with most phones in its price bracket, the Desire Eye display features decent sharpness and contrast levels and, unlike many Android handsets, doesn't oversaturate colours.
That said, there are some problems with the display. The biggest is its reflective nature. The display performed great in regular light, but moving into more adverse conditions, such as bright sunlight, it quickly became close to unusable.
Next: Operating system and performance.