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HTC Desire EYE 'Selfie Phone' Specs, Release Date: Set to Launch in Time for the Holidays

( [email protected] ) Oct 20, 2014 11:53 PM EDT

HTC Desire EYE
HTC Desire EYE. Photo: Android Central

The Desire EYE was announced from HTC last week, and its unique 13-megapixel front-facing camera has already earned the device the nickname of the "selfie phone."

The Desire EYE has more than just the industry's first 13-megapixel front-facing camera, though. The 5.2-inch, 424 ppi display makes it a worthy contender with the competition, and the Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor is the same chip you'll find in the Samsung's popular Galaxy S5.

Related: HTC's Desire Eye, RE Camera Released, Price and Specs 

In fact, most of the HTC Desire EYE's specs are very similar to HTC's flagship One M8. With both rear and front cameras sporting the same 13 MP camera, the focus is certainly on the Instagram and Facebook crowd, but does more megapixels really translate to better quality?

The Verge took a look at the Desire EYE, but were't too impressed with what the cameras had to offer. Despite features like autofocus, dual LED flash on the front and rear, and 1080p video recording, the review scored the phone low on the pictures taken in various conditions.

"I tested taking selfies with the Desire Eye in a number of environments, ranging from bright outdoor conditions to dimly lit indoor environments," The Verge reviewer Dan Seifert writes. "Despite all of the high-end specs packed into the Eye's front camera, it unfortunately didn't do remarkably better than the iPhone 6 when it came to taking selfies. Outdoor images looked good, with plenty of detail and great colors, but as soon as the light levels dropped, images became dark, soft, noisy, and just plain terrible. Contrasted with the images from the iPhone 6's front camera, which were grainy and noisy, but much brighter and sharper, the Eye just wasn't that impressive."

TechRadar's Gareth Beavis calls the camera "more gimmick than really compelling addition."

That's not to say that the rest of the phone is a flop with reviewers, though. HTC has traditionally reserved the Desire name for more mid-range phones, but the Desire EYE's hardware impressed reviewers. The plastic case is easier to hold than the metal case of the iPhone and the phone's waterproofing stacks up to more high-end phones.

While there's no definitive release date for the Desire EYE yet, HTC has confirmed that it will release in time for the holiday season and run Android 4.4 Kitkat from the box. AT&T has also confirmed that it will be the exclusive carrier for the EYE