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HTC’s RE Camera is an interesting little device for those in the market for an ultra-portable camera. Although HTC isn’t marketing the RE Camera as a companion for your white water rapid adventures, when it comes to miniature portable cameras, the GoPro is the range to beat.

There are a variety of GoPro camera’s available, many of which are quite a bit more expensive than HTC’s little RE Camera. The closest priced GoPro is the older HERO3, which retails for $199. Let’s see how they stack up.

Camera Quality

Starting at the top of the spec sheet, the RE Camera packs an impressive 16 Megapixel sensors into its tiny body. The Hero3’s camera offers a much lower resolution of just 5 megapixels, with the higher 12 MP sensors reserved for the far more expensive GoPro Hero4, which retails for $399.99+.

GoPro

As for the camera’s other specs, the GoPro range has a fixed f/2.8 aperture, the same as the RE Camera, which should help somewhat in lower light conditions.  Both also feature an ultra-wide angle lens to capture a broader field of view than traditional point and click cameras or smartphones.

 HTC RE CameraGoPro Hero 3GoPro Hero 3+GoPro Hero 4 Black
Price$199$199$299.99$399.99
Megapixels16MP5MP10MP12MP
Aperturef/2.8f/2.8f/2.8f/2.8
Field of ViewUltra-wideUltra-wideUltra-wideUltra-wide

Despite its lower resolution, the GoPro packs a few treats of its own. The Hero3 can be set to take 3 pictures per second, whilst newer GoPro models offers a variety of photo options, including burst shot, continuous modes, and image ISO, white balance, and colour options available for tweaking. Both the HTC and GoPro cameras have a time-lapse function for sequencing stills into a small video or capturing live action, but the more expensive GoPros have a much broader range of camera options.

Video modes

The HTC RE Camera can record full HD (1080p) video at 30 frames per second with the full wide-angle lense, and can also record in 4x slow motion (120fps) with a resolution of 720p.

GoPro Hero4

The cheaper GoPros are also limited to just 30fps recording at 1080p, but without the full wide-angle capture, and are limited to just 60fps recording at 720p. However, the high-end GoPro’s offer up 120fps recording at 720p, which extends to 1080p with the Hero4. The Hero 4 Black Edition can also shoot 30fps video at 4K resolution and 50fps at 2K.

 HTC RE CameraGoPro Hero3GoPro Hero3+GoPro Hero 4 Black
Max Video Resolution1080p, 30fps1080p, 30fps1080p, 60fps4K, 30fps
Field of ViewUltra-wideMediumUltra-WideUltra-Wide
Max Frames (Slow-Mo)720p, 120fps720p, 60fps720p, 120fps1080p, 120fps or WVGA, 240fps
Battery life: 1080p, 30fps1:402:153:001:30

At the $200 price point, the HTC RE Camera comes out ahead of the Hero3. But if it’s high quality video you’re after, the Hero3+ or Hero4 offer the best range of quality and frame rate options.

Accessories & Features

Battery life is pretty important with a small portable device, and the GoPro looks like the winner here. HTC states that the RE Camera can record around 1 hour and 40 minutes of 1080p video on a single charge, whilst the Hero3, with its larger battery, manages 2 hours 15 minutes. However, the more expensive, and powerful, Hero4 manages just 1 hour 20 minutes. If you’re planning some more adventurous excursions, waterproofing and damage resistance is also worth considering. The RE Camera offers IPX7 resistance, but the GoPro’s protective, airtight case makes it a little more resilient to a bump and scrape.

GoPro accessories

Top: HTC accessories. Bottom: GoPro accessories.

As for importing your newly capture pictures and footage, HTC’s camera pairs straight up with the companies Android app. The app can be used to remotely control and viewfinder for the camera, and also works with HTC’s Zoe app. GoPro has a similar app for its cameras, which again functions as a viewfinder and camera control, and can be used to transfer pictures via WiFi.

Finally, we come to the wide range of accessories available. HTC’s RE Camera has bar and clip-on mounts listed, as well as a head mount for more active users, but they all appear a little on the cheap side. The GoPro’s stock clip connection can be attached to a huge variety of mounts, and it has a broader range of high-end kit, such as lens covers and wireless remotes.

RE Cam vs GoPro

Despite some hardware similarities, HTC and GoPro don’t seem to have the same target audience in mind.

Overall, the HTC RE Camera looks like good value when compared to the Hero3, with surprising good hardware specs for the price. While the top of the line GoPros are more versatile and offer up a better range of capture options and accessories, at $200 the RE Camera is a solid first entry for HTC. Of course, there’s practical use to consider too. In the end, the GoPro and RE Camera are designed for two very different purposes.

 

Update: If you fancy a closer look at the HTC RE vs the GoPro Silver 4, check out our own Kevin Nether’s hands on comparison below: