The HTC RE is a novel remote camera accessory that can connect to a compatible Android or Apple smartphone, and it's one of those products that is either insanely brilliant or insanely stupid. It's hard to tell which.

Before we try to figure out what the RE is for, perhaps we should look at what it is. The HTC RE is a periscope-shaped wireless camera with a 16 megapixel sensor (capable of 1080p video capture) that interfaces with a smartphone running Android 4.3 or iOS 7 or later via WiFi. The RE is waterproof out-of-the-box to IP57 standards or IP58 standards if you add the optional waterproof cap. The RE stores pictures and movies onto a microSD card, with an 8GB card supplied as standard, and the integrated 820 mAh battery is quoted as giving a record time of 1 hour 40 minutes. Which is enough for a movie.

Picking up the device triggers the RE application on the smartphone, so you don't really need to touch your smartphone at all. Because it is smaller and lighter than a phone and can stand up by itself, then you can use it to take photographs and movies of things that would be tricky to do with a smartphone.

 HTC RE HTC are promoting the concept of the RE with healthy images of people going outdoors and having fun, and it certainly is a viable alternative to something like a GoPro for many applications. But it strikes us that the real value of a device like this is in more furtive photography of.. well, there's a world of possibilities (not all of them good).

This is one of those products where consumers will have to decide whether or not they really want one, or perhaps it is the sort of cool gadget that people will buy and use a couple of times before relegating it to a drawer full of smartwatches and NFC tags.

In the UK, EE are quoting the RE at £169.99 (about €215) and are quoting availability as early November, it will also be widely available in the US and presumably will appear in many other markets too.

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