If there is one Company in this world who have made a fortune by being in the right place at the right time, with the right product its Go Pro, they not only turned the action camera market on end they grew prolific because they had very little competition.
The Go Pro camera which is housed in a box that people have to stick on their head or the end of a surf board, bicycle or other mobile device to capture action images is brutally expensive with the new Hero 4 costing over $500 and the new 4K model over $600.
Charging has in the past been a pain in the backside due to one having to remove the battery.
Well I have news for new there is a brand new action camera product from HTC Called the Re has been released in Australia this week via Telstra stores.
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It costs less than half the price of a Go Pro and at $249 this products delivers excellent Full HD images, is significantly easier to point and shoot or mount and shoot and can be easily stored in a pocket or bag.
I am confident if the reaction I have got to the product from average mums and dads, technology luddites and hard core Go Pro users the new HTC Re is going to be a huge success for HTC.
The HTC Re camera is less than half the price of the cheapest Go Pro 4 unit is stylish easy to use, delivers brilliant images in second’s right to an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet.
Shaped like an asthma inhaler the device is light and the beauty of the RE is that it can easily fit into a pocket replacing a compact camera, it’s waterproof without the need for an ugly casing and is highly functional, even the mounts are far innovative than the Go Pro which for the money has now become a massive rip off.
For example the HTC Re has a standard screw in the base that allows all sorts of mounts to be screwed in the Go Pro has no standard screw for the simple reason that they want consumers to buy their own attachments which are extremely pricey.
To seriously get a feel for how people would react I took a Go Pro and the new HTC Re to a Sydney beach over the weekend, the reaction was overwhelmingly in favour of the HTC Re.
We were able to shoot both still with one click and video images with two clicks and in seconds show them on a smartphone screen. We were even able to place the Re on a coffee shop table and stream the video image to a table metres away.
The first group who really took to the RE were women with children or grandmothers with grandchildren.
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My biggest problem was telling people who wanted to buy the product immediately that it would not be available until December and even then it will only be available in limited numbers.
When we showed the device to some hard core paddlers who all had Go Pro mounts on their Ski’s the reaction was the same as the mums.
They saw it as far more functional and easier to handle than the Go Pro.
Capable of being mounted on the person, or a helmet or the stem or the handlebars of a bicycle several observers said that they would use it in their cars in place of a crash camera.
Price was also a major hit, with several people claiming that they would buy a” his and hers” version and still have change from a single Go Pro 4.
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While Cisco had a crack at the mass portable handheld market with the Flip and failed, the design of the HTC Re is what I think will appeal to people from all walks of life. From the architects and project managers who want to shoot images on a building site to the mums and dads who want instant no fuss images from a camera that easily fits in the pocket or a bag.
HTC Re is a small, simple point-and-shoot video camera that’s in go mode when you pick it up. All you have to do is push one button on the stem of the device.
It’s waterproof to 1 meter without a housing, and its built-in wireless and the Re app let you see what you’re shooting in seconds, this is light years ahead of the Go Pro technology.
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The body comes in white, silver, orange and blue, the Re has a large lens which via the app software can be changed to shoot ultra-wide via the f2.8 lens which delivers a 146-degree angle of view.
Inside the barrel of the camera is a 1/2.3-inch 16-megapixel Sony-made CMOS sensor which delivers excellent images even in low light.
So why use this device over a camera built into a smartphone.
Firstly the sensor is bigger than what you’d find in almost all smartphones, the device can instantly shoot an image.
It eliminates finding the camera app, opening the camera app, focusing the camera in the smartphone and then shooting with a device that is cumbersome in the hand or two for most smartphones when shooting a video.
The lens on the HTC delivers a wide image that allows users to just aim it at your subject and you’ll have them in the frame.
A simple press of a button and an easy but firm grip of the HTC Re barrel and you are away shooting a 1080p video which can be played back immediately.
In my trip to the beach I got a good two hours battery life before I had to plug it into my smartphone charger.
HTC sees this device as a lifestyle camera more than as an a rugged action camera for extreme sports, this is despite the fact that the he body is waterproof to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes without an additional housing, There is also an optional waterproof cap that lets you take it down to 9.8 feet for up to 120 minutes.
This is a smart marketing move as they will capture a bigger audience especially families who want simple action images without paying half a week’s wages for a camera.
There is also a time-lapse feature that allows one to capture storms or firework displays.
All you have to do is press the button on the bend of the device once and it captures a 16-megapixel photo in 4:3 format (12- or 8.3-megapixel if you opt for a 16:9 format). Press and hold for a couple seconds and it starts recording video at 1080p or 720p resolution, at 30 frames per second. You can choose from an ultra-wide view with some barrel distortion, or a narrower view that’s cropped in to correct the distortion.
This is one of the hottest products this year for the simple reason that it ticks the box when it comes to quality, functionality and above all ease of use.
There is a massive global market out there of people who want simple easy to use devices and with this device its one click and you instantly have high quality images.
And if my beach exercise is anything to go by this device will be a smash hit for retailers as word of mouth will drive the sales of this camera.