Given the number of people taking selfies, it was only a matter of time before some enterprising smartphone manufacturer thought to kit out a phone with a decent front-facing camera.
HTC is that manufacturer, and the Desire Eye is that phone. The standout feature is its twin 13MP cameras – one on the front, one on the back. Round the front, there's an f/2.2 camera with a 22mm wide-angle lens; on the back, there's an f/2.0 camera with a 28mm wide-angle lens. Both are capable of shooting 1080p video and both pack a dual LED flash.
Naturally, there's a laundry list of selfie-specific camera features, including a voice-activated shutter and novelty face-swapping; hold it out and take a shot of another person with the rear cam and one of you with the front one, then merge your faces to truly terrifying effect. More useful is the face-tracking feature; make a video call with the phone and it'll track up to four faces around the room using its super-wide angle front lens.
The Desire Eye features a spec sheet that puts it on a par with the likes of the HTC One (M8). It's powered by a 2.3GHz, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, and features 2GB RAM and 16GB storage (expandable by up to 128GB using microSD). A 2400mAh battery keeps things ticking over, with a promised 20 hours of 3G talk time.
There's also the usual complement of connectivity options; microUSB2.0, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX, NFC, 4G LTE and 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi.
Although the HTC Desire Eye lacks the One (M8)'s metal build, it does have one key advantage over its range-topping sibling; its plastic frame is water resistant to IP67. It's also lighter than the One (M8), at 154g.
The Desire Eye also packs HTC's dual front-facing BoomSound speakers, plus three microphones for background noise cancellation – which should come in handy for the aforementioned video calls.
The Desire Eye runs Android KitKat with HTC's Sense skin – it's also colour-coordinated with the phone's blue or orange build, like the iPhone 5c or Windows 8 phones. You can, we're told, expect an upgrade to Android L after launch – though HTC won't be drawn on the specifics.
Pricing has yet to be confirmed, but it's apparently going to be cheaper than the One (M8) – and may even be priced lower than the HTC One Mini 2 when it ships at the end of October.