HTC Zoe (Beta) Review: Has the Instagram killer arrived?

Zoe beta App


Zoe beta App

After my last week’s rant of the six month delayed HTC Zoe App, HTC has finally decided to give us something to nibble on as it prepares the final product. Zoe has always been one of the better reasons to take a lot of photos with an HTC smartphone, even if you don’t dig the company’s unique Ultrapixel approach to mobile photography. Just because with Zoe’s video highlight function you could always mix down those mediocre stills and videos into a short peppy highlight video which is made almost automatically which gives the whole thing a new life. Now HTC is taking Zoe to the new level, and as of today  the company has opened up it’s social network photography app to none HTC phones. So Samsung, LG and probably Huawei Android users can also give it a snip. So will this app be an Instagram or vine killer in time to come? Well, that’s for you to decide of course after giving it a try.

Its just a beta, but a good beta

Zoe App install

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The first thing you will notice about the new Zoe beta is that it’s a standalone app, accessible on many devices running Android 4.4 and above and sense 6 and above for HTC phones plus the download is pretty heavy at over 64MB. Its technically pre-release not yet feature complete with version v1.0 planned for later this year. Users can send feedback to through a feedback hub within the app.

Zoe App_4

Jumping onto Zoe for the first time will take you to your own Zoe feed and here is where the app’s new incarnation stands out. Just like a stream of posts that we find on twitter, vine or Instagram, you immediately see Zoe’s from friends. Highlight reels of selected pictures and videos and music cut together by HTC software. Of course since am an early adopter of this app here in Uganda it’s a bit tricky to find people using the app at least for now. But HTC won’t allow you to be bored with a blank timeline. It will recommend some people you can follow to kill off that boredom and loneliness from the discover tab.

Same Old Zoe

Posting your own Zoe is much the same as it has been in the past, select what content you want included (both photos and videos) then choose what theme music you are looking for (Zoe come with some) and you can also use locally stored music but be mindful of copyright concerns and finally choose what style you want the Zoe edited in.

Zoe beta 2

You do have the option for more granular control like cutting music to length and choosing start and end clips, but I found the software surprisingly intelligent in this regard. Leaving it to make its own choice usually results into a nice concoction. So when you done editing you can keep it private or you can send it out to the masses for that communal remixing we knew Zoe was built for.

Editing is a breeze

You can also re-cut Zoes from other people, friends or just random people who left their Zoes open to public editing. In our short time with the app, I mainly used it to Zoe-boom random people. But HTC envisions a world where many people will be attending an event like a concert or a party could cooperatively assemble a video showing multiple perspectives of the same thing.

Zoe App_9

You could download the app HERE and try it out yourself compatible devices, include any device with HTC Sense 6, as well as the Nexus 5, LG G2 and G2 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5 and Note 3.