HTC Butterfly User Review

* This device is a review unit from HTC Malaysia*

HTC Butterfly is the (second) latest Android smartphone from my favourite smartphone manufacturer, HTC. It was originally released for the Japanese market as HTC J Butterfly but was eventually released to the rest of the world as the HTC Butterfly (HTC Droid DNA in US market).

This 5″ Android smartphone from HTC gets another stamp of approval from me for being another premium built phone that never disappoints. With HTC One X (read my review here) 4.7″ display being their previously largest screen in their portfolio, this 5″ smartphone is now the largest of their product suite, without being labeled as a “phablet” with the Samsung Galaxy Note (read my Note II review here) series.

I’ve had this phone for a little over 3 weeks as my primary phone, putting it through my moderate to heavy usage daily. Here’s my full user review of the 5″ Android beauty that is HTC Butterfly.

 

Hardware Overview

HTC Butterfly is indeed another beautifully designed hardware from the Taiwan manufacturer. With it’s larger 5″ touchscreen display, it has already (and will continue to be) the top range Android smartphone you can get in the market today.

Unboxing the HTC Butterfly

HTC Butterfly packaging
HTC Butterfly packaging

The HTC Butterfly comes in a simple and standard HTC packaging of a recyclable white box which bears the rear view of the smartphone on the front. In my case, I got the red coloured unit, which I requested for. (Red is my favourite colour, by the way).

Inside the box, you’ll find the smartphone wrapped in plastic with simple hardware overview and instructions on how to insert your microSIM card printed.

Plastic cover with hardware overview
Plastic cover with hardware overview
Inside the box of HTC Butterfly
Inside the box of HTC Butterfly

Remove the device and underneath it, you’ll see the standard user manuals and warranty cards, a HTC branded metal pin to access the microSIM slot, a simple 2 flat pin adapter charger, USB to  microUSB charge/sync cable, and the included wired headphones.

Hardware specs at the back of packaging
Hardware specs at the back of packaging

At the back of the packaging, you’ll see a quick list of hardware specifications of the HTC Butterfly. Here’s a quick overview of it:-

  • 5″ Super LCD3 Full HD display (1920X1080)(440 ppi)
  • 1.5 GHz quad core Qualcomm S4 Pro processor
  • 16 GB built in internal memory (FREE 25 GB Dropbox could storage + expandable microSD slot up to 32 GB) + 2 GB RAM
  • Powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS (with HTC Sense 4)
  • Build material : Polycarbonate unibody design
  • 8 megapixel rear camera, 2.1 megapixel front facing camera
  • 9.08 mm thin, weighing only 140 grams
  • 2,020 mAh non-removable battery
  • Connectivity : WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, DLNA (stream to TV/computer)
  • Available in 3 colours : Black, White and Red

For more information on the hardware specs and key features of the phone, you can check out HTC Butterfly’s SEA Product Page HERE.

HTC Butterfly is available in Black, White and Red colours
HTC Butterfly is available in Black, White and Red colours

Let’s look at the hardware.

HTC Butterfly - Hardware

(Top Left) 8 megapixel rear camera with autofocus and LED flash. (Top Right) Top of the device with a 3.5mm headphone jack, power on/off button with nice spirally groove, flap for microSIM card and microSD card slot. (Middle Left) Right side of the device with volume rocker with the same spirally groove. (Middle Right) Bottom of the device with a flap for microUSB charging and syncing port. (Bottom Left) Glossy back with HTC and beats audio branding and speaker grille. (Bottom Right) Nothing on the left side, but pure 9.08 mm thinness.

HTC Butterfly - Hardware (Front)

(Top Left) Front facing 2.1 megapixel camera capable of 1080p recording / video chats. (Top Right) Bottom capacitive soft buttons for “Back”, “Home” and “Multitasking” buttons. (Bottom) Top flap to access microSIM card and microSD card slots.

Because the device is splash-proof, you’ll see HTC including flaps for all the exposed ports like microSIM card slot cum microSD slot, and microUSB charging/sync port. To insert your microSIM card, you pop open the flap at the top of the phone to access the microSIM card tray using the metal pin provided in the box. This is illustrated by the plastic cover when you first take the device out of the box.

Instructions on how to access the microSIM card slot
Instructions on how to access the microSIM card slot

As you can see, the microSIM and microSD are placed on top of each other in the same flap/compartment.

Holding the HTC Butterfly in my hands, even with a 5″ display screen size, feels very comfortable. This is due to the tapered edge design of the smartphone with a curved back that fits nicely in the palm of your hand. Also, the phone is super slim at 9.08 mm thin and feel light but still has enough heft to feel premium.

HTC Butterfly fits comfortably in hands, due to the tapered edge and curved back
HTC Butterfly fits comfortably in hands, due to the tapered edge and curved back

The back of the phone is made of polycarbonate (read: plastic) with a glossy finish. This means it’s a major fingerprint magnet. You’ll either have to put it in a nice casing, or have to constantly wipe the device from fingerprints during handling.

The back is a glossy polycarbonate (plastic) material which is a huge fingerprint magnet
The back is a glossy polycarbonate (plastic) material which is a huge fingerprint magnet

Next to my existing HTC One X, the HTC Butterfly is taller (obviously) and wider (by 0.6mm, though you can’t tell) but maintain the same overall look and feel of most HTC Android devices.

(Left HTC Butterfly vs (Right) HTC One X
(Left HTC Butterfly vs (Right) HTC One X

The HTC Butterfly is also technically thicker (by a hair under 0.2mm) and heavier (by 10 grams) over the HTC One X. It really doesn’t feel like it in your hands.

(Bottom) HTC Butterfly vs (Top) HTC One X - Thinness
(Bottom) HTC Butterfly vs (Top) HTC One X – Thinness

In the picture (and somehow in real life), HTC One X seems thicker than the HTC Butterfly. That’s mostly due to the fact that the HTC Butterfly has a more tapered and curved back , while the HTC One X has a curved screen and bulging (nipple) rear camera. Have I mentioned how the HTC Butterfly fits oh-so-comfortably in your hands?

 

Software Overview

HTC Butterfly runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS, which is one update away from being the latest Android software. HTC indicated that the update will be coming soon. As you know, HTC has their proprietary Sense UI which is a skin/theme on top of Android OS.

Sense UI on HTC Butterfly and HTC One X
Sense UI on HTC Butterfly and HTC One X

HTC Sense on HTC Butterfly is almost the same as the one on HTC One X, with the exception of a few additional widgets and tweaks.

Quick Start Setup for Sense UI
Quick Start Setup for Sense UI

Even if you’re a first time Android user, or a first time HTC user, or a complete non-techie, the HTC Sense UI guides you through the setup of your HTC Butterfly when you first power it on. You’re directed to setup a profile on start.htc.com if it’s your first HTC, so you can easily manage / transfer your data for future HTC devices. There’s also a guide to help you transfer your data from other phones, Android or otherwise (eg, Apple, Blackberry, Nokia, etc).

Of course, you’re asked to sign in or create a Dropbox cloud storage account, where HTC offers you FREE 25 GB storage with your HTC Butterfly. I love this!!!

After setting up your accounts (eg, Google, Dropbox, Facebook, etc) you’ll come to the HTC Sense homescreen, with a greyed out screen and white font instructions on how to navigate through your phone’s menu, customise homescreen widgets, shortcuts, etc. Super user friendly, even for the non-techies.

See also : HTC One X User Review and HTC One S User Review (to see more about HTC Sense UI and software overview)

HTC Butterfly 1080p Full HD screen
HTC Butterfly 1080p Full HD screen

The HTC Butterfly is what HTC calls “The World’s First Full HD 1080p screen”. At a beautiful eye-popping 1920 X 1080 resolution at 440 ppi, images appear so much more crisp and clearer compared to my older HTC One X. Watching video on this 5″ screen is as clear as a shrunken HDTV.

 

Camera

HTC Butterfly - 8 megapixel rear camera
HTC Butterfly – 8 megapixel rear camera

With a great display screen, you’d need a good camera. Following the successful HTC One series, HTC continued with their improvements on the HTC Butterfly’s camera technology. We have once again zero shutter lag on the rear camera that takes amazing pictures. It also allows you to add filters / effects before you snap, or post edit your images with the built in image editor.

Here are some sample pictures from the rear camera in different lighting conditions. Images are not edited or resized. Mouse over for detail, click to enlarge:-

The front facing 2.1 megapixel camera has been bumped up significantly as well. With an 88 degrees, ultra wide front angle lens, you can now take full HD self portrait shots, that comes with a countdown timer.

I only managed to get one self portrait, indoor, low light at the recent St Patrick’s Day Ball of me and Hubby. Not edited/resized, so click to enlarge.

Indoor, low light, front camera
Indoor, low light, front camera

Front facing camera image seems a little grainy and noisy, in my opinion. Likely because I got this picture in a low light environment. I guess taking a selfie in daylight, outdoor, would produce a better image.

 

Battery Life

Having used the phone in over 3 weeks, I managed to get a good test of the built in, non-removable 2,20mAH battery in the HTC Butterfly.

I’ve been using the phone as my primary phone, with moderate to heavy usage. I managed to get the battery to last me between 12 hours –  21 hours with ample juice left. With a cleaner and lighter Sense UI, there is indeed a significant improvement to the battery life of the device.

 

Pricing and Availability

The HTC Butterfly have been available for sale since late February / early March 2013, for the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of RM 2,299.

As usual, the phone is offered at a discount if you signup with any of the major telco data/voice plans, as follows:-

  • Maxis plans from RM 1,699 >> Click HERE
  • Celcom plans from RM 1,468 >> Click HERE
  • DiGi plans from RM 1,519 >> Click HERE
  • U Mobile plans from RM 1,488 >> Click HERE

 

Conclusion

I really like the HTC Butterfly – so much of it is because HTC has always produced great build quality phone and a user friendly user interface with Sense UI. Check out this video below on a quick device overview and list of what I like and dislike about the HTC Butterfly.

[youtube id=”FEFMEek8bI8″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

 

While HTC Butterfly is still (currently) the latest HTC Android smartphone you can purchase right now, it will soon no longer be the latest Android smartphone from HTC. In case you don’t already know, HTC revealed the HTC One as their 2013 flagship last month.

See also : HTC One Announced & What The Tech Sites Are Saying

While the HTC One has a similar design of a tapered edge and curved back as the HTC Butterfly, the former is made of all  metal unibody, instead of polycarbonate like the HTC Butterfly.

HTC Butterfly Review

At an RRP of RM 2,299 which is in line with most high end flagship Android phones in the market, it’s currently still worth the buy if you’re looking for a semi-large full HD display smartphone, but not a “phablet”. Premium build, easy to use interface, good and fast camera, gorgeous display. As I’ve always been a HTC fangirl, this phone, in my opinion, is definitely worth buying!!!

However, if you’re one who must have the latest and greatest smartphone, you might want to wait until the other upcoming smartphones like HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z, etc are out in the market, so you can touch and feel and make your decision then.

PS. I know of a few friends who are using the HTC Butterfly today, because they love it – as the only high end Android smartphone worth considering at the moment. So, it’s not just my personal bias. *wink*

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