HTC Butterfly S User Review

*This device is a loan review unit from HTC Malaysia*

If you’re looking for something with a bigger screen size, well, here’s the successor of the older 5″ HTC Butterfly with all the new bells and whistles of the flagship HTC One, HTC introduces the HTC Butterfly S.

HTC Butterfly S. #butterflys #HTChange #htc

A photo posted by Winnie Chen-Head (@winniekepala) on

Honestly, it didn’t feel like too long ago when I reviewed the HTC Butterfly. Indeed, it was only a few months back in March this year where I reviewed the 5″ Android smartphone from HTC running on the older HTC Sense 4 User Interface. Shortly after the HTC Butterfly review (also known as HTC J Butterfly in Japan and HTC Droid DNA in US), HTC released the new 2013 flagship HTC One.

See Also : HTC Butterfly User Review

With the flagship HTC One, you get a host of goodies from a new Ultrapixel camera, new HTC Sense 5 UI improved skin on top of the Android Jellybean 4.2 OS underneath, HTC BoomSound dual front facing speakers, HTC Zoe (new camera features) and more. After this flagship device, multiple mid range HTC Desire series were announced running the new HTC Sense 5 UI with some of these new features. For those who wants a smaller screen sized smartphone, there’s even the HTC One mini.

So, if you held back on getting the HTC Butterfly before, now’s the chance for you to look at the updated HTC Butterfly S – complete with all the latest features of HTC Sense 5 UI.

 

Hardware Overview

HTC Butterfly S -  Unboxing
Unboxing HTC Butterfly S

Inside the box of the HTC Butterfly S, you’ll find the smartphone, 2 piece adapter charger with a 3 pin plug for Malaysia, USB to microUSB sync / charge cable, standard in-ear headphones with extra earbuds, and your usual user manuals.

HTC Butterfly S in hand
HTC Butterfly S in hand

Here’s a quick specs overview of the new HTC Butterfly S :-

  • 5″ Super LCD3 Full HD display (1080p)(440 ppi)
  • 1.9 GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor
  • 16 GB internal memory (expandable microSD slot up to 64 GB + FREE 25 GB Dropbox cloud storage) + 2 GB RAM
  • Powered by Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS (with HTC Sense 5) 
  • Build material : Polycarbonate unibody design
  • 4 megapixel HTC Ultrapixel rear camera, 2.1 megapixel front facing wide angle camera
  • 10.6 mm thin, weighing only 160 grams
  • 3,200 mAh non-removable battery (up to 25 hrs 3G talktime)
  • Connectivity : 4G LTE/HSPA+, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, DLNA (stream to TV/computer), NFC
  • Available in 3 colours : Metallic Grey, Glamour White and Fervour Red

For more information on the hardware specs and key features of the phone, you can check out HTC Butterfly S SEA Product Page at http://www.htc.com/sea/smartphones/htc-butterfly-s/

HTC Butterfly S - Hardware 1
Front and back of HTC Butterfly S

Thanks to the PR folks of HTC Malaysia, they got me the red coloured unit of the HTC Butterfly S to review. The nicest people who knew how much I love RED RED RED devices!!!

See Also : HTC One Available in Glamour Red & #HTChange Campaign

The screen has not changed from the older HTC Butterfly. It’s the same 5″ Super LCD3 Full HD display, at the same 1920 X 1080 resolution with 440 ppi. Although this is rather good specs, I somehow wished HTC would’ve done something a bit different with this. To be fair, the screen is beautiful – images are clear and bright, viewing angle is good and contrast is nice and sharp.

HTC Butterfly vs HTC Butterfly S
(older) HTC Butterfly vs (newest) HTC Butterfly S

In fact, when I compared both the older HTC Butterfly against this new HTC Butterfly S, both these devices looks almost identical. I almost couldn’t tell the difference in the hardware of the 2 smartphones. Other than perhaps some minor changes in buttons as well as the inclusion of both top and bottom front facing speakers in the latest HTC Butterfly S.

Build material is still polycarbonate plastic. Fortunately though, the phone doesn’t feel or look cheap. It still managed to retain a premium feel to it and feels really solid in your hands. The same issue from the older brother is still present – the glossy back is still a bit of a fingerprint magnet.

Read my previous blogpost on HTC Butterfly S going on sale in Malaysia HERE to see the spec comparison of this HTC Butterfly S versus the older HTC Butterfly.

HTC Butterfly S - Hardware 2
Hardware overview of ports and buttons

This new HTC Butterfly S is a little shy of 1 mm thicker than it’s predecessor and 20 grams heavier. Nevertheless, the phone is still very slim and thin and sits very comfortably in your hands, with it’s ergonomic curved back. In this device, all ports and buttons placement remains the same as the older brother, except the microUSB charging and syncing port at the bottom of the device. Which is now placed towards the left and minus the flap.

HTC Butterfly S - micro SIM and micro SD slot and flap
micro SIM and micro SD slot and flap

Just like its predecessor, the HTC Butterfly S still uses the same flap that opens to reveal the tray (accessible with a pin provided in the box) to insert your microSIM card as well as the slot underneath for your microSD card.

The Power On/Off button is different this time round, too. Instead of the previous spun groove pattern, it’s now a black bar button, which like the HTC One, also doubles up as your infrared port (IR Blaster) for TV remote control.

 

Software Overview

All  the new devices launched by HTC this year are all powered by their latest Sense 5 UI, which is the new user interface / skin on top of Android 4.2 “Jellybean” OS underneath.

HTC Butterfly S - HTC Sense 5 UI
HTC Sense 5 UI with BlinkFeed, improved notification share and shortcut toggles

From the launch of the new Sense 5 UI with HTC One, HTC has pushed a new update to the UI which includes some additional features like adding new services (ie, Instagram) onto HTC BlinkFeed, better notification centre updates, quick shortcut toggles (for WiFi, Bluetooth, screen brightness, etc) and better speed and navigation overall.

See Also : HTC One User Review

As a quick reminder, here are some of the key “Killer Features” to the new HTC Butterfly S that was also previously introduced with the flagship HTC One:-

  • HTC BlinkFeed – Grid based Home screen with updates from your social media, news feeds and article from global and local content
  • HTC BoomSound – Dual front facing stereo speakers, for lound and clear sounds powered by Beats Audio technology
  • HTC Ultrapixel camera – HTC’s new camera technology with better low light photography capability
  • HTC Zoe – Record video and select the best frame for picture, 30 sec Video Highlights and more editing functions
HTC Butterfly S - front facing "BoomSound" speakers
Front facing “HTC BoomSound” speakers

Just like with the HTC One, the dual front facing, top and bottom speakers make up HTC BoomSound. Coupled with beats audio technology, the sound quality on this device is great and louder than your average smartphones.

HTC Butterfly S - Kid & Parent Mode
Parent Dashboard and Kid Mode

What I didn’t manage to cover in previous reviews of this new HTC Sense 5 UI is the inclusion of Parent Dashboard and Kid Mode, which is a handy control for parents who allows their kids to use their smartphone, but want to control the device and app access (you don’t want your kid to send an incoherent email to your boss), and also ensure that no accidental app purchases are made without their knowledge.

HTC Butterfly S - Browser, Keybaord
Default browser and on-screen keyboard is good as expected
HTC Butterfly S - Gallery
New Gallery layout to sort by Album. Event and even includes pictures from your Cloud Storage (Dropbox, Facebook, Picasa, Flickr)

The pre-installed app and new features and navigation is great as expected. Everything  works seamlessly, fast and fluid just like with the flagship HTC One. This phone doesn’t disappoint. Instead of me repeating myself again, check out my HTC One User Review HERE to get the gist of the software overview.

 

Camera

HTC Butterfly S - Ultrapixel Camera
Ultrapixel camera with better low light photography

Just like with the HTC One, this HTC Butterfly S also comes equipped with the 4 megapixel Ultrapixel camera. In case you missed all the hype and marketing messages, why only 4 megapixels? Well, HTC is trying to educate the customers that it’s not about the megapixel count but about the lens technology and performance. So, with the Ultrapixel camera technology, HTC managed to enable their camera to capture 300% more light than the regular smartphone camera shooters.

Low light photography is much improved and images are good. Although I don’t feel that the HTC low light photography quite lived up to the amazing capabilities of the Nokia Lumia 925, it is still steps ahead of other competing phones like Samsung or Apple.

Check out these images taken with the HTC Butterfly S below. Images are unedited and not resized, so click to view original enlarged copy:-

Remember that I mentioned HTC Zoe feature that comes with a 30 seconds Video Highlight? Well, I got a better chance to play with it this time and now to show you all about it.

HTC Butterfly S - Video Highlight
Create your own 30 seconds video highlight from pictures and videos you took

In the “Events” view in Gallery app, you’ll get to access the Video Highlights option, where you can select the images (or videos) from your Gallery, pic a theme for the video (which includes video effects and soundtrack), name the video and voila! You now have a professional looking 30 seconds video trailer done in just a couple of clicks!

Check out the video I created from pictures I took of my doggie here.

 

Battery Life

The HTC Butterfly S comes with a 3,200 mAH non-removable battery versus 2,020 mAH from before in the HTC Butterfly.

HTC Butterfly S - Battery Life
HTC Butterfly S – Battery Life

Having used the HTC Butterfly S for over 2 weeks, I was reasonably impressed with the much improved battery life. Every time, I always managed over 17 – 19 hours of battery life, even with heavy usage.

On normal light to moderate usage, I end the day after 17 – 18 hours of use with over 50% battery juice left.

This is the most impressive battery I have seen on a HTC… no, on any smartphone I have ever used. The bigger battery is so powerful and well appreciated – it even put my current HTC One to shame!

HTC has stated that this is their most powerful battery to date in their lineup of devices. I couldn’t agree more. Well done, HTC!

 

Pricing and Availability

HTC Butterfly S is available for sale since mid August 2013, at a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of RM 2,399 from all authorised HTC retailers.

One of those smartphones I love so much, I don't wanna return the review unit. HTC Butterfly S. #htc #butterflys #sense5

A photo posted by Winnie Chen-Head (@winniekepala) on

Unfortunately, as of time of writing, none of the mobile operators have any mobile plans for the HTC Butterfly S that enables you to get the device at a discounted price.

See Also : HTC Butterfly S On Sale in Malaysia

So, yes – although the device is a little on the pricey side, if you’re holding out on getting the previous HTC Butterfly or even the HTC One, perhaps it’s time for you to consider this now?

 

Conclusion

HTC Butterfly S Review

I really like the HTC Butterfly S. Much like how I loved the previous HTC Butterfly, this time round, HTC has improved on a number of features and specs for the HTC Butterfly S.

What I Like

  • Perfect fit in your palms – Good build quality with a nice curved back for comfortable grip
  • Large and powerful battery – Greatest battery life I’ve seen in a device
  • Great for multimedia – Awesome 5″ Full HD display and great front facing speakers for loud audio

What I Dislike

  • Fingerprint magnet back – Same as before, the glossy back attracts fingerprints like mad
  • Flaps – Why did they use flaps for microSIM and microSD when this is not a water-resistant device?
  • Expensive – How is this more expensive than the flagship, all metal unibody HTC One?

There’s really little I can complain about the HTC Butterfly S. It is very easily one of those devices that I don’t feel like returning the review unit. It is such an easy phone to use and love, as much as I had loved the older HTC Butterfly.

If you held back on getting the HTC Butterfly before, and didn’t want to get the HTC One because you wanted a bigger screen, you should definitely consider getting this HTC Butterfly S.

Just the powerful battery alone could be a good selling point, I think. Coupled with the awesome low light capability of the Ultrapixel camera, I think HTC once again got a winner here. Just need to double up on their Marketing efforts!

Side note : Leaving you with this picture of my cheeky doggie who decided to pose next to the unboxing setup when I was snapping pictures of the HTC Butterfly S.

HTC Butterfly S - Unboxing with dog model
The unlikely model of the HTC Butterfly S Unboxing photo shoot

 

 

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