HTC Butterfly 2 Review

HTC Butterfly 2 Review
HTC Butterfly 2 Review
HTC Butterfly 2 Review
HTC Butterfly 2 Review
HTC Butterfly 2 Review
Introduction


Who doesn’t like to root for the underdog, right? In a way, it’s arguable that veteran smartphone maker HTC is indeed an underdog in the mobile space – one that’s being dominated by the likes of Apple and Samsung at the moment. Very recently, however, they’ve proven in continuing to be relevant in the landscape thanks to its flagship phone, the HTC One M8. Even for all of its acclaims, many people still felt that certain qualities of the _phone_ were underwhelming – mainly its 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” camera. Aiming to hopefully mitigate those concerns, HTC released its sibling, the Butterfly 2, coming with a 13-megapixel Duo camera setup. Asian model by heart, don't expect to see this one to be widely available, but it will hit the shelves of some shops offering imported unlocked phones.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Stereo headphones

Design

Swapping out metal for plastic, the premium element is obviously lost, but it gains a useful water-resistant property.

Depending on your preference, the tradeoffs with the HTC Butterfly 2’s design might be a good or bad thing. For starters, it sheds the M8’s iconic, unibody aluminum design in favor for an all-matte finished polycarbonate chassis. Although this choice of material contributes in a lighter frame of 151 g, versus the slightly weightier 160 g of the M8, its profile increases by a smidgen to 0.39-inches.

Most important, though, is that the Butterfly 2 receives an IP57 certification – giving this _phone_ a water resistant element that many folks crave in a high-end thing. Now, we really have to applaud HTC for adding water resistance without the need to cover its ports with those annoying covers, which many other waterproof phones employ.

Seeing that this is fashioned around the HTC One M8, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to know that the Butterfly 2 bears other signature elements. Specifically, it features an IR blaster, dual front-firing speakers with HTC BoomSound, and a Duo Camera. With the latter, however, we’re treated to a larger 13-megapixel camera, which we’re ecstatic to find.

 

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Front view | Side view
HTC Butterfly 2
HTC Butterfly 2
5.72 x 2.76 x 0.39 inches
145.4 x 70.2 x 9.99 mm
5.33 oz (151 g)

HTC Butterfly 2

HTC One (M8)
HTC One (M8)
5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches
146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)

HTC One (M8)

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

Sony Xperia Z3
Sony Xperia Z3
5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 inches
146 x 72 x 7.3 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)

Sony Xperia Z3



Display

Same old display from before, same old lovable results.

The display here is the same as its sibling, a 5-inch 1080 x 1920 Super LCD-3 panel. Judging by its looks, we don’t find a whole lot too different here, as it produces nearly the same results from before. Details are nice and crisp, which isn’t too surprising taking into account it’s the same display size and resolution.

In addition, its color temperature of ~7400 K, which is rather cold, closely matches its sibling’s result, as well as its color reproduction. Delivering a maximum brightness output of 510 nits, it’s a miniscule improvement, but it’s not something dramatic enough to give it a clear advantage – more so when it’s still very easy on the eyes to view under direct sunlight. All in all, we’re not too shocked to find that the panel here in the Butterfly 2 doesn’t deviate from the qualities present in HTC’s flagship.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Sony Xperia Z3 713
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:1148
(Good)
10324
(Poor)
2.55
6.43
(Average)
9.28
(Poor)
HTC Butterfly 2 510
(Excellent)
3
(Excellent)
1:1297
(Excellent)
7395
(Good)
2.12
4.96
(Average)
4.85
(Average)
HTC One (M8) 490
(Good)
16
(Poor)
1:1362
(Excellent)
7182
(Good)
2.11
4.33
(Average)
4.82
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy S5 442
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8183
(Poor)
2.25
5.08
(Average)
7.38
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 62.7%
50%
unmeasurable
4.7%
1.8%
23.2%
9.9%
HTC One (M8) 79.6%
81.3%
67.8%
9.9%
1.4%
9.9%
24.7%
HTC Butterfly 2 81%
83.3%
68.1%
11.6%
1.9%
4.8%
16.9%
Sony Xperia Z3 81.8%
75%
81.9%
26.2%
0.8%
18%
44.4%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


HTC Butterfly 2 Review

HTC Butterfly 2 Review
HTC Butterfly 2 Review
HTC Butterfly 2 Review
HTC Butterfly 2 Review
HTC Butterfly 2 Review
Introduction


Who doesn’t like to root for the underdog, right? In a way, it’s arguable that veteran smartphone maker HTC is indeed an underdog in the mobile space – one that’s being dominated by the likes of Apple and Samsung at the moment. Very recently, however, they’ve proven in continuing to be relevant in the landscape thanks to its flagship phone, the HTC One M8. Even for all of its acclaims, many people still felt that certain qualities of the phone were underwhelming – mainly its 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” camera. Aiming to hopefully mitigate those concerns, HTC released its sibling, the Butterfly 2, coming with a 13-megapixel Duo camera setup. Asian model by heart, don't expect to see this one to be widely available, but it will hit the shelves of some shops offering imported unlocked phones.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Stereo headphones

Design

Swapping out metal for plastic, the premium element is obviously lost, but it gains a useful water-resistant property.

Depending on your preference, the tradeoffs with the HTC Butterfly 2’s design might be a good or bad thing. For starters, it sheds the M8’s iconic, unibody aluminum design in favor for an all-matte finished polycarbonate chassis. Although this choice of material contributes in a lighter frame of 151 g, versus the slightly weightier 160 g of the M8, its profile increases by a smidgen to 0.39-inches.

Most important, though, is that the Butterfly 2 receives an IP57 certification – giving this phone a water resistant element that many folks crave in a high-end thing. Now, we really have to applaud HTC for adding water resistance without the need to cover its ports with those annoying covers, which many other waterproof phones employ.

Seeing that this is fashioned around the HTC One M8, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to know that the Butterfly 2 bears other signature elements. Specifically, it features an IR blaster, dual front-firing speakers with HTC BoomSound, and a Duo Camera. With the latter, however, we’re treated to a larger 13-megapixel camera, which we’re ecstatic to find.


Front view | Side view
HTC Butterfly 2
HTC Butterfly 2
5.72 x 2.76 x 0.39 inches
145.4 x 70.2 x 9.99 mm
5.33 oz (151 g)

HTC Butterfly 2

HTC One (M8)
HTC One (M8)
5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches
146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)

HTC One (M8)

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

Sony Xperia Z3
Sony Xperia Z3
5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 inches
146 x 72 x 7.3 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)

Sony Xperia Z3



Display

Same old display from before, same old lovable results.

The display here is the same as its sibling, a 5-inch 1080 x 1920 Super LCD-3 panel. Judging by its looks, we don’t find a whole lot too different here, as it produces nearly the same results from before. Details are nice and crisp, which isn’t too surprising taking into account it’s the same display size and resolution.

In addition, its color temperature of ~7400 K, which is rather cold, closely matches its sibling’s result, as well as its color reproduction. Delivering a maximum brightness output of 510 nits, it’s a miniscule improvement, but it’s not something dramatic enough to give it a clear advantage – more so when it’s still very easy on the eyes to view under direct sunlight. All in all, we’re not too shocked to find that the panel here in the Butterfly 2 doesn’t deviate from the qualities present in HTC’s flagship.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Sony Xperia Z3 713
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:1148
(Good)
10324
(Poor)
2.55
6.43
(Average)
9.28
(Poor)
HTC Butterfly 2 510
(Excellent)
3
(Excellent)
1:1297
(Excellent)
7395
(Good)
2.12
4.96
(Average)
4.85
(Average)
HTC One (M8) 490
(Good)
16
(Poor)
1:1362
(Excellent)
7182
(Good)
2.11
4.33
(Average)
4.82
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy S5 442
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8183
(Poor)
2.25
5.08
(Average)
7.38
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 62.7%
50%
unmeasurable
4.7%
1.8%
23.2%
9.9%
HTC One (M8) 79.6%
81.3%
67.8%
9.9%
1.4%
9.9%
24.7%
HTC Butterfly 2 81%
83.3%
68.1%
11.6%
1.9%
4.8%
16.9%
Sony Xperia Z3 81.8%
75%
81.9%
26.2%
0.8%
18%
44.4%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

Everything we love about Sense 6.0 is present here, including staples like HTC BlinkFeed, Motion Launch Gestures, and support for the HTC Dot View case.

Out of the box, our review unit of the HTC Butterfly 2 is running Android 4.4.2 KitKat – with Sense 6.0, of course. We’ll spare you all of the reading and say that the experience here is identical to what we all know and love in the One M8. Even some of the same new software features are present here, like Motion Launch gestures, HTC BlinkFeed, and support for the HTC Dot case, which all prove to be quite handy in enhancing the overall experience. However, we should point out that it uses a different kind of HTC Dot View case, since the ones for the M8 don’t allow it to close properly.

Being Sense 6.0 and all, the visuals present here continue to be one of the more modernly designed interfaces that we’ve checked out. It’s clean, crisp, and most importantly, not cluttered with ugly looking widgets. Beyond the visual presentation, we can’t help to say that the experience isn’t an overwhelming one – unlike how other customized experiences tend to throw a million things at us.

For more details about the software experience, please read our HTC One M8 review.

Processor and Memory

Getting a bump in its clocked speed, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset runs smoothly with an assortment of things.

There’s a slight change to the hardware under the hood of the phone. On the surface, it’s still powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 SoC, coupled with 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU, but its clocked speed is increased to 2.5GHz – a step up over the 2.3GHz tally from before. Not surprisingly, the phone is pretty darn responsive with an assortment of things, like gaming and simple navigation.

Unfortunately, HTC knocks down its storage capacity to 16GB, in comparison to the 32GB amount with the HTC One M8, but nevertheless, we can always supplement its tally with the aid of its microSD card slot.

Performance benchmarks

Quadrant
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 25041
HTC Butterfly 2 24704
Sony Xperia Z3 20756
HTC One (M8) 19139
AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 36603
HTC Butterfly 2 45570
Sony Xperia Z3 40437
HTC One (M8) 31075
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1186
HTC Butterfly 2 1568
Sony Xperia Z3 1571
HTC One (M8) 1171
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 3479
HTC Butterfly 2 3175
HTC One (M8) 3657
Sunspider
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 777.3
HTC Butterfly 2 838
Sony Xperia Z3 863.7
HTC One (M8) 693.1
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 27.8
HTC Butterfly 2 29.
Sony Xperia Z3 29.3
HTC One (M8) 28.3
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 11.7
HTC Butterfly 2 13
Sony Xperia Z3 12.5
HTC One (M8) 11
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1054
HTC Butterfly 2 1179
Sony Xperia Z3 1099
HTC One (M8) 1071
View all

Internet and Connectivity


Combining its spacious sized, high-resolution screen, with its 4G LTE connection and speedy response, the Butterfly 2 serves its purpose in being a very versatile web surfing device. It’s good, really good in fact.

Indicative of being a high-end smartphone, the Butterfly 2 is armed with all of today’s modern connectivity conveniences – such as aGPS with Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, NFC, and MHL tethering.


Camera

The most notable improvement to the camera is how much more detail it captures.

Interestingly, HTC says adios to the “Ultrapixel” 4-megapixel camera, and has instead outfitted the HTC Butterfly 2 with a 13-megapixel camera, which features an f/2.0 aperture lens, BSI, dual LED-flash, and a second sensor to complete its “Duo Camera” system. This is an intriguing move on their part, since they’ve constantly touted the advantages of its Ultrapixel camera. Of course, we’re curious about its performance, as the HTC One M8 produced rather underwhelming results.

Running the camera app, there’s nothing new here to talk about, seeing that it’s the same one we’re familiar with over on the HTC One M8. Honestly, though, it’s pretty versatile because of its rich set of manual controls and shooting modes. Using one of its Motion Launch gestures, where tilting the phone to landscape and then pressing on either of the volume buttons, instantly launches the camera in a heartbeat.

So what’s the verdict? Does the switch to a higher megapixel count camera make a sizable difference to its quality? Frankly, the biggest improvement here is the increase in detail – an obvious result, no doubt. Having this gives us more flexibility when it comes to cropping photos later on, so that there’s no detrimental loss in detail during the process. Colors seem to be a tad bit saturated, and at times, it struggles to find a neutral exposure level.

Under lower lighting, the visuals become softer in tone, but we’re glad to see that it’s not burdened by much noise. Overall, the choice of going with a higher megapixel count camera definitely makes it more formidable – plus, the added duo effects continue to give that pro-like look with its profound bokeh-like effect.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 2.3
No data
444
363
Samsung Galaxy S5 2.5
3
300
243
HTC Butterfly 2 2.8
No data
556
449
Sony Xperia Z3 3.2
No data
452
395
View all

Moreover, we’re pretty content with the handset’s 1080p video recording quality as well. It’s not outstanding per se, but it has enough of the goodies to warrant passable results. However, it really would’ve been swell if they added 4K video recording into its arsenal – to make it more indicative of a cutting-edge thing.


Multimedia

With its dual speakers aiming at us, the Butterfly 2 is undoubtedly powerful and ideal for multimedia consumption.

Like before, we’re given two options when it comes to playing music – the Google Play Music app or the Sense music player. Each have their own unique attributes and characteristics, but it’s nice to find that its dual front-firing speakers with BoomSound produce strong tones that top out at 72.4 dB. Even though it’s not as powerful in output as the HTC One M8, the BoomSound effect delivers the same punchy and robust tones we adore.

Always ideal for the occasions, especially with its spacious sized screen, the Butterfly 2 is an exceptional device for watching high-definition videos. Out of the box, it supports a wide array of codecs – while its playback is buttery smooth.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 1.28
HTC Butterfly 2 1.028
Samsung Galaxy S5 0.43
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 75.2
HTC Butterfly 2 72.4
Samsung Galaxy S5 81
Sony Xperia Z3 74
View all


HTC Butterfly 2 Review
Call Quality

The earpiece is strong, but the speakerphone sounds too reserved to use under noisy settings.

We’re not particularly astounded, but it’s at least effective enough for use with phone calls. Over on our end, its earpiece emits a strong tone to sprinkle some substance to the clear and robust tones we’re exposed to under noisy environments. However, our callers explain that they’re presented with voices that have a subdued quality. Likewise, the speakerphone doesn’t have as much of a strong brilliance – giving voices a reserved tone.

HTC Butterfly 2 Review
Battery

The slight increase in battery capacity doesn’t translate to an outstanding battery life. It’s just average with normal day-to-day operations.

Another welcomed improvement is that the Butterfly 2 is stuffed with a slightly larger 2700 mAh battery, up from the 2600 mAh one in the M8. Despite the increase, we don’t recognize a substantial improvement to battery life with real-world usage. In fact, it’s almost unchanged from before, but we’re able to easily get at least a solid one-day of battery with normal usage. If you’re really conscious, its Extreme Power Saving mode will undoubtedly come in handy.

Conclusion


Being one of the first to launch its flagship phone for 2014, HTC undoubtedly jumpstarted things and delivered a fantastic product in the HTC One M8. For all of its acclaim and stature, it had some rough edges, like its 4-megapixel camera. Therefore, all of that leads us straight to the HTC Butterfly 2.

Don’t go looking for your wallets just yet, mainly because the HTC Butterfly 2 isn’t something that’s going to be widely available for purchase. As it currently stands, it’s being sold in the Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore – albeit, you can pick it up as an unlocked model for roughly $660 through various online sellers. Over here in the US, the phone is unlikely to ever reach the light of day with any of the major carriers.

Nonetheless, we’re not too saddened by this realization, since the Butterfly 2 isn’t much of a drastic improvement over the One M8. Sure, it gains a water resistant construction and a more formidable 13-megapixel camera, but it loses its signature unibody aluminum body, which unequivocally gave the phone its biggest advantage - one of the best premium designs out there. At its core, the Butterfly 2 feels more like a device to tide over those who felt that the M8 was lacking, but in the back of our minds, we’re really hoping to see HTC carry on some of the new things present here into its next flagship device.

Software version of the review unit:
Android Version: 4.4.2
Baseband Version: 1.19.21331147A1.16G_20.58.4196.01L_F
Kernel Version: 3.4.0-g8485c03