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HTC Butterfly - HTC's Pretty 5-inch Full HD Smartphone
By Sidney Wong - 22 Jan 2013
Launch SRP: S$928

Performance and Conclusion


The HTC Butterfly is part of a growing group of smartphones that are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processors. Earlier in November, there were only three devices that run on that particular processor. They are the LG Optimus G, ASUS PadFone 2 and LG Nexus 4. Today, there are three new members which are the HTC Butterfly, Sony Xperia Z and ZTE Grand S.

This sets the stage for an epic battle between these devices since they are more or less similarly spec'ed. To find out how the Butterfly stands among its peers, we use the Quadrant benchmark which evaluates the CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics of Android devices. In this comparison, we put the Butterfly up against the 5-inch LG Optimus Vu, LG Nexus 4, ASUS PadFone 2, Samsung Galaxy S III LTE and HTC One X+.

How the Phones Stack Up
Device HTC Butterfly LG Optimus Vu LG Nexus 4 ASUS PadFone 2 Samsung Galaxy S III LTE HTC One X+
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
quad-core 1.5GHz
Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
quad-core 1.5GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
quad-core 1.5GHz
Exynos 4212 Quad
quad-core 1.4GHz
NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core 1.7GHz
GPU Adreno 320 12-core GeForce Adreno 320 Adreno 320 Mali-400MP 12-core GeForce
OS Android 4.1 Android 4.0 Android 4.2 Android 4.0.4 Android 4.1 Android 4.1

Riding on the momentum built up by the One X+, the Butterfly scored another victory over the competition in the Quadrant benchmark. The NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core 1.5GHz processor in the LG Optimus Vu simply could not match up to the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, as seen in the chart toppling scores of the ASUS PadFone 2, HTC One X+ and the HTC Butterfly. The LG Nexus 4 is an exception as Android 4.2 may not be optimized for the Quadrant benchmark.

Number crunching aside, we are fairly impressed by the speed of operation on the Butterfly. A combination of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor and HTC's optimization probably contributed to the Butterfly's newly found speed and agility. Apps load quickly and the interface is impressively responsive. Although it still lags a tad behind the LG Nexus 4, it is still a commendable job done by HTC.


Multimedia Performance 

When we reviewed the HTC One X last April, we were very impressed by its 4.7-inch Super LCD 2 display due to the implementation of optical lamination and accurate color reproduction. The Butterfly comes with a 5-inch Super LCD 3 display, which theoretically should offer a better viewing experience. In reality, does it? 

Well, the Butterfly did blow our minds away with the level of sharpness on its display. Color reproduction is also slightly more accurate than what we saw on the HTC One X+. Whether you are reading or watching movies on the Butterfly, the display will not disappoint.  Having handled the Sony Xperia Z, we could say both displays are ranked as the top mobile screens today. As we do not have a review unit of the Xperia Z, we will leave the screen comparison to a future review article.

From left to right: Apple iPhone 5 (4-inch), HTC One X+ (4.7-inch), HTC Butterfly (5-inch) and Samsung Galaxy Note II (5.5-inch).

One common complaint about the high-end HTC devices last year is the lack of a memory card slot. For example, the HTC One X only has 32GB internal storage. While it is more than sufficient for mainstream users, power users may actually need more. Even though HTC addressed the issue with the 64GB One X+, nothing beats having a memory card slot.

Fortunately, HTC included a microSD card slot for the Butterfly, which is absent on the U.S variant. Like many of the HTC devices launched in 2012, the Butterfly comes with 25GB free Dropbox cloud storage (inclusive of the 2GB free storage when you sign up for a free Dropbox account). 


Imaging Performance

The Butterfly is equipped with an 8-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, 28mm wide angle lens and BSI sensor. As for the 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, it is capable of capturing wide-angle self portraits and group shots of up to four individuals.

The HTC Butterfly takes photos of decent image quality. As you can see, the colors are slightly washed out. Close-up crops are found below. 


Battery Mileage

Our standard battery test for mobile phones includes the following parameters:

  • Looping a 800 x 480-pixel video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter
Test Phones Compared
Specifications/Device HTC Butterfly LG Optimus Vu LG Nexus 4 ASUS PadFone 2 Samsung Galaxy S III LTE HTC One X+
  • Quad-core 1.5GHz
  • Quad-core1.5GHz
  • Quad-core 1.5GHz
  • Quad-core 1.5GHz
  • Quad-core 1.4GHz
  • Quad-core 1.7GHz
Display Size
  • 5-inch
  • 5-inch
  • 4.7-inch
  • 4.7-inch
  • 4.8-inch
  • 4.7-inch
Display Type
  • Super LCD 3
  • Super IPS+ LCD
  • Super IPS+ LCD
  • HD Super AMOLED
  • Super LCD 2
Display Resolution
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • 1024 x 768 pixels
  • 1,280 x 768 pixels
  • 1,280 x 720 pixels
  • 1,280 x 720 pixels
  • 1,280 x 720 pixels
  • 143 x 70.5 x 9.08mm
  • 139.6 x 90.4 x 8.5mm
  • 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm
  • 137.9 x 69 x 9mm
  • 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm
  • 134.36 x 69.9 x 8.9mm
  • 140g
  • 168g
  • 139g
  • 135g
  • 133g
  • 135g
  • 2020mAh
  • 2080mAh
  • 2,100mAh
  • 2,140mAh
  • 2,100mAh
  • 2,100mAh


Armed with a Full-HD display and quad-core processor, we were worried that the Butterfly could not fare too well in our standard battery test. After all, HTC phones are known for their higher-than-average power consumption and shorter battery mileages.The results of the battery test proved that our worries were unfounded.

As you can see, the Butterfly did not fare too badly by clocking a decent battery uptime of 6 hours and 11 minutes. Although it is a far cry from the ASUS PadFone 2, one has to take into account the smaller screen and slightly bigger battery capacity of the PadFone 2. Moreover, the HTC Butterfly actually fared better than its 5-inch counterpart, the LG Optimus Vu.

It is natural that a larger, higher resolution display will only draw more power and we cannot fault the Butterfly for having the second highest power consumption among the competition. We will only know if HTC has made significant improvements in the power management of its devices when we review the other 5-inch devices with full HD resolution based screens that are going to be launched in the coming months. Based on the current circumstances, we can see that HTC did a better job in this aspect than LG.

Due to its physical dimensions and weight, the Butterfly ranked among the last in the Portability Index where each device is assessed on its ability to balance battery mileage. with its size and portability. Once again, we reserve our judgement on the Butterfly until we have reviewed other newer devices of similar class.

During normal usage conditions like texting, browsing the internet and making some calls, the Butterfly could last through a day comfortably. Like what we've mentioned in our review of the One X+, enabling the Power Saver Mode will help squeeze out extra battery mileage from the device.



Do we recommend the HTC Butterfly? Yes, we do wholeheartedly. HTC hits a home run with the Butterfly as it has good industrial design, solid build quality, a stunning 5-inch display and delivers an overall good performance. 

Like the HTC One X+, we do not comprehend the rationale behind HTC's decision to not include 4G LTE connectivity on the Butterfly. With the market leader, Samsung, launching LTE variants of the Galaxy S III and Note II, HTC cannot afford to cede more market share by ignoring the growing LTE user group. Perhaps HTC is "saving the best for the last" with its upcoming M7 flagship device.

The HTC Butterfly is reasonably priced at S$928 without line contract from 26 January at M1, StarHub and authorized resellers. If you are deciding between the HTC Butterfly and S$868 One X+, there is no qualms about it - go for the Butterfly. An additional S$60 will get you a screen that is superior in size and quality, a memory card slot and a different design from the One X family. 

For people who find the S$998 Samsung Galaxy Note II to be a little too big for their liking, the Butterfly strikes a delicate balance between size and usability. While the Galaxy Note II offers better battery life, innovative software features and a bigger screen, the Butterfly offers a better quality display in a lighter and easier to handle chassis.

One of the most hotly debated issues in the forums is whether the HTC Butterfly or the Sony Xperia Z constitutes a better buy. On paper, the Xperia Z boasts an equally attractive package with superior specs such as a 13-megapixel rear camera, 4G LTE connectivity, water and dust resistance, thinner chassis, a larger battery capacity and a refreshing design.

If we put ourselves in your shoes as a consumer, we reckon the purchase decision to be a tough call as well.  The Xperia Z will be available locally in Q1 2013. For now, we recommend exercising some patience before making your decision if you are not in a rush to get a new phone. 

 The HTC Butterfly is one of the best smartphones we've come across so far. It remains to be seen if the impending arrival of other 5-inch devices will overshadow the HTC Butterfly.

  • Design 9
  • Features 8.5
  • User-Friendliness 9
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Stunning 5-inch display
Solid build quality
New design
The Bad
Placement of Power button could be better
Plastic cap over micro-USB port difficult to remove
Lack of 4G/LTE connectivity
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