HTC Butterfly S Review

The HTC Butterfly S is the newest phone announced from HTC. However, it is not positioned as the numero uno phone from HTC, that crown still belongs to the HTC One. Interestingly enough, hardware specifications wise, the HTC Butterfly is in fact better than the incumbent with a faster processor, larger screen etc. Which begs an interesting question on who is the target audience for the HTC Butterfly S.

Hardware & Design

Let’s focus on the phone first. As a recap, and you could refer here for more on the Butterfly S specs, the HTC Butterfly S comes equipped with a fast Snapdragon 1.9GHz quad-core processor, the same Ultrapixel camera found on the HTC One (no optical stabilization), and a much larger 3,200mAh battery. It copies the stereo front-facing speakers from the HTC One, which offers a very immersive audio visual experience that trumps what’s out there in the market currently. While it looks somewhat similar to its predecessor, the original HTC Butterfly, HTC has also released this with the Sense 5 UI based on Android 4.2.2. The HTC One is still based on 4.1 but it should also be updated soon. Connectivity-wise, it supports the typical Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DLNA, HDMI (over MHL), 4G LTE, as well as NFC. It is also not water-resistant, not like that it is particularly important, but just something to note as the original HTC Butterfly did come with water-resistant capability.

htc butterfly s red

The Butterfly S is definitely not a small phone. Weighing in at 160 grams, it is definitely one of the heaviest phone in this category. That is due to the 3,200mAh non-removable battery, which is designed to last typical operations for over a day. During my period of testing, I no longer fear not having to charge my phone during office hours, or leaving for a meeting at the end of the day with my phone battery nearing the critical levels. Based on my typical usage profile of light gaming, primarily using the phone for chats, emails, and web surfing, it easily lasted me for 1 and a half days before I needed to plug it back in for charging.

Software

HTC Sense 5 based on Android 4.2.2 comes default on the HTC Butterfly S. Subtle changes all around, such as Instagram and WeChat integration into blinkfeed, ability to set daydream mode while charging, AE/AF lock in the camera, just tapped and hold on the screen to lock the focus and exposure. And another “good” change from the original way that Zoes are recorded is that instead of the full 20 JPGs captured, only 1 image and 1 video clip would be stored in the DCIM folder, so it wouldn’t really mess up your auto-upload settings. There’s also Miracast or screen mirroring. Just head over to Settings -> Media Output, and the HTC Butterfly S would be able to bring up the Miracast receivers on your network.

mircast htc butterfly s

Likes

Design – I dig the red colour look of the HTC Butterfly S. Instead of the two button configuration on the HTC One, there’s 3 capacitive buttons, the typical Android configuration, accented with the speaker grilles at the bottom and top. The red colour version is particularly striking, as the black and red theme combines quite well together. The differences include the speakers in the front, which brings to the next point.

Excellent Speakers – They have added front facing BoomSound speakers like we have seen on the HTC One or the HTC One Mini. They do a great job in providing an immersive audio experience, and it makes great sense to have front facing speakers. After hearing the HTC Butterfly S, and then listening to the same audio clip on my iPad, my ear cringes at the teeny sound produced by the iPad speakers.

htc-butterflys-boomsound

Battery Life – Yep, even though there’s no removable battery, having to power on/off the phone to switch batteries is rather troublesome as well. The ability to sustain and power the phone for over a day’s use is great.

Expandable memory – While most phones have opted to do away with the microSD slot, I still find it a convenient addition, especially in transferring media to your phone.

Dislikes

Bulky – Yeah, undoubtedly having the biggest battery life in its weight class have its drawback. At 160g, and with other phones being a little slimmer, I would have to consider the HTC Butterfly S as a little too bulky for me.

Camera – While equipping it with the same HTC One UltraPixel camera, the Optical Image Stabilisation feature had been left out. That was rather useful, especially when capturing video clips on the HTC One. Also, I was at an event last weekend, and I’m afraid the far away shots didn’t turn out too well, it could be my shaky hands or also the noise processing on the camera, but couldn’t capture any details on the distant subject. But otherwise, generally night shots are still quite good on the HTC Butterfly S, similar to the HTC One.

htc butterfly S sample 1

htc butterfly S sample 2

Price & Availability

Currently available at all Telcos and also mobile phone resellers directly.
If you get it from Singtel, it’s available for $490 with the basic plan, and comes with the following free gift as part of the Butterfly Premium Kit: Screen protector, flip book casing & car charger.

Conclusion

Perhaps, the closest comparison to the HTC Butterfly S, other than the HTC One, might be the Samsung Galaxy S4. They offer the same screen size for those who prefer a larger display, more suited for multimedia needs, games, videos, etc. Construction wise, both use a similar plastic body. As for the HTC One, the HTC Butterfly S actually packs better specifications compared with the HTC One, but it doesn’t have the great industrial build. Not sure on the specific market audience, but based on most online feedback and other reviewers, the good looks of the HTC Butterfly S have not gone unnoticed, and in days when phone specs are all pretty similar, doesn’t it just boil down to looks?

Easter Egg: HTC Butterfly S (901E/S) Root Instructions

Appending the latest from XDA, especially useful for those Titanium BackUp users. Executing the instructions below is at your own risk :

Download from: copy.com/s/WCRVLZ3GCWeSyW4p/901e_root.7z

  1. use htcdev.com first to unlock bootloader
  2. download all in one tool kit from here
  3. copy the recovery img file you get from download link above, then paste it in the recoveries folder inside the all in one tool kits
  4. delete one of the htc one recovery img file, then rename the new one to the same name of the recovery img file you just delete ( ex. rename it to twrp.img)
  5. connect the butterfly s, then run all in one toolkit
  6. choose in the recovery panel according which you just renamed
  7. flash recovery
  8. copy su file you get from the download link above into your memory card
  9. reboot into bootloader ( vol down + power)
  10. reboot into recovery
  11. flash super user zip
  12. reboot
  13. done

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

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