HTC Butterfly 2 review: Gives even the One M8 a run for its money

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.3
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 9.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Review Date:

The Good The HTC Butterfly 2 has almost everything from HTC's One M8, but boots the camera to 13 megapixels. The skin is waterproof, it delivers excellent audio, and it runs on a powerful quad-core processor.

The Bad The glossy rear face is a fingerprint magnet. The auto brightness doesn't always correctly adjust to surrounding light, resulting in a too-dim display at times.

The Bottom Line It can't compete with the One M8's premium metal skin, but the HTC Butterfly 2's powerful camera and processor make it one of the company's best flagship phones.

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As it's sold only in Asia, the HTC Butterfly series is not as well known as the company's flagship One M8 or midrange Desire family. The Butterfly S did hit US shores as the Verizon Droid DNA, but it was the sole exception.

And that's a shame. While it still sports a very similar design to the previous Butterfly variants, the Butterfly 2 comes with specs as good as the flagship One M8, but bumps up the main camera to 13-megapixels and still featuring the dual-camera system.

The handset is expected to launch in some Asian countries at the end of August. HTC has yet to confirm whether it will make its debut in western markets, but given that it supports most LTE bands around the world, perhaps the Butterfly 2 will flutter its way to the UK or the US very soon. If it stays in Asia, though, the Butterfly 2 could break many hearts elsewhere. Pricing has not yet been disclosed.

Design, display and specs

The HTC Butterfly 2 draws inspiration from both the older Butterfly S and the newer M8. In fact, the Butterfly 2 resembles the M8 in both size and design, while retaining the shiny colors and polycarbonate plastic of the Butterfly S.

Like the M8, the Butterfly S comes with front-facing BoomSound speakers, though HTC has has designed things differently here. Because the Butterfly 2's face is mostly glass, the designers have cut out small ports on both ends to make way for the speakers. However, they blend in nicely, as the speaker grilles are flush against the glass.

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Aloysius Low/CNET

The 5-inch screen packs in Full HD resolution (1,920x1,080 pixels) and is sharp and bright. Depending on where the device is sold, the Butterfly 2 may also come with a bundled pair of JBL headphones.

The review unit Butterfly 2 came in a glossy, lustrous red. It's also available in blue version and matte white, with a comfy textured surface. But the bright, vibrant red really chimes with the Butterfly branding (it was used in both previous models) and makes the phone stand out.

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Aloysius Low/CNET

Internally, the phone comes packing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, and has 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage. The J Butterfly (for Japan only) comes with 32GB storage as standard. There's also a microSD card slot, and for both this and the nano-SIM card slot, you only need a finger to pry the trays out. This is a pretty nice touch, since you don't need to search for a paperclip or ejector tool.

The Butterfly 2 comes packing 4G support for both TD and FDD LTE bands. This means you can use it almost anywhere in the world, including in China and in India, making it a perfect device for world travellers. It also has the standard array of NFC, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 options.

Software and other features

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The phone runs Sense 6, just like the One E8 and M8. Screenshot by Aloysius Low/CNET

The Butterfly 2 runs HTC's Sense 6 UI on top of Android 4.4 KitKat and comes with the usual BlinkFeed and Motion Launch features found on the M8. This means you can double-tap to turn on the phone, swipe downward to activate voice dialing, or hold the phone sideways and press the volume button to quickly turn on the camera.

Instead of rehashing the specifics of Sense 6 UI again here, however, feel free to hop over to our review of the One M8 if you're unfamiliar with the HTC Android skin. There Brian Bennett goes into detail on the cool features of Sense 6 UI. The Butterfly 2 uses the same skin, so you'll get exactly the same software experience of the One M8 (and One E8) on the Butterfly 2.

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HTC Butterfly 2

Part Number: CNETHTC Butterfly 2
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