An almost perfect Butterfly

HTC has stepped up to the plate and shows Samsung it's a big hitter too

The HTC Butterfly proves that there are others out there besides Samsung that can make a good Android phone.

A big screen, fast processor and slim design have been and will keeping being the trend of 2013.

The Butterfly is a phone with an astounding 5-inch, 1080p display. It also comes with powerful hardware: a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage with expandable micro SD and 8- and 2.1-MP camera.

The display has a 441 ppi pixel density, the same as the Samsung's masterpiece S4. This means your content, whether movies, photos, Facebook or YouTube will look great on it. Even I, an iPhone 5 user, am envious of its bigger screen.

Usually, devices with a 5-inch display are bulky and heavy to hold. But HTC has done a brilliant job with the Butterfly, making it thin and light _ so thin that you can slip it in your back jeans pocket.

The 5-inch screen will restrict your movements slightly, however, since you will notice it pushing against your leg.

The phone has Android OS 4.1 and a lot of tweaks have been added to the device without having to fork out additional money. The camera app, for example, features slow-motion video and a burst mode photo shoot, allowing you to shoot up to 99 shots continuously by holding down the shutter button. The longer you hold it, the more photos it produces. And the back camera comes with an LED flash, so you can easily take a shot in low light.

There is also a transfer app for users who want to migrate their old phone content (contact, calendar, etc.) to the Butterfly without additional set up. Then there is the "mirror" feature, a dream app for women. It's as simple as it sounds, using the front-facing camera and its big screen to create a mirror for you _ great for make-up!

And you don't have to worry about the performance. I ran a Quadrant benchmark and the overall score topped most of the phones that are now in the market. All your games and HD video will be playable on it.

It has a waterproof design; all ports and slots are sealed by plastic caps _ well thought out, though it's not a feature I dare to test (would they charge me if it didn't work?). So maybe next time.

Its slim design did cause me a a bit of a problem, however. I couldn't find where to put my microSD card since it was hidden next to the SIM card. Believe me, it is easy to overlook.

Its onboard 2,020mAh battery, managed to survive in everyday usage _ for work and personal push email accounts, Facebook, Twitter and normal web browsing. Bear in mind, however, that watching multimedia content and intense gaming will quickly drain out the battery.

Although the big screen phone is great, its size can come with some portability problem. It seems better to put it in a purse than in a pocket.

Additionally, the Butterfly complicates things by placing the power button directly on top of the phone.

Since it is very tall phone, reaching the button on top is more like a gymnastic move involving an awkward hand gesture every time you have to operate it, increasing the chances of dropping it. Potential buyers should also be aware that HTC will soon put the HTC One (their magnum opus) on the market.

This I believe will make many buyers hold on to their money and wait for the latest, better, faster albeit more expensive HTC One. The HTC Butterfly got a 3,000 baht price cut (to 19,900 baht) prior to the HTC One launch, making it more tempting.

Overall, this butterfly is a brawny beast that is ready to handle every task thrown at it, but if it has an Achilles' heel, it is its battery life, a serious issue for every user.

So, I would like to call this model "almost perfect with unfortunate bad-timing".

About the author

columnist
Writer: Sithikorn Wongwudthianun
Position: Producer