Expensive smartphone battle: HTC Butterfly versus Apple iPhone 5

We decided to compare two of the most expensive phones in India, the recently launched HTC Butterfly and Apple iPhone 5.

Expensive smartphone battle: HTC Butterfly versus Apple iPhone 5

Who would have thought this day would come – when an HTC phone would be priced the same as the top-line version of the Apple iPhone! But here we are, and here it is – the HTC Butterfly has been priced as much as the 16GB version of the Apple iPhone 5 (read our review). While the two may not compete in terms of being in the same category, we are pitting the two against each other because they are priced the same in the market. And the consumers will surely enquire about the other when considering a purchase.

Display
HTC on paper has taken the display game to the very next level. The 5-inch real estate has a Full HD resolution, and is the Butterfly is the first phone with the S-LCD3 display. What we did notice in the short while spent with the phone is that colours are more vivid than the S-LCD2 type displays, bringing it closer to the colour punch offered by the AMOLED family of displays. Text crispness was the stand-out part, and even multimedia viewing will be improved by the deeper black levels.

The iPhone 5 has one of the better displays among all smartphones, all things considered. The 4-inch IPS LED-LCD screen has a resolution of 1136 x 640 pixels, which makes this the first iPhone to have a true 16:9 aspect ratio screen. Being an IPS display, colours are brilliant, but next to the Butterfly’s 1080p HD display, the difference in crispness and text rendering was fairly visible. If the Butterfly can better media playback and text readability offered by the iPhone 5, it would have done an amazing job. And that is something we look forward to.

As we had mentioned earlier, on paper, the Butterfly’s display seems like a winner, mostly because the 1080p HD resolution is taking it further away from the rivals.

Processor
Apple stuffed the dual-core A6 processor clocked at 1.2GHz along with 1GB of RAM into the iPhone 5. When the upgrade from the iPhone 4S was announced, the biggest jump was the graphics performance, with the PowerVR SGX543MP3 triple-core solution.

The HTC Butterfly will bring in a quad core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2GB of RAM. There is no doubt that the Butterfly will offer blazing fast performance, but we are not sure how the Adreno 320 graphics in the Butterfly will stand up against the PowerVR SGX543MP3 chip in the iPhone 5.

Build Quality
The HTC Butterfly has a very manageable form factor, and the thin bezel on the left and right of the screen contribute significantly towards that. The back has the same rubberized finish that we had seen on the HTC WP8X earlier, and helps immensely in gripping the phone. It will have an advantage over the predecessors, the One series of phones which came with the plain polycarbonate body. And even more on the Galaxy Note II, which has a plastic non-rubberized finish on the back, making it slightly slippery and prone to being earthbound if you are not careful. The Butterfly has an even weight distribution and thankfully no annoying habit of trying fall head first on to the ground. HTC has done a very good job with the Butterfly, ensuring it tips the scales at 140 grams. Various colour options could be available as well. The one that we got our hands on was the black version, with a red frame around it. There are other versions as well, and HTC is launching the black and white combination too.

The Apple iPhone 5 is dressed in anodized aluminum, and is available in the white and black colour options. Done away was the glass layer on the back, and the iPhone 5 is slimmer and slightly taller than the 4S. The 16:9 aspect ratio, when held in landscape mode, is the reason the iPhone 5 is taller. There were some initial concerns about the aluminum and the fact that it scratches very easily. There is no doubt that the iPhone 5 is built very well, and has that unmatched premium feel to it.

 

Battery
For all this power, the iPhone 5 gets an 1440mAh battery. The Butterfly, on the other hand, has a 2020mAh brick. The iPhone 5 lasts a day on a single charge under medium-heavy usage, and we will have to run the Butterfly through the same cleaner to see where it stands on battery life!

Price
HTC has pegged the best buy price of the Butterfly (only available in 16GB capacity) at Rs. 45,990. The Apple iPhone 5 is retailing for Rs. 45,500 for the 16GB version.

We will be putting the HTC Butterfly through its paces very soon, to test the device performance and features in detail, and bring out the comparative test results to see how it stands up against the rivals. Do stay tuned for that. On paper though, and from our initial first impressions, it looks like the Butterfly will manage to survive a head-to-head battle with iPhone 5.



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