HTC’s J Butterfly, announced today by a Japanese carrier KDDI, is a brand new region specific smartphone that takes significant cues from the company’s popular One (M8) handset. The device makes do with a less premium construction than its big brother, while making some changes in the optics department and improving durability.
With similar looks and largely matching internals, we’re gonna go right ahead and call the J Butterfly a retooling of the company’s flagship One (M8) handset. That said, while the device is based on the M8, it’s distinguished by its unique features, namely its IPX7 water resistance, adjusted camera specs and plastic build.
We’ve seen this regional approach from HTC before, most notably with the as-of-yet China-only HTC One (E8), a device that largely mimics the M8’s specs, but with a less premium build, scaled down camera tech and a lower price tag.
Like the E8, the internals of the J Butterfly are similar to those of the flagship M8, with the new device packing a powerful yet efficient Snapdragon 801 processor, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB storage and running on Android 4.4 KitKat. The handset also holds on to the premium handset’s 5-inch 1080p display, features 802.11ac WiFi , 4G LTE, and is compatible with the company’s Dot View smart cases.
While the new smartphone does pack a familiar 5 MP front-facing shooter, things start to look a little different when you flip it over. Like the M8, the new model features dual rear camera lenses, but where the original opted for a 4 MP “Ultrapixel” shooter, the J Butterfly shoots for a more standard 13-megapixel offering instead. This is the same alteration that HTC made with the One (E8), and while its difficult to judge how big an impact it will have on picture quality, the dual lens setup means users will still have access to two-camera effects, such as a blurred background effect with post shot refocusing.
The handset's footprint is practically identical to the M8, though it comes in 6 percent thicker at 10 mm (0.39 in). It’s also 3 percent lighter. HTC’s Blinkfeed news, social and fitness home screen is onboard, and the handset supports the Motion Launch sensor-based unlocking gestures.
We used to see HTC’s smartphones feature Beats branding and audio tech, but since the two companies' breakup (followed by Apple’s acquisition of the audio giant), that’s long gone. This time around HTC has partnered with JBL, putting a pair of the company’s in-ear headphones right in the box.
The fact that the device was announced by the Japanese carrier itself rather than HTC suggests that we’re unlikely to see the handset outside of Japan, at least for the time being. The device is set to launch on the company’s Au cellular network in “August 2014 or later.” There are three colors on offer (red, white and blue), but there’s no word yet on pricing.