The original Butterfly got a chance to take a look from the top but it was too short to enjoy. The interim flagship was soon ousted by the first HTC One and the Butterflies have since been living in the ruling family's shadow.
The HTC Butterfly 2 is clearly timed to catch the slipstream of an outgoing flagship without having to look out for oncoming traffic. Perhaps the HTC One (M8) should be more worried about a future in which Qualcomm's bringing out the 64-bit Snapdragon 810. It's the kind of thing to cause a major stir in the premium segment, with UHD screen resolution suddenly looking cooler and with performance and power management redefined.
Being a backup to the flagship, the HTC Butterfly 2 is probably safe from this kind of danger. It looks the part and has all that made the One (E8) such a good alternative to the One (M8), plus water resistance. And the fact that the Butterfly's protected against the elements without covering its ports is a good thing - having to undo a flap any time you need recharging is an annoyance.
The Butterfly 2 doesn't have the exceptional build and finish of the flagship but the IP57 certification and a 13MP camera over the Ultrapixel, will probably tip the scales for many users. The Butterfly 2's camera actually is the best of both worlds: a higher resolution sensor in a Duo setup for depth-of-field effects, which are exclusive to HTC.
Here's what we found about the HTC Butterfly 2 during our testing.
Now, let's look at some of the names that can challenge the HTC Butterfly 2. Of course, we should bear in mind that the Butterfly 2 isn't globally available just yet - in fact we're not sure it ever will be. The device premiered recently on a number of Asian markets and the price looks rather steep at this point. That is, for a plastic version of the flagship that doesn't look nearly half as good.
On the other hand, it's a water-proofed version of the flagship, with the same screen and chipset, and with a better camera. A tricky situation to be in. We'll get to that, but after we've looked at the options - at least some of which will be available where you are. That, by the way, isn't 100% certain for the Butterfly 2 to begin with. Anyway, there're more than enough possible combinations.
HTC's own One (E8) costs much less than the Butterfly 2 but has a couple of major omission, the IP57 rating and the Duo camera. Of course, an IR port and MHL are other things you'll miss but the screen, speakers, chipset, camera and software are all there. The HTC One (M8) hates to get wet, its 4MP camera is embarrassing, and the phone has a steep price tag. But so it the Butterfly 2's so you might want to go for the hot aluminum unibody.
Outside of its stablemates, the closest Butterfly 2 match is another water resistant flagship - the Sony Xperia Z3. It can dive deeper than the HTC Butterfly 2, has a great 5.2" 1080p screen, a pair of stereo speakers and a 20MP camera with 4K video. Its design and build are clearly superior to the HTC smartphone. The price is a little higher though the premium is well worth it.
Waterproofing aside, the Oppo Find 7 and 7a match the HTC Butterfly 2 spec for spec where it counts. The 7a costs a little less currently, which puts it at an advantage. The more expensive Find 7 flaunts a 5.5" QHD display in a slimmer and not much bigger body than the HTC Butterfly 2.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is by no means cheap but this only shows how, at its current price, the Butterfly 2 ends up in the wrong company. The Galaxy S5 packs the same chipset, a bigger 5.1" display, great battery life, superb 4K-capable camera and is water resistant.
Finally, the OnePlus One has just recently been made available and its low price puts it in a great position against the water-resistant HTC Butterfly 2. It has a tailor-made skin by CyanogenMod , the camera captures great 4K videos, the display is much bigger and there are ample customization options, but getting one is still next to impossible in most markets.
It always gets down to the price, which in the HTC book is usually higher than the competition. The Butterfly 2 is no exception but it's not one of their sexy flagships that seem to get away with it.
That said, the HTC Butterfly 2 is no worse than the incumbent flagship except on the outside. And it offers a better camera and water resistance. There'll be enough users who may find it to be the better package - a bit of a problem that it just doesn't look it.
Perhaps an even bigger problem, the Butterfly 2's main market is Asia and that's where price cutting is fierce. If water resistance is important to you and you can wait, the HTC Butterfly 2 is worth keeping an eye on. Perhaps at some point HTC will quit pampering the flagship and make the Butterfly 2 more widely available. If that's matched by a due reduction in price, they'll have an extra strong sub coming in.