Probably a bit envious on Samsung for the latter’s capabilities to do draw in loads of hype and customers around the Galaxy Note line, HTC has finally announced an Android phablet of its own: the HTC J Butterfly, also known as DLX / DROID DNA in some rumors. You guessed it: it is now time to see how the new HTC J Butterfly / DLX stacks up against the current Android Phablet King, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (on paper at least).

Note: Although HTC has announced that its phablet will be branded as the HTC J Butterfly in Japan, rumor has it that the U.S., Verizon-bound version will use the Verizon HTC DROID DNA / DLX branding. While some rumors claim that the international version of the HTC J Butterfly will come with some minor improvements, since there is no hard evidence to back this up, throughout the rest of this article I will only analyze the official specs of the HTC J Butterfly. If the HTC DLX will bring something new to the tablet, we’ll update this article with the corresponding information.



While it definitely pleases me to say that the HTC J Butterfly / DLX and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 both come with high quality displays, there are some notable differences though, as I’m about to explain!

Starting off with the reigning champion, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 uses a Super AMOLED display that measures an impressive 5.5 inches across the diagonal and uses a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution – also known as 720p or HD. The Pixel Per Inch (PPI) density rests at 267, which can be considered an above decent value even by the most exigent standards (plenty will also be pleased to learn that the display on the Galaxy Note 2 doesn’t use a PenTile subpixel arrangement, but a slightly peculiar RGB matrix instead). While brightness, contrast ratios and viewing angles are absolutely top notch, as is the case with most Super AMOLED displays, some critics claim that the color reproduction is a bit off for this type of panels, especially when compared against Super LCD displays.

On the other hand, the HTC J Butterfly uses what is currently considered the best display to ever be used on a smartphone/phablet/tablet. At 5 inches in size, the Super LCD3 display uses an impressive 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution (also known as 1080p or Full HD). As a consequence of cramping in so many pixels in a 5-inch display, the PPI ratio blows right through the roof and rests at 440. By contrast, the Apple iPhone 5’s Retina display features a PPI ratio of “just” 326. We’ll have to wait before we get our eyes on this fellow to really know for sure, but early hands-on reports claim that the quality of this display is astonishing.

Judging by the fact that the Super LCD2 display used on the HTC One X often regarded as the best display currently available, the Super LCD3 technology shouldn’t be worse by any extent. Add in this awesome PPI ratio and this should be the best display on Earth.

HTC J Butterfly / Droid DLX Display

Verdict: While the Galaxy Note 2 has by 20% more screen real estate, and is not a bad overall display, the HTC J Butterfly / DLX wins this round thanks to its incredible PPI ratio.

Build Quality and Design

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 steals its design from the highly successful Samsung Galaxy S3. It’s like someone zoomed in on the Galaxy S3. That’s not to say it is an ugly phablet, but it is surely isn’t the best looking device around. Thankfully though, drop tests have proven that the Galaxy Note 2 is a lot sturdier than the S3, meaning it shouldn’t smash into bits and pieces very easily (not that you should try though).

Subjectivity gets the best of me this time, so I’ll just go ahead and say it: the HTC J Butterfly / DLX looks simply amazing in the press shots. Again, we’ll have to wait until we get our hands on the actual device, but it looks like HTC have managed to come up with yet another great design.

On to the dimensions, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 measures 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm and weighs 183g, while the HTC J Butterfly measures 143 x 71 x 9.1 mm and weighs 140g. As expected, the Galaxy Note 2’s bigger display adds to the overall footprint of the device. However, since none of these devices are a breeze to use with just one hand, this aspect shouldn’t be necessarily be considered a disadvantage for the Galaxy Note 2.

Personally, I feel like the HTC J Butterfly is the best looking device of the two, but don’t let my subjective views influence your personal preferences.

Internal Hardware

The Galaxy Note 2 uses a slightly overclocked version of the Exynos 4 quad system on a chip (SoC) that Samsung has equipped the international version of the Galaxy S3 with. This translates into a quad-core Cortex A9 processor clocked at 1.6 GHz per core and a Mali MP-400 GPU.

Benchmarks have proven that the Exynos 5 quad is currently the best SoC available in the Android ecosystem, although as with everything in the tech field, that affirmation won’t remain valid for too much longer.

The HTC J Butterfly will be one of the first devices to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC (the freshly announced LG Google Nexus 4 is also using the same SoC), one that packs in together a 1.5GHz quad-core Krait (A15-like) processor and an Adreno 320 GPU. Early benchmarks clearly denote that the Snapdragon S4 Pro is better than everything else on the Android market, including Samsung’s Exynos 4.

Regarding the amount of RAM on the two contenders, there’s nothing to separate them, as both carry 2GB of RAM memory, enough to ensure proper multitasking capabilities.

On to the cameras, the Galaxy Note 2 uses an 8MP primary camera and a 1.9MP secondary camera, while the HTC J Butterfly uses an 8MP primary camera and an 2MP secondary. Both devices will allow you to snap photos on the go at an acceptable quality… just don’t mistake them for a DSLR.

As far as the battery power is concerned, I find it a bit curious that the the HTC J Butterfly uses a battery of just 2020mAh, as it will have to power up an awful lot of pixels. The 3100mAh battery on the Note 2 has to power up way less pixels, but still can only last through the day with moderate use.

It will be interesting to see if the HTC DLX will use the same battery capacity as the J Butterfly, and if so, how many hours will the HTC phablet last on a single charge. It sure seems like a pity that advancements in the battery life segment are currently unable match the advancements in the CPU, GPU and display segments.

Verdict: The HTC J Butterfly is definitely faster, although it remains to be seen if the 2020 mAhbattery won’t be a major drawback!

Software and Ecosystem

Although it would look like the HTC J Butterfly has the upper-hand in most of the areas that matter, it is now time for Samsung to shine. The reason I would say such a thing is because even though these two phablets both come with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean pre-installed (here goes hoping Android 4.2 makes its way on these phaboulicious devices before the end of the year), the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes with a range of very useful and unique features.

While the HTC J Butterfly currently uses an Android theme that is much alike what can be found on the HTC Rhyme and comes with virtually no real improvements over Android’s regular functionality, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is a phablet that goes beyond what can be considered a traditional Android smartphone.

First of all, the Note 2 features all the Smart Functions that people have praised about on the Samsung Galaxy S3 (S-Beam and Smart Stay are two of my personal favorites). Then come some features that are unique to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, such as real multitasking, Air View and plenty others that you can read about in further detail here.

But what really sets Samsung’s Galaxy Note line apart from any other tablet that has been announced (at least so far) is the S-Pen and the wide array of S-Pen enabled apps. The S-Pen, in itself, is nothing more than a pressure sensitive stylus, but combining that with the bunch of S-Pen optimized apps makes for a totally unique experience, one that no other Android manufacturer can rival.

Furthermore, thanks to the fact that Samsung has made the S-Pen SDK available for app developers, S-Pen optimized apps will continue to surface at an even higher rate than in the past (the reasoning for that is that app developers usually go where the consumers are, and since more and more people are using Galaxy Note 2 phablets, more developers will want to design apps that use the S-Pen).

Samsung not only takes this round, but also deserves a round of applauds for genuinely improving on the Android ecosystem. Sure, Google will probably get around towards implementing true multitasking, Smart Stay and other similar futures, but Samsung has them NOW, before anyone else does. Don’t get me wrong, I dislike some aspects about the Samsung philosophy, but the South Korean manufacturer has definitely hit the nail on its head as far as improving on the Android experience is concerned.

Hands On Video

Here’s our hands on impressions of the HTD Droid DNA, which is almost identical with the Butterfly J, save for the different cellular baseband.

Pros and cons

HTC J Butterfly / DLX / DROID DNA pros

  • 5-inch, Full HD display
  • The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro is the fastest SoC in the Android universe
  • Simple but effective design

HTC J Butterfly / DLX / DROID DNA cons

  • The battery seems to be underpowered
  • No unique functions

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Pros

  • Exynos 4 is now the second fastest SoC in the Android universe
  • Samsung Smart Functions
  • True Multitasking
  • S-Pen & S-Pen optimized apps
  • 5.5 inches across the diagonal of the display: it is BIG

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Cons

  • PPI ratio (264) is not top-end anymore
  • Very large footprint


Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the HTC J Butterfly are truly exceptional Android devices. However, to me it looks like the HTC J Butterfly / DLX is not actually a phablet, but just a HTC One smartphone with an even bigger and crisper display. Underneath the display, the S4 Pro can handle almost anything you can possibly throw at it. If you want a smartphone upgrade and can handle the larger footprint, go for the HTC J Butterfly DLX.

On the other hand, if you want as much screen real estate as you can get on a device that is not a tablet, go for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The display is more than decent, the internal hardware is excellent, but what really makes the Note 2 an exceptional device is the S-Pen, the Smart functions and all those little tweaks to the Android OS. On the downside, the footprint is a bit too large for some people. Try it out first and see if you can handle it.

What do you guys think? Who is the King of the Phablet hill: is it the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or the HTC J Butterfly / DLX / DROID DNA. Let us know what you think in the comment section below (but please, no Apple talk this time)!

Mike Andrici
Growing up in my father's PC store, I was surrounded by and developed a passion for technology ever since I was in kindergarten. However, advancements made in the technology world continue to amaze me on a daily basis! I've been writing about the Android OS since back in October 2008, when Google and HTC launched the first Android smartphone ever, the T-Mobile G1 / HTC Dream. Although I'm no company's fanboy, Android is the mobile OS I devoutly support.
  • Lorne Serpa

    Hard to make a fair judgement when there are so many different specs on the DNA. Some say it has a an SD card slot and the battery is 2500. The Note 2 has 3100 battery also.
    SD and extra 500mah on the DNA alone make a significant difference. I’d love to see this comparison again when specs firm up (right before the Note 2 is out on VZW).

    • That ‘significant difference’ is the one thing holding me in limbo between the two phones. With such a stunning display people are definitely going to want to load up movies and shows to watch on the go (primary reason I’m getting a smartphone), and for that you need both flexible storage options to expand/swap cards and a decent battery life. For that, I’m eager to see the official specs as well.

      • Jared Persinger

        I would no doubt get the HTC but I need a huge battery so im going with the razr hd maxx

    • blah


      • ari gutenmacher

        there are many possible names that verizon will give it. the htc droid dna, htc droid incredible x, or the htc dlx.

  • Am I mistaken or does the Note 2 actually have a 3100 mAh battery?

    • Yes, the Galaxy Note 2 has a Beast 3100 mAh Battery :) I’m a proud owner of one :D and it’s removable, making it all the better.

      • ari gutenmacher

        i have a question about the note 2 i cant get the answer of. does the note 2 have smart gestures like the gs3 e.g. swipe with hand for screenshot? im deciding between the note 2 htc j butterfly or whatever it will be called, and the iphone. dont judge me about the iphone option please.

        • Guest

          Go for the Note 2.

        • dude it has got those features and much much more that will blow u away..!! go for it and u wont regret..!! ;)

        • Yes it does, smart stay, smart rotation, quick glance, turn over to mute, all the othe nifty motions pan to zoom. Three ways to screen shot; hold button with s pen, swipe palm, power and home key.
          Personally I went for the note 2 for its extra features; the large screen; s pen completely sold me out over the iphone 5. Im not saying iphone 5 is bad, but it’s just not my cup of tea :)

  • corymcnutt

    “No unique functions” says it all. While the screen sounds awesome, to me, a phablet has to be more than a large screen…it has to offer tablet like features and with the Note 2 you can really use this for more than just a phone with a big screen.

    • ari gutenmacher

      thats whats keeping me from deciding between these two phone. one i like the size better, amazing screen and is faster, and the other amazing features , amazing battery, and still has a good screen. each has an equal amount of negatives and positives.

      • fadilkarim

        bro, just go for the note 2. a 720p screen isnt really a con, its perfect for watching movies. the note 2 still has one of the fastest processors, and all the unique features that distinguish it from other phones. the dna isnt even a phablet and has a nicer screen…

  • Wil

    “Round of applauds”…
    Great article!

    • Jimmy Drew

      The best review I’ve seen in a long while, I am on the fence about the Note2 as I own the Maxx and battery life is important to me..I turn the Maxx on at 6AM and use it a lot and turn it off at 11PM with juice to spare. I have my home email and work email on it…as well as use it to text a lot….and even make phone calls. ;-) I am just concerned is the description of the DNA correct…the battery is my main concern…everything else will make me wait and not get the note…but the battery can be a real pain in the ass if you have to keep looking for a place to plug the thing in. The Maxx is terrific when it come to that… One other thing, I keep readying these handsets are only good for 300 charge cycles….lets assume yu charge at least once a day….if so it is used up in a year anyway….. Anyone answer this?


      • Battery is always a major let down with HTC devices. Well, it has been in the past at least. I would think if a screen has that many pixels it would need some major power.

        • goonie

          Seriously? HTC still does not get it? We want batteries on phones like we want Boobs on women! Bigger the Better. Thats like a 5’9″ stallion with a b cup still cute and sexy, but notes tatas demand much more attention.

      • Jimmy I think if battery is that important what I do is just carry a spare one with me.Thats why i like to focus on the innovation and fetaures that these smartphones provide.
        and Note2 I feel is way above the league and note2 is having detachable battery unlike many others.

        • Mac

          Because the phone is water resistant, is is very difficult to open the phone to replace the battery. So having a spare for this phone isn’t really feasible and possibly the maker/carrier won’t even offer to sell an extra battery.

  • Someone Try to explain me, why Apple 3GS, a phone of 2009 received Google Chrome and even a kind of Google Now today, but a atrix owner, with Gingerbread will never receive such application. And I am not talking to any kind of application, I am talking a google App. A GOOGLE APP. Today IOS received a voice assistant, even a 3GS got it. BUT, my Xperia Neo, with official ICS (4.0.4) did not receive that application. Hell, if Google produce our software, if Google profits in our mobile, why in the hell IOS get the apps and we not. What kind of company is that? Are they cheating us? Yes They are.

    • e

      only jelly bean android devices,, not gingerbread which are less powerful to handle jb os.. ios get it cause they paid for a version to work with their latest ios. google does not make a whole lotta $ off of free apps that have no ads in them

    • Jared Persinger

      Well my one year old phone will get it in about 2 or three months

    • abrahavt

      Thats why you need to stop buying a phone from these vendors and a get a Nexus phone. Will always stay updated and current.

  • BakerDude

    Since the Nexus is out, for Verizon, the DLX may be my phone. Wish it were closer to 4.5-4.7″ but what can you do :) The battery life does concern me but what concerns me more is the person that wrote this comparison. Did you research HTC or LCD tech before your wrote the article, nope. The S-LCD 3 is more transparent [less backlight needed] and is also inherently more energy efficient. Less light needed, more efficient panel= less energy needed. All that coupled with the S4 Pro and you need less battery. Now, with all that said, why the fuck can’t they put a larger battery in a 5″ phone design!!! Why would they want us to have MAXX life battery life… Jesus. Let’s make a badass phone and gimp its battery. Great idea.

    • ikokkinos

      I’d be happy if they made the phone fatter as well to get even more battery life.

      • BakerDude

        I agree. Thicker would be fine, however, Motorola seems to squeeze huge batteries in tight spaces just fine. Motorola doesn’t have special battery technology, they just make it work. OEM’s fail, time after time, when they give us what they deem as sufficient. I’m not sure when/if they will ever wake up. Have OEM’s even seen what a Motorola MAXX is capable of?

    • ben7337

      Honestly, HTC can’t design a thin phone, they just don’t seem capable of it. The HTC rezound was 13.65mm thick, with only a 1600mah battery. The HTC One X was only 8.9mm, but only fit in a 1800mah battery. The droid razr hd in comparison has a similar size build, and is 8.4mm thick with a 2500mah battery. In other words, Motorola made a phone that is 5.6% thinner than HTC, with about 39% more battery capacity. Now HTC makes an even bigger phone, and still can’t match Motorola’s not so high capacity Razr HD on thickness or battery life. The J Butterfly is bigger, thicker, and has a smaller battery. I’d honestly be happy with HTC if they fit a 2500mah battery into the Droid DNA and kept it at 11mm thick or thinner.

    • ari gutenmacher

      finally, someone gets me!

    • goonie

      Hell the Nexus 4 has a bigger battery and a smaller screen. As far as I have heard the battery life on it leaves more to be desired. The s3 by far has the best battery I have ever owned. I get 16-24 hours with 12 hours being a WTF bad day. Shame on HTC for that. I dont think they like our money anymore.

  • Two things to notice –
    1. We can not take HTC butterfly as phablet..its mere .2 inch larger than S3 an shud be compared with that instead.

    2. with just 2020 mAh battery , HTC what were you thinking..???

    • Calibrator

      1 – Exactly! It’s a large phone and not comparable to the Note series.
      2 – The battery rating shouldn’t be compared, IMHO. The important thing is how long a device can operate with the battery. So measure up hours if you want.

  • blowntoaster

    Hope the HTC has some great features that gives it a unique experience, like the Note does with it’s S-Features and more…

  • The j butterfly takes the cake by far as far as speed and hardware goes, woo htc! However, though I’m no fan of touchwiz, I must admit, Samsung has definitely poured some nice innovations to their latest phones, especially this one. Now if I can only find a big enough pocket.. perhaps if I carry around a small suitcase for it… :p

    • Yomama

      I am a Samsung rep. I carry an S3 and a Note 2 in the same pocket all day long! The phone is so thin that it fits nicely in a pocket. :)

  • MartinTran

    Bigger battery and additional storage capacity means the Note II is so much more tempting for me. Basically, give me a Note II 1080p please.

    • Calibrator

      What do you need 1080p for?
      And what if the Note III has a 1080p screen and HTC launches a 4K phone?

      • boast

        probably “give me a note 4 with 4k please”?

      • MartinTran

        For the exact same reason why I enjoy owning a 720p phone: To be able to view content at their native resolution. Why else? Would love to see a 4K display but I don’t have much 4K content on hand for me to appreciate it…I have plenty of 720p and 1080p stuff however.

  • aCe

    i agree that i should not be compared to the note series just like you said that the butterfly is a phone not a tablet and i would like to ask if the battery of the butterfly ca be remove and be replace :D but its a nice article though :))

  • seth d

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but iirc the j butterfly is 16g of internal memory plus an SD card.

    • InterracialFan4Lyfe89

      It doesn’t offer a SD Card option

      • Ray

        Actually it does have an sd slot, check the official specs released by HTC, for some reason people don’t think it has it because it’s not advertised but it’s there, check official docs not blogs for spec info because pretty much every website has that wrong, only a few caught that on the HTC sheet

  • I have a question here, I keep thinking about it for a while.
    why some manufactures starts now to make phones with UN-Removable battery.
    they know people don’t like it but still doing it and copying stupid apple ( which understandable, lock and key so you pay for any support) i dont think LG (nexus 4) and HTC Butterfly wants the same. (both no SD/ No removable battery)

    can somebody tells me why? in case i am missing something

    • beastp

      They probably sell phones with unremovable batteries because they want the battery to die eventually so you buy a new phone.. rather than replace the battery and have the phone last more than 2 years

      • I thought so, that’s a rip off. i will not buy a non-removable battery phone.
        go to hell Nexus 4

  • Kaostheory

    Why is this article missing the best feature! Waterproof!



  • Geenan Smith

    We as consumers need to do something to let Android OEM’s know that we want SD slots and removable batteries on ALL phones. Why are they trending downwards toward the inferior iphone?

  • MarioX
  • Kunal Jain

    note 2 is king

  • Ohiwastedmylife

    Fix the no sd card for HTC phone. The phone has expandable memory, it is well known.

  • goonie

    For comparison I felt that 2500 was too small for the Note 1. The 2500 battery should have been in the s3.

  • Michael C

    The HTC J Butterfly does have a SD expansion slot. HTC announced it in Japan. It is on their official website too.

  • Mac

    In Japan and saw this phone at the KDDI Concept Shop. The phone is supposed to have an SD slot to put in an SD top and right side of the phone. The battery so far is confirmed at 2020mAh (Japan model, but maybe this will change not sure, but the phone is due for release next month). Since the phone is water resistant, there is no easy/simple way to open the phone to swap out a battery.
    The phone is very slim, but honestly I’d give up some of that slimness for 500+ of mAh battery.

  • Waqar wattoo

    440 pixels are really impressive but they fade out when compared with 5.5 inch and s-pen.also I also want to make a correction that super amoled displays are more energy efficient than any other display panel on earth.whereas concerns the processor the note 2 already has more than enough and it can run any thing dropped on it u will never ever get a NOT COMPATTIBLE message on pay store.although HTC has far more pixels but it does not make that big differece that one may assume because in practice that difference is so minor that one can only judge it by very close and deep insespection by using magnifying glass and not otherwise.

  • Waqar wattoo

    Just go to wikipedia and u will find out that samsung uses super amoled displays because they the most energy efficient.what is the thing that super AMOLED displays have and others does not, is, ene4gy efficiency.

  • Bob R

    I bought a Nexus 7 16GB tablet a while ago, returned it because I was peeved by Google’s coming out with a 32GB device and then making it really hard to get a refund unless you happened to buy within a very narrow time frame. So I’ve got $250 burning a hole in my pocket, and I’m pretty sure I will get the Note 2 and just skip owning a tablet for the time being. I don’t like lugging around multiple devices and I think the Note 2, for my purposes, will be nearly as good as having a separate tablet.

  • g.b.a.

    I would just like to make a small correction on your information.

    HTC J Butterfly has actually an expandable memory (microSD) slot which can support up to 32GB.

    and btw, since HTC J Butterfly has been released already here in Japan, (actually I’m using it), I could say that the 2020mAh battery can last a day with a moderate use. (great job done here by HTC)

    … and everything you said also is fantastic and very informative! great job!

    • Hy

      It can only last a day? What do you mean by moderate usage? (Did you use the internet? Was that only call and text?)

  • sam

    for sound clearity, whicch is better….? ‘butterfly’ or ‘note 2’….?
    & do they give beat’s earphones with butterfly,,….?

  • sam

    do they provide beat’s earphones with butterfly…? & which has a better sound clearity…..? butterfly or note2….?


    IGZO LCD 3 – Display Technology, the first technology to use by HTC and Sharp. This uses less Battery and power efficient…. Even after having 3100 mAH battery in N2, Battery doesnt stays longer than a day… And HTC Butterfly, Also gives you same charge full day moderate Use. … Wait and with review go for HTC butterfly.. — Only my suggestions… ;-) rest up to you….

  • Gary Rivard

    Wrong. The J Butterfly does have an SD card slot. The US version (Droid DNA) does not, which is Verizon’s doing as they told HTC no, because they want their users to utilize the cloud more and potentially go over their data limits, thus making more money in overages.

  • tom

    HTC claim it is the best selling smart phone in Japan. It must have some good features for this phone. Let’s wait for US selling results first before getting this phone

  • vishal

    m using both the devices…htc j is nowhere near note 2 …please be mature and dont let htc fell you low…go for note 2

  • javed

    I was using htc j it realy sucks and now me using note 2 wow the best phone ever love u note 2

  • Jack

    Which phone has a better output sound quality?

  • Je

    From what I’ve read and watched on youtube, htc’s waterproof quality isn’t completely as in you can dip the phone in water. It’s more of a splash proof. For me, I think Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is better as of now. I’m still busy reading more articles about the two but I think the only thing that makes htc better than note 2 is its full hd screen and good sounds.
    *This is completely opinionated
    *Please don’t take this too seriously for I’m new at this kind of stuff and not a tech genius