HTC's Butterfly 3 makes you wonder why the M9 exists

Here's yet another case of "Japan gets all the nice things." Earlier today, local carrier au by KDDI announced its smartphone lineup for the summer, and the one that caught our attention was the new HTC J Butterfly (HTV31), which will no doubt be entering other markets as the Butterfly 3. With the centered 13-megapixel selfie camera and subtle front-side BoomSound stereo speakers, this new phone shares a similar face with the Desire Eye and the Desire 826; except its 5.2-inch screen has a much sharper Quad HD resolution. The familiar Duo Camera feature on the back (for bokeh plus filter effects) is here to stay, though for some bizarre reason, the secondary camera is placed below its 20.2-megapixel counterpart instead of above it, meaning you'll have to be more careful with where you place your index finger while holding the phone.

As a flagship-level device, it's no surprise to see Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 chip with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, microSD expansion, IR blaster, NFC and LTE-Advanced radio (225 Mbps down, 25 Mbps up) here. With this in mind, the Butterfly 3 sits somewhere between the M9 and the M9+ -- same chipset as the former, same screen plus main camera as the latter; but all inside a waterproof (IP55 and IP57) plastic body. We don't mind the lack of fingerprint reader here, but we are a little baffled by the slightly smaller 2,700 mAh battery, as both the M9 and M9+ come with 2,840 mAh.

Other than that minor niggle, we're liking what HTC's offering here. Let's face it, the Butterfly 3 is much prettier than its predecessor and, in some ways, the M9 series; at least there isn't a sharp ridge running around the phone this time. Folks in Japan can grab one in early June, but if you'd rather have a fingerprint reader and don't mind missing out on the Duo Camera, then you may want to wait for the mysterious M9e. Until then, feel free to check out some hands-on photos above, courtesy of our friends over at Engadget Japanese.