There may not be any dearth of e-notes out there but here is one that begs to be different in that it comes with the DES Slurry e-paper display. In being so, the Topjoy Butterfly happens to be the only one among two e-notes to feature the DES e-paper display, the other being the Reinkstone R1 e-note device. Also, for those who might need a refresher, DES comes across as the only real alternative to the widely popular E Ink display. The other inherent positive with DES is that it is color, which is unlike E Ink which is essentially monochrome but has made recent advances in color e-paper display tech as exemplified by the Kalaedo 3.
Does having DES display put the Topjoy Butterfly at a disadvantage vis-a-vis other e-notes that essentially are e-ink based? Or, if it’s the display tech itself that puts it above the rest of the pack in the e-note segment? Let’s find out.
Design and specs
The Topjoy Butterfly comes across as something that has been nicely put together. Looks can be subjective but the Topjoy Butterfly appeals with its minimalist design approach. The bezels on the sides are thin enough while that on the top is slightly thicker, and the chin even more so. The bottom meanwhile hosts the USB Type-C port while on the top right lies the Power button. The top also has the speaker grill as well though there is no 3.5mm headphone jack onboard.
The front is dominated by of course the DES Slurry e-paper display, all of 7.8-inches. The display has a 300 PPI 1404 x 1872 resolution in the monochrome mode which drops down to 150 PPI in color mode. On the other side of it lies a quad-core 1.8 GHz 64-bit Cortex A55 processor as well as a Mali-G52 GPU to take care of graphics processing. The device comes with 2 gigs of memory of the LPDDR4 type along with 32 GB of internal storage. Things are better with the Pro versions in that it comes with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage with everything else remaining the same. The display comes with a front light but lacks warm lighting.
Power comes from a 3200 mAh battery which the company said will allow for 70 days of standby time. Wireless technologies the device supports include Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi 8.2.11 ac/b/g/n 2.4G and 5G. There is noise canceling dual MIC onboard as is an integrated 0.8W speaker unit, both being decent in their performance.
Software and User Interface
The e-note runs Android and allows for downloading and sideloading the apps you need. The user interface is intuitive and easy to use, with all the apps you have placed at the center. On the top, you have shortcuts to several options you are likely to need access to frequently. These include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Location, Screen, Auto-rotate, Invert colors, and such. The latter is interesting as this allows for a single touch operation to toggle between dark mode and light mode.
The left panel provides options such as Apps, Reader, Note, and Settings. The middle portion of the display changes according to the option you choose. For instance, tapping on Apps will show the applications you have on your device. Similarly, selecting Reader will show the e-book comics, Manga, and such content you have. Note and Settings are equally self-descriptive.
The settings option contains the Preferences section where you get several personalization options such as Brightness, Contrast, Floating ball setup, Refresh mode, Auto sleep, System font size, and Wallpaper. The floating ball setup lets you personalize the floating ball by tapping on which will launch a series of shortcuts to the most used apps, services, or settings.
Mention must also be made of the Refresh mode which opens up to reveal the different modes that the device supports. These include the Display mode, Graphic mode, Web mode, and lastly, Video mode. Also, the lower down the order, the higher is the device speed so that it is the highest in Video mode and lowest in Display mode. That said, the speed is still lacking to allow for even decent levels of video-watching experience.
The 7.8-inch display seems just perfect to read e-books, PDFs, or comics. However, it inherently being a color display, the black-on-white effect is missing. Instead, what you get is black over what is essentially a grey background though the superb contrast saves the day so that the overall reading experience is excellent. The texts and images look sharp so that the grey background does not make much of a difference while reading.
Things become all the more exciting when viewing color content like comics. The colors look rich and vibrant though the display suffers a lot from staining. These happen to be the remnants of past displays and is something that you can’t get rid of altogether. It’s one of the shortcomings of the DES Slurry e-paper and maybe future iterations of it will improve on it. Till then, the Topjoy Butterfly offers more than a decent reading experience, which applies to both black and white and color content.
The Topjoy Butterfly comes bundled with a pen that offers a nice writing feel. The pen is triangular in its build but becomes circular at the top, which is also where the eraser is placed. The pen offers 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and will work just fine even with a five-point touch effect on the screen. The top contains different options so that you can change the pen styles or choose from 30 pre-set colors.
Other options you have include Eraser for selective erasing though there is also the option to clear the entire page at one go. There are eleven pre-set page backgrounds as well that you can make the most of. Here you can use images or PDFs as well for the background which is cool. There is the Voice Recorder button as well which will let you copy notes and such via the dual mics the device comes with. There is the Share option too and will let you share stuff via the social media apps that are installed on the device.
The Topjoy Butterfly will make you smile with joy and that’s not an understatement. It has a lot of things going for it. It offers good performance, sports a nice build quality, and offers a vibrant color display. The writing experience is good too and the pen is nice to hold and operate. It’s a device that seems to know what it is built for and will perform optimally in that domain. Couple that with the $259 price tag and what you have is a true winner in the Topjoy Butterfly.
With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles, the latter being my latest fad. Besides writing, I like watching videos, reading, listening to music, or experimenting with different recipes. The motion picture is another aspect that interests me a lot, and I'll likely make a film sometime in the future.