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Review of HTC One Max – Pros and Cons

Updated on December 3, 2013

The HTC One Max is the bigger brother of the HTC One, a high-end smartphone for those people who want the latest and greatest that's available. Due to its large screen, the One Max is regarded as a phablet or a cross between a smartphone and a tablet.

Although the most prominent feature may be the 5.9 inch LCD touchscreen, the phone is not just a bigger version of the HTC One. The HTC One Max goes even further by being among the first smartphones to offer such new features as a fingerprint scanner.

The HTC One Max thus tries to significantly improve the already impressive package of its predecessor. It wants to be not only bigger, but also better than the HTC One. In order to determine whether no not it succeeds in that objective, it's necessary to look at what's good or bad about the HTC One Max.


What are the differences between the HTC One and HTC One Max?

Before proceeding, it may be good to know what the differences are between the One Max and its predecessor. There are a number of differences between the two phones, including:

  • The One Max has a 5.9 inch screen and the One has a 4.7 inch screen.
  • The One Max includes a fingerprint scanner, which was not present in the One.
  • People can choose between 16 and 32 gigabytes of internal storage in the One Max, while previously the choice was between 32 and 64 gigabytes.
  • Internal storage can be expanded with a MicroSD card in the One Max, unlike its predecessor.
  • The One Max comes with a bigger 3300 mAh Lithium-Polymer battery and the One comes with a 2300 mAh Lithium-Polymer battery.

Everything else that was present in the One is included in the One Max. Note also that there's a HTC One Mini, which is a cheaper and down-graded version of the HTC One.


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Good: the HTC One Max looks like the HTC One, but bigger

Although looks are subjective, the HTC One is arguably one of the best smartphones out there in terms of its looks. From that standpoint, HTC made the right decision by giving the same attractive exterior and metal housing to the One Max. The phone looks very similar with the exception of course of the much bigger screen.

As mentioned before, the HTC One Max is a phablet with its 5.9 inch screen. Such a large screen comes with its own set of pros and cons. On the one hand, a bigger screen gives you more room to work with and can be of benefit when watching video, browsing the Internet and so on.

On the other hand, a bigger screen also makes the phone bigger and heavier. Some people might find it a hassle to carry such a large phone with them. It all comes down to personal taste and every person can have a different opinion as to whether a bigger screen is good or bad.


Good: the One Max will run longer than the HTC One

Although not everyone may like a large phone, the benefit of such phones is that they have enough room for a much larger battery. Smaller and especially thin phones can never have big batteries and that will always limit them in comparison to larger phones. A big smartphone comes with a big battery that can power the phone for a very long time.

Regardless of what kind of phone you have, it will need power in order to work. A phone that doesn't work is useless, no matter what phone it is. It may have all sorts of nice features, but all of that is of no use to you if they cannot be utilized.

So even though a bigger screen needs more power, it's more than offset by the much larger battery that is present. Phablets such as the HTC One Max can be a good choice for those people who are heavy users and need something with as much power as is possible in a smartphone.


Good the HTC One Max has excellent sound quality

Most smartphones tend to come with relatively weak speakers, which tends to produce muffled or poor quality sound. However, the HTC is different in that it produces much better sound and may in fact be one of the best smartphones in this area, if not the best.

The phone is quite suitable to playing in front of a crowd. Music especially will sound at its best, without any sacrifices in quality as it usually the case with other smartphones. If, for whatever reason, you need people to listen to something, the HTC One Max is a very good phone to have.


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Good: the HTC One Max has a fingerprint sensor

A new feature in the HTC One Max that is not present in its predecessor is the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner. This sensor can for example be used to unlock your phone, instead of the more common method of entering a password.

A fingerprint scanner can be an alternative in that it does not require someone to memorize a password, which people can and often do forget. In that way, a scanner can be more convenient, especially to someone who tends to forget easily.

Note that a fingerprint sensor is not actually more secure than using a password. In fact, a fingerprint scanner is considered to be less secure and more vulnerable to theft and so on. There are ways to defeat such sensors and they're best used to enhance security and not so much to replace existing security measures.

They're best used to complement existing security measures as an additional layer to make it harder for criminals to bypass your security. You can never be completely safe, but you can make it as difficult as possible to them. By discouraging them, you can hopefully force them to give up and go after someone elese who's an easier target.


Neutral: the HTC One Max is as fast as you would expect from a high-end phone

The HTC comes equipped as would be expected from a high-end phone. There is a quad-core processor, two gigabytes of RAM and plenty of internal storage. The phone has plenty of speed and will have no problem running whatever Android apps you want it to.

The phone can even handle complex 3D games, which you can play for quite some time on a big screen. All in all, the HTC has the horsepower expected from a high-end phone. There is nothing extraordinary, but there are no complaints either.


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Bad: the HTC Max can only take relatively small photos

One thing that the One Max does not improve upon is the inability to take bigger pictures. Like the HTC one, it can only take pictures no larger than four megapixels. Four megapixels is of course not that small, but they're much smaller than the 8 to 13 megapixels or even larger that's more common for this type of phone.

The size of the pictures is a problem when cropping or taking a part of the photo that you want to emphasize. In these cases, a photo that's as large as possible is necessary for proper photo editing. When the size of the picture is too small, there just isn't enough room to work with. If you like to play around with the photos you've taken, the HTC is probably not the best phone.

However, the quality of the photos and videos are actually very good and better than almost all smartphones. There is really nothing wrong with the output in terms of how they look. You can also record videos at a high frame rate, which you can then play back in slow motion. A very neat feature to have.


Bad: the location of the fingerprint scanner in the HTC One Max could be better

The fingerprint scanner is located in the back of the smartphone, slightly below the camera lens. This means that you have to turn the phone around before you can scan your finger. This is not very user friendly in my opinion.

A better location would have been in the front, similar to the iPhone 5S which has the fingerprint scanner integrated into the Home button. That's the ideal place because people are already used to placing their finger in that area. It's faster and more convenient.

As it's currently designed, the fingerprint scanner in the HTC One Max seems more like an afterthought. It's as if HTC had to stick it somewhere without taking the time to properly design and integrate the sensor. Only included because other phones came with a scanner and for that reason the HTC also needed to have a fingerprint scanner. Not a good thing in my opinion.


4 stars for HTC One Max

Summary and comparison of what is good or bad in the HTC One Max

In my opinion, the HTC One Max is a very good phone. If you liked the HTC One, you will almost certainly like the HTC One Max. Provided of course you can afford its price tag and can handle the extra weight and bulk.

If that's the case, stepping up to the HTC One Max is well worth it as it adds new features without sacrificing any of the good qualities in its predecessor. It's not just an HTC One with a bigger screen, but an improved version with new abilities.

The HTC One Max is most suitable for those people that need to or want to spend a lot of time with their smartphone. Its very strong multimedia capabilities such as watching video, listening to music and playing games are backed by a long battery life.

It does have a few rough edges such as the location of the fingerprint scanner. However, if you need to kill a lot of time, the phone offers plenty of opportunities to do just that. On top of that, you get to do it in comfort on a big screen. It's also a very pretty and stylish phone that can be used to show off. Definitely a phone that people would want to have.

Pros:

  • Very good-looking phone
  • Big 5.9 inch touchscreen
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • One of the best in terms of battery life
  • Extensive multimedia abilities

Cons:

  • Location of fingerprint scanner is poor
  • Pictures are too small, although still of good quality
  • Somewhat large and heavy
  • Somewhat expensive


HTC One Max specifications

Type
Smart Phone
Operating System
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
 
HTC Sense™ / HTC BlinkFeed™
Processor
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 600, 1.7GHz quad-core processor
Graphics
Adreno 320
Band (varies by region)
LTE: 900/1800/2100/2600 Mhz
 
UMTS/HSPA: 850/900/1900/2100 MHz
 
EDGE/GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
Style
Bar
Color
Silver
Dimension (H X W X D)
164.5 mm x 82.5 mm x 10.29 mm
Weight
About 217 grams
LCD
5.9-inch Multi-Touch IPS /w Gorilla Glass 3
LCD Resolution
Full-HD (1920 X 1280, 373 PPI)
Rear camera
HTC UltraPixel Camera
 
BSI sensor, Pixel size 2.0 µm, Sensor size 1/3'
 
Dedicated HTC ImageChip 2
 
f/2.0 aperture and 28 mm lens
 
Smart Flash
 
1080p Full-HD HDR video
Front camera 
2.1 MP, 88° wide angle lens with 1080p HDR video
RAM
2 Gigabyte (GB)
Flash memory
16 or 32 GB
Memory card slot
Included, up to 64GB MicroSD card
Connectors
microUSB, USB 2.0, 3.5 earjack
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n, NFC, Infrared
FM radio
Supported
Sensors
Gyro sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Digital compass, GPS +A-GPS + Glonass
Battery
Lithium-Polymer 3300mAh
Special features
Fingerprint sensor
 
HTC BoomSound™ /w dual frontal stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers

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