HTC One Max Phablet Review

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HTC One Max Phablet Review

Bigger, Yes. But Is It Better?

Wondering whether the HTC One Max Phablet is worth buying? Check out the full HTC One Max Phablet Review below.

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The HTC One Max packs a huge 5.9-inch display. It offers enhanced interface, thanks to HTC Sense 5.5. The phablet has BoomSound and microSD card slot.

Samsung Galaxy S4 versus iPhone 5, LG Nexus 4 and HTC One

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The device has a fingerprint scanner, albeit at the wrong location. Every time you swipe your finger on the scanner, you end up swiping the camera lens as well.

After the HTC One and the HTC One mini, the HTC One Max continues the One family. With a 5.9-inch display, the One Max is more of a phablet than a smartphone. The problem is that the One Max is very much similar to the HTC One, which is already in the market for over 6 months. Competition from Samsung Galaxy Note 3 may also be a threat to the One Max.

HTC One Mini Review

HTC One Max Phablet Review

HTC One Max Phablet Review: Design

At first glance, the One Max looks the same as the One. The dual BoomSound speakers lay above and below the phone’s display. Around the device, there is a plastic band, which has a striking resemblance to the HTC One Mini. Looks wise, the HTC One is certainly better than the One Max.

The HTC One Max differs in design in the sense that it has a removable back cover, through which you can access the SIM card slot and the microSD card slot. The One Max has an embedded battery (you cannot remove it).

The One Max has massive dimensions- 164.5 x 82.5 x 10.29mm. The phablet weighs 217g! The huge display and the BoomSound speakers together make the phone extremely large to handle. In contrast, the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 is lighter, thinner, narrower and shorter. And with all that, the Note 3 has a S Pen stylus. HTC One Max does not ship with a Stylus, but you can buy it separately.

If you have big hands, the HTC One Max may just be comfortable. However, you can, by no means, use it with one hand. It is too huge for one-hand use.

HTC One Max Phablet Review

HTC One Max Phablet Review: Fingerprint Scanner

The HTC One Max got more attention for its fingerprint scanner than for its specs. Do not think that the One Max has imitated the iPhone 5S with regard to the fingerprint scanner. In fact, the finger print scanning technology was being developed by HTC long before the launch of the iPhone 5S.

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The power button is located on the side, which makes it easier for the user to tap it using the thumb. Under the camera lens, on the back, sits the fingerprint scanner. You may find it difficult to swipe the scanner without accidentally swiping the camera lens. With a little practice, this could not be an issue though.

Unlocking the One Max is not to easy- you have to press the standby button before swiping. In this context, the iPhone 5S’s finger print scanner is convenient. On the positive side, the scanner on the One Max allows you to store up to three fingers and to assign different applications to each finger. Example- you can assign one finger for unlocking, another to unlock and launch the camera and the third to unlock and open Facebook.

We do miss the presence of a dedicated camera button though.

Massive Display

With a 5.9-inch Super LCD3 display, the HTC One Max is incredibly huge. It offers full HD resolution, 1920 x 1080 pixels, with 373ppi pixel density. The display borrows the technology from the HTC One. Hence, you would get the same bright colors, awesome viewing angles, and ample brightness.

Due to the size, there is a drop in the pixel density. If you compare the One Max with the One, the latter offers a better display. Having said that, the One Max will appeal more to gamers and movie buffs.

HTC One Max Phablet Review: Hardware

The One Max houses the same 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU and 2GB of RAM as the HTC One. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3, in contrast, has Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset and 3GB of RAM. That is why the One Max is not the most powerful phablet out there.

Unlike the Galaxy Note 3, the One Max does not allow you to capture 4K video. In terms of performance, the One Max is pretty much the same as the One. Demanding games start up well on the One Max.

While the One Max comes with 16 or 32GB onboard storage, you can expand it up to 64GB via the microSD slot. Unlike the HTC One, the One Max has the IR blaster on the top, and not in the standby button.

HTC One Max Phablet Review: Software

HTC Sense 5.5 and Android 4.3

The HTC One Max comes with the Sense 5.5, which offers the phablet a better interface. For example, you will see a new sideswipe menu in BlinkFeed, which allows you to filter/add/search content easily. Google+ and RSS feeds have been integrated as well, which means it is child’s play to create custom feeds. You can also switch off the BlinkFeed.

A carousel style arrangement has replaced the dropdown menus in the interface. As a result, it’s easier to swipe across to check out different things. You can view photos in a better manner as well. The Video highlights feature takes your picture, videos and Zoes to create a theme and adds music. Also an auto-selection tool groups similar content to the first photo you select.

The Sense 5.5 allows you to add your own music with ‘beat mapping’. You can share it then using HTC Share, although in the 250MB and 160-day limit. The One Max lets you save video highlights locally, and change their format (to MP4). You can also convert a Zoe into a GIF, with a wide array of editing options.

The HTC One max, however, does not utilize the large display cleverly- features like Multi-screen and S Pen are MIA. We found the Samsung Galaxy Note better in this regard.


HTC One max houses the largest speakers in the One line-up. With BoomSound speakers, music, videos, games and calls are fun to work with. Beats Audio is missing in action on the One Max. HTC has not even put an alternative to this feature on the One Max. There is also no EQ settings to adjust audio aspects when using headphones. However, the sound (and bass) quality is excellent.

HTC One Max Phablet Review

HTC One Max Phablet Review: Camera

The 4MP UltraPixel sensor on the One Max lacks optical image stabilization (OiS). We liked the camera interface- everything was right in front of the eyes. The One Max has a dual shot mode that captures the primary and the secondary cameras simultaneously.

Features such as HDR (high dynamic range), touch focusing, and burst shooting are great for shooting. In bright light, the One Max takes beautiful photos. However, in low-light scenarios, the One Max returns noise, color blocks and more. Moreover, you cannot zoom or recrop much in low light. We missed the Nokia Lumia 1020 here!

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The secondary, front-facing camera has a 2MP sensor- good for selfies. Full HD video capability with fast continuous autofocus is a great feature on the One Max.

The Zoe capture mode deserves a mention here. This mode allows you to take a 3-second snippet. You can further pull stills or add effects such as GIF.

HTC One Max Phablet Review: Battery

The 3300mAh battery on the One Max cannot be removed. HTC says the battery has a talk time of up to 25 hours for 3G and a standby time of up to 585 hours for 3G.


The HTC One Max phablet is essentially the HTC One with a massive display, with features such as microSD card, BoomSound speakers, and enhanced user interface. The aluminum finish gives the One Max a stylish look.

But the One Max does not stand a chance to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in terms of power. With such a huge display (5.9-inch), the HTC One Max should have had a Stylus. The fingerprint scanner is a great addition, but it is not something that will entice a buyer looking for power and performance. The One Max should have optical image stabilization as well. Hence, the HTC One is still a better phone than the One Max.

Sign up for offers on the HTC One Max here.

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