HTC One Max

Does the world n​​eed a 5.9-inch HTC One?

We like the HTC One. Twice this year we’ve said it was the best Android phone you can buy, and there’s a strong argument for saying that’s still the case today. When it arrived back in March, the HTC One bucked some of the major high-end smartphone trends of the time. A metal shell, not plastic. A quirky two-button setup. A 4-megapixel camera that focused on pixel size, not megapixel count. And a screen no larger than its predecessor, at 4.7-inches, in a world of rapidly ballooning display sizes.

Nevertheless, big phones are, and look set to remain, a thing. The success of the Samsung Galaxy Note series has inspired competitors to have a crack at their own unashamedly large smartphones. This year we’ve seen the Optimus G Pro from LG, the Xperia Z Ultra from Sony and even the Ascend Mate from Huawei. It was only a matter of time before HTC arrived — fashionably late, of course — at the oversized smartphone party.

It’s easy to look at the One Max and assume you’re just dealing with a bigger HTC One. That’s not untrue, but there’s more going on than a mere expansion of an existing phone into a new form factor — and that’s both good and bad. The Max delivers some subtle differences in design and build, a fingerprint sensor around the back, expandable storage and an array of new software tricks thanks to HTC’s new Sense 5.5.

But does the world need a 5.9-inch HTC One? And what of the competition from the likes of Samsung, which has just launched its Galaxy Note 3 amid much fanfare. Let’s find out after the break, as we take an in-depth look at the new HTC One Max.


The Good

Big, bright display. Solid build quality. Speedy performance. Sense 5.5 adds some really useful features without complicating things too much. Great battery life.

The Bad

Enormous size makes it difficult to handle. Disappointing camera. Only 16GB of base storage. Fingerprint scanner offers questionable value. 

Conclusion

The One Max is more than a big HTC One, but also a lesser phone than the HTC One. If you’re after the full HTC experience on a larger display, well, for the most part, this is that device. And right now it's the closest you're going to get to an HTC tablet. But for most buyers the smaller, better-looking HTC One, or the higher-end and more manageable Galaxy Note 3 will be better options.
 


Inside this review


More info

HTC One Max and HTC Sense 5.5 vide​o walkthrough

Hardware, design and build quality

Over the past year, HTC has developed its own iconic design language. Unlike previous generations, which came in all shapes and sizes, the HTC phones of 2013 are characterized by big, bassy front-facing speakers, metal back panels and a bold new two-button setup. So pull the “Max” out for the first time and it’s clear exactly what it is and who’s behind it. The phone’s enormous display is sandwiched between two large “BoomSound” speakers, with an HTC logo sitting between the home and back keys. Turn it over and you’re greeted by a familiar brushed aluminum back etched with the company’s insignia. Yep — this is an HTC One.

HTC One MaxHTC One MaxHTC One Max

And yet there are subtle differences around every corner. Like the One Mini, the Max eschews the exposed metal edges of the HTC One in favor of a more plasticky trim (this time matte, not glossy.) As such there are no exposed, lustrous chamfers around the outside of the device, meaning the Max looks and feels a little less high-end than the 4.7-inch One. (Fortunately the speaker covers on the Max are back to being aluminum, rather than the cheaper-feeling plastic found on the front of the One Mini.)

The basic geometry of the One Max mirrors that of other recent HTC phones

The basic geometry of the One Max mirrors that of other recent HTC phones — the front is completely flat, but the back has a pleasing, hand-friendly curve to it that makes it easy enough to palm despite its gigantic size. Beneath the rear-mounted “Ultrapixel” camera there’s a new addition — a capacitive fingerprint scanner, which can be used for lock screen security or quickly launching certain apps. We’ll get to how useful this is later in the review, but in purely aesthetic terms it does look a little odd, interrupting the smooth curve of the back panel.

HTC One Max

Due to the Max’s larger size, some of the buttons and ports have moved around a bit. Helpfully, the power button is no longer located along the top of the device. Instead it’s situated on the right edge, below the volume rocker. Up top there’s still a front-mounted IR port — for use with the built-in Sense TV app — and headphone jack, with microUSB down below.

The Max also has a removable back cover, accessible by releasing a small latch on the left edge of the device. Beneath the door sit the microSD and microSIM slots. There’s no removable battery here, though there are official options for expanding upon the capacity of the Max’s built-in 3300mAh juicer, which we’ll get to later in the review.

HTC One Max
HTC One Max

Our review unit is a near-final, but still pre-production European One Max, and HTC pointed out to us that on these specific models the battery door has some alignment issues. That’s certainly true of the device we’ve been using — getting the back panel re-sealed properly after installing a SIM or SD card is an exercise in frustration. Hopefully, as the manufacturer claims, these build issues will be worked out in final retail devices, because right now it’s kind of a pain in the ass.

As with many hybrid devices that straddle the line between smartphones and tablets, the Max’s sheer size is its main differentiator and selling point, as well as a major weakness. It’s clear that care has been taken to keep the device as narrow as possible — in fact, it’s only a hair wider than the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3. But like its smaller siblings, the addition of front-facing speakers makes it very tall indeed. Good luck reaching the notification shade — or anything north of halfway up the screen — with one hand.

The HTC One Max is in no way a one-handed phone. In fact, it’s barely a phone at all.

But let’s not kid ourselves here — the HTC One Max is in no way a one-handed phone. In fact, it’s barely a phone at all. As we’ve said of even larger handsets like the Galaxy Mega 6.3, devices of a certain size cease making sense as phones and start coming into their own as miniature, 4G-connected tablets. That’s where the Max sits, too. Its large screen makes for a better reading, viewing and gaming device, and the frontal BoomSound speakers give it a leg up on the Note 3, which includes a comparatively weak single speaker on its bottom trim.

HTC One Max

And BoomSound on the Max sounds just as loud, clear and bassy as on the regular HTC One. In fact, we’d even say the Max is a bit louder than the regular One, likely due to the larger chamber size.

The first high-profile HTC phone for more than two years to ship without Beats Audio

There is, however, one notable gap in the HTC audio equation in this instance. The One Max is the first high-profile HTC phone for more than two years to ship without Beats Audio, likely due to the brief marriage between the two companies coming to an abrupt end last month. You won’t see any Beats branding on the back of the Max, nor will you find any reference to it in the settings. The impact on audio quality is less striking, though still noticeable. With the same tracks playing on an HTC One and a One Max, side by side, with identical volume levels, we were able to tell the difference. The Max’s output sounded just a little bit flatter, whereas Beats on the One produced noticeably bassier music. It’s probably not something you’ll notice unless you have an earlier HTC phone to compare, but it’s there nonetheless. What’s more disappointing is that there’s no traditional EQ menu to replace the absent Beats Audio software tweaks.

HTC One MaxHTC One MaxHTC One Max

Of equal importance is the One Max’s display, a 5.9-inch 1080p LCD panel that’s about as good as what we’ve witnessed on the HTC One and One Mini. Pixel density may be reduced on account of the Max’s larger size, but the screen is no less bright and clear. A few differences worth noting — like the HTC One Mini, the Max’s colors are slightly warmer than those of the original One, and just a little less punchy. But really, that’s something you’ll only notice with the two side by side.

HTC’s screen doesn’t quite match  the insanely vivid colors offered by AMOLED, nor the pitch blacks associated with that technology, but images (and colors in general) do appear more realistic than the OLED-based competition, and daylight visibility and viewing angles are as good as we’ve seen on any smartphone display.

Beneath the hood, the One Max shares much of its internal hardware with the HTC One. It’s powered by a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU with 2GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of storage, expandable through the microSD slot. This places HTC’s big-screened device a tier below the Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z Ultra in terms of raw hardware muscle, but despite this the Max is far from sluggish. In regular use it’s every bit as fast as the HTC One, which is itself a very speedy smartphone.

HTC One MaxHTC One Max

For what’s apparently a premium product, there are parts of the phone’s hardware that seem oddly compromised

Connectivity options mirror those of the One — Wifi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, DC-HSDPA up to 42Mbps and Cat. 3 LTE with 100Mbps down and 50Mbps up. And it makes calls perfectly well too, despite its enormous frame, with HTC’s Sense Voice tech kicking in to boost call volume in noisy environments.

Nevertheless, for what’s apparently a premium product — this is the One Max, after all — there are parts of the phone’s hardware that seem oddly compromised. The step down to 16GB of storage as a base is perplexing when the original One ships with 32 as standard. The rear camera lacks OIS (optical image stabilization) to compensate for hand motion, and the move to a “wrap-around” plastic trim means it doesn’t look as classy as the regular One, nor feel as nice in the hand. The fact that Beats Audio has vanished, apparently with nothing to replace it, also gives the Max one less bullet point on its box.

None of these things are deal-breakers, but they make for an odd situation where, in many ways, the older handset is both technically superior and better-looking. Perhaps the Max will target a price point near or below the HTC One, but with little info on pricing it’s hard to make that determination.

HTC One Max

HTC One Max accessories

HTC Power Flip CaseAs with earlier handsets, HTC will offer official first-party accessories for the One Max. The leading accessory is the HTC Power Flip Case — similar in appearance and function to the official flip cases for the One and One Mini, this one includes a built-in 1200mAh battery in the front part of the case, and connects to the phone through the pogo pins on the back. Like other HTC flip cases, it doubles as a stand for the phone, and it’ll sell for $90 in the US, £79.99 in the UK and $89.99 in the eurozone.

In certain markets (not including the U.S. or Europe) a capacitive stylus will also be offered for the One Max.

Hit up the ShopAndroid newsletter to learn when new accessories come into stock.

Software, features and Sense 5.5

The overall look and feel of Sense hasn’t changed, and that’s a good thing

The HTC One Max runs a brand new version of HTC’s Sense software atop the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. HTC Sense 5.5 builds upon the new modern, minimalist Sense 5 with a bunch of new features, mainly focused on the BlinkFeed home screen launcher, the Gallery app and the lock screen.

So the overall look and feel of Sense hasn’t changed, and that’s a good thing. HTC’s UI remains our favorite Android “skin,” with speedy performance, attractive visuals and subtle animated flourishes that add dynamism without getting in the way. For more on the basics of Sense 5, check out our reviews of the HTC One and One Mini; in this review we’ll focus on the new stuff in Sense 5.5.

HTC One Max

BlinkFeed and the home screen

BlinkFeed is better than ever — and not just because you can turn it off

First is HTC BlinkFeed, the vertical-scrolling list of news, social updates and other stuff that’s a central part of HTC’s 2013 portfolio. It also proved somewhat controversial on Sense 5 devices, as there was no way to disable BlinkFeed without using a third-party home screen launcher. That’s no longer the case in Sense 5.5 — an easy toggle now allows you to switch BlinkFeed on and off at a whim, which will please those looking to keep the stock launcher and its widgets without HTC’s news reader.

For regular users, BlinkFeed is better than ever — and not just because you can turn it off. A slide-out menu now allows you to view all the sources for your feed, add new ones and search your feeds. You can even save topics of interest and pin them to the sidebar for quick access, which is a neat way to make sense of the firehose of information BlinkFeed delivers.

BlinkFeed

BlinkFeed

BlinkFeed gets support for RSS, Instagram and Google+

BlinkFeed also supports a lot more sources now. In addition to the standard news topics, Twitter, Facebook, Gallery updates and other on-device stuff, BlinkFeed gets support for RSS, Instagram (recently added to the HTC One through a software update) and Google+ — including the ability to post directly to your G+ circles.

If you’re a big Google+ communities user, though, you may want to think twice before adding it to your BlinkFeed, as it’s not possible to filter out communities spam from your feed besides removing individual posts. RSS support, a long-requested feature for news hounds, has been implemented — though you’ll need to import feeds one at a time through the HTC browser.

In a nutshell, BlinkFeed has taken a big step towards a one-stop destination for social and news content. It’s still not going to replace your RSS reader, if you use one, but it’s getting closer to catering to all the needs of power users, and that’s a good thing. As is the ability to turn it off if it’s not your cup of tea.

As for the home screen itself, you can now add up to five non-BlinkFeed home screens — one more than before — and icons are arranged in a 5x5-icon grid layout, on account of the larger amount of screen real estate on offer. Most HTC widgets will expand gracefully to fill the larger home screen arrangement, but there are some notable exceptions, including the agenda widget and old-style flip clock widget.

HTC One Max fingerprint sensor

Fingerprint scanner

As we mentioned — and as you can plainly see on the back of the device — the HTC One Max has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The scanner’s function is twofold — firstly, as a form of biometric security, to keep prying eyes away from your phone. Secondly, as a way to quickly launch apps when you’re unlocking the phone.

Setting up fingerprint security is easy enough — find it in the settings, then swipe your finger of choice four times on the sensor to calibrate it. From there you can use it for basic lock screen security — swipe your finger on the scanner to unlock the phone — or tie it to an app shortcut, letting you unlock and immediately launch that app. Up to three fingers can be saved at any one time.

Fingerprint software Fingerprint software Fingerprint software Fingerprint software

A one-handed feature on a two-handed phone

Used for security alone, the fingerprint scanner works well enough. In our testing of the feature we didn’t run into any reading errors, provided we swiped down the middle of the scanner each time. But despite the fact that it (mostly) works as advertised, there are a few problems with HTC’s implementation of the fingerprint scanner. For many people the Max will just be too large to make use of multiple fingers easily — it’s a one-handed feature on a two-handed phone. And even with one hand, the action of pressing the back of the phone is a little awkward, and eliminates the ability to easily check notifications when the phone is lying flat on a surface. These are many of the same complaints we leveled against the LG G2’s funky back-mounted buttons.

It’s also not possible to use the fingerprint scanner solely as an app-launch shortcut, as you can't use your fingerprint to load apps unless you also have security enabled.

So we suspect a majority of One Max owners will try the fingerprint scanner once before ultimately turning it off and ignoring it. For us at least, it’s an oddity, not a value-adder; as always, your mileage may vary.

Camera app

Gallery and video highlights

The HTC Gallery app has also been re-tooled in the new Sense, making it easier to navigate and giving users more control over video highlights and HTC shares. In place of the dropdown lists of old, you can now swipe left and right to navigate between events — your photos grouped into specific windows of time — albums — a traditional folder view — and your HTC shares, as they’re stored online. From the top-level menu it’s easy to choose exactly how you want to view your stuff, and manage the 250MB of share storage you get from HTC, too.

Gallery Gallery Gallery Gallery

The HTC Gallery app has also been re-tooled in the new Sense

Similarly, once you’ve got an event or album selected, you can swipe between a traditional gallery view, a location-based view and a video highlights. The latter is another area that’s been overhauled in Sense 5.5, giving much more granular control over video highlight reels. Individual photos, videos and Zoes — little three-second video clips that include a photo — can be tagged for inclusion, before selecting a theme and, if desired, custom music too.

There are 12 new video highlight templates on the HTC One Max, though bizarrely none of the themes from the HTC One are included. In general, the new themes in Sense 5.5 are a little more laid-back (though some, like “Swellington” are pretty energetic), and on the whole they sound a bit less like movie trailers than the video highlights of old.

Video highlights in Sense 5.5 are arguably less effortless and immediate than before. (You need to swipe over to the correct pane to see them, for example.) But the new interface also empowers users to tweak their highlight reels and create something truly personalized.

Other apps

Scribble is a new note-taking app in Sense 5.5, which allows you to take written or typed notes, along with audio recordings and photos. There are a bunch of different templates to choose from, and notes can also be linked to calendar events for easy access. Unfortunately there doesn’t see to be any online sync support for Scribble notes, however.

Scribble Sense TV

And finally, the One Max’s front-mounted IR blaster works with the built-in Sense TV app, just as it does on the HTC One. Sense TV requires a bit of setup (you’ll need to input your TV manufacturer and go through some trial and error at the start). But before long you’ll be presented with a grid of currently-airing shows to choose from.

Sense TV can also integrate with BlinkFeed, showing you when favorite shows are about to start.

Sense 5.5 Sense 5.5 Sense 5.5 Sense 5.5

Additional Sense 5.5 bits...

  • You can now customize the list of quick settings and shortcuts in the notification shade, choosing 12 from a list of 21 total shortcuts, with new additions including fingerprint scan, do not disturb and screen timeout.
  • HTC has partnered with Google to offer 50GB of free Google Drive space for One Max owners, on top of the 15GB free storage. This replaces the Dropbox integration in earler HTC phones, and the HTC Backup feature now backs up the phone to your Google Drive instead of Dropbox.
  • A new “do not disturb” mode lets you block incoming calls and turn off sound, vibration and notification LED
  • Lock screen widgets, implemented half-heartedly in Sense 5.0, gets revamped in version 5.5. Swiping from the right corner lets you view lock screen widgets of which a few are available out of the box. A side effect of this is the old “lock screen style” setting has been removed.
  • The task-switcher has been redesigned with larger app previews and less dead space.
  • For some reason HTC still includes Adobe Flash Player and supports it in its stock browser app.

There’s a lot to like in HTC’s latest software suite, and we can’t wait to try it out on the HTC One and One Mini. In the meantime, HTC One Max owners can enjoy one of the best Android-based software packages around.

Battery life and power management

HTC One Max

Battery life

We were able to get more than 16 hours of heavy use from a single charge

The HTC One Max includes a built-in 3300mAh battery, which is among the highest capacities even for large form factor handsets, and the device met our high expectations for longevity. We were able to get more than 16 hours of heavy use from a single charge in our first full day with the Max. This consisted of time split equally between LTE and Wifi networks browsing and social networking, streaming music from Google Play Music and taking a few dozen photos, videos and Zoe clips. Auto-upload to Dropbox was enabled during this time, and we later exported 12 video highlight clips. Brightness was set to “auto” for the duration of our test.

To put that in perspective, that’s a full day of thorough use starting with unplugging the phone at around 9am and charging again at 1:30am, with 16 percent charge remaining. With more conservative use you’ll certainly be able to pass the 24-hour mark in a single charge.

HTC also offers a power-saving mode that allows you to cap CPU power and display brightness, kill the vibration motor and put the data connection to sleep when the screen is off, if you’re looking to extend the Max’s battery life even further. We’ve used this feature on earlier Sense 5 phones like the HTC One and found it works pretty well.

But the Max has another battery-saving trick up its sleeve in the form of “sleep mode.” This instructs the phone to turn off data connections between certain hours, when they’re less likely to be needed. (For example, when you’re sleeping.) The device can also be set to learn when to apply sleep mode automatically, which is pretty neat.

We’ll continue our testing of the HTC One Max in the days and weeks ahead, and update this review if we notice any changes in battery performance.

Camera and image​ quality

HTC One Max

The camera excels at low-light photography but struggles in some outdoor scenarios

The HTC One Max features an “Ultrapixel” rear camera with a wide-angle f/2.0 aperture lens, the same setup found on the HTC One and One Mini, in addition to a 2.1-megapixel front-facer. We’ve been using the “Ultrapixel” camera on various devices over the past six months, and so in many ways the One Max’s rear camera delivers little we haven’t seen before. With pixels measuring 2 microns and a relatively low megapixel count of 4MP, the camera excels at low-light photography but struggles in some outdoor scenarios due to its narrow dynamic range.

Photos generally look good when viewed on the Max’s large, high-res display. But show them on a large monitor or laptop display and the four-megapixel ceiling quickly becomes evident. At full resolution you’ll see evidence of visible noise, as well as a reduction in fine detail due to the software filtering required to eliminate noise. We should point out that our daylight images didn’t look terrible, but at the same time they’re an order of magnitude below what you’ll get from the latest Sony and Samsung phone cameras. The painful truth is that HTC’s “Ultrapixel” camera just isn’t much good in daylight.

On the upside we found capture speeds to be near-instant for regular shots, though if you’re shooting in Zoe or video mode and saving to external storage — remember, the One Max has a microSD slot — you’ll have to deal with a short delay while the phone saves stuff to your card.

cropped section

There’s no Optical Image Stabilization on the One Max’s rear camera

Like the One Mini, there’s no Optical Image Stabilization on the One Max’s rear camera. On paper that makes it less capable, but we’ve found the real-world effects to be more subtle. Motion-blurred shots were never particularly problematic on the HTC One, though we did notice that the Max was a little less forgiving of hand movement in very dark night shots. Similarly, you’ll miss OIS if you’re recording video footage without a steady hand.

The HTC camera app itself hasn’t changed a whole lot in Sense 5.5. You get a software stabilization mode to compensate for the lack of OIS, and there’s also a dual-capture mode that lets you shoot with the front and rear cameras simultaneously. (We’re sure we’ve seen that somewhere before.)

The Max’s video performance mirrors our experiences with the HTC One and One Mini, which is to say it’s also something of a mixed bag. Footage is recorded at up to 1080p resolution with 30 frames per second — and again, the Ultrapixel sensor’s narrow dynamic range plagues daylight recordings, leading to washed-out skies or underexposed landscapes. The lack of OIS becomes problematic in some moving shots, as you’ll see in our sample reel. What’s more, the “HDR” mic from the HTC One is also absent on the Max, on account of the ongoing legal dispute with Nokia, making the Max less capable at capturing both loud and quiet tones.

HTC’s Ultrapixel camera showed promise early in the year, but in late 2013 there are better camera experiences to be had elsewhere. That’s a shame, because we really like what HTC’s doing with Zoes and video highlights. It’s just unfortunate that we can’t have those software capabilities paired with more competent imaging hardware.

The botto​m line

Like most phones around the six-inch mark, the HTC One Max is not a mainstream handset, and the average consumer is likely to have a better experience with the smaller but similarly capable HTC One. But let’s assume for a moment that you are in the market for an oversized phone. If that’s you, and if you can deal with the size, then you could do a lot worse than the HTC One Max.

Despite the move to a more plasticky border, HTC’s curved metal chassis still feels great in the hand, delivering a premium that’s lacking in the polycarbonate-based competition. What’s more, the “BoomSound” front-facing speakers are unequaled in this class of device. We’re also big fans of HTC Sense 5.5 — particularly the changes to BlinkFeed and the Gallery app that demonstrate HTC is listening to feedback and adding stuff that customers want. With support for more services, custom searches and RSS there are more reasons to than ever to use BlinkFeed, and it’s also easier to get rid of it if it’s not for you.

HTC One Max

If you can deal with the size, then you could do a lot worse than the HTC One Max

But one new addition we’re not so enamored with is the fingerprint scanner, which we think will be of limited value to most users. It’s a one-handed feature on a two-handed device, and the aesthetic price — that is, an unsightly black square on the back of the phone — in our opinion isn’t worth paying.

Similarly the Max finds itself, ironically, with some of the best gallery features out there — Zoes and the new, expanded video highlights system, for instance — paired with what can only be described as a subpar camera.

There’s also a nagging feeling that you’re no longer getting the cutting edge in the same way you are with the HTC One. The Max has an OIS-less camera, half the internal storage and less striking industrial design than HTC’s flagship. And it launches with a Snapdragon 600 CPU just as much of the big-screen competition is moving to the faster Snapdragon 800. The latter doesn’t affect day-to-day performance much, but it will make the Max a less capable gaming device over the life of a two-year contract.

HTC One Max, Galaxy Note 3HTC One Max, Galaxy Note 3

The One Max is more than a big HTC One, but also a lesser phone than the HTC One

The choice between the One Max and a competitor like the Galaxy Note 3 is going to come down to what you want to do with the device. The Note, with its smaller screen and shorter chassis is certainly more hand-friendly, as well as speedier and capable of taking better photos. But the One Max delivers a better audio experience and a more premium-feeling chassis. On the other hand HTC offers little on the software side to justify the Max’s enormous frame, whereas Samsung brings clever multitasking tricks like multi-window and pen window to the table.

So the One Max is more than a big HTC One, but also a lesser phone than the HTC One. If you’re after the full HTC experience on a larger display, well, for the most part, this is that device. And right now it's the closest you're going to get to an HTC tablet. But for most buyers the smaller, better-looking HTC One, or the higher-end and more manageable Galaxy Note 3 will be better options.

HTC One, One Max

 

Reader comments

HTC One Max review

130 Comments

Hmm, I don't what to upgrade to anymore. I want a nice phone but it looks like this might be unwieldy. It might be the GS4 for me. Removable storage is a must for me.

Posted via Droid RAZR M on the Android Central App

So does the Note 3

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My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

He is saying that the Max is too big, so instead of getting the HTC One, or the Max, he will get a S4.

Posted via Android Central App

Snapdragon 600 nothing wrong with for normal user, I am using the HTC One and I do have the SGS4 I didn`t notice a big different between the two processors.. But, I have to agree with you on one thing, the one who`s buying phones for games and video and using it just for that. They wouldn't buy this one

Better than being limited and having to manage your storage

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My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

But until everyone is swimming in 4G/LTE coverage, expandable storage will be relevant and necessary for some people.

SD expansion is a must for me sinve stupid Verizon has data Caps on their 4G, so I'd prefer not streaming my own media/music when i could load it onto an SD card

Posted via Android Central App

True enough, I remember using my 64 GB micro SD cards back with my first computer in '84. I liked them because they stored more than my 5.25 floppy disks.

I also found it so easy to reach my cloud storage on my phone last Friday flying for 10 hours back from Germany.

Agreed, microsd is not much of a solution.
Its poorly integrated with Android, such that even having it requires setting up applications to use it one by one. And some don't offer the option, (I'm dagger eyes at you Google Play Music).

The cost of engineering a motherboard to include a microsd slot in an accessible location, thereby allowing the manufacturer to pawn off additional cost to the customer, must still be marginally cost effective.

Otherwise they would throw in 32gig (or 64) of actual memory, and write off the sales of the all 27 people in the world that believe they have to have their entire (pirated) music collection with them every second of the day.

It is only poorly integrated because Google tried to kill it off a few years ago. If not, there would undoubtedly better ways to do things.

Until the make the standard be 32+ gb we are gonna see this.

For the record, This is one of the reasons I rail on the Nexus. They can do something great but choose not to.

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My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

Google was trying to do you a favor, but you wouldn't listen.
I know, its hard to grasp, but its just possible that Google has a better view into the future than either you or me. They pay people who have nothing to do all day but think about this stuff.

The more people buy small memory phones with microsd cards, the longer the manufacturers will continue to foist small memory on us. If you want 32gig or 64gig, then vote with your wallet.

Good point but, sometimes a 16gig phone is the only option they give us like with the Samsung Note 2

Posted via Android Central App

i have to agree with you, google did do us a favor i've had 2 32GB SD cards die on me and a 64GB (Sandisk), i figured its due to consent mounting unmounting (power cycles and stuff)

Do you handle all your brain and memory with you or leave something at home? 64GB is at least something. Technology moves in the direction when in the future we all either carry or having instant access to *everything* we have and all media we want.

I leave a lot at home.
So do you.

I leave almost all financial records, tax returns, software source code, business records, test datasets, production datasets, most family photos, wills, insurance policies, car titles, medical records, and a vast array of other material at home.

I've never carried all that stuff in my wallet, or my brief case, and I don't need to carry that stuff in my phone.

I am never going to watch a movie on my phone while waiting for a meal in the restaurant, with a 60 inch screen hanging on the wall at home.

I don't intend to spend enough time living under a bridge or camping in the wilderness where I would need more than 10 hours of music, but have no access to bandwidth.

Carrying everything everywhere is going further and further out of style. That is old school thinking, and only the homeless think in terms of carrying everything they own around with them. I've worked all my life to make sure I don't live under a bridge.

"I don't intend to spend enough time living under a bridge or camping in the wilderness where I would need more than 10 hours of music, but have no access to bandwidth."

Sadly, with a sedentary society this is true for far too many people. Myself, I do hike into the wilderness and having storage is important.

Beautifully descriptive scenario, icebike. Unfortunately neanderthals still roam the less populated regions of the US.

Won't the ability to store your google play music on an external storage card just make piracy more prevalent? I can certainly understand Google's concern here.

Ya SD Memory expansion is the thing that stopped me from buying other HTC devices

The SD600 is probably enough but as a tech spec nerd i would have preferred the Snapdragon 800, especially when i throw custom ROMs on this bad boy

Posted via Android Central App

People will want what they want for their own reasons. I am more than happy with what I have now and been rolling with for years now.

Samsung just brings more to the table in so many aspects. The old saying hold true android is alive and well but all androids aren't created equal.

From my Galaxy Note 3 on Tmobile via Android Central App

Just because you're a fanboy doesn't make your opinion the one to follow. I personally think Samsung's holding Android back, what with their hardware menu keys, poorly optimized TouchWiz skin, and their slew of crappy S-Apps that serve one purpose and can't be disabled without root if you're never going to use that one purpose.

So to counter, I could say, HTC brings more to the table in so many aspects. They take advantage of the hardware they have, and give an optimized, light experience without overwhelming the user with a bunch of shit.

I could do the same thing with Motorola. Giving us new features like touchless control and giving us battery power that's so finely tuned with their software that most OEMs can't even compete against.

Or even LG, who's given us raw power in the form of nicer image sensors, screens, better design ergonomics (barely there bezels anyone?), etc.

To conclude, please stop spewing your fanboy shit. No one cares. You're not convincing anyone otherwise with your crude "it's just better" mantra. Leave the comments section for actual discourse.

I was wondering how long it take Richard to reel in his first victim. You should know (if you don't already) that Richard gets paid to troll every blog he can find.

If that's true, I need to find out how to get that job. I can shovel manure with the best of them.

I think with all his pro Samsung talk that he is actually having the reverse effect on people and making people start hating Samsung lol if he is a Samsung fan then I am glad I am not. I know there are a lot of good Samsung fans that don't try to force feed manure but he is a disgrace.

Posted via Android Central App

I don't care either but that is backwards thinking... how is giving users more options and not limiting them holding Android back. Isn't the whole idea about Android to give unlimited options. Samsung provided users with options that other manufacturers have not. Still think that it is ridiculous for anyone to complain about a skin that the manufacturer creates since you CAN CHANGE IT!! This can be done without root as well! This is not IOS we are talking about.... You can change the look of your phone!

Also many manufacturers provide options that users will not use. Not sure where you were going with that.

Please keep in mind I am not arguing which is better.... just irks me when people complain about the options that are provided for these phones when you don't have to use them and there are options to make it look anyway you want. If anyone wants main stream and no options you are on the wrong OS.

Android is about unlimited options. Google is not. Every day it is less about android and more about google. Google cares about one thing ,your data and how they can access as much of it as they can.

Spot on,

I went in and had a look at the HTC one Max and Galaxy Note 3 as I want a big phone as I remotely access my computer etc.

I find that HTC again made the Max less than they could have but I still can't go for the Samsung because of Touch Wiz and the Jurassic hard keys on their phones.

One of the other things I thought was weird was the fact that they made the phone bigger than it needed to be due to the front facing speakers, but the girl in the Vodafone shop said that I was wrong and that it made a fantastic phone (even though I though everyone used headphones).

"People will want what they want for their own reasons." Says the idiot who constantly berates people and calls them "useless" (among other petty, childish things) for their decision to go with any manufacturer/carrier other than Samsung/T-Mobile. Pot. Kettle. Black.

Thanks for the review. After 6 months with my One, I could not be more excited for this phone! Camera - meh, I've learned to work with it. I am pumped for the larger size screen, the better battery, and the removable storage. I'm hoping the price is attractive too (the Note 3 is a bit tough to swallow, imho). I can't wait to get my hands on one (on Sprint...) to try it out!

Let me amplify what Mstrblueskys said:

THANKS FOR THE REVIEW.

As usual, a typical Alex masterpiece of completeness and objectivity that keeps us coming back to AC.

"the Note 3 is a bit tough to swallow"

You need to be able to eat your phone? I bet a regular old HTC is tough to swallow true but I have to admit I've never tried.

I wish it doens't come with a fingerprint scanner, instead, a 13 mega pixel *normal* camera or a huge upgrade on the ultra pixel res. Let's face it, ultra pixel was a good idea, but it simply does not capture better images than competitors.

Anyone else find it weird that we have one post for an announcement, one for a the specs, and one for a review all in the same day? Seems fishy AC

Posted via Android Central App

In other words,

It is standard to get a product for review under a non disclosure agreement for review/hype sake.

Business as usual for HTC and Android Central.

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Yup, and thank god they do it this way.

Where else are you going to get as complete and polished a review as Alex's in as timely a manor?

Wait two weeks for all the other sites that leak like a sieve to get their rushed reviews out.

I was wondering if HTC did something like this. It's an interesting, unfamiliar strategy, but it is nice to read what y'all think of it the day it's announced.

I hope for HTC's sake that this guy and the normal One make enough profit to keep the company afloat.

If I were upgrading this year, I'd probably take the normal One. I just don't see how I'd be able to live with a two-handed phone; that's what my Nexus 7 is for.

Posted from my 1st gen Nexus 7 via Android Central App

If you haven't noticed, it's been like that for quite a while on many blogs (not just Mobile Nation blogs) for any major announcement/keynote/unveiling. Apple blogs are pretty bad with this too during Apple keynotes, with a succession of posts like "Apple sold a lot of iphones" followed by "Apple sold a lot of Macs", "Apple talks about new iPhone", "new iPhone specs", "new iPhone pics" etc...

Phandroid does it, The verge does it, they all do it nowadays. It brings in hits to their website, and I think THAT is a huge motivation behind it, a lot more than, say, the company doing announcements sponsoring the blogs and conspiring to spam you and make your life miserable with all the post (lol)

I love my HTC One normal size but at this size range Id rather have the Galaxy Note 3 over the One Max

Posted via Android Central App

Phone looks good but really to have any chance of selling a lot of these it needs to be priced aggressively. I also think they should have gone with onscreen buttons like the nexus and g2 it would have helped make the size shorter but still keep the 5.9" for video watching.

Posted via Android Central App

No, on screen buttons ruin it, though in fairness the layout for the One does it no favors

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No, on screen buttons ruin it, though in fairness the layout for the One does it no favors

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My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

Pssst....you can delete duplicate posts in the app. Long-press, select 'Edit Comment' and click on 'DELETE' in the upper right corner. You're welcome.

Truth if they went with on screen buttons you could cut down some of the height on this phone, the screens nore then big enough for them

I plan on putting onscreen buttons anyway with a Custom ROM i like having the menu button

Posted via Android Central App

I think I'd be happy to just save my money and hang on to my HTC one. Might look at the nexus 5.

Sent from my HTC One

I have had the htc one since April and I like sense 5.0 and looks like sense 5.5 is even better. I don't like touch wiz and cheap feeling samsung phones. Admitted I would have preferred s800 on this phone but the 3300 mA battery and expandable storage is a plus. The HTC one feels like a premium device in the hands and I think thats a huge part of the package.

Posted via Android Central App

Too bad it has a sealed embedded battery, otherwise I was seriously going to give this phone some consideration, even at the cost of losing the S-Pen from my current Note 2 (considered the Note 3, but disappointed with the screen size). While the battery is a decent size, I'd rather have the option of a spare battery (like my Note 2) and just swap it out on the fly to get back to a full charge within minutes. That's an option I'm still not willing to forgo (at least until battery tech drastically improves).

I beat my battery to a pulp all day long on the Note 3 and still haven't hit teens at the end of the day. I took it on vacation and took over 500 pics within a weeks time. Each day some were over 150 pics. These uploaded as well and still had plenty of power.

No need for me to swap batteries.

Posted via Android Central App

Experience the same here. Battery life is phenomenal on the Note series. That's beside the point though, for me it's not that I need to swap, but that I WANT the option. With a spare battery (or two), I never need to worry about connecting my phone to a charger, just continue to swap and go leaving the phone unencumbered by any cord or external charging pack. And should a battery ever fail, just get a new one. No muss no fuss. :D

Well I have been waiting to upgrade my EVO 3D on Sprint and now not sure what to do; Note 3 vs. One Max. I really have a hard time with the 600 vs. 800 cause apps and software are only going to get better and need more muscle to work over time. I love the size and look of the Max, but the Note 3 seems like it will be a better phone to handle all the new things coming out for android going forward.

Plus, I have to question HTC's financial health and if they will be able to keep up with changes needed on their devices...So I am not sure what to do yet.

Don't buy either one without handling both in person. If you are still using the stock rom on your Evo, then you have a lot to see before making a decision. Sense has evolved considerably since the Evo was released, and if you have never used a Note then you are definitely in for a new experience. It really depends on what you want from your new phone.

Consider the One Max if
1. you want a mini tablet that can make phone calls
2. you want great sound without earbuds/headphones/bluetooth speakers
3. you want a more "premium" appearance & feel
4. you take most of your photos in low light
5. you like LCD

Consider the Note 3 if
1. you want to be able to use your phone like a notebook/PDA
2. you want a removable battery
3. you want something that can (probably) fit in your pocket
4. you take most of your photos in good light
5. you like AMOLED

Thanks for the nicely summed up points. The processor and HTC's financial health are honestly the two things keeping me from being excited about the One max. Maybe playing with both will help. Thanks again!

I keep hearing note 3 and HTC one. Why oh why does everyone look past the G2. Awesome phone and is a top contender!!!

Posted via Android Central App

Your mixing apples and oranges.

The One, G2 and S4 are one conversation.

The Note 3 and Maxx are another

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I see your point and think you are mostly correct in your statement, however after owning the G2 since launch I personally believe at 5.2" and almost no bezel, plus the SD800 and a 3000mah battery, it falls into both categories for consideration.

It's only .5" away from the note 3 and has better battery life as well.

I would urge anyone to go into a store and handle one before deciding.

It is a great device but it almost looks as if LG is shooting itself in the foot by having the Nexus 5 rumors out there when the G2 came on the market. I'd totally buy the G2 today if it werent for the fugly LG ui and the nexus being announced sooner rather than later .the biggest issue or concern I have atm is the smaller battery in the Nexus but running near stock Android is quite possibly going to diminish the downside of that significantly

Posted via Android Central App

In screen size you are right without a doubt, bring the s pen and those functions in and we are back to another discussion

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So if this gets over 16 hours of battery life on heavy usage with the s600, wouldn't it have gotten even better battery life with the s800? I read that the 800 improves battery life as well as performance

Posted via Android Central App

You heard that from the advertisers. The performance difference is negligible to the average user, and battery life is HIGHLY individualistic. The more social media you engage in, the harder you run your radios and screen.

Also Alex said:
"With more conservative use you’ll certainly be able to pass the 24-hour mark in a single charge."

Notice Screen on time added up to much more than Awake time. The phone is sleeping most of the time, while its actively being used. It falls asleep before you even start reading the first line of that email or web page.

Icebike
Qualcomm's technical specifications define for the industry their chip performance, power consumption, and radios capabilities in addition to other capabilities such as imaging. Simply look it up on Qualcomm's Website and learn. There are significant differences between Qualcomm's Snapdragon A600 and A800.

I must add, your above evaluative post is enlightening. We'll done.

My above reply is by no means meant to be derisive.

I do occasionally use my phone for phone calls.. What about important stuff like call quality, in building 3g/lte reception , dropped calls?

I'll stick with my Note 3, thanks. I cannot use a phone now without a stylus. I love being able to take quick notes when I'm out and about.

Surprise Retinellla
You an use a stylus on the HTC One Maxx as well as other smartphones.

Nothing wrong with adoring your Note. People would better serve themselves by getting out of the echo chamber and broadening their knowledge.

Sure I could use a sharpie on any phone but what other functions do I get from it?

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I think Retinella meant to say he could not use another device without the extra features of the S-pen. Of course you can use a stylus (or any pointed object for that matter) with any device, but that is no substitute for what the Note 3 with S-pen can do.

No.
Any pointed object will NOT work for that matter.

Like you, Retinellla spoke for him/her self.

Way to ignore the salient point and prosecute an insignificant indulgence. You aren't the only one. It's a common misdirection tactic.

I'll make it simpler for you: Regular Stylus != S-Pen.

Interesting that Engadget's readers opinion was much more to the "Epic FAIL!" then neutral like here

Not really. Endgaget/zdnet are the casual techies.

Ac is higher on that food chain

Xda is higher than that.

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Yeah he's bad, I've also noticed pcmag.com is quite negative towards Android too.

Posted via Android Central App

Ya a Google edition of the Max would seal the deal for me & i would go get it tomorrow lol

Posted via Android Central App

It's just ridiculous big and it doesn't fit with the type of use that i need

Posted via Android Central App

What a shame that it doesn't have OIS like the HTC ONE. It's a flagship phone so it should have the best camera available from the company...

Aye hate to say that its a deal breaker but its certainly the last drop in the bucket for not wanting this device. Too bad..kinda love sense 5+..in some ways even more than stock android. Back to waiting for the Nexus 5!

Posted via Android Central App

I agree. I think HTC shot themselves in the foot with this one. 32/64gb should have been the only option. OIS . I don't mind the fact its the snapdragon 600, as there is nothing at all wrong with that processor. However, I do feel it should have been at least equivalent to the One. The one max is lacking features of the one? Now when they did this with the One mini I was surprised. But the one max? Come on HTC. If you look back to the launch of the HTC one, you will see they had supply issues when it came to acquiring the camera module. Perhaps this could have been a deciding factor , just as supply was probably the deciding factor in the choice of processor.

Posted via Android Central App

I'm sure it's a great device, but I doubt that I will ever purchase a smartphone of this size. And I think the Beats Audio is such a great feature on the One, so it's a little disappointing that their relationship with HTC has changed. Still, hopefully the Max is a success.

Posted via Android Central App, HTC One

This phone is ridiculously oversized. More of a novelty than anything else. Just look at how much bigger it is than the already massive Galaxy Note 3. It's almost like HTC is just trying to lose.

Been an HTC fan since I switched to Android and bought an EVO 4g. Had EVO 3D, and EVO LTE. Switched to the HTC One and love the phone.

I needed to upgrade the business line cell and tried my first Samsung.... A Note 3. I miss some of the great Sense benefits they bring to the table, but the s-pen and software features for it are a huge asset for business. Split screen is handy too.

If I'm gonna have a big screen, I need the features to benefit from it.

Posted via Android Central App

The comparison of size with HTC one is needless. The size is made for a seperate category of users who want that big size. Not meant to replace the HTC one. The size should have been compared with Note3 or Xperia Z Ultra instead. I am using one of slimmest phones with 4.7 screen, and yet I have seen some people asking for a phablet version of it.

Also something should have been mentioned about the back scanner having other possible creative usage through custom apps.

This makes note 3 so small in the picture
. Please don't compare this with the Note 3. This is just blown up ONE without any identity...

This makes note 3 so small in the picture
. Please don't compare this with the Note 3. This is just blown up ONE without any identity...

"Only 16 GB base storage"...oh, so NOW 16 gigs suddenly is insufficient? I thought it was plenty when the Nexus 4 came out. At least HTC finally woke up and added the SD slot everyone has been asking google for.

For the life of me I don't understand the appeal of such a huge phone. If you need a man purse to carry it around why not just get a tablet sized device?

Posted via Android Central App

Alex - how on earth are you keeping up with these monster reviews week after week. Sooner or later you will need to sleep!

To the headline question: I'm not sure if the world needs an HTC Max but the sales will certainly show that the world doesn't want one.
With the failure of the HTC One, a mainstream product, how did HTC think a fringe product, which is more expensive to produce, will compete successfully especially when there is already a product from Samsung that is going to dominate the category?

But, it’s oversized and unwieldy –– unnecessarily so. There are other options on the market which give as good an experience while being considerably less cumbersome – most prominently the samsung galaxy note 3.