- Great screen for video and gaming
- Solid camera
- Decent speakers
- Awkward to use
- Fingerprint scanner not reliable enough
- Not as good-looking as HTC One
- Review Price: £600.00
- Snapdragon 600 1.7GHz quad-core CPU
- 16/32GB internal memory, microSD slot
- 5.9-inch 1080p LCD screen
- Android 4.3 with Sense 5.5 UI
What is the HTC One Max?
Read the review of the HTC One M8
The HTC One Max is the bigger brother of the HTC One. It has a 5.9-inch screen – way larger than the 4.7-inch display of the that phone. However, it’s also one of the smaller ‘giant’ phones, making it a bit easier to use. Still, the HTC One Max has diluted the design purity of the HTC One a bit too much for it to be considered a smartphone classic.
Related: HTC 10 review
HTC One Max – Design
The HTC One Max is a large phone designed to look and feel as much like the HTC One and HTC One Mini as possible. However, it has added a few bits and bobs to ‘enrich’ the design.
There’s a square fingerprint scanner on the back below the camera lens, there are little metal contacts on the rear to connect a charging dock to and a switch on the side that releases the back panel.
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Unlike the HTC One and One Mini, the back of the One Max pops off to give you access to the SIM slot and – the surprise new addition – a microSD memory card slot. Functionally, the HTC One Max is a more versatile device than the original One. But is this an improvement to, or a dilution of, the original blueprint?
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The case for the One Max being an unfortunate dilution is pretty strong. First of all, where the HTC One is a metal phone with some plastic trim, the Max is a plastic phone with metal panels. It has a look similar to that of its brother, but construction-wise they’re quite different.
Does it matter? Not a great deal. The HTC One Max still feels like an aluminium phone thanks to its mostly metal finish, and that the rear metal panel is strong enough to avoid any flexing.
What’s more of an issue is how HTC has traded away some of the HTC One’s good looks. We can forgive the stick-out white plastic rim – which also features in the One Mini, but the obvious and clumsy-looking fingerprint scanner feels as though it has been grafted on by a particularly skilled bunch of phone hackers, not one of the largest phone-makers.
Some of the striking nature of the HTC One-series design is lost here.
However, it’s far from all bad. The HTC One Max feels high-end, and is nowhere near as visually imposing size-wise as some phones in this class.
This phone belongs to the relatively young band of super-large phones that aren’t much smaller than tablets and that won’t fit into every pocket. The good news is that, unlike the gargantuan Xperia Z Ultra, it still feels like a phone.
In adopting a slightly smaller-than-average (again, for its class) 5.9-inch screen, the HTC One Max feels much closer to something like the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 than the 92.2mm-wide Sony Xperia Z Ultra. It’s still tricky to use in one hand – not helped by the chunky 10.3mm thickness – but it’ll earn you less ridicule from friends and fewer alarmed looks from strangers.
HTC has also made sure the most commonly used physical buttons are relatively easy to access. The soft keys are all (just about) within thumb’s reach, and the power button sits right under your right thumb.
The HTC One Max has the same BoomSound speakers as the HTC One, making it instantly identifiable as an HTC phone. These are stereo front-facing speakers designed to give a much better gaming and movie experience than most mobiles. They come up with the good too, but more on that later (see p4).
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.