HTC One Max: A max-ed out HTC One (hands-on)



HTC One has already been named as the “Best Phone” of the year 2013. It has also been the most favorite smartphone for most of us for a long time, at least before Samsung and Apple snatched this charm away from HTC. HTC One was a pretty handsome smartphone with everything perfectly fitting in the pieces. All it did not have was a very big display. Don’t forget I said a “very” big display, like don’t start doubting its 4.7″ display. But, as it was not as big to roll itself in the phablet category, HTC planned to stretch it a bit.

HTC One Max, as the name suggests, is nothing but a max-ed out HTC One. Now, was that sentence too judgmental to be put into a review post? Well, lets see.. HTC comes in at a beefy 5.9-inches on the diagonal, blurring the line between what we’d call a phone or a tablet.

Design and build:

Its a 5.9-inch displayed device  that measures 163mm in length and 82mm in width and weighs 220g that makes it noticeable in the pocket.

If you’re a working citizen and want a phone for your everyday use and works perfectly as an Android device, the 4.7 inch HTC One and the 4.3 inch HTC One Mini will rather be a better choice than this huge 5.9 inch HTC One Max.

As for the design, it looks exactly as the HTC One as if they were siblings or something. The grey metal back, the front facing dual BoomSound speakers, the plastic edging, the brushed metal casing. What is different is that the back is removable. And just how innocent of you to think that if the back was removable, the battery could too be removed. Well, here  is a blow to your innocency, the battery is non-removable as HTC plans to stick to its non-removable battery idea just like an egoistic aries (take no offense please) who will not run counter to what he has decided once. But looks like HTC finally realized that people like me who will die but get a phone that is not by HTC also want a larger space for their data. I am sick of going through sessions of transferring data from my HTC  to any other storage location (and that is my biggest grudge against HTC). The removable back gives access to the microSD card-slot that lets you expand the native 16GB/32GB storage. Its power button is now placed on its right edge, alongside its volume control buttons. With this particular placement, we are surprised that it’s better accessible than what we had on the original HTC One. Plus, it has a better response too. However, they have left the IR blaster in the same location as before.

On the rear, the same ultra-pixel camera has been fit, but it has already shown a no better result than its competition on the HTC One so we are not hopeful in testing it again on the HTC One Max. But, yeah I could I forget- being judgmental is just not what we can do here. We’ll have to wait for the users to test it and comment on it.


Fingerprint Scanner:

Something that is completely new to HTC devices and we haven’t seen before on any device by HTC is a fingerprint scanner placed a little below the camera at the back of the HTC One Max. It has not been long since Apple introduced a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button on the iPhone 5S. However, the one on HTC One Max has a different functionality.

Swiping the finger when the device is locked will unlock the device, however, but it has more.. You can set action response to the swipe of three different fingers. Like you can launch apps by swiping your finger in the fingerprint sensor. For instance, swiping your index might launch the camera app. This is actually cool now!

The placing it has been given is, to me at least, is the best it could get. Your index finger will naturally rest on the back of the phone at the location where it has been placed. Once you have managed reaching it, it will start recognizing your fingerprint impressions.




The 5.9″ display packs 1920×1080-pixel resolution. Sadly, the HTC One that had a 4.7″ display had the same number of pixels which makes the HTC One Max slightly less sharp. The max has a pixel density of 373 pixels per inch, undercutting its smaller sibling’s 446ppi.

The difference you see in the numbers is not at all noticeable  in reality. The display is also very bright and has excellent colours. The Max’s handling of colour, together with its sheer size makes it an excellent choice for those of you wanting to watch movies and play glossy games on the go.

htc-one-max-home  htc-one-max-blinkfeed-1


The Max is running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor clocked at 1.7GHz, which is the same processor found inside the One. That’s a real lag and it could be a problem for HTC. The Note 3 is clearly the Max’s direct competitor and it really needs to ensure that it’s giving Samsung’s phone a proper run for its money.

Anyway, it manages to provide a very swift experience overall though, with no delay when swiping around the homescreens or opening apps and menus. The camera launches with no real lag and it disappoint you if you are a game freak- it runs perfect with heavy games.



It features the same 4-megapixel camera as did the HTC One. Although it has no match with the 20.7 MP camera of Sony Xperia Z, yet it has a better pixel density which lets it capture in low-light and more-light giving really cool camera results. The camera results that we could find were amazing.

There’s a minimum of image noise too, and plenty of detail, considering it’s only a 4-megapixel sensor. Images aren’t as big as you’d get from the high megapixel phones, but the quality and smaller file sizes makes them ideal for Facebook snaps.



HTC has plopped in a capacious battery, to fill up the rest of the space inside the chunky metal frame. Its enormous, high-definition screen is naturally going to consume battery like anything, but the lower clock-speed of the processor should technically use less power than the 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 chip.

Pricing and Release:

Nothing about the price of HTC One Max has hit the sources. But, it will cost competitively to other comparable smartphones so you can expect it to cost around $300 with a 2-year contract. The release of the phone is expected to be in mid-end October. The most rumored release date is October 22.

Bottom Line:

The metal body with that enormous high-definition display is definitely one purely considerable excuse for HTC One Max to be one awesome beast. However, everything else (not counting the fingerprint scanner which surely is a plus) is just the same as HTC One.

The Good:

  • Big, bright, bold display
  • Sense 5 interface is attractive and easy to use
  • Good battery life
  • Enough power for most tasks
  • Exciting for images/youtube/ videos

The Bad:

  • Reduced megapixel density, affects camera efficiency too
  • Older processor doesn’t compete well against competition
  • Too big and heavy for most people’s needs
  • Non-removable battery

 Do I need to have The HTC One Max?

If all this time you’ve been fancying the HTC One and at the same time you have a taste for a bigger display phone that you could watch movies on, HTC One Max is probably for you. It packs together the award-winning design of HTC One and an inspiring 5.9″ display. The HTC Sense 5 looks as perfect and “pretty” as ever. The Sense software has been updated and if you’ve hated the Blinkfeed news panel up till now, you can now get rid of that too.

When it comes to performance, it has a slower processor and an older processor. The camera, being very nice, is still not as good as that of the Samsung Galaxy Note’s 13-megapixel snapper. Moreover, the Note is smaller and lighter as compared to HTC One Max.

If you’re not dying for a 5.9″ display and you like metal bodies and designs that will make others envy to you, go for the standard HTC One and not HTC One Max as it has a full-HD display and the same processor and camera, unless you wish to make similar efforts with your thumb to touch the other corner of the screen as you would with your tongue while you try to touch your nose with it.


Hope you enjoyed riding this ride with us where we travelled the HTC One Max in detail. We’ll be bringing more in a very short time so stay tuned 😉

Usama is a software engineer by profession and at he uses his expertise to solve everyday consumer tech problems with his main areas of interest being Android, iOS and Windows.

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