Just over a month ago, I wrote a review for my HTC one, praising it for its stunning design and features. I even stated that I was looking forward to seeing what HTC would deliver next. Well, that day has come, and we received The One Max, HTC’s interpretation of a Phablet (phone & tablet). While the Max isn’t a true successor, I am glad to see everything that made the One great delivered in a larger package.
In terms of looks, the HTC Max has stuck to the highly stylish and overall well praised design of the HTC One, from the aluminium casing to the camera positioning and the speaker holes on the front of the phone. However, instead of being fully encased, the back is now removable to allow easier access to your SIM card without a hair pin. Obviously the main this that sets it apart from its predecessor is the massive 5.9” screen with full 1080×1920 pixels, giving you super clear and sharp images which makes the Max great for videos and films. Compared to other phablets at the moment, the Max is the perfect size being small enough to carry in your hand (looking at you, Sony Xperia Z Ultra) but significantly bigger from its counterparts and gives the full usability of a small tablet in a very modern handset.
With the HTC One Max’s bigger screen and bigger body, there is more room (and more need) to pack some extra power in this phablet. With that being said, HTC have answered with a 1.7GHz quad core Qualcomm® Snapdragon 600 processor which keeps the phone very quick despite the bigger screen. The batter is also a lot bigger, allowing up to 25 hours of talk time and a whopping 585 hours of standby time, which is massive battery life for such a large device. With the One, one of my little gripes was the fact there was no external memory port. While it wasn’t a massive thing, it can be annoying when your memory fills up with data and have to trawl through it finding stuff you don’t mind deleting. HTC must have listened, as the Max now comes with an external memory slot, at the cost of the internal memory being only 16GB. As I have said before though, there are alternatives such as cloud storage, so HTC can’t really be knocked for that. Finally there are the speakers, which HTC has again faced forwards to improve sound quality and the overall experience. The max comes with Boom Sound as standard, but due to the partnership between HTC and Beats by Dre being bought out, the handset is lacking some logos on the case, but the sound quality is still a joy to listen to.
The Max comes pre-loaded with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense, which again runs very well on the larger device. Not much has changed from the upscale, and it still runs very fast and is still as easy to navigate as ever. Not much has been added in terms of software on the larger device, except expected notepad apps and the like which take advantage of a larger screen. Other than that though, there really isn’t much added, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the One’s operating system is one of the best versions of android available today.
In terms of the camera, HTC have packed in the same 8 ultra-pixel as the One, with the same features including HTC Zoe, a “moving photo” app that lets you scrub through individual frames and save each as photos. The camera is very nice, and the ultra-pixel camera allows in more light in low levels such as night time or while you are inside. The front facing camera is also very good at 2.1mp and is more than enough for a cheeky snapchat. For video recording, both cameras record HD in 1080p. Also included is HTC’s answer to Apple’s fingerprint recognition. On the back of the device is a fingerprint scanner which can record up to three different fingerprints which will open different apps depending on what you set them for. At first I thought this was a last second thought at the announcement of what Apple had done with the IPhone 5s, but after using it for a while i did start to enjoy using it. Although on occasion it doesn’t work, when it does work it is a lot quicker than imputing a password and I was amusing to unlock my phone without touching the screen. Whether others catch on to finger print recognition however is yet to be seen.
While I originally said in my HTC One review that I wouldn’t swap my phone for anything else, I think I may have spoken too soon. Before the Max, I didn’t really understand the appeal of the phablets, but now whenever I look at my HTC One, it looks unusually small. HTC have once again convinced me that they know exactly what they are doing.