HTC One Max review

The One gets supersized - but does it impress?

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We all know that HTC brought out a wonderful phone with the One, and it's attempted to capitalize on that reputation with the HTC One Mini, and now supersized that again with the One Max.

Despite slight protestations that this could be geared more for the Asian markets, there's no doubt the company will be judged heavily for the One Max in Europe and the US - so does it stand up to the challenge of the Note 3 and Xperia Z Ultra, or is it just a larger One that has very little point?

There are a number of issues to consider: the fact it seems to be a large chunk more expensive than the One, while eschewing the faster and improved processor of the Snapdragon 800. We're waiting on confirmed SIM free pricing, but it looks to be a large amount more than the HTC One, which isn't great considering you're losing a camera function and build quality and gaining only a bigger screen and microSD slot.

We liked

The HTC One Max is a phone that takes the DNA of an already great phone and supersizes it. It's a device that excels at web browsing, media playback and content discovery through Blinkfeed.

It's running the latest version of Android, has a much-improved battery life thanks to the larger innards and most importantly manages to keep that power down while still running silky smooth under the finger.

The addition of a microSD slot is something that HTC fans the world over have been clamoring for, and makes the decision not to put the same thing on the original One even more perplexing.

All of the additions to the HTC One party are welcome, in short: the ability to better manage Blinkfeed, the ease with which one can enter the gallery and see video highlights, the 50GB of Google Drive storage - these are all excellent ideas and bolster an already great phone that's been brought up to a larger frame.

We disliked

But here's the problem: The HTC One Max is almost identical to the One, but with a bigger screen. There's been no attempt to make use of that upgraded size, and given the new features will be appearing on the One in the near future, this means the One Max has very few unique selling points.

Unless you're desperate for a nearly 6-inch screen, that is.

The fingerprint scanner is a real waste of time. Apple has shown us how well this can be implemented as a feature, so putting it on the rear of the device in a hard to reach place is never going to be a good idea.

The One Max is also terribly unwieldy, meaning you're likely to drop it if you try to use it in one hand very often. It could be worse, but those BoomSound speakers do nothing to help the ergonomics.

And it's so expensive. Ridiculously so. We'd have understood if the specs were uprated, but to bring to market something that doesn't even have an improved list over the original (released over half a year ago) this isn't something we can come close to recommending.


We won't pull any punches. The HTC One Max doesn't come close to hitting the heights of the HTC One.

It's a phone that's designed to serve a very singular purpose - give those that liked the look of the One a phone with a bigger screen, and almost nothing else.

Biometrics are going to be big in phones, but not implemented in this way. If you're after a fingerprint scanner on a phone and are brand agnostic (yes, we know, there won't be that many of you) then the iPhone 5S is the way to go.

Put simply, the HTC One Max is just too large and too feature-poor to be considered as a great device in its own right. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is at least filled with functionality that's not available on the Galaxy S4, mostly down to the S Pen, and as such is worthy of being called a different device.

The issue of an exorbitant price, and an ageing processor, combined with internet browsers that don't seem as zippy as we'd have expected, is something that anyone looking to buy this will really need to consider.

We're not saying that the One Max is a terrible phone, as it still has all the features that we love on the One, and they're implemented just as well as on the smaller version, meaning you've got a winning device.

However, HTC seems to be doing nothing more than ticking boxes here by making a One with a bigger screen - let's hope that the One Max 2014, if there is such a thing, gains something more of its own identity.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyOne max
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution4 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time1 Day
Screen Size15 cm (5.9")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)217 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density373 ppi
Front Camera Resolution2.1 Megapixel
SIM Size SupportedMicro
Height164.5 mm
Width82.5 mm
Depth10.3 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time585 Hour
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameOne max Smartphone
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon 600
Product LineOne max
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor, Fingerprint Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number99HWN005-00
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationThis bundle comes with a free car cradle and charger.

Maximise everything. Massive screen and amped speakers for movies that sizzle. Feature-rich camera gives you artistic photo flair and homescreen posts connect you to real-time news. All powered by HTC's biggest battery to fuel the most demanding user. Introducing the HTC One max; more screen size, more camera, more everything.

Key features:

Maximized imaging tools: dual capture mode frames personal reactions with picture-in-picture results and HTC Scribble feature frees your inner artist.

Maximized bass: dual front-facing stereo speakers and built-in amps create louder bass for booming audio.

Maximized convenience: fingerprint Scan unlocks your phone and launches favorite apps with a simple swipe.

Supersized Camera Tools
Don't look at your photos. Relive them. Dual capture mode displays the photographer's reactions with a mirror view picture-in-picture. HTC Scribble function allows you to draw on your pics, and Photo Editor feature lets you create GIFs. Maximize your wow moments and make every day unforgettable.

HTC Zoe™ Photos: Memories that Move
Group up to 20 photos and automatically create a 3-second HD video for a full-motion photo gallery. HTC Zoe photo also features advanced editing tools you can swipe your way to the perfect shot. Plus, Video Highlights feature combines your photo and video footage for mini movies complete with the themes and music you select.

HTC BoomSound™: Unleashed Sound
Unchain your audio with volume blasting toward you, not away. Serve up your movies, videos, and music with the decibels you deserve from dual frontal stereo speakers boosted with built-in amps. Stop stooping toward your phone and put your content onstage with HTC BoomSound™.

Unlocked Convenience
Users unlock their phones over 20 times a day on average. The HTC One max removes this hassle with a rear-side fingerprint scanner that unlocks the phone as well as launches your favorite apps with a single finger swipe. Up to three fingers can be registered. Forget complicated passwords, with the HTC One max, you're just a swipe away.

HTC BlinkFeed™: Social Intelligence
Enhanced HTC BlinkFeed™ gives you news recommendations when you sign into your social networks based on your likes, for breaking news that matters most*. The HTC One max allows you to customize an HTC BlinkFeed from a wide range of global sources, for more personalized updates.

World-Class Engine
The powerful Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor in the HTC One max accelerates performance for lightning-fast apps, downloads, and web surfing. Revved-up graphics processing speed is designed to make gameplay smooth and quick. It enables up to 40% faster battery charging too. With its efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the HTC One max responds faster, games better, and lasts longer

*Supports select social network sites. See your provider for details.
Package Contents
  • One max Smartphone
  • Car Cradle and Charger
Limited Warranty1 Year
Standard Memory2 GB