HTC One Max review

The One gets supersized - but does it impress?

HTC One Max review
Remember HTC: bigger isn't always better

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One of the big new features on the HTC One Max is the addition of the fingerprint scanner, bringing with it the ability to protect your phone with your digits.

It's going to lead to a lot of comparisons with Apple's iPhone 5S, but the truth is that biometrics are a big part of what's coming with phones in the future, so expect to see more in this area soon.

HTC One Max review

That said, HTC did confirm to us that there were prototypes of the One Max that didn't pack the functionality, so we can guess that word Apple would be bringing fingerprint recognition forced its hand somewhat.

The implementation on the One Max is very different to Apple's option though, coming as it does on the rear of the phone in the more traditional-looking pad.

Sadly, that's where the similarities with Apple's offering end, as it's really rather poorly implemented on a phone of this size.

We'll start with the positives though: While Apple allows three fingers to open the phone, you can have the same amount on the One Max, even allowing others the ability to unlock your phone, plus you can assign an app to open when you slide your finger down to unlock the phone.

HTC One Max review

So you can have the camera on your right index finger, the music player on your left middle, and so on. You can activate any app using this method, and it was something we thought Apple should have done from the beginning.

That's really where the excitement about the fingerprint scanner ends though, as there's simply so much we disliked about it that it was disabled within hours of testing.

For starters, it's in a really irritating place on the phone. OK, it's exactly where your fingers might rest, but that's also right below the camera, meaning you're never sure where you're sliding your finger, leading to a lot of missed swipes.

HTC One Max review

On top of that, the One Max is so large that you can't really get a comfortable downward swipe, as the phone requests you do, each time. This leads to an unlock accuracy that swings between 33 and 50%, which is enough to get quickly infuriating.

Compare this to about 80%-90% accuracy for Apple's iPhone 5S, combined with the Cupertino brand's sheer brilliance at putting it in the home button, and you can see that these two devices are worlds apart in terms of biometrics.

The HTC One Max's fingerprint scanner will be as unused as that on most laptops and the Motorola Atrix, which is sad as it could have been a really nifty feature if it was in an easier to reach place.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.