Phablets, good God, are these really becoming a thing? That was my initial reaction to the awkwardly-oversized yet too-small-to-be-a-tablet smartphone, which, according to PC Magazine, have actually existed since 1993.
Building on the worldwide success of their flagship HTC One, Taiwanese phone manufacturer, HTC, stepped into the phablet ring with their first jumbo phone, the HTC One Max. This 5.9” smartphone is over an inch larger than the HTC One, and carries over a lot of the great features of its smaller predecessor while adding some new features such as a fingerprint scanner and microSD slot. HTC was kind enough to send over a unit for the purposes of this review.
The HTC One Max retains a lot of the popular features found in the HTC One, primarily the metal body and its UltraPixel camera, but how do these stack up in relation to some of the new features? Well, read on.
What’s under the hood? Powered by a quad-core, 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor, and boasting 2GB of RAM, the HTC One Max has enough processing power to tackle your daily multi-tasking. The HTC One Max runs on Android 4.3, with 4.4 promised to be releasing soon, and Sense 5.5.
The HTC One Max’s display touts HTC’s Super LCD 3 display, outputting 1080p, Full HD. This makes videos, games, and graphics which are already visually appealing, look even more amazing. The size of the screen always leaves lots of room when playing games that have on-screen controls.
If the HTC One and HTC One Max were human beings, it could be said that their family genes are extremely strong. Retaining the sexy metallic body, sleek white trim, and nice bevel, the only noticeable aesthetic, non-size related, differences between the two are the fingerprint scanner on the back, right-side power button, left-side door switch, and a nice minimal silver accent around the front of the phone. Though the power button has been moved from the top and is no longer combined with the IR blaster, which still resides on the top of the phone.
Left side door switch you say? The HTC One Max has a removable back door which allows access to the microSD slot. The other new addition to the HTC One, the fingerprint scanner, leaves a lot to be desired. The sensor can recognize (read save) up to 3 fingers, they can be mixed between hands, or people. It’s located in an awkward position, along the upper middle half of the phone, directly underneath the camera, making it damn near impossible to use one-handedly. To be honest, the novelty wore off within hours, and I haven’t used the scanner much more after that.
Being that the real estate on the HTC One Max is so enormous, it’s rather baffling why no precision stylus was included. This seeming oversight makes it harder to use the bundled note-taking app, Scribble, and would make competing devices such as Samsung’ Galaxy Note a bit more appealing. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from getting a third-party stylus.
The battery life on the HTC One is nothing short of superb. The 33000 mAH battery often lasted me over a day (close to 40 hours) on a single charge. By managing your screen brightness as well as connections, one can milk a lot of life out of the One Max, or any other Android phone for that matter.
Overall, the HTC One Max does not disappoint. The all-metal casing and superior build quality attests to HTC’s portfolio of building great phones. That being said though, the HTC One Max is not for everyone. If you’re in the market for a solid phablet, that looks great, sounds great, lasts long, and doesn’t come with unnecessary features, then this is the phone for you.