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HTC One Max review

The One gets supersized - but does it impress?

Our Verdict

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.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 4 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 1 Day
  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Larger screen
  • Longer battery
  • MicroSD slot

Against

  • Older CPU
  • Expensive
  • Unwieldy
  • Pointless fingerprint scanner

The HTC One Max is the phone that the Taiwanese brand created to show that it still is able to make a phone for all occasions.

Ratings in depth
HTC One Max review

HTC One Max review

HTC One Max review

HTC One Max review

HTC One Max review


Coming with a 5.9-inch screen and all the same technology that made the HTC One such a world-beater, is this going to be the handset that topples Samsung's Note range, too?

It's not a cheap handset either, coming in at round 23% more on SIM free sales compared to the smaller One, and 12% more on contract. In the UK, this translates to £600 (around $930 / AU$1,010) and £47 (around $75/AU$80) per month, and that's paying upfront for the phone, too.

The One Max is a phone that borrows a lot from its heritage as HTC looks to create a family of products around the One series. The same metallic properties are there, with the all aluminium body still (sort of) in place.

HTC One Max review

We say that cautiously because while it does have the same metallic shell, there's a difference between the One and the One Max: a removable battery cover.

HTC One Max review

This is actually quite an odd feature, as it detracts from the overall build quality of the handset compared to the regular-sized device. It's there for two reasons: to allow access to the microSD card slot (whoo) and to facilitate the use of dual SIM cards in some countries.

The problem is that the battery cover, which pops off using a small switch in the top right-hand corner, doesn't sit very well on the back of the phone, meaning it's difficult to pop it back into place after you remove it.

HTC One Max review

Unless you're willing to spend a couple of minutes smoothing the cover down over and over again, then you may be left with unsightly raises which will irk when holding.

It also seems to affect the balance of the phone, as it doesn't have the all-in-one feel that the One was so famed for, thanks to being made from a single piece of aluminium.

HTC One Max review

We like the idea, but if the microSD card slot could have been designed into the side of the phone, then perhaps some country variants of the One Max could have packed a single chassis.

The battery isn't even removable, which will disappoint many, and it really shows that this is a phone designed for the Asian market, where the bigger screen is king, rather than the US or Europe.

HTC One Max review

But enough of the way it looks. How does it actually feel to hold in the hand?

The HTC One Max is not an easy phone to manipulate in a single palm. We urge you to buy a cover for it as soon as you can (the power cover, which serves as both as a stand and an extra 1200mAh of juice, is an expensive yet attractive option).

The reason is this: You will drop this phone if you try to use it in one hand. The sides are laced with plastic, giving a very similar feel to the One Mini, and the overall shape is made larger thanks to the presence of the BoomSound speakers on the top and bottom.

HTC One Max review

It's those speakers that really make the phone unwieldy - we're not against them, as you'll see later in the review, but compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, this is a much, much harder phone to hold - so get used to double-handing where possible.

HTC has mostly put the original One on steroids with the One Max, as it has a similar design.

Thankfully, the power button has been moved. No longer combined with the top-mounted infra-red blaster, the power button now has the same ridged aluminium design as the volume buttons on the right-hand side of the phone, sitting below the sound keys in an easy-to-reach position for the right-handed.

The screen is still very impressive, with the 5.9-inch Full HD display offering fantastic clarity despite being less sharp than its smaller counterpart thanks to the pixels having more space to roam.

HTC One Max review

It's not easy to interact with most elements of the UI though at times, as you often need to stretch your thumb way across the screen, and that's simply not possible.

We like the way the HTC One Max is put together, but we can't help but feel that this phone is just too big. We know it's supposed to be larger, but Samsung and Sony have devices that feel much more suited to the phablet market.

Perhaps the screen could have been slightly smaller, or the BoomSound speakers engineered down. Basically, don't buy the HTC One Max unless you're ready to hold your phone in a new way.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
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
ColourSilver
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
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density373 ppi
SIM Size SupportedMicro
Height164.5 mm
Width82.5 mm
Depth10.3 mm
Radio TunerYes
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 Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
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