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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

Media on the HTC One Max is something that's hard to typify as the handset is clearly set up for such an activity, and yet makes it quite hard to use at times. The first thing we'll deal with is BoomSound – HTC's excellent name for its combination of internal amplifier and front facing speakers.

BoomSound is the combination of the two front facing speakers and the inbuilt amp to help boost the sound through your headphones - and both chuck out fantastic sound, and it's even improved over the HTC One.

HTC One Max review

The latter really does boost the volume levels to a give as more even tone to your tunes, while the former is simply amazing when you're showing off videos to friends and loved ones. As you always do, you bore, you.

Actually, that was one of our biggest criticisms of BoomSound and the two front-facing speakers - we didn't think many people would ask others to crowd around a phone screen that often, thus rendering the technology pointless unless you're alone in a hotel room and want to make the sound of the female actress you're watching sound all the more accurate.

But over the past few months we found ourselves showing off the quality of the front speakers on a number of occasions - always the newest version of that meme (you know the one, the one that all the kids are talking about. Yes, that one). Each time, the bass and clarity of the music was so impressive, unlike anything we've heard coming from a mobile phone.

Also, with the addition of HTC Zoe video highlight reels, you'll find that showing off your work at splicing together pictures is used a lot more often too, and the sound quality really adds to the show. So while it's perhaps not the most important thing in the world to have on a smartphone, BoomSound works.

In fact, we've lost count of the amount of times we were asked whether the music being played was from a phone, and the questioner being genuinely impressed that it was.

With the uprated sound from the larger speakers on the One Max, BoomSound is even better. Well done, HTC.

Music

The music ability of the HTC One Max is something not to be sniffed at, and is easily the equal of anything else out there.

For all your tunes, there's a pre-loaded folder with all your music and media bits in one place, which leads to the lovely and confusing Music and Google Music, both apps denoted by a headphones icon, living side by side.

HTC One Max review

The former is just the onboard music player, the latter the service from the search giant that lets you upload your tunes to one place and stream them back down again.

Both offer high quality sound, and more importantly, both can run on the lock screen, along with the likes of Spotify, to give great control over the tunes you want to play. However, Google Music, for all its power, still needs a data connection unless you're thinking of caching music in a rather complex way (Spotify, it is not).

Soundhound integration is back as part of the music player too, so you can get info on what the song is, and whether there are any gigs or YouTube videos that are relevant to the sound.

On top of this are visuals and lyrics to songs if they're available (providing the song information is correct and GraceNote can access it).

HTC One Max review

It's a fun feature for when you're trying to work out the real words (turns out it wasn't 'wipe in the Vaseline') but unless you've got aspirations of making it BIG on the professional karaoke circuit, this isn't going to be a lot of use. Good when combined with the BoomSound speakers though.

Video

One of the key features of any Full HD phones these days has to be the performance of the video player, and to that end, most are successful.

The Sony Xperia Z1 uses the X-Reality Engine to bring clear, crisp images; the LG G2 simply just offers bonkers levels of clarity, brightness and colour saturation. And of course Samsung is going to continue with the, like it or hate it, Full HD Super AMOLED screen.

The HTC One Max has a slightly improved screen over the One, with brightness and colour showing more impressively than before. This could have been managed through software tweaks, as the underlying technology doesn't look different, but is something of a relief.

HTC One Max review

However, while HTC has taken a step forward, perhaps past the Xperia Z1, it's still massively behind the likes of the G2, with its breathtaking edge-to-edge display.

Also, while the range of codecs you can use is impressive on the HTC One Max, including AVI (but not DivX) there's still – still - actually no obvious way to play them. Really - unless you want to dive through the HTC TV app or the Google Play Movies function, you'll have to download a dedicated player to achieve your goals.

The videos don't even show normally in the Gallery - and all this despite HTC telling us that it will be bringing the ability to play back your own clips through the Watch app.

The screen on the One Max, being larger and seemingly a touch brighter, makes it a better media proposition than the One, and we're glad that this has been addressed.

It's not the best for watching footage, as the likes of the Note 3 and the G2 both outperform it visually, but combined with the excellent front-facing speakers it's among the best out there.

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