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HTC One max

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: Sprint, Verizon Wireless
Manufacturer: HTC
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What's Hot: Very elegant looking, excellent and big full HD display. Pleasing customization of Android that shows a light touch.

What's Not: Large and heavy, no significant improvements or valuable new features compared to the original HTC One. It's simply a bigger version of an 8 month old phone.


Reviewed November 30, 2013 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

The HTC One max is largely what we expected: a bigger version of the successful HTC One. That's good news and bad: certainly getting even more HTC One in your hands has appeal if you are fond of phablets or really big phones. The bad news is that we'd hoped HTC would push the envelope and improve specs and features in the 8 months since the 4.7" HTC launched. The One max has a 5.9" Super LCD display running at full HD resolution, a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor, 32 gigs of internal storage and the same 4MP Ultrapixel camera used in the HTC One. It has the same IR blaster remote and TV app so you can control your home theatre gear and a very good front camera. We take a look at the first US version in this review: the Sprint HTC One max. The phone is also available on Verizon in the US.

HTC One max

Two New Features

The One max adds two new features: a microSD card slot (which we greatly appreciate) and a fingerprint scanner on the back. This is the laptop style "swipe your finger" scanner rather than the iPhone 5s' rest your finger on the home button/scanner to unlock your phone. Being on the back and not having much tactile feel, it's not easy to locate and swipe effectively. It's not a great feature, as you'll see in our video review below. Like some laptops with this feature, it doesn't always read your finger the first or second time. That's annoying with a laptop but excruciating with a phone you'll need to access quickly and very frequently throughout the day. You can use the scanner to unlock the phone but not for entering passwords in apps and websites and it doesn't work for Google Play purchases. You can enroll a few fingerprints (handy if you want your spouse to be able to unlock your phone) and you'll set a backup password. Don't forget it or you'll have to hard reset the phone.

HTC One max

Design and Ergonomics

The One max looks much like the HTC One and even more like the HTC One mini. It has the same iconic design, but it loses the unibody design and metal chamfers on the side due to the removable back cover. That cover is quite large, but it only grants access to the microSD card slot and SIM card slot (not the battery, which is still sealed inside). This is a large phone and it's heavy at 7.65 ounces. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and other big phones and tablets, HTC didn't work on slimming the design to make it easier to handle. You'll definitely need two hands to manage this beast. The upside is that you get a fantastically large and gorgeous full HD display that's every bit as lovely as the HTC One's. If you buy the One max, you won't need a 7 inch tablet. You will however need large pockets and a strong waistband to hold up your pants, the phone is a real pants dragger.

HTC One max

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3, HTC One max and Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets.

HTC moved the power button to the side since it would be hard to reach the top with one hand, but the IR window for the TV remote remains where the power button was up top on the HTC One. The volume controls are still on the side and the micro USB port is on the bottom. Though it doesn't look quite as chic and exquisitely classy as the HTC One, it's still a good looking phone that shows up Samsung and LG's unabashedly shiny plastics. Build quality is good and the phone doesn't creak and it's certainly much too rigid to torsion.

HTC One max


Deals and Shopping:


HTC One max Video Review


Calling and Data

This is a CDMA phone that's available on the US' two largest CDMA networks: Sprint and Verizon. We used the Sprint version for this review, and both versions have LTE 4G with fallback to 3G EV-DO Rev. A. Voice quality is good, and matches the smaller HTC One for pleasing calls via the built-in earpiece and mics. Though the phone is too tall to align with most folks' mouth and ear, we had no trouble with the microphones picking up voice and removing ambient noise. As with the HTC One, Bluetooth audio is a bit on the quiet side and is less clear and distinct compared to Samsung, Apple and Sony Android phones, but it's quite usable.



The better than average 2.1 MP front camera and rear 4MP equivalent Ultrapixel camera are the same as on the HTC One. The rear camera takes good looking photos and it particularly excels at low light imaging thanks to the larger sensor pixels and fast f/2.0 lens. But 4 megapixels still feels low when competing with 13MP and higher Android smartphone cameras. The images are good enough for viewing on screen and for sharing on facebook, but the size and lack of fine detail aren't as ideal for viewing on a big monitor or using for a website or photo sharing site that supports large image sizes. The camera can shoot 1080p video and there's a slow motion recording option and variable speed playback. For more info on the Ultrapixel camera and HTC Zoe, check out our HTC One review.

Performance and Horsepower

Once again, you're looking at the HTC One, just bigger. The One max has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad core 1.7GHz CPU with 2 gigs of RAM. It benchmarks similarly and it won't beat Snapdragon 800 equipped smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or Sony Xperia Z Ultra in synthetic benchmarks. That said, it runs a fairly clean Android 4.3 build with HTC Sense 5.5, so it's not bogged down by software, and it's plenty fast enough to run 3D games well. We applaud HTC for adding a microSD card slot to augment the 32 gigs of internal storage, but unlike Samsung HTC didn't customize Android to revive the ability to store apps to an SD card.


  Quadrant GFXBench 2.7, 2.5 Egypt Offscreen AnTuTu Sunspider JavaScript Test
HTC One max 12,175 42 fps 26,287 824
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 22,006 54 fps 35,823 587
LG G2 19,762 57 fps 32,990 823
Samsung Galaxy S4 12,276 41 fps 24,776 826
HTC One 12,252 37 fps 24,589 1155
Google Nexus 5 8808 59 fps 27,017 718
Sony Xperia Z 7916 32 fps 20,403 1306
Moto X 8357 43 fps 21,377 1097
LG Optimus G Pro 11,994 28 fps 18,561 867
Samsung Galaxy Note II 6001 66 pfs (v.2.5 used) 14,056 1052
LG Optimus G 7235 59 pfs (v.2.5 used) 11,087 1289
Samsung Galaxy S III 5102 51 fps (v.2.5 used) 7011 1825

Battery Life

A big phone gets a big battery, and it needs it to drive the large display. Since the CPU isn't faster or more demanding than that of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, that added battery power translates into longer battery life. The HTC One max has a 3,300 mAh Lithium Ion polymer battery that's sealed inside. HTC claims an impressive 25 hours of talk time, but I suspect phablet buyers are using their phone for video playback, web browsing and gaming more than talking. The good news is that use time in a mix of common tasks is hearty and we had absolutely no trouble making it through a full day of use on a charge when playing streaming video, browsing the web, checking email and taking photos in addition to talking on the phone.


The HTC One max is one of the more elegant super-sized smartphones on the market. The design is attractive even if the edges scream polycarbonate rather than polished metal and the aluminum back is as ever attractive. We'd like to see that back cover fit more perfectly (ours won't stay tucked flush in one corner), and hopefully that's been cleared up in production. The phone has an absolutely lovely full HD Super LCD display that's great for watching videos and playing games and the stereo front facing BoomSound speakers are loud and full. The Snapdragon 600 CPU is perfectly adequate, but we'd hoped that HTC would have used the many months since the HTC One was released to rev up the One max to match the horsepower of its competitors to make this a more compelling device. It's particularly painful when considering the Verizon Wireless version that sells for $299 with contract, the same price as the more feature rich and faster Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The Sprint version is on sale for a more tempting $149 with contract if their network works well in your area ($249 is their list price). Lastly, we love HTC's weighty build and good materials in general, but in the case of a phone as big as the One max, 7.65 ounces can seem onerous, and the overly tall design (thanks to the front facing speakers) make this a very big device.

Price: $249 with 2 year contract (on promotion for $149 right now), $599 without contract (Sprint)
$299 with 2 year contract, $599 without contract (Verizon)


Related Reviews:

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review

HTC One Review

LG G2 Review

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Moto X Review

iPhone 5s Review


HTC One max


HTC One max


HTC One max


HTC One max

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Display: 5.9" Super LCD display. Resolution: 1920 x 1080. Has ambient light sensor, accelerometer and proximity sensor.

Battery: 3,300 mAh Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable. Battery is not user replaceable.

Performance: 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad core processor. 2 gigs RAM and 32 gigs internal storage.

Size: 6.48 x 3.25 x 0.41 inches. Weight: 7.65 ounces.

Phone: CDMA dual band digital with 3G EV-DO Rev. A and 4G LTE. GSM world roaming with HSPA 3G.

Camera: 2.1 MP front camera and 4 megapixel Ultrapixel rear camera with HTC Zoe, LED flash, HDR and 1080p video recording.

Audio: Built in HTC BoomSound stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0.

Software: Android OS 4.3 Jelly Bean and HTC Sense 5.5 software.

Expansion: 1 SDXC microSD card slot.


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