So the HTC One Max hit the shelves this month, and we’ve been wondering how it measures up to our favorite cell phones. Pun intended. The buzz revolves mostly around its size—it’s the biggest cell phone I’ve seen since my dad’s mid-90s brick in the car, thus the “phablet” moniker. But, of course, bigger has some perks now—like that dazzling HD screen that makes reading email, searching websites, and watching movies actually comfortable activities on a phone.To boil it all down, the thing that sets the HTC One max apart is it’s size. It’s just big. Like really, really big. Maybe too big? When I hold the phone up to my ear, the bottom of it reaches a couple inches past my chin making me wonder whether it’s really meant for people who use phones the old-fashioned way, without headphones or speakers. Still, that screen is 5.9 inches of HD brilliance. The front-facing speakers put out booming sound. And the Ultrapixel camera–something I know parents are huge on–provides the most light-sensitive pixels on any phone, which means your pictures turn out far better than before in low light. You do sacrifice some clarity though, if you plan on printing photos.
I also like the convenient fingerprint swipe sensor on the back of the phone; use it as your passcode, and swipe to access content in your apps. I do appreciate that this sensor is on the back rather than in your screen, making it easy to swipe while you’re holding the phone. Plus it’s one fewer fingerprint you have to wipe off later. (Yes, I’m a mom and I think of these kinds of things.)
The other highlights include the Scribble app (below), which allows you to take notes and insert better-than-average clip art should you need it. You can write with your finger as well, and the result turns out to be very legible.
The BlinkFeed home screen in a nice touch, letting you customize it your own content feed. Basically you can get up-to-the-minute updates from among 10,000 news feeds, your favorite apps, and social media networks including Instagram. Plus I of course appreciate the Kid Mode, which really is brilliant. It allows your kids to click on their own photo, then access only the apps assigned to that profile.
Other than those features, the HTC One Max is pretty much the same as the HTC One, just a full inch taller and a centimeter wider. Which leads me to the question—is bigger better?
Pros: you can find it in your bag more quickly, reading emails and webpages is easier on the eyes, and the battery lasts noticably longer.
Cons: it’s heavier, it’s too big to fit in your pocket comfortably, and the size will take some getting used to when making calls.
Overall, I’d say it’s a nice choice if you’re one of those people who actually talk on your phone very little (unless you’re using a headset), but use it more for texting, email on the go, and news feeds. Because really, it’s all about that big, big screen.
The HTC ONE Max is available through their site starting at $249.99 with a two-year Sprint or Verizon contract. Or buy it unlocked from our affiliate Amazon. Thanks to HTC for providing one for review.
Phone Arena has a great report comparing the HTC One to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and GizMag has a nice comparison of the HTC One and the iPhone 5s, so check out those sources if you want the real techy comparison of the phones.