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HTC One Max - More Screen Size, More Camera, More Everything (Part 2)

2/5/2014 4:58:14 PM
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Software

Like the original One and the One Mini, the One Max runs HTC’s custom overlay on top of Android, Sense. Version 5.5 sits atop Android 4.3 meaning that, for now at least, you really do have the latest and greatest. In addition, HTC seem to have really stepped up its game of late when it comes to update releases - the original One has already been updated to Sense 5.5 and Android 4.3 too. Over the years Sense has been much maligned as too heavy, too ugly and ultimately unnecessary -particularly as Android itself has matured - but in its latest iteration it strikes just the right balance between improving Android and letting its good points shine through. In version 5, Sense has adopted a more ‘flat’ style - it is much less graphically overwhelming than its predecessors and aligns more closely with the Android style. On the whole, HTC has committed most effort to where Android needs it most. The basic launcher is massively overhauled with the integration of ‘BlinkFeed’ - a news and feed reader in the Flipboard style. It’s slick and useful, particularly in its 5.5 iteration, which adds support for your own RSS feeds. If it’s not to your taste, it’s now easy to turn off too. The usual suite of HTC add-ons is present including an extensive online setup tool, a car mode UI, a torch app, an FM radio app, the very useful Kid Mode by Zoodles (a HTC company), a new Scribble application that lets you use the large display to create fancy notes on screen with your finger and a voice recorder app - generally speaking they are all useful additions that are also Another signature software experience on the Max is the TV application, which uses the IR port on the top of the device to control your home entertainment setup. It might sound like a gimmick, but it’s actually excellent, with a very extensive database of equipment and a great design. No HTC device would be complete without a good weather app, but HTC has actually toned it down a bit for the Max. It’s a fully featured and attractive application - powered by AccuWeather but it’s a lot less intrusive than before.

Like the original One and the One Mini, the One Max runs HTC’s custom overlay on top of Android, Sense

Like the original One and the One Mini, the One Max runs HTC’s custom overlay on top of Android, Sense

Camera

With the launch of the One, HTC decided to step back from the megapixel war, including a camera with only a four-megapixel count. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the camera is sub-par however.

Less pixels means bigger pixels, and wearing the ‘Ultrapixel’ moniker, all of the One series devices perform exceptionally well in low light, a key situation where other phones traditionally struggle. Like the Mini and unlike the original One, the Max lacks optical image stabilization, which is a real shame, as this is a very useful feature. The camera application itself is excellent. All of the usual features you expect to see are present including 1080p video recording, HDR, sweep panoramas and likely due to the lack of OIS - an anti-shake mode. HTC’s delightful Zoe feature records a few seconds before and after you take a shot to produce a mini video from which you can grab stills. A dual-capture mode, as seen on Samsung devices, lets you take a picture and include yourself in it too. If you like that sort of thing.

Having biometric security on a phone is a great idea, but on the Max, it just doesn't work that well. You still need to power on the phone before you take a reading and the accuracy is poor

With a huge number of manual controls and options you won’t have trouble taking some great shots with the Max. Ironically, it’s probably weakest in comparison to its peers in ideal conditions when it doesn’t have to take advantage of its bigger pixels, the lower count does ultimately result in less detail, particularly when zoomed.

To top it all off, HTC’s album software will even make automatic highlight reels of your photos and Zoes for uploading to your friends.

Easily uninstalled or disabled should you not need them. A concerted effort on HTC’s part to minimize ‘bloat’ is paying off in our experience.

Verdict

They say first impressions count, and in the case of the One Max, it’s easy to be put off. The device is likely to be so much bigger than anything you’ve used before that it takes a while to adjust. It’s also easy to be concerned that it’s expensive, the processor isn’t the very latest, there’s no stylus and the fingerprint reader is largely a gimmick. But, with all that said, if you persevere with the Max and actually start using it, you’ll find it’s a very capable device with an awesome screen and you’ll quickly adjust to the bulk. It’s not for everyone, but try it you may be pleasantly surprise.

Specifications

Body  

·         Dimensions: 164.5 x 82.5 x 10.3 mm (6.48 x 3.25 x 0.41 in)

·         Weight: 217 g (7.65 oz)

·         Fingerprint sensor

Display          

·         Type: Super LCD3 capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors

·         Size: 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.9 inches (~373 ppi pixel density)

·         Multi touch: Yes

·         Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 3

·         HTC Sense 5.5

Sound

·         Alert types: Vibration, MP3, WAV ringtones

·         Loudspeaker: Yes, with stereo speakers, built-in amplifiers

·         3.5mm jack: Yes

·         Boom Sound dual front stereo speakers

Memory         

·         Card slot: microSD, up to 64 GB

·         Internal: 16/32 GB, 2 GB RAM

Data   

·         GPRS: Yes

·         EDGE: Yes

·         Speed: HSPA+; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL

·         WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot

·         Bluetooth: Yes, v4.0 with A2DP

·         NFC: Yes

·         Infrared port: Yes

·         USB: Yes, micro USB v2.0 (MHL)

Camera          

·         Primary: 4 MP, 2688 x 1520 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, check quality

·         Features: 1/3'' sensor size, 2µm pixel size, simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, face and smile detection

·         Video: Yes, 1080p@30fps, 720p@60fps, HDR, stereo sound rec., check quality

·         Secondary: Yes, 2.1 MP, 1080p@30fps, HDR

Features        

·         OS: Android OS, v4.3 (Jelly Bean)

·         Chipset: Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon 600

·         CPU: Quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300

·         GPU: Adreno 320

·         Sensors: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass

·         Messaging: SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email

·         Browser: HTML5

·         Radio: Stereo FM radio with RDS

·         GPS: Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS

·         Java: Yes, via Java MIDP emulator

·         Colors: Silver, Black, Gold

·         SNS integration

·         Google Drive (50 GB storage)

·         Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic

·         TV-out (via MHL A/V link)

·         DivX/XviD/MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player

·         MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV/FLAC player

·         Google Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk

·         Organizer

·         Document viewer/editor

·         Photo viewer/editor

·         Voice memo/dial/commands

·         Predictive text input

Battery                     

·         Non-removable Li-Po 3300 mAh battery

·         Stand-by: (2G) / Up to 585 h (3G)

·         Talk time: (2G) / Up to 25 h (3G)

MISC  

·         SAR US: 0.81 W/kg (head)     0.21 W/kg (body)  

Tests 

·         Display: Contrast ratio: 1572:1 (nominal) / 2.537:1 (sunlight)

·         Loudspeaker: Voice 68dB / Noise 67dB / Ring 78dB

·         Audio quality: Noise -93.8dB / Crosstalk -94.1dB

·         Camera: Photo / Video

·         Battery life: Endurance rating 81h

 

 
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