HTC One Max Is Huge, Which Isn't Always a Bad Thing
It also has a fingerprint reader on its back, below the camera lens, that brought to mind the volume rocker on the back of the LG G2 (another very big phone). From the user experience, it works just like Apple's TouchID, and its placement makes sense. It's right where one's forefinger lands when one picks up the Max. But after a few times of feeling irked that the reader wasn't reacting, or was reacting too slowly, I realized that I was instead stroking the almost identically sized and also very smooth camera lens instead. On the next version, HTC might want to put a textural element around the reader to make the two more distinguishable without a glance. Finally, the Max also runs version 5.5 of HTC's Sense user interface, and it includes some very good updates. For one, BlinkFeed—the updating news panels on the Max's home screen—can be customized to a greater degree but also done away with completely. The ability to more easily share the Video Highlights I mentioned and new features within that feature come, thanks to 5.5, and so do things like the ability to include Google+ and favorite RSS feeds in the BlinkFeed, to make GIFs from HTC Zoes (three-second video captures) and to save stories in BlinkFeed to "Read Later."The Max has the same look as the other One devices—the aluminum matte finish, the curved back. (I think the depth of the curve adds to the initial impression of the Max being gigantic, though it does make it comfortable in the hand.) It measures 6.5 by 3.2 by 0.4 inches and weighs 217 grams, or half a pound. The operating system is Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) and there's a very speedy 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor powering it. Also included are Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth 4.0 and Long Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity, plus a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera with an 88-degree wide-angle lens. This is a really nice phone (ah yes! call quality is as nice as to be expected) with some excellent features. Again, its size makes the One Max not for everyone. But for those it leaves out, HTC has two other smaller One models it would like for you to meet. Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.
HTC also deserves props for a tiny lever on the phone's right side. Gone are the days of breaking fingernails, trying to pry the back off a phone to get to the SIM. Push the lever and the Max's back panel pops off, revealing a clearly labeled SIM. (The Max is available for the Sprint and Verizon Wireless networks.)