HTC One Max: Hands On With This Large Smartphone, or Phablet, Really

1 - HTC One Max: Hands On With This Large Smartphone, or Phablet, Really
2 - The One Max Is HTC's Papa Bear
3 - Max, Meet the iPhone 5S
4 - Fingerprint Sensor
5 - Max Gets the Same Detailing
6 - Easy-Release Hinge
7 - Bigger and Better
8 - HTC's Ultrapixel Camera
9 - From Filters to Zoes
10 - Video Highlights
11 - Making a Big Effort
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HTC One Max: Hands On With This Large Smartphone, or Phablet, Really

by Michelle Maisto

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The One Max Is HTC's Papa Bear

The HTC One Max has a 5.9-inch display, measures 6.5 by 3.2 by 0.4 inches and weighs half a pound. At first glance, it may seem too big—absurdly big, even. But with time, some users may find it just right.

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Max, Meet the iPhone 5S

Devices like the Max increase the likeliness that Apple will have to deliver more than 4 inches of screen real estate in 2014.

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Fingerprint Sensor

HTC gave the Max a fingerprint sensor that's very simple to set up and use. While its location makes sense—it's where the forefinger falls when one's holding it—it's too easy to swipe at the nearly equally-sized camera lens instead.

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Max Gets the Same Detailing

Like the One and the Mini, the Max has a matte-aluminum finish, a curved back that makes it easy and more comfortable to hold (though this doesn't do much to flatter its silhouette) and a straightforward design. On one side is the power button and volume rocker.

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Easy-Release Hinge

The only detail on the phone's other side is a little hinge that, when depressed, pops off the back cover. It's a feature that anyone who has spent frustrated minutes trying to pry open a back cover with a fingernail will appreciate.

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Bigger and Better

Three very notable things about the One Max are that it has enhanced dual front speakers (the bottom one of which is seen here); it runs version 5.5 of the Sense interface, which includes smart additions like the ability to save stories from the BlinkFeed for later reading, as well as the ability to get rid of the BlinkFeed all together; and it has a great camera.

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HTC's Ultrapixel Camera

The Ultrapixel camera, combined with the Max's display, is arguably the most compelling feature on the Max. It takes good photos in all kinds of light, from outdoor shots at noon to single-candle birthday shots. Photos even came out in a dark, disco-ball-spinning karaoke room.

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From Filters to Zoes

The Max's camera is packed with filters, editing tools and ways of improving a photo, including Zoes—which it introduced with the original One—which collects three seconds of video so users can select the more exact moment they meant to snap. With Sense 5.5, Zoes can also be made into GIFs.

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Video Highlights

Sense 5.5 also makes it easier than before to share content. From the Gallery, a user can click on an Event (the phone collects photos, based on when they were taken, to create an Event for you) and then Video Highlights and have a 30-second video made from photos and videos in the event. It can be easily shared via email, text or social networks, and be customized or created entirely by the Max.

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Making a Big Effort

HTC has made it simple to save data to the cloud, set up and customize the Max and transfer contacts from an old iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone or Android device. The question of whether it can get users to switch from competing devices—even with a lineup as strong as the One family—looms large for HTC, whose market share and revenue have sunk. For those who want a large display and don't care about a stylus, the HTC One Max is a great choice.

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