The recipe seemed simple. The exact same ingredients, just in a bigger package. Not even much more evolved, just bigger, as rumor had it the One max was not going to take One’s hardware a step further, but instead keep things equally as “modest”, with Snapdragon 600 power and 2 gigs of RAM.
And sadly, that particular rumor proved spot-on. Only you can’t simply call the One max a bigger One and go about your business. That’s not the full story.
Sure, the spanking new 5.9-incher has an almost overwhelming number of flaws and the timing of its formal intro looks like a catastrophic failure, what with the Nexus 5 likely landing in 24 hours and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 taking off as we speak.
But at the same time, the One max does take plenty of One features up a notch, having an array of strong suits that ultimately manages to crush its weaknesses and paint the picture of a truly evolved device, one that is both bigger and better. And here’s exactly why:
HTC One vs HTC One max – design and build quality comparison
(Almost) everybody likes aluminum. Most folks love it. So much that Samsung, which stubbornly and aggressively defended plastic for the past couple of years, is reportedly planning a design overhaul for both the Galaxy S and Note families.
But one thing everybody hated about the otherwise elegant and sturdy metal was that it restricted end users from doing the two things that conserved their freedom: swap the battery and expand the storage on their phones by prying the back cover.
That was due to the already legendary aluminum “unibody” and you could either make do with the constraints or move to plastic. Option C didn’t exist, until the One max became official. And while the fellow is just as premium-looking as its little brother, it replaces the unibody construction with a two metal-piece build.
Again, that’s exactly as reliable and kewl, plus it offers easy access to what’s behind the back cover. Unfortunately, you still can’t pull the battery away and switch it… unless you’re an expert with screwdrivers. And willing to void the warranty. As far as storage goes, there’s no limit to how high you can go. Well, there is, 32 gigs plus another 32, but you get the idea.
Meanwhile, it’s important to note the bezels also look thinner on the One max than the One, but alas, the 5.9-incher tips the scales at a bonkers (and not in a good way) 217 grams. Ouch! In fact, chunky is the word of the day when you add the 10.3 mm thick profile in the equation too, the two numbers being 74 grams and 1 mm over the little fellow’s measurements.
Nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking in any way here, simply an upping of the ante in the size department (5.9 vs. 4.7 inches) and the same 1,920 x 1,080 pixels resolution (aka Full HD). Of course, the pixel density goes significantly down, from 469 to 373 ppi, but don’t you think for a second One max’s panel will be in any way less crisp, colorful and vibrant.
Processing speed and cameras
Even the biggest, most fanatic and biased HTC aficionado has to admit to being a little disappointed about seeing the same old, dusty S600 CPU powering the One max, but let’s look at it from a different angle. How would you describe last spring’s One from a hardware standpoint? Is it a powerhouse? I think it is.
And the same exact quad-core 1.7 GHz processor, along with an identical Adreno 320 GPU and 2 GB of RAM, are found inside the One max. Besides, there’s a good shot HTC skipped on Snapdragon 800 to keep the price low. And isn’t that a noble goal, worth a few sacrifices? I think it is.
Meanwhile, the cameras are identical on the One and One max too (4 UltraPixel on the back and 2.1 MP on the front), which is also a little underwhelming, but looking at the big picture still satisfying even for hardcore photo buffs.
Software and battery life
I know, it would have been downright dreamy to see the One max running Android 4.4 KitKat out the box, but since the new OS is yet to be detailed and rolled out to Nexus devices, it was also Utopian.
On the bright side, you do get the next best thing: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, plus HTC’s latest and greatest Sense 5.5 UI and plenty of exciting little treats, such as BlinkFeed, Zoe, Sense Voice, etc.
As far as battery goes, HTC really went all-in, which is one of the reasons the Taiwanese couldn’t keep the weight very low. One max’s ticker is quite massive, at 3,300 mAh, so an autonomy of roughly 24 hours in continuous talk time is definitely in the cards.
The people spoke, HTC listened – there’s a fingerprint scanner on One max’s back, reported to work almost exactly as smoothly as the one fitted on the iPhone 5s. A little gimmicky? I for one think so, but if you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it.
Other perks included in the One max package are a pair of mind-blowing front-facing BoomSound Speakers, all the connectivity options you could ever need (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and even 4G LTE on Verizon), as well as oodles of sensors. Bottom line, every single trick the One has up its sleeve, plus a much cooler speaker system and fingerprint recognition technology.
Which brings me to the conclusion of this comparison. If you like your phones big, go for it. Don’t even think about it, as it’s so clearly better than the One. It’s a Max, for crying out loud.