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HTC One Max review: A fingerprint scanner that just doesn’t work

Following the success of HTC One,the company has added a bigger phone to the family.

Written by Pranay Parab |
December 22, 2013 4:54:09 am

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This is an app for TV show fans to talk about their favourite programmes. iCouchApp lets users follow,rate and review TV shows,apart from engaging in discussions via group chats. Its aim is to bridge the gap between channels and the audience.

Following the success of HTC One,the company has added a bigger phone to the family. HTC One Max is a 5.9-inch phone,significantly bigger than the 4.7-inch One. The One Max adds a fingerprint scanner apart from a microSD card slot for expandable memory. With this phone,HTC joins Nokia,Samsung,Sony and LG,apart from a host of others,in the phablet bandwagon. Does it bring the best of HTC One in a bigger form? Let’s find out.

Build Quality and Design

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In spite of the similar look,the One Max is different from the One in terms of design. The phone has a removable back panel and a plastic finish along the edges,as opposed to the One’s unibody metal construction. In our HTC One review,we had praised its metal body. It is sad to see that the One Max has failed to live up to those standards. The back panel doesn’t feel sturdy and the plastic edges rob the phone of the polish seen in its cheaper avatar. HTC has placed a tiny switch on the side to help users remove the back panel. This is much better than having to pry those out with your nails.

A major issue is the weight. This phone weighs 217 grams and is difficult to use with one hand. When we tried,we ended up with an ache in the hands within 30 minutes of reading on it. It is hard to forgive this because phones are meant to be held while being used and it isn’t a good sign when holding a phone becomes uncomfortable.

Fingerprint Scanner

There is no other way to say this but the fingerprint scanner on the One Max borders on being unusable. It’s placed just under the camera,on the back panel. You can’t see the scanner while trying to unlock unless you place a mirror behind the phone. It asks you to swipe downwards to unlock and more often than not,we found it hard to place a finger on the scanner.

Another problem is that you have to swipe the finger a particular way for it to recognise your fingerprint. If your finger moves off that trajectory,then you will have to swipe again. This is frustrating,given that you cannot see the scanner while unlocking. HTC lets you configure three fingerprints and you can assign these to apps. For example,unlocking with the left index finger can open Google Chrome or your photos,etc. If you forget which finger is assigned to which app,then it will be annoying to close that app to get to the home screen. It would be better to have a reminder on screen while unlocking to avoid this issue. Also,the device prompts you to set an alphanumeric password in case the fingerprint isn’t recognised. It takes too much time to key this in,as opposed to a numerical passcode on iPhones.

Display and Performance

The display of the One Max is better than that in the previous phone. The size works in its favour as watching films and reading books is an amazing experience on this device. Readability was good even in bright sunlight. The touchscreen is also great.

If you are comfortable with large devices,then One Max is a great device for travel. It ran games without lags and there was no cause for complaint when multi-tasking. Those who like watching movies while on the move will be delighted. Its speakers are good and so is the audio output on headphones. The biggest advantage of this phone is its battery life. It easily lasted nearly a day-and-a-half of moderate to heavy use on wi-fi.

The camera is decent,but not great. It is not better than the camera on the One,which is disappointing,as other manufacturers have made several strides in that area.

Should You Buy It?

Unless you need a heavy device with good battery life and don’t mind paying Rs 56,490 for it,we wouldn’t recommend getting the One Max.

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First published on: 22-12-2013 at 04:54:09 am

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