HTC One max vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3
October 15, 2013
It seems like everyone is making a phablet these days. HTC is the latest to get in on the super-sizing action, with its humongous version of the HTC One, the One max. How does it compare to the current phablet prototype, the Galaxy Note 3? Read on, as Gizmag compares the latest giant-sized phones from HTC and Samsung.
When HTC decided to go big, it went all the way. As you can see, we're looking at an enormous phone that looks down on the already huge Note 3. The One max is nine percent taller, five percent wider, and two percent thicker than the Note 3.
That extra size makes its presence felt in hand, as the One max is 29 percent heavier than the Note 3.
We're a fan of the HTC One's build, but that solid aluminum might not lend itself quite as well to a huge phablet. We like the Note 3's softer feel in hand, but its faux leather (plastic) build also isn't nearly as high-end as the One's aluminum.
As far as we can tell, HTC doesn't yet have any plans for anything besides the standard silver One max. The Note 3 ships in three hues.
When we tested the Galaxy Note 3, we never once said "you know what this thing needs? A bigger display." Yet that's just what HTC is delivering with the One max. This sucker gives you seven percent more screen real estate than the already-enormous 5.7-in Note display.
It's natural to compare any new phablet to the Galaxy Note series, but there is one key missing ingredient in the One max. It doesn't ship with a stylus, and its software isn't designed around pen input, as much of the Note's TouchWiz is. This may or may not be a big deal to you, but we do find that phablets' huge screens lend themselves well to styluses.
Early feedback suggests it isn't in the same league as the iPhone 5s' Touch ID, but the One max adds a fingerprint sensor nonetheless. Here it sits on the back of the device, which might not be the most natural placing for such a gigantic phone.
One interesting feature HTC threw in is the ability to open different apps depending on which finger you swipe across the sensor. The sensor's primary function, though, is to unlock your phone with your finger, while anyone else requires a passcode.
The Galaxy Note 3 has the newer and faster processor, though we imagine the One Max's Snapdragon 600 is only going to disappoint the most performance-picky of users.
The Note 3 wins this category with a ridiculous 3 GB of RAM, though the One max's 2 GB is still a more than healthy amount.
Just when we thought HTC had abandoned microSD cards, it threw a compatible slot into the One max. As far as internal storage goes, the base model of the Note 3 has double the amount of the One max's 16 GB.
The One max has the same UltraPixel camera from its mid-sized sibling, the HTC One. Though its resolution is pretty low, it takes great shots, including some of the best low-light photography we've seen on a smartphone.
Both phones have LTE radios. Well, unless you live in an area that doesn't have LTE, in which case you might get the octa-core (HSPA+) version of the Note 3. If that sounds like Martian to you, then just know that HSPA+ is faster than 3G (and often marketed as 4G), but is usually slower than LTE.
We'll have to wait to put the One max's battery through the paces, but if capacity is any indication, then it should fare just fine. We've been happy with the Note 3's uptimes, and it should last a full day during any kind of "typical" use.
Both devices have NFC chips, for things like local file transfers.
The One max will sync with any general Android-compatible smartwatch, like the Pebble or Sony SmartWatch 2. The Note 3 plays nicely with those, in addition to Samsung's own Galaxy Gear, which adds a camera, the ability to make phone calls, and limited voice control.
Both phablets have IR blasters, so you can change TV channels to your heart's content (after pairing with your device, of course).
Android manufacturers have improved their Android up-to-date status in the last year. For evidence, look at these two: both launch with the latest version of Google's OS.
Each hulking handset also has its respective manufacturer UI sitting on top of Android. HTC's Sense adds features like BlinkFeed (a homescreen-laden feed reader), and the camera app's Zoes (short video clips that can be shared as-is, or used to find that perfect still frame).
The Galaxy Note's TouchWiz adds most of the Galaxy S4's (largely gimmicky) software features, as well as some cool new S Pen functionality. Air Command, which can be activated from anywhere by clicking the stylus, gives you quick access to features like note-scribbling and sharing, as well as screenshots that you can easily crop and annotate.
Wrap-upHTC's first phablet attempt looks to be a device without a clear angle. It's basically the well-received One ... only much bigger. We're not sure if the Galaxy Note series would have taken off as it has without its stylus input. It differentiates the huge phones, and gives you a greater level of precision that your fingers can't give you. It helped the phablet to grow into its own unique product category, rather than just a ridiculously-overgrown smartphone ... which is what the One max is looking a lot like.
But don't let us sway you from taking a long hard look at the One max. Even if it's little more than an HTC One with a thyroid condition, there are much worse things for a device to be. We still consider the standard One to be one of the better smartphones ever made, so even if a super-sized version of that isn't the best product out there, it's bound to still have some redeeming qualities.