Verizon HTC One max hands-on

Following a long series of rumors and leaks, HTC announced the One max back in mid-October. Verizon Wireless followed HTC with an announcement of their own and initially said the handset would be arriving in time for the holiday shopping season. True to their word, the HTC One max arrived with Verizon in late-November. Anyway, we have recently been carrying a Verizon branded model and as such, wanted to offer a bit on this carrier variant and how it compares to the model we reviewed back in October.

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Hardware

The HTC One max is mostly made of metal, though there is some plastic. There is a plastic ring that runs around the phone and also plastic strips where the removable back over sits. The mostly metal construction does have one perk in that it makes the phone feel solid. But on the flip side, that metal construction also adds to the weight. The One max weighs in at 7.65 ounces (216.9 grams). In comparison, we recently reviewed the much smaller, but still heavy in the hand, Moto G and that weighs in at 143 grams. Simply put, there is no mistaken the One max being in your hand, or in your pocket or bag.

Aside from the weight, the phone does have a premium feel. Granted, it is not quite as nice as the feel of the regular sized HTC One, but it is a step above some of the plastic construction we are seeing these days. On the front you have a 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera and a pair of speakers which sit above and below the display. Those also mean that HTC BoomSound is present.

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Flipping over to the back and we find the camera lens, fingerprint sensor and a set of pogo pins. The camera has an LED flash and is the UltraPixel we saw announced with the HTC One. The pogo pins are used for accessories, such as the Power Flip Case which packs an additional 1150 mAh battery and is available from HTC. Otherwise, the bottom is where you will find the microUSB for charging, the top has the IR sensor and headphone jack, the right side has the power button and volume rocker and the left side has a toggle that unlocks the back cover.

The Verizon One max has 32GB of internal storage as well as a microSD slot with support for cards up to 64GB in size. The memory card slot is tucked away under the removable back panel, though, unlike the panel itself, the battery is not removable. In this case the battery is 3300 mAh. HTC and Verizon suggest this means up to 25.5 hours of run time and in our experience — we had no trouble with the battery. In fact, we easily made it through a full work day with juice to spare.

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Other hardware includes a quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM. Needless to say, the One max was a solid performer in our day to day use. And in some instances, above average. One example is video watching, not only are you getting a large 5.9-inch 1080p display but you also have those front-facing speakers.

The handset also has dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, NFC and as we have seen Verizon rolling out, the One max is Isis Mobile Wallet capable. Lastly, while HTC did include the BoomSound, they dropped the Beats Audio in the One max.

Size

We mentioned the weight of the phone earlier in the post, but still needed to touch on the overall size. The box the handset ships in is rather small, or at least average sized compared to other smartphone packaging. But when you open the box — the phone sort of jumps out given the size. There is no denying this is a big phone. With a 5.9-inch display, this is almost more tablet than smartphone.

We included a side by side shot of the Galaxy Note 3 and One max to give some reference here. The One max is a good bit larger than the Note 3. The Note 3 weighs in at 5.92 ounces (168 grams) and interestingly, as compared to the One max, only has a display that is 0.2 inches smaller. The One max display is 5.9-inches and the Note 3 display is 5.7-inches.

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Bottom line here, those considering a One max purchase should prepare themselves for the size. While this may be a turn off for some, there is some positive points here. As a tablet fan, this actually made for a nice device. It had me leaving the Nexus 7 behind as it was good for reading and video watching. But on the other side, this is a phone that people are going to notice. Holding this up to your head, or even setting it on a table will have people talking.

That brings another point, given the size, this is not really easy to fit in your pocket. It does fit in a front or back jeans pocket, but it is bulky, noticeable and often sticks out the top.

Branding

A hot topic is carrier branding on the outside of the phone. Unlike some of the terrible decisions we have seen from Verizon (home button branding) in the past, the HTC One max is relatively clean. The backside has the 4G LTE logo sitting centered towards the bottom. There is also the HTC logo on the back. Flipping over to the front and you’ll find a Verizon logo sitting centered between the capacitive back and home buttons. There is also the Verizon Wireless mention on the lock screen. That one sits up towards the top, but goes away with an unlock. These examples are shown in the gallery sitting below.

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Software

The software experience is the same as when we originally reviewed the phone a few months earlier. That is to say Verizon has launched the HTC One max with Android 4.3 and Sense 5.5. So far we haven’t seen any timeline of an update from Verizon. As far as Android skins goes, HTC does a rather nice job with Sense.

You have the perks such as BlinkFeed and HTC Zoe as well as the IR blaster which works with the HTC TV app. The Jelly Bean and Sense experience was solid and largely the same as what we experienced in our original review. But alas, as with any carrier branded smartphone — there are the pre-installed apps to contend with.

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The image sitting above offers a look at the homescreen just out of the box. The gallery sitting below takes you through the pre-installed apps. The setup is fairly clean looking, but that is due to the use of folders. There are just a few rows of apps, however there are five folders with even more. Verizon has these broken down into Amazon, Google, Media and Tools. As well, there is the Verizon folder which includes nearly a dozen additional apps.

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In the end, there isn’t much we can do about pre-installed apps at this point. For better or worse, the carriers are going to load them up and Verizon is no exception to the rule. Thankfully, they take up little space in terms of storage and can also be tucked away in a folder to sort of hide them.

Fingerprint

We did cover the fingerprint aspect in detail back when we originally reviewed the One max, but given we weren’t fully pleased or convinced, we gave it a solid second look. Needless to say, there are still issues. Overall, the setup process is simple and easy. HTC takes you through the process step-by-step and there really isn’t any reason this could not be setup even by the most novice of users.

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The issues come after the setup has been done. You see, the setup process has you carefully scanning your fingerprint making sure to run it straight over the sensor. That worked well enough, however in real world use our finger was scanning at an angle and therefor not reading properly. Basically, if you are picking up a One max and planning to use the fingerprint sensor — try to make sure you scan your finger the way you plan to in real world use.

Some other points here include being able to set this to work with up to three different fingerprints for different functions. And yes, you can have it unlock the phone and also launch an app with a single finger swipe. Aside from the camera, you can set these to go to the home screen, launch the Voice Assistant or choose something from your list of installed apps. And as a fail safe, HTC also has you setup a password as a backup.

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As for us, we setup and tested the fingerprint sensor, but beyond that we turned it off and went to a more traditional way of securing the phone. Other methods available include Face Unlock, Pattern, PIN and Password.

Network Speed

The HTC One max has support for the Verizon LTE network and while the speeds are going to vary from market-to-market, we haven’t seen much to complain about. We ran 6 tests over 4 days and with one exception we saw speeds above 30Mbps. The one slow day had speeds at 14.63 down and 6.68 down. Slower than normal for Verizon LTE in the local area, however still more than acceptable for mobile. On the flip side, in two different tests we topped out with 39.03 down and 19.64 up.

If your handset purchase is coming down to carrier and network speeds, we would suggest finding a friend or loved one and convincing them to allow you to borrow their phone for a few moments. You wouldn’t need it long, but you will need to download and install the Speedtest app. The app is free and the test takes just about a minute to complete. Because in the end, regardless of how nice a phone appears to be, if the connectivity is lacking, the overall experience will be poor.

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Wrap-Up

What can we say here, the HTC One max is a big phone. In our use we found we treated it more like a connected tablet as opposed to a smartphone. All of our voice calls were made using a headset, either wired or wireless. As a regular tablet user this meant for a good overall experience. The One max has a solid display and is a solid performer. It excels at tasks such as video watching, reading and gaming. But on the flip side, it isn’t quite as easy to put in your pocket or otherwise carry around. Our advice here, consider your usage and maybe even take a trip to a local Verizon store to check this one out in person.

Verizon Wireless currently has the HTC One max priced at $299.99 on a two-year agreement. Alternatively, the handset is $25.22 per month using Verizon Edge or $599.99 to purchase flat out. All that having been said, there are some additional images sitting in the gallery below.

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Why do you use a phablet?

Since the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy Note, the XL phone segment has really taken off. Proponents of the sub-genre have even coined a new term: phablet, a hybrid mesh between phones and tablets. (Hint: they’re actually giant phones). With the amount of them that are sold, it’s easy to see that people like them. The question is, why do people like phablets? What drives them to choose a phablet over any other phone?

Obviously, the size is going to play a big part in this. Many who use phablets say that they simply enjoy the massive screens. But you have to go a bit deeper to figure out why they like that big screen to begin with. For some, it comes down to the fact that they watch a lot of video on their phones. In this case, it makes perfect sense as to why they’d choose a phone that can quite literally fit smaller phones inside of its screen. If you’re going to watch a lot of video on your phone, then a phablet is a perfect choice.

Others enjoy the extra screen real estate for different reasons. One of those is the added keyboard space. Physical keyboards on phones are practically extinct in this day and age. For someone wanting a virtual keyboard that’s roomy and easy to type on with two hands, a phablet fits the bill. Plenty of people simply enjoy the extra space to spread out across. For those who love to fill up their homescreens with widgets and folders, phablets provide extra room for just that.

There’s another aspect of phablets that isn’t always considered when looking at reasons to use them. Due to the fact that phablets are flippin’ giant, manufacturers often have a bit more room to work with when choosing internal specs. Phablets are often (not always) equipped with the most powerful processors, large amounts of RAM, quality camera components, larger storage sizes and possibly the most important feature: bigger batteries. And believe us, with the giant screens on phablets, you’re going to be glad of that mondo battery.

Certain phablets also have their own special perks and benefits. For example, the phones in the Galaxy Note line all feature Samsung’s stylus on steroids, the S Pen. But the S Pen isn’t just a new and improved stylus that doesn’t do much; it comes with a whole suite of software designed to take full advantage of its capabilities. For quick digital artwork on the go, the S Pen could be your best friend.

Continuing on that tangent of unique software, some phablets are designed with that exact purpose in mind. We hate to keep bringing up the example of the Galaxy Note series, but it proves this perfectly. Samsung has designed all sorts of applications that take advantage of the large screens phablets offer. These enhancements are designed to help you be more productive and make the most of the extra screen real estate. These same software enhancements help to bring people to phablets.

Now that we’ve talked about this for a little while, we’re bringing the question to you. Why do you use a phablet? We know that plenty of you do. And if you don’t use a phablet, why don’t you? What could be changed with them to make you use one? Hit up those comments, yo.

Huawei trademarks PhoPad name, could be another phablet in the works

Huawei‘s CEO might have called it quits in the US market, but the Chinese company isn’t slowing down just yet. In fact, it has just applied for a trademark at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a rather funny-sounding PhoPad name.

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Last week, Huawei’s top honcho publicly expressed his frustration at being caught in the middle of the squabble between the US and China. Several US officials have pointed out how Huawei could be easily used as a tool for spying by the Chinese government and have encouraged others to shun the company. While CEO Ren Zhengfei did say it wasn’t worth being involved in the issue, the company has yet to reveal a timeline for their departure. In the meantime, it seems that Huawei will continue to try to fill the US market with its mobile devices.

What the PhoPad truly is remains a mystery. There is speculation that it stands for a phone the size of a pad or tablet. In other words, a phablet. Huawei would hardly be the only one trying to push another name for the growing device form factor. Samsung has also been reported to be vying for an even sillier “fonblet” moniker. And Huawei is definitely no stranger to the device class. Both its current Ascend Mate and the Ascend Mate 2 clock at 6.1 inches. It is still unknown whether the PhoPad will simply be another bigger smartphone or if it will be taking on ASUS‘ budget FonePad line or even the curious PadFone phone/tablet hybrid.

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Whatever the Huawei PhoPad really is, it’s likely we’ll get a peek early 2014. Huawei is slotted to still make an appearance at CES next month where we’ll probably get to see this PhoPad alongside other rumored smartphones such as the Ascend Mate 2 and the octa-core Glory/Honor 4 or G750.

SOURCE: USPTO
VIA: Phandroid

Samsung patent shows off one-handed operation of phablets

A lot of high-end smartphones these days are getting bigger to accommodate more content on screen. The problem is that these are becoming more and more uncomfortable, if not impossible, to use with only one hand. Samsung, whose top tier smartphones are slowly creeping up to that mark, might just have a solution.

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A patent recently filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization or WIPO contains information and images that describe how Samsung thinks it can fix the situation. The whole concept revolves around a user’s comfort zone, which is the area contained within an arc that is easily reachable by the thumb when the device is held with one hand. In effect, the patent describes rearranging the layout, spacing, and items on the screen along that comfort zone, making it easier to hit things with just the thumb.

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In practice, this could mean several things. For one, lists can be stacked on top of each other in a stepped pattern like stairs, ensuring that items higher in the list are still reachable. It also means that user interface components, like music or video player controls or even the keyboard, will be rotated along the axis of the arc. It’s not just the layout, however, that can be changed. Even the size of items, such as the icons in the app drawer, as well as their distance from one another, can be adjusted to make it easier to hit with something less precise than an index finger.

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It may sound like a grand idea, but it still needs to be tested. Samsung definitely has the resources to pull it off, not to mention the audacity to make such a huge departure from standard Android conventions. One look at TouchWiz and we all know that the company isn’t afraid to break the rules. The question, then, becomes “when?”. Unless Samsung has an implementation already finished, it might not make it in time for the rumored Galaxy S 5 that is said to be scheduled to make an appearance early next year.

VIA: SamMobile

Buying a Galaxy device is the “smart move,” says Samsung in new ads

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In a new set of advertisements, Samsung is telling you why buying a Galaxy device, particularly the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear, is the “smart move.” Three videos take us through the lives of two Galaxy owners as they show us how they handle a day’s tasks with their Samsung device. In the first video, the 5.7-inch 1080 screen and faux leather backing are highlighted. The second video focuses on the Gear’s ease of use in real-life situations and compatibility with a Samsung device. The third is all about the multitasking and productivity of the Note 3 with its Air Command feature activated by the S Pen. Samsung wants to show that their devices can handle whatever your lives can throw at it.

Hit the break to watch the three videos.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.


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Red HTC One max tipped by carrier’s promotional flyer

After launching red versions of both the One and One mini earlier this year, it looks like HTC may be gearing up to offer a red variant of the One max as well. Promotional materials for Taiwanese carrier Far EasTone show an unannounced red version of the HTC One max, complete with the fingerprint scanner than the aluminum-clad phablet is known for. The red hue used on this One max looks similar to the paint job on the aforementioned Glamour Red One and One mini units.

HTC has been churning out new colors for both the One and One mini at a pretty steady rate in 2013, and there’s no reason to think that it wouldn’t continue doing so with the newest One family member. The flagship One is currently offered in five different hues and the One mini is available in four, but the One max is currently only sold in silver, so it’d be nice to see the giganto-phone don some new duds. Unfortunately, there’s no word yet on when or where this red One max might launch. Stay tuned and we’ll update you with more details as we get ‘em.

Via: GSMArena
Source: Sogi (1), (2)

Merlot Red, Rose Gold Black and Rose Gold White Galaxy Note 3 models announced by Samsung

Good news for phablet fans that like a little flash with their devices, as Samsung today made three new bright and blingy Galaxy Note 3 color options official. The South Korean firm has announced that the Note 3 will soon be offered in new Merlot Red, Rose Gold Black and Rose Gold White hues, which join the Blush Pink, Classic White and Jet Black models that debuted at IFA back in September.

The Merlot Red Galaxy Note 3 doesn’t stray far from the three older color options, sporting a silver band around its edge along with front and back panels that are the same red hue. The Rose Gold variants are a bit more unique in that they’ve got golden accents on their outer edges, earpieces and the Samsung logos on their backsides. The two units also include a special S Pen that’s had one end dipped in gold.

Samsung says that the Rose Gold White Note 3 will be launched in China later in December and that releases in other countries will occur “according to each market’s preference.” That’s not exactly the most detailed availability information that we’ve ever received, but considering how widely available the Galaxy Note 3 is now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Samsung bring these new colors to several of the operators that already sell its flagship phablet.

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Red and Rose Gold Galaxy Note 3 variants appear on Samsung Argentina’s website

Following the Galaxy Note 3′s debut in Blush Pink, Classic White and Jet Black earlier this year, Samsung’s Argentinian arm has officially added two more outfits to its phablet’s wardrobe. Images of new red and “Rose Gold” versions of the Galaxy Note 3 have appeared on Samsung Argentina’s website, complete with shots of the front and rear of both models. The red version is completely red, while the Rose Gold variant sports a mostly white body with gold accents, including on its stitching, outer edge and S Pen stylus.

Samsung has refreshed its hardware with new paint jobs several times in the past, including with the Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III and Galaxy S 4, and so it’s no surprise to see the Galaxy Note 3 get the same treatment. Consumers hoping for a totally new hue that’s drastically different from the Galaxy Note 3′s existing duds may be a tad disappointed with Samsung’s choices of red and Rose Gold, but it’s still nice to have some more color options available. The one big downside is that there’s no word yet on exactly when or where these new Galaxy Note 3 models will actually be available for purchase. At least we’ve got these images to ogle in the mean time, right?

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Massive ZTE Nubia Z7 leaks, shows a 6.44 inch screen

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If you’re in the market for an enormous phone like the Xperia Z Ultra, you’re about to have another option to look at. The ZTE Nubia Z7 has leaked, and it looks like it’s just as big as the Ultra, for better or worse. Rumored specs say this thing has a 6.44 inch screen, identical to what Sony’s mega-phablet offers. There will also reportedly be a slightly faster Snapdragon 800 CPU, a 1080p screen, 3 GB of RAM, a 13 megapixel rear camera, and 128 GB of internal storage and Android 4.4.

If you aren’t impressed by those specs in a smartphone, I seriously doubt any phone is going to make you happy. Obviously, the specs are still just a rumor at this point, so take them with a grain of salt, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping your hopes up.

source: 3G Mobile

via: G for Games


Come comment on this article: Massive ZTE Nubia Z7 leaks, shows a 6.44 inch screen

HP Browser 10 x2 tablet hybrid and Slate 6 Voice Tab phablet spotted in GFXBench

HP has had a less than stellar history with Android in the past, but it seems to be quite intent on making up for that. If these latest sightings become reality, then we might be seeing two new Android devices from the PC maker, one of which might just be HP’s first Android smartphone.

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The first of the devices, the HP Browser 10 x2, seems to be taking a page out of the Slatebook x2. This device is rumored to be a tablet/notebook hybrid, sporting the same detachable keyboard arrangement. It is running on an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, just like the Slatebook x2. Unlike the older device however, the Browser 10 x2 is only sports a strange 1920×1008 resolution, which makes it a few pixels short of full HD capacity.

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Probably more interesting to some folks is the second device. The Slate 6 Voice Tab, as the name suggests, is a 6-inch tablet with voice support. While ASUS has a similar tablet with voice capabilities in its 7-inch Fonepad 7, the size of HP’s device lumps its more with phablets, just like the gigantic Samsung Galaxy Mega. The Slate 6 Voice Tab won’t be powered by a Tegra but will instead be sporting a 1 GHz quad-core Marvell processor and a Vivante GC1000 GPU. It’s screen resolution is also limited to 1212×720. The specs seem to indicate that HP is intending this tablet for a slightly mid- to low-range market.

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Neither of the tablets will be running the latest Android release, with the HP Browser 10 x2 running Android 4.3 and the HP Slate 6 Voice Tab having an even older Android 4.2. That said, at the moment these are still temporary figures and speculation that could very well change, or may never even get released at all.

SOURCE: GFXBench (HP Browser 10 x2), (HP Slate 6 Voice Tab)
VIA: The Droid Guy