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HTC One Max - Making a Splash (Updated)
By Sidney Wong - 18 Oct 2013
Launch SRP: S$1028

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean & HTC Sense 5.5

Android 4.3 and Sense 5.5

The One Max is the second non-Nexus/non-Google Play Edition device to run Android 4.3 after the Galaxy Note 3. As with most Android devices, the One Max runs the latest Sense 5.5 on top of the stock Android interface. Sense 5.5 brings some notable new features such as:

  • The option to turn off BlinkFeed 
  • Custom tabs in BlinkFeed 
  • New content in BlinkFeed
  • Offline viewing in BlinkFeed
  • Ability to rearrange Quick Settings 
  • Dual-capture and Panorama+ in Camera app
  • Emoticons in the HTC keyboard 



Like it or hate it, BlinkFeed is here to stay. If you belong to the group of consumers who dislike BlinkFeed, HTC now adds an option for you to disable BlinkFeed. Previously, users cannot disable or remove BlinkFeed and have to install a third-party launcher. As BlinkFeed is a key element of the Sense experience, HTC has refined it to be more useful for its users. 

You can now swipe from the left to access the settings for BlinkFeed. Previously, you need to access the settings from the top. Google+ and Instagram are now integrated into BlinkFeed. Instagram, by default, is already integrated in BlinkFeed on the Butterfly S. An OTA update has brought similar integration to the One. HTC adds new categories to BlinkFeed.

HTC also allows you to personalize the content on BlinkFeed by offering the ability to set up custom topics. You can basically search for any term and BlinkFeed will show you a list of results related to your search term. 

If none of the categories provided by HTC suits you, you can now search for custom topics in BlinkFeed.

Taking a leaf out of Pocket's books, HTC adds offline viewing for its content on BlinkFeed. According to HTC, users can download up to 120 articles for offline viewing on the One Max. Each article you read on BlinkFeed will have two options at the bottom: Read Later or Share. Tap on the "Read Later" option to save it to HTC Reading List or Evernote.

You can now download up to120 articles on BlinkFeed for offline viewing.


Reorganizing Quick Settings

First seen in the HTC Butterfly S, Quick Settings can be accessed either with a two-finger swipe down on any home screen (including the lock screen) or a swipe down followed by a tap on the Quick Settings icon on the top right corner of the screen. 

With the One Max, you can now reorganize the Quick Settings according to your preferences. As you are limited to 12 Quick Settings, it is recommended to choose the 12 most frequently accessed apps or settings. By default, fingerprint scan and Do Not Disturb mode are included in the 12 Quick Settings.

You can now reorganize Quick Settings on the HTC One Max to better serve your needs.


Emoticons in HTC Keyboard

The HTC keyboard comes preloaded with emoticons.

With Sense 5.5, HTC has preloaded emoticons in its keyboard for users to insert in text messages and emails. If you recall, LG boasted about it being the first to implement in an Android smartphone with their Optimus G Pro. As mentioned before, there are already several third party keyboards such as Go Keyboard that have support for Emoji.

If the emoticons look familiar, they are actually inspired from the stock emoticons in WhatsApp. Users who message a lot and go beyond simple text will appreciate this feature as they don't need to install a third-party keyboard to enjoy these perks.


Lack of One-Handed Operation Features

For a device of its class, it's odd that HTC did not add one-handed operation features for the One Max. Competing phablets offer one-handed feature in unlocking, dial pad, keyboard and calculator. We find the lack of one-handed operation features a tad disappointing since users have no choice but to make do with the standard layout. This simply means more effort on your part as you try to tackle the device one-handed or even use it two-handed.

  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • User-Friendliness 7.5
  • Performance 9
  • Value 8
The Good
Solid design and build
Great display
Excellent speakers
Good battery performance
The Bad
Bulky form factor
Unconventional two-button layout
lmaging is middling due to 4MP sensor
Camera lacks OIS
Software features not optimized for big screen
Fingerprint scanner poorly implemented
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