The software side of the One max also changes slightly from the original HTC One. The One max launches running Android 4.3, which as of this writing is the newest version of Android available, although 4.4 KitKat is right on the horizon. In addition the version of HTC’s skin and software suite, Sense, is bumped up to 5.5. The biggest changes in Sense 5.5 are to Blinkfeed, HTC’s newsfeed and home screen replacement, and the computationally generated highlights reel videos. First off, blinkfeed gets improvements that now allow custom topics, RSS, and more control over what items appear. In addition there’s now support for both Instagram and Google+ accounts to surface stories in Blinkfeed. 


There’s also a read later feature in the highlights feed. Finally there’s also a way to disable Blinkfeed entirely, previously you could change the primary home screen to a widget panel, in Sense 5.5 this menu has been changed around to allow Blinkfeed to be disabled entirely.


A bunch of features that people originally wanted for the automatically generated highlights reel videos are now incorporated into Sense 5.5 as well. The gallery application it lives inside has been reorganized and is more intuitive now, albums and events views are now a pivot rather than drop down option, likewise the individual views beneath the are pivots. Video highlights now lives in its own pivot as well, and now has a simple picker for choosing what videos, Zoes, or photos the algorithm can select from. There are also more themes, which are entirely new, as well as the ability to select your own music. I’m told the highlights reel engine has been completely rewritten with better textures, film treatments, overlays, and dynamic editing. Subjectively I find the results of the new engine to be much better, where the previous highlights videos would always follow basically the same schedule, the new ones seem much more dynamic and won’t get tiresome nearly as fast.


Animated GIFs are all the rage right now, and HTC has chosen to capitalize on some of that with a GIF creator inside Sense 5.5. From the gallery’s edit menu animated GIFs can be created from continual shooting shots or Zoes.


The notification shade also gets a tweak, and the quick settings inside can now be customized. These settings tiles can now either be rearranged or disabled and swapped out for other ones. There is a simple picker for choosing the 12 you want to appear on the shade.

A new addition among these is a do not disturb function mode which can be toggled either here or from the sound menu. This does what you’d expect and silences incoming calls or notifications and prevents them from making sounds, vibrations, or activating the LED. Selected contacts can still cause a ring, and there’s also a timeout duration option.


A smaller but noteworthy change is that HTC no longer preinstalls Dropbox and gives free storage along with it. Instead of Dropbox, HTC has partnered with Google and gives 50 GB of bonus space with the One max.

There are a few other changes in the Sense 5.5 UI but I’ll get to those in the respective sections. The reality is that UI skins aren’t going away, but after spending a lot of time with Sense 5 I honestly never felt like it was distracting. I was able to live comfortably on the HTC One and One mini with Sense 5 just fine, 5.5 is a good refinement that continues to arguably look very good in a world of increasingly flat UI.

That Fingerprint Scanner Performance and Silicon
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  • ddriver - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    Doesn't seem to be doing well in its category (phablets that is) - considering devices already on the market and those soon to be launched, I'd guess the main selling point for this device will be brand loyalty. And people complained the note was too big...
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    The BoomSound speakers are much better than what the Note 3 puts out but you pay the price for them in extra height and possibly thickness. Also, HTC is pretty good at making the most of the battery capacity in which many of their phones have great standby times and good usage life.
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - link

    The price may make a difference. I was planning on buying a note 3, but went for the LG Optimus Pro G because it was $200 cheaper at $99, and almost the same size screen. If the HTC One Max is $199, it might sway some buyers. I probably would have bought it just for the speakers.
  • jshsimpson1 - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    you missed out on the note 3
  • Chaitanya - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    a small typo on 1st page. Battery aint 1210mah, its 3300mah I believe.
  • IanCutress - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    1210 mAh is the Power Flip battery. 3300 mAh is the phone battery.
  • MrCommunistGen - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    If you're talking about this line: "The battery isn’t huge, at 1210 mAh and 3.75V (4.53 watt-hours), but it does give a boost as I’ll show in the battery section." he's referring to a battery + flip cover case.
  • nerd1 - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    One MAX - 164.5*82.5*10.29mm 217g
    Galaxy note 3 - 151.2*79.2*8.3mm 168g

    I can understand the size but why that heavy and thick?
  • Johnmcl7 - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    I was surprised at the thickness/weight as well, the larger Z Ultra comes in a lot thinner and a bit lighter despite the fact it has a larger 6.44in screen and fully weather sealed:

    Sony Z Ultra - 179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm 212g
  • ShieTar - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    Both the Note 3 and the Z Ultra are dead flat though, while the One Max has a nice curvature on the back. Its surely a question of personal reference which you prefer, personally I like the curved body better than something thin and flat.

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