HTC One Max: Mammoth Screen Meets Awkwardly Placed Fingerprint Reader

PHOTO: The HTC One Max has a large 5.9-inch, 1080p screen and a fingerprint reader.

It's a bad day for pockets.

On the heels of Microsoft announcing Windows Phone support for bigger-screened phones or phablets, HTC has unveiled its mammoth HTC One Max with a 5.9-inch screen that is sure to stretch hands and pockets everywhere.

The phone, like the Apple's iPhone 5s, also has a fingerprint reader, though it is positioned on the back of the device.

But the first thing you are going to notice about this phone is just how massive it is. Measuring 6.5 x 3.2 x 0.4 inches, the phone's 5.9-inch, 1080p display provides a heck of a lot more space to read webpages and watch YouTube videos than 4- to 4.5-inch phones. Running Android 4.3, HTC has kept the software from its popular HTC One intact, though it has included some new camera features, including a GIF-maker capability that allows you to turn quick clips into animated photos.

The aluminum-clad phone is powered by a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2 GB of RAM and a has the same Ultrapixel camera as the HTC One.

The fingerprint sensor on the device is unique to this HTC device, though. Positioned on the back, HTC said it is easy to swipe your index finger on the back after you hit the power button on the right edge of the phone with your thumb. (That is, if you are a righty.) However, unlike Apple's TouchID in the home button that just requires a basic tap, you have to swipe your finger quite slow for it to log you in.

When I tested the reader out on a pre-production unit it took a few tries to get logged in and because my hands are on the smaller side it was hard for me to then maneuver to then start using the phone with just one hand.

"It is easier to carry than a tablet and you have the benefits of cellular."

The fingerprint sensor does have an added trick though: you can configure up to three fingers to launch different things. For instance, your index finger can unlock the phone, your middle finger can launch one app, say Twitter, and then your thumb can unlock another, say Facebook. Tom Harlin, HTC's director of public relations for the U.S., said that the sensor is more of a convenience feature than a security one.

But while the size of the phone might seem a bit awkward to accommodate the feature, HTC said the market for growing phones is itself growing.

"It is easier to carry than a tablet and you have the benefits of cellular," Harlin said.

Samsung's Galaxy Note, which has a 5.9-inch display, has grown to be one of the company's most popular phones and in April it also released its 6.3-inch Mega phone. Nokia is also set to release a 6-inch Lumia 1520 next week. Apple has also been rumored to be testing larger iPhones.

"It's been a trend on the rise in Europe and Asia," Harlin said. "I think it's a trend that will happen in the U.S."

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