Mobile Technology

HTC One max vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

HTC One max vs. Samsung Galaxy...
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the HTC One max and Galaxy Note 3 phablets
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the HTC One max and Galaxy Note 3 phablets
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The One max has a bit more capacity, but we'll have to wait to see how its actual battery life stacks up
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The One max has a bit more capacity, but we'll have to wait to see how its actual battery life stacks up
It's aluminum vs. pleather
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It's aluminum vs. pleather
The Note 3's camera wins on paper, but the One's superior low-light photography could potentially give it the victory in actual use
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The Note 3's camera wins on paper, but the One's superior low-light photography could potentially give it the victory in actual use
The Note 3 has the faster processor, no matter which version you get
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The Note 3 has the faster processor, no matter which version you get
The One max makes a huge phone look not-so huge
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The One max makes a huge phone look not-so huge
The One max's screen is seven percent larger
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The One max's screen is seven percent larger
The One max has a fingerprint sensor on its back, but don't expect an experience as smooth as Apple's Touch ID
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The One max has a fingerprint sensor on its back, but don't expect an experience as smooth as Apple's Touch ID
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the HTC One max and Galaxy Note 3 phablets
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Gizmag compares the features and specs of the HTC One max and Galaxy Note 3 phablets
Both phablets have infrared blasters, so you can use them as makeshift remote controls for your TV
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Both phablets have infrared blasters, so you can use them as makeshift remote controls for your TV
Both devices support speedy LTE mobile data
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Both devices support speedy LTE mobile data
Each also has an NFC chip tucked inside
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Each also has an NFC chip tucked inside
The Note 3 has an absurd (at least for a mobile device) 3 GB of RAM
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The Note 3 has an absurd (at least for a mobile device) 3 GB of RAM
Only the Note 3 has an official companion smartwatch (the Galaxy Gear), but the One max is still compatible with rivals like the Pebble and Sony SW2
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Only the Note 3 has an official companion smartwatch (the Galaxy Gear), but the One max is still compatible with rivals like the Pebble and Sony SW2
Both devices run the latest version of Android
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Both devices run the latest version of Android
HTC threw a microSD card into the One max, something we haven't seen much of from the Taiwanese company of late
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HTC threw a microSD card into the One max, something we haven't seen much of from the Taiwanese company of late
The Note 3's integrated stylus input is one of the biggest reasons to throw down for the phablet
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The Note 3's integrated stylus input is one of the biggest reasons to throw down for the phablet
The One max is quite a bit heavier: 29 percent, to be exact
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The One max is quite a bit heavier: 29 percent, to be exact
Color options for HTC's and Samsung's marquee phablets
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Color options for HTC's and Samsung's marquee phablets

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.

Size

The One max makes a huge phone look not-so huge
The One max makes a huge phone look not-so huge

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.

Weight

The One max is quite a bit heavier: 29 percent, to be exact
The One max is quite a bit heavier: 29 percent, to be exact

That extra size makes its presence felt in hand, as the One max is 29 percent heavier than the Note 3.

Build

It's aluminum vs. pleather
It's aluminum vs. pleather

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.

Colors

Color options for HTC's and Samsung's marquee phablets
Color options for HTC's and Samsung's marquee phablets

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.

Display

The One max's screen is seven percent larger
The One max's screen is seven percent larger

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.

Stylus

The Note 3's integrated stylus input is one of the biggest reasons to throw down for the phablet
The Note 3's integrated stylus input is one of the biggest reasons to throw down for the phablet

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.

Fingerprint sensor

The One max has a fingerprint sensor on its back, but don't expect an experience as smooth as Apple's Touch ID
The One max has a fingerprint sensor on its back, but don't expect an experience as smooth as Apple's Touch ID

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.

Processor

The Note 3 has the faster processor, no matter which version you get
The Note 3 has the faster processor, no matter which version you get

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.

RAM

The Note 3 has an absurd (at least for a mobile device) 3 GB of RAM
The Note 3 has an absurd (at least for a mobile device) 3 GB of RAM

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.

Storage

HTC threw a microSD card into the One max, something we haven't seen much of from the Taiwanese company of late
HTC threw a microSD card into the One max, something we haven't seen much of from the Taiwanese company of late

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.

Cameras

The Note 3's camera wins on paper, but the One's superior low-light photography could potentially give it the victory in actual use
The Note 3's camera wins on paper, but the One's superior low-light photography could potentially give it the victory in actual use

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.

LTE

Both devices support speedy LTE mobile data
Both devices support speedy LTE mobile data

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.

Battery

The One max has a bit more capacity, but we'll have to wait to see how its actual battery life stacks up
The One max has a bit more capacity, but we'll have to wait to see how its actual battery life stacks up

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.

NFC

Each also has an NFC chip tucked inside
Each also has an NFC chip tucked inside

Both devices have NFC chips, for things like local file transfers.

Companion smartwatch

Only the Note 3 has an official companion smartwatch (the Galaxy Gear), but the One max is still compatible with rivals like the Pebble and Sony SW2
Only the Note 3 has an official companion smartwatch (the Galaxy Gear), but the One max is still compatible with rivals like the Pebble and Sony SW2

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.

Infrared

Both phablets have infrared blasters, so you can use them as makeshift remote controls for your TV
Both phablets have infrared blasters, so you can use them as makeshift remote controls for your TV

Both phablets have IR blasters, so you can change TV channels to your heart's content (after pairing with your device, of course).

Software

Both devices run the latest version of Android
Both devices run the latest version of Android

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-up

HTC'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.

For more on the Note 3, you can check out our review and our comparisons of it to the GS4 and iPhone 5s.

4 comments
Nairda
The redeeming quality is it will be affordable and reliable with a very decent battery life.
uhane
Hi, Can you do a compare of the note 3 to the new sony phablet, please? That would be great.
Nik Kakolesha
..."it's little more than an HTC One with a thyroid condition".. ! This is funny, but it is the truth!. Big in size (bones only), no meat like in Note 3. How in the world ca HTC have a 4 MP camera in 2013 phone! It it is a shame.. I don't one that device. Sorry.
Excellency Neckbeard
Yeah, it's all about price. Is the one Max price competitive with a nexus 7?