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HTC’s One Max includes a huge 5.9-inch 1080p display and a quirky fingerprint scanner (hands-on)

After months of rumours, the HTC One Max is finally officially. And as expected, it’s a big HTC One.

The design shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. After all, this is just an enlarged version of HTC’s original flagship. There are some subtle changes, though. Like the One Mini, the frame around the handset is plastic rather than chamfered metal.

At least HTC has found a nice middle ground with the power and volume buttons. While they’re not as nice as the vanilla One, they’re much better than the plastic nubs found on the One Mini. HTC has used a similar brushed aluminium, although the size, shape, and feel isn’t consistent with the original One.

Naturally, the backplate is entirely aluminium. It’s also removable: underneath you’ll find a sealed 3,300mAh battery, along with a microSIM slot and a microSD card slot, good for cards up to 64GB. Other specifications include a 5.9-inch 1080p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, and the same UltraPixel camera as the One – minus optical image stabilization, unfortunately.

It’s disappointing to lose OIS on what should be a flagship handset, but for whatever reason HTC has decided to replace that feature with a fingerprint scanner instead. And it’s not a good scanner either. Just from brief testing, we found it to be unreliable, although the One Max we currently have isn’t a final retail unit. Still, even using it is unintuitive. You don’t hold a finger down like you would on the iPhone 5S. Instead, you’re supposed to swipe your finger across, with different fingers triggering different apps. That’s the theory, anyway.

HTC will also release a case design explicitly for the One Max. While that doesn’t sound too exciting, the included 1,200mAh battery may appeal to those who need portable power. It’s a more elegant solution than carrying around a USB battery or Mophie pack, but the case itself leaves a lot to be desired. Our prototype unit doesn’t fully cover the One Max’s screen, and it adds extra bulk to an already thick handset.

There’s no word on what the One Max will cost just yet, but HTC says that it will be available for purchase before the month is out. We’ll be bringing you a full review shortly.

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