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The widely anticipated “phablet” sized version of the popular HTC One smartphone has been announced by the Taiwanese handset manufacturer. HTC was widely expected to launch the phone a day later than it did, but thanks to extensive leaks online the announcement was brought forward by a day.

The HTC One Max is a substantial phone with a screen coming in at 5.9 inches. This is larger than even the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 which is 5.7 inches, but smaller than some other phones such as the 6.3 inch Samsung Galaxy Mega.

Like the recently announced Apple iPhone 5s the phone comes with a fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner isn’t quite as innovative as the one of the iPhone 5s as it is just on the rear of the phone rather than replacing the home button. Similar rear fingerprint scanners have appeared in phones before such as the Motorola Atrix, but in that particular phone problems were encountered with its reliability. HTC hope that the One Max fingerprint scanner will prove as reliable as the iPhone 5s version.

HTC have struggled recently despite putting out great products. The HTC One, which this is based on, was released this year at a similar time to the Samsung Galaxy S4, but struggled to gain the media attention or sales that the S4 achieved. It did enjoy widespread praise from the mobile and tech press though, and many believe it is a better all round device than the Samsung Galaxy S4. Whether the HTC One Max will receive similar praise in comparison with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is yet to be seen, but HTC have less experience in the “phablet” sector than rival Samsung.

The screen on the device is Full HD 1080p, which given the size is necessary for the display to look decent. The processor is somewhat surprisingly an older chip, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7GHz. Qualcomm have since released a more recent series called Snapdragon 800 which offers 2.3GHz quad-core chips, so in this regard the HTC One Max is somewhat behind the times. The handset also features 2GB of RAM – decent, but not as high the only 3GB phone, which happens to be its main competitor the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Storage is either 16GB or 32GB, but a microSD card slot is included giving an extra 64 GB if a card is inserted. The phone can of course connect to 4G LTE, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth 4 and has all the usual sensors.

The camera can take Full HD video and even record in HDR, and the flash offers five automatically adjusting levels. The aperture is incredibly low (which is a good thing) at f/2.0 and the camera runs on an excellent HTC chip which beats rivals in low light situations (as HTC points out regularly in their advertising). There’s also a front facing camera that can also take Full HD video, which makes it perfect for video calling.

If you want to get hold of this HTC One Max the good news is that it will be available towards the end of this month. Pricing will be in line with other premium handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 at around £600 without a contract.

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