The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the HTC One Max are two of the largest smartphones available in the U.S. on a major carrier and for users that want a large screen both of these smartphones appear to be a good option, but there are enough differences that buyers need to know about before purchasing either of these phones.
Samsung pioneered the big screen smartphone space with the Galaxy Note series, convincing iPhone and other owners that a big screen is not only usable, but advantageous on a smartphone. As the name implies, the Galaxy Note 3 is the third generation of the Note series and it brings with it a lot of lessons learned about the usability of a large smartphone as well as a S Pen.
HTC is stepping in to the large smartphone arena with the HTC One Max which the company calls the HTC smartphone tablet. HTC does not include many of the features that take advantage of the large screen of the Note 3, which hinders the user experience.
For users looking to use the HTC One Max or the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as a smartphone and a tablet in one package, it is possible but there are ultimately some concessions to make.
Read on for a look at what buyers need to know about the HTC One Max and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 before signing a two year contract.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs HTC One Max (Video)
The Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One Max both feature large screens and customized software to differentiate from stock Android. Here is a quick look at two of the largest smartphones on U.S. carriers.
Galaxy Note 3 vs HTC One Max Design
HTC and Samsung take different approaches to smartphone design. HTC prefers a curved metal design with a premium feel while Samsung opts for thinner plastic or faux leather materials that don’t offer as much of a premium feel. But, premium materials only go so far when the smartphone becomes too large.
HTC keeps the metal material and the overall design of the HTC One, but allows users to remove the back of the HTC One for access to the SIM card slot and to a Micro SD card slot to expand storage. Samsung keeps the removable back for access to the SIM card and Micro SD card slots and one-ups HTC with a removable battery.
In terms of size, the HTC One Max is clearly bigger than the Galaxy Note 2, thanks in part to the BoomSound front-facing speakers which take up room on the front bezel. Combined with the larger screen these make the HTC One Max 13mm taller and 3mm wider than the Galaxy Note 3.
- HTC One Max - 164.5 x 82.5 x 10.3 mm – 7.65 oz
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm – 5.93 oz
The HTC One is also 2mm thicker than the Galaxy Note 3 thanks to a rounded back design. While it is thicker the curved back does help users hold on to the HTC One Max. Topping it all off, the HTC One Max is about 2 ounces heavier.
Despite the thinner size the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is also able to squeeze in a S Pen, which is a small stylus that allows users to quickly take notes and to control the Note 3. HTC does not include a stylus of any kind on the HTC One Max and while users can buy a third party stylus like they do with the iPhone or iPad, it will not deliver the same experience as the Galaxy Note 3′s smart stylus.
After using both of these smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is usable and delivers many advantages thanks to the software, the S Pen and a overall reasonable size. The HTC One Max offers premium construction but without an S Pen and thanks to the larger size, it is not nearly as appealing as the Galaxy Note 3.
Galaxy Note 3 vs HTC One Max Display
Both of these smartphones offer a large display that is perfect for watching movies, reading ebooks and surfing the web on a nearly tablet six display.
The HTC One Max display measures 5.9-inches diagonally compared to the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 display. The extra 0.2-inch size difference means a larger overall phone and a slightly lower pixel per inch count as both phones use the same 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Both of these displays look good, but ultimately the Galaxy Note 3 display is better for most users thanks to optimized software and the S Pen.
Galaxy Note 3 vs HTC One Max Software
HTC and Samsung both add to the Android software, but Samsung goes further than HTC when it comes to these large screen smartphones. Samsung adds special features to take advantage of the S Pen and the large screen, while it feels like HTC simply installed the same HTC Sense software it introduced on the HTC One with no optimization for a larger screen.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 software allows users to open two programs at once to multitask in two apps at the same time, as well as features an Pen window mode to quickly open a window overtop of another app. These apps allow users to make better use of a large screen, while the HTC One Max does not let users put two apps on the screen at once. I use the multi-window mode on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 significantly to chat and look at a web page or to perform other multi tasking options that are simply not available on the One Max.
The HTC One Max also lacks any one-handed use modes like the Galaxy Note 3. Samsung lets users shrink the entire on screen display area to about the size of an iPhone display for one-handed use. Alternately users can shift the keyboard, dialer and lock screen pass code entry to the right or left for easier one-handed operation on the Galaxy Note 3.
The HTC One Max comes with potential, but without the special software to make use of the larger screen the Galaxy Note 3 is ultimately a better device.
When it comes down to buying the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or the HTC One Max, features differentiate the Galaxy Note 3 enough that even with occasional $50 differences in price at third-party sellers the Galaxy Note 3 remains a better option for most buyers.