Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs HTC One Max: Sumo Showdown


WhistleOut
13 December 2013

The smartphone world is now split into two major sections: those who love huge phones and those who hate them. If you belong in the former category, then this article is for you.

Today, we’ll take a look at two of the biggest phones in the market and see whether we can pin down on which your money would be best spent. Samsung is now in its third year of making over-sized models, while this is HTC’s largest phone to date.

Click here to compare plans for both phones

Display

  • Type: Super AMOLED
  • Screen Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Screen Size: 5.7 inch (14.5 cm)
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Type: Super LCD3
  • Screen Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Screen Size: 4.7 inch (11.9 cm)
  • Touchscreen: Yes

Camera

  • Resolution: 13 megapixels
  • 3D Resolution: -
  • Flash Type: LED
  • Optical Zoom: -
  • Digital Zoom: -
  • Video Camera: 2160p @ 30fps
  • Resolution: 4 megapixels
  • 3D Resolution: -
  • Flash Type: LED
  • Optical Zoom: -
  • Digital Zoom: -
  • Video Camera: 1080p

Memory

  • RAM: 3GB
  • Internal: 32GB
  • Expandable: Up to 64GB
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Internal: 16GB
  • Expandable: Up to 64GB

Physical Attributes

  • Form Factor: Slate
  • Width: 79.2 mm
  • Height: 151.2 mm
  • Thickness: 8.3 mm
  • Weight: 168 grams
  • Accelerometer: Yes
  • Gyro: Yes
  • Form Factor: Slate
  • Width: 82.5 mm
  • Height: 164.5 mm
  • Thickness: 10.3 mm
  • Weight: 217 grams
  • Accelerometer: Yes
  • Gyro: Yes

Connectivity

  • Main Connectivity: 4G LTE
  • Maximum Data Speed: 100Mbps
  • Quadband: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • USB: microUSB 3.0
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • NetxG Capable: No
  • Telstra Blue Tick: No
  • Networks: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900
  • Data Networks: LTE 700, 2100, HSDPA 850, 900, 1900, 2100
  • Main Connectivity: 4G LTE
  • Maximum Data Speed: 100Mbps
  • Quadband: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • USB: 2.0
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • NetxG Capable: Yes
  • Telstra Blue Tick: No
  • Networks: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900
  • Data Networks: LTE: Market Dependent, HSDPA 850, 900, 1900, 2100

General

  • GPS: Yes
  • MP3 Ringtones: Yes
  • Battery (2G Talk): Up to 16 hours
  • Battery (Standby): Up to 37 days 2 hours
  • App Store: Google Play
  • Processor Type: Quad-core 2.3GHz
  • Operating System: Android
  • GPS: Yes
  • MP3 Ringtones: Yes
  • Battery (2G Talk): Up to 1 day 1 hour
  • Battery (Standby): Up to 24 days 9 hours
  • App Store: Google Play
  • Processor Type: Quad-core 1.7GHz
  • Operating System: Android

Don’t be fooled by what you see above. The HTC One Max may have slightly inferior hardware to the Note 3, but you could never tell by using them. The One Max feels as fast and powerful as any phone we’ve used this year.

Both have amazing displays too, which is important given how large they are. These screens are the draw cards for both handsets, and they are both stunning to look at and use.

Big for big-ness sake

One of the key things we want to see from any manufacturer making phone in this size is added functionality that takes advantage of the extra space. Having bigger phones comes with a number of sacrifices, so it is up to the manufacturer to make it worth our while.

Samsung does a great job with its S-Pen stylus. With each iteration in the Note line Samsung has improved the functionality and the accuracy of the S-Pen so that it is now at a point where there is a lot that can be achieved with the stylus that you can’t do as easily with a finger.

Visual artists can get a lot of good use out of the S-Pen note taking software, and for those of us who struggle with pencil and paper, there is a few new tricks, like converting handwritten phone numbers to phone calls, that make it worth while too.

HTC hasn’t put the same effort into making the One Max different from its smaller phones in meaningful ways. A large screen has its own utility, sure, but we would really like to see something unique about the One Max — and its just not there.

Photos

One thing that both of these phones do quite well is take photographs, but it is definitely Samsung's phone that takes the better shots.

A decent daytime photo taken with the HTC One Max

The Note 3 handles some difficult lighting conditions quite well.

The Note 3 takes great photos at most times of the day, while we found the One Max needs optimal lighting conditions to capture amazing pics. This is not an uncommon criticism of smartphone cameras, but it does make choosing the best camera easy when comparing these models.

And the winner is...

There isn't one area in this contest where the Galaxy Note 3 isn't slightly better. It is more compact, it comes with functionality specific to its size and it takes better photos.

The only elements where the One Max could be better are the parts that are common to all HTC phones. The user experience has a more attractive design, for example, or the look and feel of the brushed aluminium body.

But if you like those part in the One Max, we think you will love them in the smaller HTC One. It really is exactly the same phone, but easier to use.


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