First came the smartphones, then the tablets, and now the latest fad is "phablets" - devices that sit somewhere between oversized phones and undersized tablets.
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The latest phablet from Samsung, the Galaxy Note 3, has had tremendous success on the market, and now HTC is entering the scene with the HTC One Max.
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Can it stand up against the Note 3? Let's look at the specifics and find out.
When it comes to size, it all depends on whether you're more excited about the phone or the tablet part of the phablet. It makes a difference here, since the One Max is significantly larger and heavier than the Note 3. Samsung's device measures in at 5.95" x 3.12" x 0.33" with a weight of 5.93 oz, while the HTC is a whopping 6.48" x 3.25" x 0.41" and weighs 7.65 oz. If you're on the fence about whether to get a phablet versus a regular smartphone, you probably don't want to start off with the One Max. Its formidable size makes it fall much more solidly in the "tablet" category. If, however, you're looking more for a tablet that can call and text, the One Max's size won't throw you at all. Of course, the Max's 6" screen is a nice bonus when it comes to watching movies or reading text.
When it comes down to the numbers, the Note 3 easily wins this race, with its 2300 MHz processor and ridiculous amount of RAM - a full 3 GB - trumping the One Max's 1700 MHz processor and 2 GB of memory. In practical use, however, most will not notice the difference. The HTC One Max has enough memory and processing power to effortlessly handle the average user's workload. The Note 3 will be heavily discounted at Sprint Black Friday 2013 sale on November 29. Given the impressive specs, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a better buy for the holiday shopping.
The Galaxy Note 3 was designed to be used with a stylus and even ships with one. This makes it easier to accurately access what you want. The HTC One Max has chosen instead a touchscreen method. Will most people miss the stylus? Maybe not, unless they've gotten used to it on a Note. What the One Max does have that is unique is its fingerprint sensor. Taking its cue from the iPhone 5s, the sensor sits on the back of the device, allowing you to securely unlock your phone with just a touch of the finger, rather than inputting a passcode or something more time-consuming.
Both these devices are up-to-date with Android 4.3, the latest version of Google's Android operating system. Each phablet's manufacturer has put its own user interface on top of Android. Samsung's TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0 offers heavily-advertised features like S Pen functionality and Air Command, while HTC Sense 5.5 includes a feed reader on your homescreen and Zoes, a video clip recorder connected to the camera app.
Which Is Better?
The HTC One Max, in many ways, has just taken its popular HTC One phone and made it larger. The Galaxy Note 3 is more technologically innovative, has better specs, and better demonstrates why a phablet might be preferable to a smartphone. That's not to say the Note 3 is for everyone. The HTC One was an excellent phone and its larger counterpart has many of the same great qualities. If you're set on a phone-tablet combination, however, you can't beat the Note 3 for convenient phablet-centered features.
David Johnson loves to review gadgets and share money saving tips. He recommends buying a new smartphone during Sprint Black Friday sale to get the best price of the season.