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HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

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Camera


The One max inherits the 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” camera that HTC first launched in the One earlier in the year whereas the Galaxy Note 3 receives a 13-megapixel shooter similar to that in the Galaxy S4. The One max camera comes with a wide f/2.0 aperture as opposed to a slightly narrower f/2.2 on the Note 3. The sensor size on the One max is 1/3" in size compared to 1/3.06” on the Note 3, resulting in 2.0 micron pixel size for the One max vs 1.12 microns for the Note 3.

Firing up the camera app is quick on both devices and the time from a cold start to actually capturing an image is low on both. There are dedicated video and image still buttons, large and easy to press and we find this convenient as well so you can start shooting or recording right away. Both applications support plentiful manual settings that you can adjust, but we like Samsung’s approach better as it also has pre-defined shooting modes that are self-explanatory and useful. HTC lacks that, but has live filters that you can use to spice up the look of your images without going to Instagram or an app like that.

Camera interface of the HTC One max - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera interface of the HTC One max - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera interface of the HTC One max - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera interface of the HTC One max - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

When it comes to the actual image quality there is a quite stark difference. The Galaxy Note 3 is a leap ahead of the One max as images shot on its 13-megapixel camera come out with good color accuracy and great amount of detail. The 4-megapixel stills from the HTC One max in contrast tend to have a bluish undertone and lack in detail, but are still usable for social sharing.

In low-light situations the difference is even wider as the Note 3 is able to keep noise in check, retain good colors and its built-in flash lights up scenes fairly evenly, while the One max captures even colder images that look a bit zombified colors and picks up a lot of noise.





In video, both record at up to 1080p at 30 frames per second. The situation is more or less the same - the Note 3 shines with smooth footage that is also sharp and with pleasing colors, whereas the HTC One max is a bit of a disappointment with its lack of detail and colder than we’d like tones. In night time, though, when light is extremely scant, the One max shines and it is capable of capturing usable videos at clubs and concerts where other phones like the Note 3 don’t fare all that well. Sound recording quality is also much better on the One max, and that’s a plus.


Both phones feature basic 2-megapixel front facing cameras that will be mostly used for video conferencing and the occasional selfie. We like the front shooter on the Note 3 better as it captures sharper images with better pronounced detail whereas the One max front shots turn out a bit blurry.

Multimedia


The HTC One max and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are two devices made for media consumption. The large and gorgeous displays are great for watching video and images on the go.

The image gallery on the Note 3 is well optimized for the large screen real estate and is separated in two columns which is nice. The One max however has a unique and cool feature and that’s the automatic highlights reel - a short movie that the handset makes adding music, transitions and effects to all the photos and videos you’ve taken throughout the day.

The one on the Note 3 supports all popular codecs like MKV, Xvid and DivX, so you won’t have a trouble transferring and playing back videos on it. The One max also plays most codecs, but has no support for DivX. There is an easy fix for that, though – it takes just a quick visit to the Play Store and a free download of an app like MX Player.

HTC One max - Video player - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Video player - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Video player - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

HTC One max

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

 

For audio, there are two applications on each handset, a custom one built by the company and Google Play music. We tend to like the Samsung music player a bit better than HTC's one for its easier navigation and tons of manual settings, and equalizer with presets and the option for manual tweaks. It's worth mentioning that the One max is the first HTC device to ship without Beats Audio, which previously acted as an equalizer preset boosting the bass. Otherwise, both music player are nearly identical - dividing and categorizing your music, and both support per-folder view of your music collection. There is also the Google Play Music service on both that hooks to Google’s ecosystem for buying and streaming music and it’s also a welcome option. Listening to music via the loudspeakers is a much more rewarding experience on the One max. It features stereo speakers on the front, louder than most any other smartphone out there and it outputs clearer and fuller sound than the quieter and tinnier speaker located on the bottom of the Note 3.

Music player of the HTC One max - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Music player of the HTC One max - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Music player of the HTC One max - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Music player of the HTC One max - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Music player of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Music player of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Music player of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - HTC One max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

It’s worth making it clear that while the Note 3 features a built-in S Pen, the HTC One max does not have a bundled stylus. Is that a huge downside? It really depends on what type of user are you. If you like sketching or hand-writing on your device, the Note 3 is perfectly optimized for all that not just because of the S Pen, but because of all the software that automatically fires when you take the pen out and is generally very well tailored to artists’ needs. The One max of course will also work with separately purchased styli however it does not have that app support. For people who don’t draw much, the S Pen is more of a fun accessory that you’d rarely need to use, but might take it out every once in a while for the pure fun of playing around with it.


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