HTC One max Review - It's Hugeby Brian Klug on October 28, 2013 10:00 AM EST
Cellular on the One max is pretty much the same story as the One, and another shared bullet point. The top and bottom metal cutouts are still the radiative surfaces of the antenna, and there’s still transmit and receive diversity as well to mitigate any unwarranted antenna detuning from holding the device. The unit I was sampled has LTE banding for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), but there’s appropriate banding for Asia, Sprint (a tri-mode device with 800/1900 MHz and TDD-LTE on 2600 MHz) and Verizon (700 MHz and AWS), according to the HTC specs page.
The baseband inside the One max is again shared with the One (Qualcomm’s 2nd generation multimode LTE MDM9x15 family), although the One max does have a bit more band support for the USA LTE on Sprint and Verizon, so the front ends are different.
Interestingly enough with the One max we see HTC going to Qualcomm Atheros for the WLAN and BT combo, best I can tell this is the WCN3680 which is probably a bit cheaper to include than the BCM4335 we saw in the One. It’s still a single spatial stream 802.11ac capable part, meaning a PHY rate of up to 433 Mbps if you’re in the right channel conditions with 80 MHz channels on 5 GHz. The WCN3680 combo is the 802.11ac successor to WCN3660 which we saw in a number of phones last generation, and is accelerated by the SoC. WCN3680 also does BT 4.0, and FM Rx/Tx if applicable.
To test throughput on the One max I used iPerf the same way I have for a while now. Subjectively there are no complaints from me about WLAN connectivity on the One max, no random dropouts or issues, and Sense 5.5 thankfully still includes the WiFi frequency band manual selection option.
I saw the WCN3680 solution inside Moto X already, it’s interesting to see it in the One max. I believe the One mini uses its 802.11n cousin, WCN3660 as well, probably again for cost reasons.
Although Beats is gone since that partnership has ended as of the One max, the device still seems to retain everything that made it sound great. There are still the larger-than-typical speaker chambers, big speaker grilles on the top and bottom, stereo sound, and importantly the TFA9887 speaker amplifier and protection part from NXP. In addition there’s still the TPA6185 headphone amplifier as well.
Beats always seemed to be an audio compressor that ran on the DSP, ostensibly through the Hexagon DSP access program or something, and that’s what’s absent on the One max. There’s no toggle under settings for enabling or disabling it, nor the Beats branding, but to be honest I almost always disabled Beats on the One anyways since it was a fair amount louder with it disabled. What made the One great was all the hardware behind the speakers, not so much the software compressor.
The One max goes plenty loud just like the original One. I went ahead and added the One mini and 5s to the chart too, just to check whether things have changed much, in addition to the Galaxy S 4 and Note 3. The One max basically performs like the One with Beats turned off, which isn’t a surprise since it isn’t there anymore. There’s also no detectable saturation, and the One line remains the only device that doesn’t sound tinny or rattly with overemphasized highs and lacking mids. I suspect the A weighting I selected a while ago for measuring might be a contributing factor as well. Either way you’re not going to be wanting for more loudness on the One max, and the inclusion of front firing stereo speakers makes for a completely different listening experience.