HTC Launches One Max Smartphone, Fingerprint Sensor Garners Negative Reviews

HTC today unveiled its newest device, the HTC One max, a 5.9-inch smartphone that includes a dedicated fingerprint sensor. Unlike the convenient home button location of the fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5s, the One max’s sensor is located on the back of the device, near the camera.

The sensor is activated via a swipe and can be programmed to recognize three different fingers. Each finger can be tied to a different function, allowing quick access to frequently used apps. One finger, for example, can unlock the phone, while another might open up the camera.

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While that sounds useful in theory, reviews of the HTC One max have likened its fingerprint sensor to little more than a gimmick. While the iPhone 5s received rave reviews for the Touch ID’s utility and ease of use, the One max fingerprint sensor appears to be less functional due to its location and the need to wake the phone from sleep before use. The Verge has a detailed review of the feature, calling it an "exercise in frustration."

Firstly, it's placed in exactly the wrong place. Sitting immediately below the camera lens and requiring a swipe, it pretty much compels you to smudge the lens every time you want to identify yourself. The need for a vertical swipe is also problematic, since your hand’s natural position is at an angle to the sensor, demanding an unnatural and uncomfortable motion to activate it. Inevitably, that leads to regular failures to recognize your epidermic signature.

Equally enervating is the fact that you have to wake the One max from sleep before swiping to unlock it. The whole point of these fingerprint sensors is to speed up security processes, not make them more finicky, and that’s exactly where the HTC One max fails. There's plenty of potential here, as you can enroll up to three different fingers and assign each an app to launch, but that only works from the lock screen — why not universally? As it is, the fingerprint scanner implementation here is clumsy, awkward, and comfortably in line with the long history of failed attempts at making this technology work.

Pocket-lint agrees, noting the difficulty in using the fingerprint scanner without swiping the camera lens.

But it's irritating that you have to press the standby button before you can swipe to unlock the phone, so it's a two-stage process and we'd much rather it was one.

Much as we hate to say it, the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S is much better when it comes to unlocking: you press the button, it scans, and you're in. It's one process. On the HTC One max, we suspect that some will find it fiddly from the off, and disable the feature in favour of regular on-screen security.

In addition to a finger print sensor, the One max features a 1.7Ghz quad-core processor, a 1080p display, 16 to 32GB of expandable storage, a 4-megapixel UltraPixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture, and a 3300 mAh battery for up to 25 hours of talk time.

The smartphone will be available on Sprint and Verizon later in October.

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Top Rated Comments

KentuckyApple Avatar
139 months ago
"Much as we hate to say it, the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S is much better when it comes to unlocking"

Man, people just want to hate Apple for the sake of hating.
Score: 73 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xNYMetsx Avatar
139 months ago
Another crap Android ripoff. I'm surprised Samsung wasn't first to the show.
Score: 73 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DIRSGT Avatar
139 months ago

I would like to point out that you also have to wake the iPhone before using the scanner, making that part of the argument rather moot.

But with Apple's implementation it is a seamless step as you push the button in activating the phone at the same time scanning your finger. HTC's implementation as I read it, is a separate motion; thus, it is an actual extra step.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
musika Avatar
139 months ago
That's a terrible place to put the sensor.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
croooow Avatar
139 months ago
That was fast (less than a month)

Apple does not always do things first (finger print scanner has been on a mobile phone before) but they seem to be able to do things correctly (or pretty damn close) first.

Other than the fingerprint sensor, the phone looks pretty cool! 6" screen seems a bit too large for a phone.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rcjh22 Avatar
139 months ago
Here comes the rush from other companies to match Apple but make an inferior product.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)