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Summary:

Need a really big phone? The HTC One Max fits the bill even if it doesn’t fit in your pocket; but is it better than its little brother? Not necessarily. The Moto G is coming this week and Google is improving the Android camera API.

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Got big pockets? If so, the HTC One Max might appeal thanks to its 5.9-inch display. Of course, there’s more to the Android-powered One Max than the 1080p screen; the entire phone measures 6.47 by 3.24 by 0.40 inches and weighs 7.65 ounces.

HTC One Max display

My colleague Alex Colon reviewed the phone, which at first glance, looks like a super-sized version of the popular HTC One. That may not be a good thing however because the extra size of the One Max seems to add little value:

“The problem is, HTC doesn’t really offer much in the way to do with all that additional display. Don’t get me wrong, watching Netflix and YouTube here is glorious. When you factor in the phone’s ‘BoomSound’ front-facing speakers – which rival some of the portable speaker options I’ve heard – it is clear that the One Max is a multimedia machine. But Samsung went the extra mile to prove a bigger display isn’t just a gimmick. True to its name, the Galaxy Note 3 features a useful built-in stylus for drawing and taking notes, and Samsung’s multi-tasking features allow you to open up more than one app on the screen at once. That’s genuine utility. The One Max simply makes everything larger.”

I like the HTC One, but spending a little time with its newest phone, I think HTC missed an opportunity with the One Max. I would have rather seen, for example, a better camera sensor in lieu of the limited use fingerprint sensor.

A smaller and much less expensive handset that some may consider is the Moto G. The smartphone, available for as little as $179 without a contract, begins shipping in the U.S. early next week and can be ordered directly or through Amazon. Although I’m not in the target audience for the handset due to its lack of LTE and a few unique features — I use a Moto X with its touchless controls — the handset should appeal to pre-paid customers in the U.S. as well as consumers in many markets around the world.

moto g shell

I’ll be curious to see how the 5 megapixel camera on the Moto G fares, considering the Moto X initially had some image issues which were addressed through a software update. Regardless, all Android phones may be getting some camera improvements.

This week, Google announced a new camera API for Android that apps can take advantage of, including RAW image support and burst mode. This could also improve HDR mode as Google said apps using the new API will “have the power to queue up a request to take multiple shots each with different parameter settings such as exposure gain. The camera subsystem captures a the burst of shots, which can be subsequently post-processed by the application layer.”

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