HTC One Max gets reviewed, does its fingerprint swiper rival Touch ID?

There was much hype around Apple's fingerprint scanner – given the more consumer friendly Touch ID moniker – but now another smartphone manufacturer has brought the technology to a new device. With the launch of the new – and enormous – HTC One Max, HTC has gone down a different path to Apple and brought some different functionality as well as some similar to Touch ID. Android Central's Alex Dobie:

As we mentioned — and as you can plainly see on the back of the device — the HTC One Max has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The scanner’s function is twofold — firstly, as a form of biometric security, to keep prying eyes away from your phone. Secondly, as a way to quickly launch apps when you’re unlocking the phone.

HTC, like Apple with Touch ID and the iPhone 5s, has had this in development for some time. Since both manufacturers have gone down different paths, it's interesting to compare the two. The two biggest immediate differences are that HTC has one of the older style swipe scanners on the One Max, and that it's on the rear of the phone.

The swipe scanner means operation will be different, and potentially less intuitive than Apple's implementation with Touch ID. While much of the functionality is similar between the two, Touch ID being built into the home button provides an advantage the One Max doesn't have. The home button is something iPhone owners touch multiple times a day. It's already a part of every day use, and as such using Touch ID is just as comfortable and convenient as going back to your homescreen. Putting the scanner on the back causes it's own issues on a device as large as the One Max:

For many people the Max will just be too large to make use of multiple fingers easily — it’s a one-handed feature on a two-handed phone. And even with one hand, the action of pressing the back of the phone is a little awkward, and eliminates the ability to easily check notifications when the phone is lying flat on a surface.

One thing I am impressed with though for sure is that the fingerprint scanner can be tied to quick launching of apps when you unlock the phone. I almost always go into my email app when I unlock the phone – especially since Touch ID is so damn fast I miss the notifications on the lockscreen – but I'd love to be able to have an option to auto-open this when I use my fingerprint. Specific use cases possibly, but an interesting touch from HTC.

One thing that isn't so clear, at least right now, is where HTC is storing the fingerprint information. With the iPhone 5s, the Touch ID information is stored in a secure portion of the A7 chip, where it remains safely away from everything else stored on the phone. Since HTC is using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, it's not so likely that the One Max is doing something similar. Will this draw any questioning, any criticism?

Personally, I'm a huge fan of Touch ID and how Apple has implemented the new technology in a simple, seamless way. To the untrained eye, it's not even there, it just disappears into the home button and it's amazingly reliable too. The HTC implementation doesn't seem as if it would be as comfortable, as intuitive, and all around much less appealing to use.

Two different phones, two different implementations, but what do you think? Touch ID still better suited to you, or perhaps you're still not sold on the idea of a fingerprint scanner. Drop us a line in the comments with your thoughts, but be sure to head on over to Android Central to check out the rest of the HTC One Max review.

Source: Android Central

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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There are 23 comments. Add yours.

johncblandii says:

"The swipe scanner means operation will be different, and potentially less intuitive than Apple's implementation with Touch ID."

^ I read somewhere [when Touch ID launched], swiping is more secure. I can't recall the biometrics expert who state this but I'd like to put that to the test.

rogifan says:

I wonder what would make swiping more secure? And I thought one of the issues with the Mototola Atrix (and some laptops) is the sensor would wear out after prolonged use. My guess is that won't be the case with Touch ID.

Linebarrel86 says:

It wore out partly because the sensor was unprotected. Apple wisely covered the sensor with glass.

johncblandii says:

Yeah, I just posted this link: http://360biometrics.com/faq/fingerprint_scanners.php#10. It mentions wearing out the sensor.

johncblandii says:

He said something about the fact it takes in more data vs just a portion of a finger. I'm not into biometrics so I have no clue on the specifics.

Here is something more on the pros/cons from 360 Biometrics: http://360biometrics.com/faq/fingerprint_scanners.php#10.

iDavey87 says:

The idea is nice. The execution...not as great. I still greatly prefer the Touch ID (and I don't even use the iPhone 5S).

If they could, however, combine the Touch ID with the extra functions of the HTC One scanner (fully optional though so non techies don't get confused) that would be the perfect balance.

iDavey87 says:

Only thing is...without many Android devices having a physical home button like the iPhone (and I'm sure if they tried to emulate that appearance, Apple would be on them quicker than water on an ocean) there really won't be an intuitive option for Android devices in the time to come.

But if I can be proven wrong, I would love that.

angermeans says:

I'm pretty sure android OEMs could put a "home button" on their devices and apple couldn't do anything. The galaxy s3 and on up all have them. Apple was smart. A lot of people called the home button silly and wanted it to go, but now apple has really introduced a great feature with touch id and like the article states it is basically invisible as it is built into the home button that everyone knows how to use. Extremely smart and really innovative if you think about it. When I first read the rumors than apple was making a touch Id I thought it would be extremely gimmicky, but I have to say I quickly changed my mind. The main reason I did is I would have quickly abandoned the tech if it was slow or didn't work that well, but in the two weeks I've had the 5s it's only given me an error once which was quickly resolved the second time I tried my finger. It is fast and I barely notice I'm using it. I even say there and tried to unlock my iPad mini yesterday without thinking about it until I realized it didn't have one. That's what makes it great. Android OEMs have their work cut out for them as it has to work and work well or it will be abandoned by users just like face unlock. I set thatup once and within a day took it off. I just don't think putting a sensor on the back is the best idea especially since it has to be swiped it makes for yet another thing I would have to be used to. Time will tell and I'll reserve my judgement until I use it. I've always loved HTC and the one was an amazing device.

iDavey says:

I didn't mean home button altogether, but one in a shape that makes sense (using a Galaxy home button for a scanner? Naaaah, lol). We've seen companies get got by Apple for design. That circular home button would be asking for it.

But I do agree on all fronts. I tried face unlock once and tossed it. I will buy a new iPad just fr the Touch ID if they add it. And android OEMs will have a tough road making a scanner that's as least as intuitive. We know functionality isn't an issue with android, its all in the presentation. And that's gonna be a big hill.

BenitoC says:

You have to swipe your finger vertically on the fingerprint scanner, this isn't nearly as easy as Touch ID. As well, you have to hit button to activate the screen prior to swiping your fingerprint, another step before swiping. This implementation isn't intuitive or quick.

G.4 says:

Too little too late I'm afraid. Apple's design is so easy and intuitive; everyone will be comparing the two. I like HTC, my brother has the original One, and it's a really well-made device. Unfortunately it seems like the company is headed downhill and a feature like this that doesn't perform as well as a competitor will seem like a gimmick and be lost on most consumers.

talldreams says:

Swipe style fp scanners were not very popular with people. So I don't get why they'd put it into their phone. It's cool that they want to compete with apple, but lots of R

talldreams says:

Swipe style fp scanners were not very popular with people. So I don't get why they'd put it into their phone. It's cool that they want to compete with apple, but lots of R

talldreams says:

(Sorry for the repost, looks like the imore app doesn't like the "and" symbol)
-
Swipe style fp scanners were not very popular with people. So I don't get why they'd put it into their phone. It's cool that they want to compete with apple, but lots of development dollars are at stake. Touch iD isn't the real magic. It's how the tech is implemented, and that it eliminates a step.

Sent from the iMore App

swarlos says:

Only matter of time till someone was going to implement something like this but HTC didn't have the resources to fully realize something like TouchID. Now the Android fans will gloat over this no matter how crappy it is.

Sent from the iMore App

lafountain says:

When the Motorola Atrix came out with a fingerprint scanner on it, most thought it was cool. Then Motorola never put it in another device. Will there be some that think HTC is doing a cool thing, yes. I think most won't care about this feature though even though a lot will want the device.

dunni110 says:

I appreciate all technology and forward thinking like the implementation of different fingers for certain functions!! So hattttttttts off to the Android techs and fanboys. Needless to say I'm an Apple head and have been using a 5s since release day! They weren't first to add biometrics but they did a lot in a small amount of space. This works well and I'm pretty sure I'm can't count the number of clicks on that movable home button that everyone has been talking crap about for so long :) oh they have home buttons now also? Never mind that let's be real if you think for one second using different fingers didn't cross their table your probably mistaken!!!! Remember security first ExXXXtra toys later

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boochrisboo says:

I try to like Imore community but the arrogance is just amazing..Not a single one of you have tried the HTC One max but you know Apple's is so much better. I just do not understand the blind judgement of "Apple does everything better than anyone else, even though i have never tried anything else."

Let the justification begin, first tell me how open minded you are, then how many android phones you had in the past, and then your expertise about biometrics and how apple did the security better. Oh yeah and how much you like HTC and how you hope they survive even though they clearly cant be as good as Apple.

BCB

Richard Devine says:

Almost a thousand posts on Android Central...and yes I do like HTC a lot :)

I haven't used the HTC One Max, but I'm convinced the Touch ID implementation is better for more of the people, more of the time.

GlowingBlue says:

Keeping an open mind also means accepting that people have different opinions.
Acceptance, there's the keyword ;)

No one needs to justify anything to anyone. It's a forum, an online one at that.

Timelessblur says:

I had an atrix 4G. The scanner was nice and all but in the end I end up turning it off and just going with well swipe to unlock. To be honest I never turn on a pin code. If I ever do use any type of security on an android phone it is the pattern dote one.

While I agree a pin is more secure it is a hell of a lot more annoying to use which is why I never would use it. Apple finger print to me is a nice alternative to the pin but honestly pin unlocking system sucks.

I know I will get flat for this but to be honest I turn off all the security locks on my phones any how. Always annoying. If I lose it I will either do a remote wipe or lock it down by remoting changing the pin. Android or iOS they both have features now that can do that.