HTC MAX 4G review: From Russia with love
Design and construction (continued)
Removing the back cover reveals the reset pinhole and the microSD card slot. Those are both accessible without removing the battery itself, but guarantee some extensive rear panel handling.
The 1500 mAh Li-Ion battery ensures about 2 days of intensive use of the MAX 4G, which is a decent achievement given the 3.8" display. This could be explained though by the fact that calls on a 2G network aren't as power hungry.
Much like with the Touch HD, the HTC MAX 4G feels and handles decently but only if you use both hands for the purpose. Singlehanded operation is not as secure and in some menus it is practically impossible. The lack of a Back key is another blow to comfortable handling.
What should be noted though is that just like the Touch HD, the HTC MAX 4G can be almost completely navigated without the stylus. The massive touchscreen and enlarged UI graphics allow for hassle-free thumb scrolling and selection across menus and settings.
The soft rubbery texture at the rear provides a pleasant and secure grip which makes the weight of the handset much less of a burden. The conservative styling might be appreciated by some and so might the opaque plastic used for the back panel. It is way more finger-print resistant than the front and doesn't get nearly as greasy when the handset is used extensively. What we are most afraid of though is the fact that the materials used are identical to the ones found on the HTC Touch Diamond and HTC Touch Pro and that equals pretty poor durability unless you are really, really (and we mean really) careful.
TouchFLO UI - WinMo with chrome alloys
The HTC MAX 4G runs Windows Mobile 6.1 with the TouchFLO 3D customization.
Unless you're new to this site and Windows Mobile as a whole, you've probably heard of TouchFLO before. It's been on just about every HTC phone to come out in quite some time. There are a few incarnations but the high-end devices like the MAX 4G get TouchFLO 3D, which brings the smoothest and sleekest interface.
We've covered the various versions before so we won't go into too much detail. Truth be told, the HTC MAX 4G uses pretty much the same UI as the Touch HD or the Touch Diamond.
In a nutshell, the Today screen has been thrown out and in its place is a homescreen divided in several tabs. Each tab serves a specific purpose and does so in a touch-friendly way. The Home tab shows a big clock with call history and calendar events underneath it.
An interesting thing of note about the HTC MAX 4G is that its interface comes in Russian - it's a product customized for the Russian market and exclusive to Yota Russia after all. Unfortunately, getting it to run in English is not as simple as flicking a system switch as it is on most other phones.
To convert the localized Russian Windows Mobile 6.1 to a more mundane English variety you literally need to re-flash its whole software. So if you're ordering the MAX 4G online for use outside Russia and you are not really experienced with poking around with custom ROMs and patches, we suggest that you make sure the device you are buying is already localized in English by someone at the store.
The other goody that comes with TouchFLO is the Task Manager. It can switch apps, close them, but it has the usual problem - the X and OK buttons replace the task manager button, making it inaccessible from within a program.
Once you get past the Home screen and all the finger sweeps and animations, all you are left with is the Windows Mobile Professional OS. The massive screen and the nicely scaled UI of HTC MAX 4G makes even that easily thumbable and almost every icon is easy to tap without need for the stylus.
We should also give credit to HTC for making an effort to improve the core Windows usability too. Some of the most used system settings, contacts management, and the messaging department have all benefited from this, and so have image and web browsing.
The last generation of TouchFLO, as seen on HTC Touch Diamond2 and Touch Pro2 is even better in that respect and the customizations go even deeper.