We’ve already given you our final thoughts on the HTC One Max (hint: it’s just ok), but one question we keep getting is how the device’s fingerprint scanner works. The new technology is a major feature of HTC’s behemoth phablet, and it mostly performs the way the company intended. But HTC failed to take into account everyday usability, which is a huge shame—planting it on the back is just plain awkward; it’s a huge oversight that greatly diminishes a stand out feature.
But when you’re not fumbling around to actually find that little black square, which is on the rear of the device just below the camera, the One Max’s fingerprint scanner can actually be useful. What’s different about HTC’s implementation than, say, Apple’s Touch ID, is that the One Max requires a vertical swipe rather than a simple press. The reasoning behind that is unclear, especially when it’s combined on a device with such a huge body, but perhaps HTC thought a more actionable motion was more natural.
What’s great about the technology, however, is how you can use it to launch apps, making it super simple and quick to jump into your favorite app (but, for some reason, only from the lock screen). Once you familiarize yourself with the One Max’s fingerprint scanner, it can certainly be useful. But it’s uncomfortable to use and oftentimes more frustrating than it’s worth. If HTC would have implemented the scanner into a home button, like in the iPhone 5s, or somewhere much easier to access, it could have been a killer feature. As it stands, it’s something that you probably won’t wind up using.