What a matchup this is - battle of a couple of titans with the new 5.9-inch HTC One max and the 6.4-inch Sony Xperia Z Ultra. The Sony was available in September and the HTC One max just arriving this month, although both have a limited audience - the HTC One max is only on Verizon, Sprint, and just recently AT&T and the Sony, as usual, is very limited, as it is being sold unlocked through Sony, Newegg, and Amazon for the AT&T and T-Mobile networks, as well as Rogers and Fido - neither one is available on all major U.S. Carriers. This lack of availability has really hurt Sony's smartphone growth in the U.S. and they really need to get a good distribution channel, and lower pricing if they hope to have a real impact in the U.S.
Both devices have 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage, although the HTC One max includes a 32GB model and both offer the memory expansion via a microSD Card. The displays, although different sizes, are both Full HD with a 1920x1080 resolution, but the different sizes give the HTC One max 373 PPI vs the Z Ultra's respectable 344 PPI. The HTC One max comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra comes with Android 4.2.2, although both promise quick upgrades to Android 4.4 KitKat.
HTC One max
This is the phone in the spotlight lately - the just released HTC One max, the third (and hopefully) final version of the popular HTC One series...the other being the HTC One mini. All three devices look exactly alike, which is to say beautiful spun aluminum, large earpiece, and dual stereo speakers that sound awesome. The HTC One mini, cut down the specs, but the HTC One and One max are identical in specifications, except the size of everything. The 5.9-inch Full HD display drops down to 373 PPI, still very respectable, and the battery jumps to 3,300mAh. The problem with keeping the specs the same, is that this large device still has last year's Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Quad-Core processor cranking at only 1.7GHz. They are also charging a premium price for a not-so premium device - Verizon is asking $300 for a two-year contract, the same price as they did for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - oh yes, they added a fingerprint scanner, but that does not make it "premium."
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
This Black, White, or Purple Sony Xperia Z Ultra is a monster of a smartphone at 6.4-inches. It is very large, but is thinner than its rival at 10.3mm vs only 6.5mm, and their weights are almost identical - it looks more like a tablet than a phone, and therefore is a little difficult to hold. You can use a stylus or even a regular pencil on the screen, but to keep the device thin, there is no dedicated stylus or silo to store it in. The battery is smaller at 3,050mAh and asking it to power a 6.4-inch FHD display may be asking too much of it to last all day. It is also IP58 certified and can withstand one hour in 5 feet of water, making it ideal for shots at the swimming pool or in the bath tub.
The place where the Z Ultra really shines is in the processor department - it has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-Core clocked at 2.2GHz working with 2GB of RAM. We would probably give the node to Sony's camera, as they have great lenses, however, not having a flash is unforgivable in this day and age - no matter how good your camera sensor is. you still need to have a flash.
...And the Winner is...Sony Xperia Z Ultra
This was a tough one, not because the Sony Xperia isn't the better overall device, with better specs and more options, such as a stylus on this phablet sized device, but it is expensive and only available on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks in the U.S. Both of these devices are phablets, but the HTC One max is strictly large, with no additional benefits of the tablet sized display. They are both beautiful phones and if money is a large factor, then the HTC One max is for you - it is overpriced as well, but at least being able to buy it on a two-year contract brings it down to a reasonable, yet still too pricey.
Let us know in the comments or on Google+ what you think about these two devices - are you thinking of purchasing either one of these in the near future.