HP Elite x3 Windows 10 Smartphone Review: An Office In Your Pocket

Introducing the HP Elite x3

Don’t be fooled by the form factor and your initial impressions -- what we have before us is not a typical smartphone. Well, technically we suppose it is, but the experience is not intended to replace your commonplace iPhone, Galaxy S, or other handset. In fact, you should not even consider running to your nearest wireless carrier to pick one up. No, instead HP is billing the Elite x3 as a corporate device flexible enough to eliminate company-issued laptops and workstations for many users.

hp elite x3 screen angle

This sounds like quite a tall order. Certainly, many professionals do rely on powerful number crunching machines. This isn’t aimed at dual-Xeon monstrosities -- at least not yet. For a majority of business users, however, their workflow primarily consists of office suites, email clients, and web surfing. Increasingly, these types of applications are often leveraging server-side resources with only minimal tasks being handled by the end client.

Businesses have long embraced small form factor thin- and zero-clients to service these users. Why shell out for a high-end desktop when a cheaper, smaller alternative can deliver the same perceptible performance? Thin clients have been a blessing for Enterprise IT environments, particularly when it comes to meeting budgetary constraints. However, they are not always an ideal solution – particularly when portability is a must.

There is another class of low power device nearly everyone carries with them these days: smartphones. Of course, connecting one up to a screen with a mouse and keyboard is far from a novel idea. Even switching up the UI to accommodate a more traditional desktop experience has been done. However, each of these solutions has largely left something lacking or is too cumbersome to be practical. Most mobile apps just don’t translate well to the desktop.

hp elite x3 desk dock continuum

Enter Microsoft’s Continuum feature in Windows 10. Imbued with new features from the Anniversary Update, Continuum allows a Windows 10 mobile device to connect to a monitor with a familiar desktop. It also allows users to run individual virtualized Win32 (full desktop) applications. Want a full desktop as well? Sure, just hook into the company's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). There are, of course, details to all of this, which we will cover in the User Experience section of this review.

HP Elite x3
Specifications & Features

Model Name HP Elite x3
Display 5.96-inch QHD Display (1440 x 2560 Resolution, 494 ppi pixel density)
Processor Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820, Quad-Core Processor
161.8 x 83.5 x 7.8mm, 195g
SIM Single SIM (nano) or Dual SIM (nano)/SD Card Slot
Protection IP67 Water-repellent nano-coating, MIL-STD 810G
GPU Adreno 5
OS Microsoft Windows Phone
Storage 64 GB
Micro SD up to 256 GB (SIM2 slot)
Camera 16 MP f/2.2 rear camera, autofocus, LED flash, Video 1080p@30fps
8 MP front facing camera with iris scanner, Video 1080p
Networking GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE support
v4.0 LE Bluetooth, NFC, USB Type-C, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, A-GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Fingerprint, Iris Scanner, Gyro, Compass, Proximity
Battery 4150 mAh Non-Removable Li-Po Battery
Colors Black
Desk Dock, Lap Dock (both optional)
Price $699 Phone only, $799 with Desk Dock, $1199 with Desk Dock and Lap Dock

Check Out Our Unboxing Of The HP Elite x3

The HP Elite x3 represents the standard-bearer of Microsoft’s mobile enterprise push. This smartphone weighs in with plenty of muscle thanks to its quadcore Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, Adreno 530 GPU, 4GB of system RAM and generous 4150mAh battery. All this powers its 6-inch 2560x1440p (494 ppi) QHD display and speakers by Bang & Olufsen. Check out the full specs above and then we'll dig in deeper on the pages ahead.

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