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

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HP Elite x3: Accessories & Software

Accessories

Proper accessories make the experience of the Elite x3 all the better. After all, this phone is not intended to just be a phone. To reinforce this, HP includes a Desk Dock with the Elite x3. The Desk Dock includes its own AC adapter for power and supports the phone via a USB-C connection. There are multiple plastic molds to choose from to better accommodate the different case options described below. There is also a mold that terminates in a USB-C cable, just in case you wish to use the phone as a trackpad or otherwise require it not to be fully docked.

hp elite x3 three quarters desk dock

The dock provides a USB-C port, two USB Type-A ports, and a full-size DisplayPort. This DisplayPort gives us our first taste of what this phone is built for. We only need to connect it to a display while docked and launch the Continuum app to get started.

hp elite x3 case options

The case options include a carbon-fiber backed rugged case, a rubberized grip case, and a premium leather case with integrated cover.

hp elite x3 leather case

All three are very worthwhile, but our favorite is the leather option. It does have a tendency, however, of swinging closed while on the Desk Dock, which puts the phone to sleep - more on that later.

hp elite x3 lap dock hinge angle

HP also offers a wireless Lap Dock accessory in $1299 bundle. The Lap Dock is effectively a wireless display, keyboard, and trackpad in a laptop form-factor.

hp elite x3 lap dock paired

Its display measures 12.5-inches diagonally, placing it just a hair smaller than most ultrabooks on the market which tend to favor a 13.3-inch display. The 12.5-inch screen boasts very narrow bezels, similar to Dell’s InfinityEdge panels, which helps give the perception of a larger workspace.

hp elite x3 lap dock tether

The Lap Dock’s keyboard is backlit and for connectivity it provides three USB-C ports – one of which can be used to physically connect the Elite x3 and another is designated for charging the Lap Dock.

Even without a dock though, the Elite x3 is compatible with an array of USB-C to display adapters. HP provided us with a USB-C to VGA adapter. In this case, there are no available USB ports for a mouse or keyboard making a Bluetooth set of input devices a must.

Software

As expected, the HP Elite x3 comes running Windows 10 Mobile. This brings a drastically different interface as compared to Apple or Android phones.For starters, the home screen is comprised not of icons or widgets, but of tiles. These should be familiar to anyone who has used Windows 8 or 10 on the desktop. In practice, they can function as a icon/widget hybrid by cycling between the application name and relevant information, such as weather, recent emails and messages, or other pertinent at-a-glance information. Unlike their desktop counterparts, these cannot be divided into groups, though they can be rearranged and resized freely and placed into folders.

hp elite x3 homescreen scroll 30p

The application drawer lives to the right of the home screen and can be accessed with a swipe. Applications are sorted alphabetically, one per line. This makes accessing applications at the end of the alphabet a bit time consuming, though you can search for a particular app instead of scrolling, or click on a letter and jump to that section, if you prefer.

hp elite x3 app drawer 30p

Speaking of applications, Windows 10 Mobile can only run apps from the Windows Store, and has no support for native x86 programs. This can be worked around, though, with virtualized applications. An enterprise can host full-fledged programs in Azure and access them via Remote Desktop as if they were running natively.

We were able to test it with a virtualized desktop over RDP. Just as with a thin client, this opens up access to a true desktop experience. We will dive further in depth on the next page...

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