HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3 Review: Thin, Light, Sleek

HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3: Software And User Experince

HP includes a robust software suite with their EliteBook x360 series notebooks. We tend to prefer a lighter software suite, but we did find most of the included software to be helpful and add to the overall user experience. The first program we ran was HP JumpStart. The name kind of gives this one away, as it guides you through a multi-step welcome and setup process that includes HP Registration, McAfee registration, HP Dropbox offer activation, and an HP JumpStart Concierge screen, with tips to help you personalize your computer and install apps.

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Along with welcoming you to the EliteBook family, the HP JumpStart program can also perform tasks that range from changing your desktop background to printing photos with Sprocket. Many of the features offered in JumpStart are already built into Windows, but this software puts them all in one easy to access spot, perhaps making life easier for the person on the other end, especially if they're new to Windows.

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HP also include some software for those of us that simply can't put our smartphones down. Smartphones have become a huge part of our daily lives and keep us connected like never before, but often times when we are working on a PC we don't have direct access to our phones. With the HP PhoneWise software suite, you now have access to your smartphone's incoming calls and texts directly through your laptop. Testing this feature we found both the calling and texting to work flawlessly. The only issue we ran into was group texts didn't work.

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As you can see all the text messages are easily accessible via the app and you also have full access to all of your contacts. There is also a notification icon at the top that lets you know how many texts and calls you had while you didn't have access to your phone. PhoneWise isn't as comprehensive as Dell's Mobile Connect suite that allows you to actually run your phone's apps on the desktop, nor does it have Dell's forthcoming drag-and-drop interface, but it still offers a nice piece of device integration. 

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HP WorkWise is a simple app you can download for your iPhone and Android device. WorkWise provides security, real-time performance updates and automatic printer driver installation. The best feature this app offers in our opinion, is the ability to view your laptops vital's from your smartphone. There is something to be said about how easy HP made it to add a printer, or disable notifications in Focus Mode, but the ability to have real-time temperature readings on our smartphone while benchmarking was the real highlight for us geeks here at HH.

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In the EliteBook's B&O software suite you can do the traditional tweaking of audio sound playback for speakers and headphones, but there are additional microphone options as well. In the "Enhanced Experience" tab of the B&O software you can set the microphone to either pick up audio for a single voice, or you can set it to conference mode were the mic will expand its listening range, allowing it to pick up voices over a large area.

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We aren't artists by any stretch of the imagination, but we wanted to test the HP Pen as best as we could. In our hands, the pen felt comfortable and we had no noticeable issues with drift, lag or jitter. The only issue with the pen occurred when holding the pen with the buttons close to either our thumb, or index finger. In this position it was easy to accidentally press one of the buttons, which ended up erasing part of our work instead of adding digital ink to the canvas. Overall, the HP Pen is a great option for digital designers and artists due to it's accuracy and comfort. At $76.00, the HP Rechargeable Active Pen is a bit on the pricey though and the buttons could be a bit less sensitive. 

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The EliteBook x360 series is one of the more configurable laptops on the market currently in our opinion. It offers so many hardware options you can easily find what you're looking for within many budget levels. We got the top performer in the series though, so we expect to see some decent numbers when we pit this machine against it's rivals. Let's take a look at the benchmarks, next...

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