HP Elite x3 review
The power of a PC in the palm of your hand
The HP Elite x3 gives three experiences, on one device that is every device. Most likely to be attractive to professionals, the three experiences are:
- x1 - Smartphone connectivity
- x2 - Tablet portability with the (optional) HP Lap Dock
- x3 - PC power and productivity with any monitor, keyboard and mouse
We will take a more detailed look at the secure device dock and what it offers in the HP Elite x3 features’ section of this review.
The HP Elite x3 will be priced at over £700 SIM free, so a two year contract would seem to be the most sensible way to get hold of this device. For comparison, the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL, which offers similar functionality and specs, is now priced at just over £300 SIM free or from £16 per month on a two year contract.
|Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review|
The device choice is as always yours, but the pricing alone is likely to funnel most consumers towards the Microsoft device.
Display - Phablet through and through
The HP Elite x3 is most certainly a phablet-sized device with a 5.96” display, which is just an inch shy of the displays you would find on a typical tablet. Having said this, HP has kept the overall size down, by using an almost edge-to-edge screen layout.
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The QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels / 494 pixels per inch) AMOLED display is designed for both indoor and outdoor use and is protected behind toughened Corning Gorilla Glass 4.
Design - Robust to its core
The HP Elite x3 is very robust and has been IP67 certified for liquid and dust resistance. HP went even further than this though and designed the Elite x3 to pass MIL-STD 810G (United States Military Standard). So, should gunfire vibrations, temperature shocks and freezing rain enter your life, then you won’t need to worry about this phone coping with such conditions.
This smartphone isn’t light at 194g but the body is slim enough at 7.8mm thick. The phone has stereo speakers and one of these, along with the microphone, sits below the display and are hidden away behind a silver-coloured plate that has a unique dotted pattern.
On the back, the camera module sits pronounced and is highlighted by a silver-coloured rim. Inside, there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 2.15GHz processor with 4GB RAM. This is more than powerful enough to handle applications typically reserved for PCs and laptops.
Phone Set Up
Security - Fingerprint or iris
The HP Elite x3 doubles up on biometric security by having a fingerprint sensor and an iris scanner. More traditional options, such as PIN, still exist for those who prefer not to use biometrics.
Getting started - Windows 10
The HP Elite x3 is powered by the Windows 10 operating system, which in its smartphone rendition, sees a tiled layout used over icons. These tiles have live functionality, so for example, the Facebook tile will rotate through showing your latest updates or mentions.
OneDrive is pre-loaded to enable you to back up and store your photos, videos and documents. There is also a 64GB internal memory and a microSD card slot, for cards with a value of up to 2TB.
Finally, the Elite x3 will be offered in single SIM or dual SIM models, enabling professionals to keep their work and personal calls separate.
One device that is every device
The biggest draw to the HP Elite x3 is its three modes of operation. The first mode is simply smartphone mode, while the other two modes are:
1. Desk Dock - This mode connects the Elite x3 to an external keyboard, mouse and display. It lets you text, talk and run smartphone apps on the phone, while at the same time, multitasking with Windows and corporate apps using Windows Continuum and HP Workspace software. With this mode you can start a task on the smartphone and finish the task on your work PC, without needing to sync, save or restart the HP Elite x3.
2. Lap Dock - This mode allows you to wirelessly connect the HP Elite x3 to a Lap Dock (sold separately) and boost productivity by enlarging your apps onto a sleek premium notebook. The Lap Dock notebook has a near borderless 12.5” FHD display and you can type on a full-sized and backlit spill resistant keyboard with click pad.
With the Desk Dock it is important to note that the Continuum software will enable you to upscale apps for displaying them on a monitor. The (optional) HP Workspace software, which is subscription based, enables a fully featured desktop experience that is powered solely by the phone’s processor and can include the running of your corporate apps.
|Cortana launches for Android & iOS|
No matter how you choose to use the HP Elite x3, Cortana is on hand to make things easier. The digital assistant can set reminders, log appointments, make reservations or find things online. Cortana can also be used to initiate tasks in a safe manor while driving.
Camera & Video
Camera - Conference calling
The HP Elite x3 has been designed to give an excellent conference calling experience. The secondary front facing camera is an 8MP snapper and this adjusts the video feed based upon the lighting conditions. Premium audio is delivered with Audio by B&O (Bang & Olufsen) Play and active noise cancellation, which uses audio captured through three microphones.
The main 16MP camera has a typical set of photographic tools such as optical image stabilisation, HDR and panorama.
Power - Huge capacity
The HP Elite x3 has a huge battery capacity as 4,150mAh. To put this into perspective, the Samsung Galaxy S7 has a 3,000mAh battery, while the Apple iPhone 7 has a 1,960mAh battery.
Charging takes place through a USB Type-C charging cable and attachment is symmetrical, so there is no need to figure out which way is up, when connecting it. The HP Elite x3 is also wireless charging compatible, although the wireless charging pad isn’t included.
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Written by: Michael Brown