HP Elite x3

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Hands-on review: MWC 2016: HP Elite x3

Windows phones aren’t in a good place, with its awfully slow rollout, limited app support and Microsoft’s own underwhelming handsets. HP wants to turn the tide with its new business-focused Elite x3 phablet.

This massive phone promises to be your all-in-one device for your computing needs.

Hands-on review: MWC 2016: HP Elite x3

The 5.96-inch phablet comes well stocked with a 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of DDR4 RAM. That’s more than enough power to drive your average smartphone, and that’s because HP has designed the x3 to work in three different modes.

Like the Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950XL, you can hook this handset up to an external monitor for a desktop experience. What’s more, the Elite x3 can power HP’s new, Wi-Fi controlled laptop, called the Mobile Extender, when you need a mobile workstation.

Hands-on review: MWC 2016: HP Elite x3

Design

As a standalone handset, the HP Elite x3 is just fine but it’s almost too big to call it a handset, with its 5.96-inch screen. The display is one of the largest used, and it’s actually bigger than that of the 5.7-inch Nexus 6 and Samsung Galaxy Note 5.

Two tenths of an inch might not sound like a lot, but the Elite x3 feels as big as a Kindle. I find it nearly impossible to hold and use the device one-handed.

Although the phone is massive in-hand, it is practically all screen with minimal bezels. There are thin slivers on the side, while the top and bottom extend by roughly a centimeter to make room for the smartphone’s Bang & Olufsen stereo speakers.

Hands-on review: MWC 2016: HP Elite x3

The bottom speaker grille also features an equalizer-like pattern that I wasn’t expecting for a business-oriented device. The extra design element helps liven up this otherwise suit-and-tie-looking device.

Though the front face and edges of the HP Elite x3 are made of metal, it also has a polycarbonate backside. Combined with the smooth glass front, this is definitely one device you’ll want a case for lest you end up dropping it like I did – more on that soon.

Hands-on review: MWC 2016: HP Elite x3

Specs

The Elite x3’s 5.96-inch screen is larger than most competing phablets, but it features the same 2,560 x 1,440 resolution. By the numbers, its display should have a fewer pixels per inch than its rivals, but the drop in sharpness isn’t really noticeable.

More likely, you’ll be too busy appreciating the vibrant colors and sharp contrast on the AMOLED panel HP chose for the x3. The screen is also protected by a sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass 4 that should endure scratches and accidental drops rather well.

Hands-on review: MWC 2016: HP Elite x3

Like other enterprise devices, the Elite x3 has been designed to be durable and meet the 810G military spec. I can confirm it is as durable as it claims, because I accidentally dropped the phone during a preview event onto a metal-clad Dell XPS 13. I was relieved to find that the glass screen wasn’t cracked.

The phone is also waterproof up to IP67, which should protect it from rainy days and close calls with the faucet. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test these claims by also accidentally spilling a bottle of water onto it.

Hands-on review: MWC 2016: HP Elite x3

Waterproofing isn’t anything new when it comes to smartphones. However, HP went through the trouble of installing the seals internally, ensuring the shell is smooth and seamless and free of any unsightly plastic tabs.

The phone’s other specs include an Qualcomm Adreno 530 GPU integrated into the Snapdragon chip, paired with a massive, 4,150mAh battery you can charge through the USB-C port. You’ll also get 64GB of storage with that 4GB of DDR4 RAM – a debut for this quicker-grade memory on a mobile device.

Hands-on review: MWC 2016: HP Elite x3

On the imaging side, the HP Elite x3 comes equipped with a 16 megapixel (MP) rear facing camera. Meanwhile, the front facing webcam sports a 8MP sensor that actually captures two images while in Skype chats and combines them to create an balanced, HDR-like image.

HP has not announced pricing for the HP Elite x3, but based on this spec sheet, you should expect it to cost a pretty penny. The Windows 10 smartphone is expected to arrive sometime later this summer.

Hands-on review: MWC 2016: HP Elite x3

Desktop anywhere

Already a seemingly top-notch Windows phone, the HP Elite x3 can expand into a laptop called the Mobile Extender. This is essentially a shell of a notebook that features a 12.5-inch, 1,080p display with a working trackpad and keyboard.

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In place of a processor, GPU, RAM and everything else found in a typical laptop, the Elite x3 transmits and powers the entire Windows 10 experience through Miracast and WiGig technologies.

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Hands-on review: MWC 2016: HP Elite x3

At the MWC 2016 preview event, HP had no working samples. The mock-up Mobile Extender feels similar to a Chromebook in that it’s lightweight and almost entirely plastic. The keyboard’s travel felt a bit short for HP’s typical keyboard design, but – then again – this was a pre-production model.

The screen also rotates on an L-shaped hinge, which props the keyboard up by a few centimeters for an angled typing experience. Unfortunately, the laptop isn’t a 2-in-1 device.

Hands-on review: MWC 2016: HP Elite x3

While the ability to transform into a Windows 10 tablet seems like a no brainer, HP’s Mike Nash explains it would have added too many layers to Microsoft’s Continuum.

For its last magic trick, you can slot the Elite x3 into HP’s new USB-C dock to connect it to a screen, keyboard and mouse for a full desktop experience. It’s quite similar to how Microsoft’s own phones handle it, the only difference being a simple dock rather than a long cable to connect the phone.

Early verdict

Windows 10 Mobile is already in a slump, with almost no devices coming out. Enter the 5.96-inch HP Elite x3: one of the most intriguing, versatile and overpowered phones on any platform.

That said, good hardware doesn’t fix Windows 10 Mobile’s other big problem: a stagnant app store. Until I have more time with it, I’m also not 100% confident the Elite x3 can smoothly transition between its three modes.

Regardless, I have high hopes for this extreme Windows 10 smartphone.

Source: feedproxy.google.com

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9 thoughts on “HP Elite x3

  1. LOL… I hope not. I would REALLy like to see MS succeed in this area. They still have the majority of installed business users… the reverse of the phone market. This type of design could be a huge way for them to get into the phone market. I like it.

  2. I think the end game is for phones to be powerful enough with enough processing power/memoryt/hardrive to run x86 programs. I can imagine a world where any existing public computer is replaced by a type c dock, keyboard and monitor and all you need is to put your phone on dock and you have you PC anywhere in world. Imagine how convenient this would be for people doing proper work on their PCs. Offices, airports, hotels, internet cafes, planes, public transport, driveless cars. It will be awesome if it takes off. Also not to mention once mirror casting becomes more reliable you won’t even need a dock. Its called innovation and I think MS has the right idea but it will probably take APPLE to make it popular.

  3. I think you’re missing the point slightly. It does still feel a bit new, and will take some time to adapt, but I feel in a few years most mobile phones will be doing something along the same lines. The idea is that your phone becomes your computer. You don’t need anything else because it’s powerful enough to do what most people require a computer to do day-to-day. And all you need is a keyboard/mouse/screen setup to use your own computer anywhere you are. No need for a laptop at home, PC in the office and a tablet on the go and a phone for calls because it’s all one device. Yes, sure, you do have to have a screens with peripherals to use it as a full PC, but that’s the same as a full PC. Only cheaper because you’re buying a phone and a monitor, not a phone, tablet, laptop, PC, screen etc. Clearly it’s a new and different way to work and will require thinking outside the box before you can understand the potential. I’m not saying it’s perfect or will suit a lot of people just yet, but realistically the days of having multiple computers is nearly over the the vast majority of people.

  4. imagine a pure smooth transition of information. you carry your phone around and plug it to a different meeting room to access the exact same information that you had previously. its kind of storing a state of your laptop to be transfered somewhere.

  5. I never really understood the point of Continuum. The idea that your mobile phone can turn into a computer sounds nice until you realize that you need a dock, TV monitor, keyboard, and mouse, in which case you might as well just get yourself a real desktop computer and be done with it. The

  6. We all can see how biased this site is. Only Windows doesn’t get a video with a hands on review……. blah!

  7. But if it was an Iphone it would be perfect… right? The reviews on this website are getting worse and worse. It ‘feels’ like your holding a kindle – even though its a fraction of an inch bigger than other phablets?

  8. WOW! When i see this, it makes me wonder what BEAST will the MSFT Surface Phone be. Excellent, that phone makes it harder to wait for the msft flagship :)

  9. By adding an empty laptop HP just made the perfect use of Continuum. A powerfull Phone that is the center of our work. Use the phone to call, text etc When moving use the Laptop Mode to work better Back to office dock the phone and work with big screen keyboard and mouse. I really like the Idea and it’s and idea that compagnies will like

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