HP’s Elite x3 — Your One and Only Device?
HP has went all in with the Elite x3, a high-end smartphone running Windows 10 that’s designed to be your one and only device; we’re talking a smartphone, laptop, and desktop PC.
Elite x3 is the only Windows phone with 4GB of RAM as well as 64GB of internal storage designed around Continuum, a Windows 10 feature that lets Windows smartphones plug into a larger display and function like a full Windows computer with mouse and keyboard. The Elite x3 is enormous; with 6.3 x 3.29 x 0.3 inches, weighing a sturdy 6.9 ounces and a 2.15GHz, quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and an integrated Adreno 530 GPU; making it the most powerful Windows phone on the market today. The Elite x3’s quick-charge technology in just 10 minutes will fill the battery by 14 percent, well enough for a 2.5-hour call due to its 4,150 mAh battery. The Elite x3 comes with a SD card slot that allows an expansion of 2TB. Other features worth mentioning include 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi for better wireless reception, plus Bluetooth 4.0LE and Miracast. The Elite x3 is compatible with Microsoft’s tap-to-pay Wallet app due to NFC and comes with a 3.5-mm audio jack. The Elite x3 is also equipped with Bang & Olufsen speakers.
HP’s Elite x3 allows you to connect a mouse and keyboard, giving the phone the look and feel of a desktop PC. Elite x3 uses Wi-Fi to connect the phone to your computer’s display, extending its range but also significantly reducing latency to just a smidge.
When it comes to accessories HP has the Desk Dock, a 2.3-pound, laptop-like device with a 46.5-Whr battery, three USB-C ports, and a 12.5-inch 1080p display. It eliminates the need to carry your mouse, keyboard, and Display Dock on trips.
With the Elite x3 one can pick any Win32 app like — Photoshop, AutoCAD, even Chrome — and HP’s new Workspace feature will allow it to be run via your phone.
Workspace makes your phone your PC, browsers like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Google Chrome, graphics apps like AutoCAD, or collaboration apps like HipChat. Workspace, meanwhile, can run legacy apps in a virtualized cloud environment, just like they’re on your PC. Workspace also encourages you to store files in cloud storage services like Box, Dropbox, or (soon) OneDrive. (HP does not supply any cloud storage within Workspace itself.) But there’s no obvious way to actually access a Word file stored in Box unless you’re in Word. Once logged in, Workspace let me use more than a dozen apps that HP seeded for my use, including Chrome, Internet Explorer, Slack, the full versions of the Office 2013 apps, and even Notepad.
The true advantage of Windows phones is the Continuum experience, which allows a docked Windows phone to serve as a slightly degraded version of a desktop PC. HP over-engineered the Continuum experience with the same attention to detail as its other aspects, and on the Elite x3 it shines brightly; making it the killer feature that could make someone want a Windows phone over an iPhone.