The HP Elite x3 hit Microsoft retail stores last week, following halted preorders as a result of performance and crashing issues.
The device is in good shape now, at least after the Windows 10 Mobile anniversary update, and now that it's officially out in the wild, pundits' opinions about the Elite x3 have started to appear online. Does it deliver on Microsoft's promise that it could replace your PC?
"Everything about HP's Elite X3 seems like a gamble," Engadget's Devindra Hardawar says. He notes that it's the latest major Windows phone after the Microsoft Lumia 950, which debuted last year. It's no secret that Microsoft is struggling to corner the market with its phone division, and the Elite x3 comes as an attempt to pull consumers back into its shore.
The phone is targeted for enterprise consumers or business-minded individuals who need a smartphone that can function as a full-blown productivity tool, which reduces the need for a dedicated PC to carry out activities. Replacing the desktop experience is a debatable claim at best, although HP and Microsoft are marketing it as such, as the device is loaded with premium features alongside Microsoft's Continuum feature that lets users connect the phone to a larger display, a mouse and a keyboard to truly deliver the concept of a PC in a pocket.
Performance-wise, the Elite x3 packs a punch. In PCWorld's review of the device, it is noted that the device opened apps without any hiccups or noticeable lags. Surely, performance is a given for a phone that's supposed to function like a PC, and the specs rightfully make up for it. Inside the device is a 2.15 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor and an integrated Adreno 530 GPU with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage.
Per benchmark tests, the Elite x3 proved to be the most powerful Windows phone currently in the market. PCWorld was also able to put the device under an AnTuTu benchmarking test where it scored 116,992, outperforming fellow Windows phones Lumia 950 and Acer Liquid Jade Primo.
The Elite x3 has a massive 4,150 mAH battery, holding more capacity than other respectable phones. The device's quick-charge technology will give it 14% battery charge in 10 minutes. PCWorld tried to juice the battery down by playing a continuous loop of 4K video on the device, and it handled the task incredibly well, lasting 9 hours and 23 minutes. It's unarguably equipped with an abundant amount of power to handle the most rigorous tasks on a phone.
The Elite x3 also delivers the Continuum experience quite well. A dock accessory with numerous ports can turn the phone into a full-fledged desktop computer if you hook it up to a larger display. This is where the Elite x3 really proves its worth. No other phone can evolve the smartphone-as-PC experience quite seamlessly as the Elite x3 can.
Overall, HP and Microsoft 's coupling led to a powerful but expensive device that delivers on its promise of a high-end smartphone that substitutes as a desktop computer. The Continuum feature simply can't be matched by other competitors today. It's the best Windows phone available, but you must be prepared to shell out more for accessories that best serve the Continuum feature.
The HP Elite x3 costs $799, which includes the desk dock. An upcoming laptop dock will also be available, acting as an external display and input device, at $500. It's available at HP's online store and over 100 Microsoft brick-and-mortar retail outlets.