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Hands-on review: HP Elite X3 - one device to replace them all

22 Nov 2016

When doing a review its always good put the product into context, and for the HP Elite X3 the context is business!

For those of us who are constantly on the road, the ability to seamlessly pick up where you left off is vital to maintaining sanity and this is where the HP Elite X3 shines, as it’s a solid mobile device capable of delivering seamless phablet, laptop and desktop business productivity in a single form factor. It’s a solid and great feeling device and although its rated to Military Spec 810G and IP 67, it doesn’t feel clunky. In fact, with the bevelled edges and overall weight it slips neatly into the hand or suit pocket.

The display is great indoors and out with a 5.96" diagonal edge-to-edge HD panel capable of 2560 x 1440 resolution with the durability of Corning Gorilla Glass. Most importantly the battery life is stunning with the 4150 mAh Li-ion polymer battery providing up to 500 hours standby. I used constantly for over two days without recharging. HP rate talk time up to 33 hours and web browsing up to 14 hours!

Other key specs include the high-performance Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor chipset, 64GB internal storage (which can be expanded with a micro SD card slot) and 4GB RAM. The X3 has integrated 4G LTE capabilities, the ability to take 2 SIMS plus the usual WiFi. Just a note however, you must choose between whether to have the micro SD card, or 2nd SIM card, as the card slot only has two positions, one for the SIM1, the other capable for either the micro SD or SIM2.

The X3 sports a 16-megapixel camera and 8-megapixel front camera and two front-firing speakers tuned by Bang & Olufsen. The X3 also has a vast array of on board sensors that include Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Combo Accelerometer, Gyro Pressure Hall Effect, Near Field Communications, Standalone/assisted GPS and eCompass. You can also unlock the X3 with an integrated iris scanner and fingerprint reader.

The X3 runs Windows 10 Mobile with a signature feature being Continuum, which allows you to attach your X3 to a monitor, mouse and keyboard and project a desktop like app experience to the monitor using the apps on your phone such as the Microsoft Office suite of Word, Excel, Outlook etc.

With Continuum you can run multiple apps but only view them one at a time which means just switching between them (which I didn’t find an issue with) and if you need to run any ‘line-of-business’ desktop apps HP also provides an optional paid for service called HP Workspace, which allows you to run the apps back at your office and connect ‘virtually’ to them via either an LTE or WiFi connection.

As a subscriber to Office 365 for all my work applications, I found the seamless integration between my Surface Pro and the X3 very handy where I could work on a Word doc on the Surface, close that down, grab the X3 and open the Word Doc when on the plan and get right back to the same page.

Finally, when not working in the ‘office’, the X3 provided a great experience across my other apps like YouTube, Flipboard and even Kindle Reader so it became my go-to for the task of getting stuff done.

So, who should consider the HP Elite X3? If you work in the Microsoft environment of Office 365 and are constantly on the move, the X3 is a must as it’s a truly outstanding productivity tool. Would it become my only phone that gets used in the weekend for play? Probably not, it’s not a Jeans and t-shirt device, but then it’s a tool, not a toy!

It also comes with a privacy screen that blocks peripheral view, while still allowing you to maintain screen clarity and interactivity, as well as an anti-shatter glass screen protector for extra privacy and durability. Well done HP on another great product.

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