HP Elite x3 review

There’s a surge of new Windows 10 products at MWC 2016 including a smartphone from HP which has a laptop dock. Here’s our HP Elite x3 hands-on review. See also: Lumia 950 review. A small note before we start is that the devices available to check out at MWC were all prototypes in an alpha state so we can’t comment on elements like performance just yet. Read: The best Windows phones 2016.

HP Elite x3 review: Release date and price

The Elite x3 is already available in some countries, such as the Netherlands, and it will begin shipping in the US as of 29 August. It's been a long old wait for what some are saying will make or break Windows Phone's fortunes. That remains to be seen, but a UK release date for the Elite x3 is still unknown.

In the Netherlands, the phone is retailing for €863, which at the time of writing is about £725. That is very steep, but given the phone's business leanings, not all too unsurprising. We'll let you know as soon as the UK price is announced, but expect it to be around £700 SIM-free, for a high contract price on a 24 month contract of at least £40 per month, if not more.

HP Elite x3 review: Design and build

The Elite x3 is a huge phone and that’s not an exaggeration. With a 5.96in screen we haven’t seen a smartphone this big since the Nexus 6. It’s a little bit big for our taste but the massive display will help with tasks like viewing a spreadsheet which is normally too awkward. Also see: Best new phones, tablets, laptops & more at MWC 2016.

HP has managed to keep the thickness down at just 7.8mm though and the weight is surprisingly under 200g which is good. This is still a hefty device though so be prepared.

HP Elite x3 design

Adding a bit of glamour is the shiny silver chin below the screen which sports a B&O logo. That’s because Bang & Olufsen had provided the front facing speakers and noise cancelling omni-directional mics.

Although the Elite x3 is unwieldy, the large size means space for things like a bigger battery which is something that is often missing on a smartphone. After all, a dead handset is only really useful as a paperweight.

HP has also gone for a waterproof design with an IP67 rating meaning you can dunk it in up to one meter of water for no longer than 30 minutes.

HP Elite x3 laptop

A large part of the HP Elite x3’s attraction is the dummy laptop which works with it. Because the phone supports Continuum, this laptop can run entirely off the phone over USB-C. It’s effectively a screen, keyboard and trackpad with nothing inside. It sort of reminds us of the Moto Atrix and its dummy laptop which launched a few years ago.

The Elite x3 will also have a dock which has a range of ports so you can use it with a monitor like a desktop PC. (See also: 15 best new phones coming in 2016.)

HP Elite x3 dock

HP Elite x3 review: Hardware, specs and features

That effectively 6in display has a Quad HD resolution (1440x2560) so things are nice and crisp. Although we looked at a prototype, we were impressed with the screen.

It’s a good start for HP’s Windows 10 Mobile smartphone and things get better with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor which you’ll also find in the Galaxy S7 and LG G5 – the two big flagships which have been announced for 2016.

To go with the impressive chip is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage which is double those aforementioned Android rivals. Plus there’s a Micro-SD card slot to add more.

HP Elite x3 camera

This business focused phone doesn’t scrimp on photography either with a 16Mp rear camera and an 8Mp front facing shooter.

In terms of connectivity, there’s 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS and the USB-C port which we’ve mentioned. It’s also dual-SIM so is there anything this phone can’t do? Well it doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner (the final version will) but does feature an iris scanner.

A huge battery is a great feature for anyone frustrated with their phone running out of juice. The Elite x3 is powered by a massive 4150mAh battery and it’s removable, too. (See also: 20 best phones 2016 UK: The best smartphones you can buy today.)

HP Elite x3: Specs

  • Windows 10 Mobile
  • 5.96in Quad HD
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • Micro-SD card slot
  • 11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • NFC
  • GPS
  • 16Mp rear camera
  • 8Mp front camera
  • B&O audio
  • USB Type-C
  • 4150mAh removable battery
  • IP67
  • 162x84x7.8mm
  • 195g
  • Windows 10 Mobile
  • 5.96in Quad HD
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • Micro-SD card slot
  • 11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • NFC
  • GPS
  • 16Mp rear camera
  • 8Mp front camera
  • B&O audio
  • USB Type-C
  • 4150mAh removable battery
  • IP67
  • 162x84x7.8mm
  • 195g

OUR VERDICT

Although we saw a prototype we're impressed with the HP Elite x3. It's a big on the large size but this means a huge battery to go with it and the other core specs largely match up or beat the Galaxy S7. With the docking station, dummy laptop and Windows Continuum the Elite x3 could be the best Windows phone we've seen.