HP’s Elite X3 gets closer to the dream of a Windows Phone as a PC

#HPEliteX3 #WindowsPhone – HP’s Elite X3 gets closer to the dream of a Windows Phone as a PC : Everything about HP’s Elite X3 seems like a gamble. It’s the company’s first phone in two years, and it’s the first major Windows Phone device since Microsoft’s Lumia 950 debuted last year.

HP is betting big that premium hardware and the ability to use the phone as both a pseudo desktop and laptop will actually be a boon for enterprise customers. Naturally, too, HP is hoping to tempt businesses away from BlackBerry.

But while it’s nice to see the company swing for the fences (as it did with its gorgeous Spectre 13 ultraportable), it’s not enough in this case to make the $699 Elite X3 a useful device.

Gallery: HP Elite X3

Let’s make this clear up front: The Elite X3 isn’t a phone meant for consumers. It’s the sort of thing HP wants businesses to buy in bulk. The company is pushing it as three devices in one: an enterprise-grade smartphone, a desktop replacement (with the $799 Desk Dock bundle) and an ultraportable laptop (with the $1,299 Lap Dock bundle, which also includes the Deck Dock).

Those two accessories are powered by Microsoft’s Continuum feature, which transforms the mobile OS into something closer to desktop Windows. On paper, it all sounds like an IT manager’s dream, since it would mean they’d only have to manage a single device for every employee.

But speaking as a former IT worker, it’s clear that HP still has a long way to go before a phone can truly replace dedicated laptops and desktops. At the very least, the Elite X3 is a sign that HP can build a decent-looking phone.

It’s a large device, with a 5.96-inch WQHD (2,560 x 1,400) AMOLED display. But it actually feels good to hold, with curved rear edges wrapped in smooth plastic. Aside from the gaudy chrome strip along the bottom of its case (which houses stereo Bang & Olufsen speakers), the Elite X3 seems like a natural evolution of HP’s designs from the Pre 3 era.

Along the back, there’s a fingerprint sensor below the 16-megapixel camera. Up front, an 8MP shooter sits beside an iris camera that serves as a second biometric authentication method.

HP didn’t skimp when it came to internal hardware either. The Elite X3 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chip, just like most of this year’s flagship phones. The device also packs in 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which is expandable with microSD cards as large as 2TB.

The phone is also available in single- and dual-SIM models, making it especially useful for international travel. At 192 grams (6.7 ounces), the X3 definitely makes its presence known in your pocket. But at least the weight distribution is such that it doesn’t feel heavy while you’re holding it.

As a mobile device, the Elite X3 is, well … a Windows phone. The platform feels pretty much unchanged from last year, even with the few tweaks from August’s Anniversary Update. That’s not a huge surprise: Microsoft’s Lumia 950 and 950 XL were failures, and the company has been silent about its mobile plans this year.

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