The HP Elite x3 is a Windows 10 Mobile smartphone with top-tier specs and support for Microsoft’s Continuum for phone software, allowing you to use the phone like a desktop computer when a keyboard, mouse, and display are connected.
The phone will start shipping in the US on August 29th for $699. You’ll also be able to buy a bundle that includes the phone and an HP Elite x3 Desk Dock for $799.
HP’s smartphone can run Windows 10 apps in smartphone mode. But when you connect an external display, mouse, and keyboard using the Desk Dock it can also power a desktop experience. That means the phone’s start screen becomes a start menu on you big display. A taskbar shows up at the bottom. And you can run Universal Windows Platform apps in full-screen mode. Apps that fill the whole screen on your smartphone can take advantage of the extra space on your monitor to show multi-column layouts, for example.
That works fine for apps that come pre-installed on the phone, like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. And it should work with most apps that you can download from the Windows Store. But you won’t be able to Win32 apps like the desktop versions of Photoshop, QuickBooks, or iTunes.
HP has a solution for that limitation though: the company is positioning the HP Elite x3 as a smartphone for enterprise users. Your company’s IT administrator can set up a server to run Windows software and then you can connect to it remotely using your phone.
Essentially, this lets you connect the phone to a display, connect to a remote server over the internet, and then start interacting with desktop apps as if you were running them on your computer. If your job requires you to access certain Windows desktop apps from remote locations, it could be easier to carry your phone from place to place than to carry a laptop.
At least that’s the idea.
With a starting price of $699 though, the Elite x3 could hold some appeal for non-business customers who just want a Windows phone with some of the best specs available:
- 5.96 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel AMOLED display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage
- 15.98 Wh battery with wireless charging support
- USB Type-C connector
- Micro SD card slot
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 4G LTE with Dual SIM support
- 16MP rear camer and 8MP front camera
- IP67 dust and water resistant and MIL-STD 810G tested rugged design
HP will also offer a bundle that includes the phone, the desk dock, and a Lap dock, which basically looks like a compact notebook computer, but which actually is more like the shell of a laptop. It connects to the phone via a USB-C cable and allows you to use a keyboard, mouse, and external display to interact with the phone’s software in a notebook-like environment, much the way the desk dock lets you use the phone like a desktop PC.
The company hasn’t revealed the price or launch date of the Lap Dock bundle yet.