The HP Elite x3 is a smartphone that you can use like a desktop computer. It runs Windows 10 Mobile and supports Microsoft’s Continuum for phone software, allowing you to connect an external keyboard, mouse, and display to run some apps in a desktop mode.
There are a few other phones that can do that, including the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL and Acer Liquid Jade Primo. But the HP Elite x3 is the most powerful Windows phone to date, and it’s also designed with enterprise users in mind: HP offers cloud-based software that allows you to login to applications running on a remote server, allowing you to (sort of) run desktop apps that wouldn’t otherwise be available for phones.
HP hasn’t started taking orders for the phone in the US yet, but now you can pre-order the Elite x3 from the Microsoft Store for $799.
That price includes a desktop dock. HP is expected to offer the phone as a standalone device for $699, but I’m not really sure why you’d buy the Elite x3 if you didn’t plan to use the desktop docking station.
The HP Elite x3 features a 5.96 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel AMOLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a USB Type-C port, a microSD card slot, 16MP rear and 8MP front cameras, and an IP67 dust and water-resistant case.
According to Microsoft, the phone has an released date of September 12th… although I’ve seen a number of different dates in the past few weeks, so I’d take that as an estimate rather than a promise.
HP’s enterprise software could allow remote workers to login to a server from anywhere and run business software without carrying around a laptop… although they’d still need to be able to plug the phone into a display. HP does plan to offer a separate x3 Lap Dock which is basically a laptop shell designed to connect to the phone, giving you a laptop-like experience with a 12.5 inch full HD display and full-sized keyboard.
I guess the idea is that there’s some benefit to carrying all of your data on the phone itself so you don’t need to sync files and settings between your phone an a laptop. But unless the Lap Dock is dirt cheap, I can’t help but wonder if you’d be better off just buying a laptop (or a third-party solution like a NexDock or Superbook).