HP announces business-focused, Windows 10-powered Elite x3 phablet

Igor Bonifacic

February 22, 2016 6:01pm

One of the cooler features we saw shown off at Microsoft’s devices showcase last October was Windows 10 Mobile’s Continuum feature. However, with the exception of Acer’s Jade Primo and Microsoft’s own Lumia devices, we haven’t seen many device OEMs make this feature a centrepiece of the phones they’re preparing to ship — in part because Windows 10 Mobile devices have been so few and far between.

That changed ever so slightly today with the announcement of HP’s latest smartphone, the Elite x3.

The Elite x3 is a high-powered device. It features Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage (expandable by an additional 2TB via a microSD card), a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a massive 4,150mAh battery. There’s even an iris scanner on the front of the device for those who want to use two-factor biometric authentication to keep their smartphone and data extra secure.

HP is launching several accessories alongside the Elite x3. The two most notable are the Desk Dock (seen below) and Mobile Extender. The first, as the name suggests, is dock that allows the x3 to use Window 10 Mobile’s continuum feature to double as a dedicated personal computer. The dock features a DisplayPort, two standard USB-A ports, one USB-C port and an ethernet port.

HP Elite 3

The Mobile Extender, on the other hand, is a notebook-like accessory. When connected to the Elite x3 via Bluetooth, the Mobile Extender allows the Elite x3 to function more like a Surface 4 Pro tablet. On a side note, if there’s been a trend at this year’s Mobile World Congress, it’s device manufacturers announcing devices that combine multiple form factors into one package.

HP expects to ship the Elite x3 sometime this summer. Like many of the OEMs at Mobile World Congress, HP is waiting to announce a price point for its latest device.

  • DaRazorback

    This phone is nothing short of the sexiest phone I’ve ever seen. The B&O audio should be awesome too.

  • AppleBerrySandwich

    Looks great but it has to be seen if the phone has the guts and function that it promises.

    Other issues are price and lack of apps. Windows still badly lacks apps and 90% of Windows phones are sub $100 entry level. Not sure people will pay $800 for this which is where it’s likely going to be priced.

    • Jeff Brassard

      Both Paul Thurrott (Petri) and Daniel Rubino (Windows Central) are reporting that this device is not going to be available at retail. This is exclusively targeted at HP Business customers. According to reports many of their business clients wanted an end to end solution for their staffs and Windows 10 mobile was the best fit because it’s Windows and integrates seemlessly into existing backends. Apparently HP has also worked out how to virtualize Win32 apps when the phone is docked, allowing it to run that huge slate of programs that already exists.

      But basically this is not even meant for the consumer market, It’s for businesses. Given that it could be replacing a desktop, a laptop and a phone maybe the price doesn’t overly matter for business customers.

    • nidzillaftw

      Well, that’s not quite what they said. Basically these phones won’t be sold by any of the carriers, and you won’t find them at Best Buy, but you will likely be able to buy them from HP and Microsoft directly. You could also get them from places like OmegaCell and Newegg. This is the same thing we have seen for the last couple of Windows phone flagships, so hardly a surprise.

    • deltatux

      If Google ported their apps and Android Wear to Windows 10 Mobile, I would have gotten this device in a heartbeat once it goes on sale.

    • MassDeduction

      HP has clarified that it won’t be offered through carriers, but will sell it directly to consumers through their web store and through Microsoft’s retail channels.

    • Jeff Brassard

      That’s great. I’m glad hear because it looks like a fantastic device. But it really isn’t a device aimed at consumers. Given that HP isn’t putting it in major retail channels other than Microsoft store any skies to consumers are clearly secondary. This is a device that addresses the need businesses. If still any at all it will be to businesses.

    • Ali F.

      From the description, it is a business oriented device. MS App Suite will be enough to do most of business task (think of Office suite). Needless to say, this is not a device for playing games, so I guess app lacking issue is not an issue.

      On a side note, I could never forget that HP commited the worst decision ever by pulling the trigger on WebOS.

  • danny wood

    Looks good at this point.

  • hardy83

    Certainly like the idea, but it might be a bit ahead of it’s time.

    When phones get to the point where they can house a full on OS without destroying the battery, THEN something like this would be amazing.

    With Windows OS 10 Mobile, there’ll be a lot of limitations application-wise.

    Come out with a phone that’s full on Windows OS (32 bit even), 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a decent quad-core or better CPU and bundle it with a powered dock with HDMI out, and you got yourself a proper 1 device to rule them all.

    • MassDeduction

      Is 32-bit x86 Windows limited to 2GB of RAM? All the 32-bit Windows 8 tablets max out at 2GB of RAM, it’s only the x64-based tablets that go beyond that.

    • hardy83

      32 bit windows should be able to use 4GB of RAM. I think 2GB is some sort of business limiter. I believe MS gives out low price OS licenses to OEMs where a device falls within a certain hardware spec, and I think 2GB of RAM or lower is one of those restrictions.

      I could be wrong, but I think that’s why low priced tablets and what not only have 2GB or RAM.

    • gwydionjhr

      That is exactly why it’s like that. The InFocus Kangaroo with 2GB/32GB is $99US and comes with Windows 10. The 4GB/64GB version of the Kangaroo is $179US, but comes without an OS installed on it.

    • MassDeduction

      The Kangaroo Plus has a 64-bit CPU, so can address a lot more RAM. But I think we’re both right: 32-bit limits the amount of main system RAM to 2-3 GB, and the licencing limits it to 2GB if an OEM doesn’t want to pay for Windows. 🙂

    • MassDeduction

      32-bit Windows cannot use 4GB of RAM. Every byte of RAM in the system has to be addressed by the CPU. That includes everything from the RAM in your printer’s buffer, to the memory in your graphics card. So while a 32-bit CPU can address 4GB of RAM, that gets eaten up by other things. The better the GPU in particular, the less main RAM you can have. Even inexpensive on-board GPUs typically have at least a half-GB of video RAM these days, so most 32-bit systems can address somewhere between 2.75 and 3.25 GB.

  • Sighmonsez

    But…it’s made by HP, which is a total deal breaker for me.

    • Omineca


      Screw you, HP.

    • rgl168

      It was Apotheker that screwed HP (dumping WebOS + Autonomy mess) and never recovered, leading to the current split. If Hurd was around, perhaps WebOS will too.

    • Yep, been saying that I’ll never buy HP again because of what they did to webOS. Now, I’m just waiting for Dell to counter this phone! 😀

  • jack

    It’s an HP and with Windows OS, good luck.

    • Don Sod

      All least its not an Apple product

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