Windows Mobile’s market share has worsened to only a rounding error of ambitious plans, but that does not prevent HP inc.) And Microsoft (Microsoft corp.) In another can kick, with slight distortions. The kick, directly against the enterprise, has the potential.
The HP EliteX3, announced in the fall of 2016, is a substantial phablet that measures 83.5 x 7.8 x 7.8mm (3.3 x 0.31 x 0.31 inches) and detonates the scale at 6.84 ounces (194 grams). Its screen is a gorgeous 5.96-inch diagonal WQHD (2560 x 1440) AMOLED multi-touch display with Corning Gorilla glass 4 and anti-reflective coating, it features 820 flagship-worthy Snapdragon processor, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage, plus microSD slot can handle 2 TB of cards. It runs Windows Update 10 Phone Anniversary.
This is a curse and blessing. When I first asked to take a look at the new Windows Phone operating system, WP 7, a few years ago, I went to the critic’s factory to prepare to dislike it. Windows Phone 6 hate, completely unable to move, I fear WP 7 will be more of the same.
I was pleasantly surprised. UI, continue to maintain the form factor for the design of mobile phones. It is clean and usable, and it performs well. I found that I really liked it. However, developers are not challenged to put a large number of consumer applications on the operating system, doomed to make it fall on mobile operating systems darling, Android and iOS. Road warriors are also frustrating, and many hotel and travel applications are not represented in stores, it does not help, and some recent hardware has not come across too much enthusiasm.
There should not be too much complaining about the elite x3 in terms of hardware, except for the fact that it is undeniably large. One-handed operation is challenging. X3 MIL-spec Solid 810 g, water resistant, with a thin, oil-repellent coating on the screen to help it repel stains.
Big selling points, however, are all about the business. Plugging x3 into its desktop dock, keyboard, mouse, and monitor, starting Windows continuously, the x3 becomes more like a desktop computer running native Windows 10 than a mobile app. Of course, you can now only view one application at a time (Microsoft plans to update in early 2017 and will allow multiple windows, just like the x86 operating system), but it still looks like a Windows 10 computer. Join HP’s workspace to apply virtualization services that can be subscribed to, or run on legacy software. Service, oddly enough, only in the 40 or 80 hours per month countdown timer. Until January 31, 2017, the buyer’s x3 + dock free 60-day workspace trial.
Available with the same magic ring dock, a 12.5-inch notebook enclosure (monitor, keyboard, touchpad, clamshell form factor) connects to the mobile “laptop” using the x3, although it is not intended for review. I am sure there is a wired connection to the phone as well as wireless when using the wireless is prohibited on the plane.
As a key enterprise products, security has been a lot of attention. X3 includes a fingerprint reader and a Windows Iris Scanner Hi compatible. I found these two very good for me. It is also important for businesses, operating systems monthly security updates, many phones do not provide more popular.
Although the camera and speakers were respectable – there’s a 16MP FHD rear-facing camera and 8MP FHD front facing camera and Iris camera, and the stereo audio is by Bang and Olufsen – they may not be up to the standards many consumers want. The multimedia is optimized for things like conferencing, or snapping images of receipts and documents, not for concert footage. Still, I was pleased with the quality of audio and video playback, and the photos I took were sharp and clear. A better camera would have been nice, but what’s there is fine for business use.
Dual SIM slots (the second one doubles as the microSD slot) means that users can have two numbers attached to the phone, allowing separate personal and business use, or even an international SIM for frequent travelers.
Battery life from the whopping 4150 mAh non-removable pack was impressive. With light use, I got four or five days out of it, while more normal activity easily exceeded a day. HP claims 18 hours per charge. The phone supports Quick Charge 3.0, although the bundled charger is only Quick Charge 2.0. The x3 also supports Qi and PMA wireless charging.
The big minus with the Elite x3 is the price. Neither it, nor the Workspace service, are cheap. The HP Elite x3 bundle, unlocked, sells for $999 from the Microsoft Store, including desktop dock. The Lap Dock is $799, silicone case $50, anti-shatter screen protector $31 and the Productivity Bundle containing the lap dock plus phone and desk dock goes for $1668.
Still, the hardware is premium quality, the Continuum experience is the best on the market, and Microsoft is committed to improving the operating system so the Continuum experience continues to improve. It has also signed an agreement with Qualcomm to allow full Windows 10 to run on the Snapdragon processor. Those are both good signs that Windows on mobile is here to stay, so the phone is not likely to end up as an expensive paperweight.
If you run a Microsoft shop, the x3 will fit in seamlessly. It plugs into Active Directory for enterprise authentication, is manageable by IT, and supports Microsoft Office, as well as both Microsoft and third party cloud services. Salesforce, for example, is preloaded.
While the Elite x3 isn’t up to being the touted single device for all things, it can certainly provide mobile access to applications through Continuum and Workspace that hitherto were inaccessible from a phone, in a secure and manageable fashion. That counts for a lot.