News by Luke Jones on Monday February 22, 2016.
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The Windows platform has always struggled against the market dominance of Android and the sales might of Apple. Microsoft's OS is very good and gets better all the time, especially in its current Windows 10 guise, but it has always been under supported in terms of high end flagships. Traditional smartphone giants have shied away from the platform, leaving Microsoft to forge its own hardware path.Traditional PC companies have always been loyal partners to Microsoft and Windows, so the arrival of the HP Elite X3 is welcome. Launched at MWC, this flagship quality device is finally a non-Microsoft flagship product built exclusively for Windows 10, and it also comes from a PC company, possibly paving the way for more computing giants to enter the fray. Of course, whether the Elite X3 will sell in any great numbers is unlikely, but there is still plenty to like here if you are already turned onto the Windows 10 platform. It is worth noting that this is HP's first smartphone outing since 2011, so either the company is returning to the market rusty, or it has learned plenty of lessons over the last five years. The first impressions of the Elite X3 suggest the latter, HP is reinvigorated. The handset looks imposing and huge, and that?s because it is, but HP has also included some nice design flourishes, such as a matte finish on the rear and a funky pattern on the speaker grill. Considering Windows Phones are rarely attractive in a premium way, this is a nice addition to the platform. This is not just a pretty face though, it is also a rugged brute that sports an IP-67 certification for water and drop resistance, while stereo B&O powered dual speakers are a nice touch. The huge 5.96-inch AMOLED screen features 1440 x 2560 Quad HD resolution, and as this huge panel is getting near to optimum mobile size for this resolution, it looks amazing. Covered in Corning's Gorilla Glass 4, this is a power hungry panel no-doubt, which is why HP saw fit to include a massive 4150mAh battery under the hood. Speaking of the inner workings of the Elite X3, it is an up-to-date device in terms of flagship hardware. The handset comes with a quad-core 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996 processor, with 4GB or RAM, 64GB of internal storage, a 16 megapixel rear camera, and an 8 megapixel front facing lens. Windows 10 is running the show, and we can't stress enough how far Microsoft's OS has come, it is a near exact alternative to the more popular Android and iOS platforms. The Elite X3 also employs iris scanning, making the device that extra bit secure. One of the main selling points of any Windows 10 high end smartphone is the compatibility with Continuum, Microsoft's spiffing software that lets any Win 10 handset double as a full on PC. The HP Elite X3 gets Continuum support, and we really think Microsoft should make a bigger deal of this feature than it does. HP is certainly making a bigger deal of Continuum and is shipping the Elite X3 with a desktop dock to stand the device in when in PC mode. So Elite in name and in execution, HP has really crafted a stunning device, probably the best smartphone currently available on the Windows platform. It is likely to be expensive when it launches, think around the $700 mark and you will be pretty close. HP says the device will launch to consumers in the coming months.
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.