HP Elite x3 review

A beautiful, capable phone limited by its OS

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Here’s what the HP Elite x3 is: the best-looking phone to be released yet on Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile platform. It also puts forward optional virtualization tools that actually turn it into somewhat of a PC substitute.

Here’s what it isn’t: a strong enough signal that the problems of said platform are about to be fixed. It still relies on the Windows Store for app support, which there really isn’t enough of.

And, even though the phone is on the large side, HP’s smartphone is a stroke of engineering mastery in a highly competitive sector, which is surprising given the company’s limited experience making devices other than computers.

Who's this for?

The HP Elite x3 is primarily for business folk, or those who place fast and easy access to productivity tools first, whether you’re on-the-go or wired up to a monitor.

It’s also for the person who just wants a really well-built smartphone. The build quality and design are masterclass, and its internal components can tear through anything you throw at it.

Should I buy it?

If you’re looking for a smartphone that offers more flexibility than what you can find on Android or iOS, then you should absolutely consider the HP Elite x3. But, due to the limitations imposed by its middling app support, we can’t outright recommend it to the general public.

The HP Elite x3 is a fantastic smartphone that nails the basics. But, as it stands, it’s not greater than the sum of its parts – it’s less. Windows 10 Mobile is the link that ought to boost this phone’s credibility, but it only acts to knock it down a peg despite all it has going for it.

Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.