HP Lap Dock review: the Elite x3 gets a laptop mode, but is the tech ready yet?

The HP Elite x3 is arguably one of the most critical Windows 10 Mobile devices to date. Not because it is expected to be a consumer hit, but because it best represents Microsoft's vision for the future of mobile computing. The notion of one device that you carry around all the time is still years ahead for most people, but there's little reason not to start trying today.

The Elite x3's corresponding Lap Dock, which turns the phone into an Ultrabook is that first attempt at converged computing. How well does it hold up? It's a mixed bag as you'll find out in my review.

Specifications and Features

The HP Lap Dock is a $599 Continuum-enabled device that closely resembles a laptop in form and function. I say it resembles because it lacks a CPU, RAM, storage, and any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radios standard to "real" laptops.

Instead, the Lap Dock is a shell. It has a relatively large 46.5 WHr 4-cell battery and three USB Type-C ports. One port is for Elite x3 to either charge (45W) or to dock directly. The other two Type-C ports are for charging the device itself or as data in/out for peripherals. There is also a micro HDMI port.

HP Lap Dock

For a display, the Lap Dock features a "nearly borderless" matte 12.5-inch LED-backlit FHD (1920 x 1080) screen that ramps up to an ample 300 nits. The display is fantastic. It's bright enough, renders text very clearly, and because it is anti-glare it is ideal for writing and work.

For audio, there are integrated Bang & Olufsen stereo speakers that can get quite loud for such a small device. It's quite impressive and suitable for presentations. There are also integrated noise canceling microphones and a traditional stereo headphone jack. There is no webcam, however making Skype calls oddly neutered.

The Lap Dock FHD display is ideal for writing and very well done

The Lap Dock FHD display is ideal for writing and very well done

Weighing in at 2.3 lbs (1 kg) you can't say the Lap Dock is light, although it is far from heavy. Instead, it feels dense for its size, likely due to the relatively large battery. It's a solid, premium feel, and the chrome edge and polycarbonate body nicely match the Elite x3. The inside of the Lap Dock is soft-touch paint and feels luxurious. That said, the whole thing's a fingerprint magnet you will occasionally want to give a wipe. A nice touch from the HP design team is the four-LED charging indicator on the side.

The AC charger is surprisingly large. It's a three-pronged design with a very long cable as is common with HP products. Interestingly, the HP Spectre x360 – a full on proper PC laptop with an Intel Core i7 processor – only has a two-pronged plug. Nonetheless, the base of the charger is the same between the two devices.

The bottom-facing B&O speakers are exceptionally loud for such a small device

The bottom-facing B&O speakers are exceptionally loud for such a small device

I can't speak enough about the quality of the Lap Dock. It's fabulous. While $599 is still expensive, you can't criticize the Lap Dock for feeling subpar in any way. It's just leading engineering.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The HP Lap Dock has one of the best keyboards on a device at this size. It feels identical to the Surface Pro 4, including that spring-back feature on a key return. The keys are spaced apart with a small gap and relatively large and square.

On the top row are the usual Function and Media keys. You need to hold FN down to utilize volume controls, display brightness, and search.

Simply put, it's a joy to type on the Lap Dock. There is also an optional two-stage backlight for the keys which gets the job done.

Update: A small firmware update is now available that helps improve the touchpad experience

The trackpad is a bit mixed. At four inches diagonal it's not small, but it's not huge either — it's adequately sized. And the premium glass finish has an excellent feel. The biggest issue with the trackpad is mostly the lack of Precision Touchpad support from Microsoft, who did not build that into Continuum. That means it's up to HP to create the drivers and fine tune the experience, which they have done admirably. It's not perfect, but it works well enough.

To plug in or not to plug in

In an ideal world, you would keep the HP Elite x3 in your pocket, open the lid on the Lap Dock, and begin typing. That vision is almost here today. Almost.

Microsoft is bringing a feature to Continuum in early 2017 that detects Continuum-enabled hardware to auto-connect. That will solve the 'opening the lid and connecting' scenario described above. For now, however, you must manually connect to the Lap Dock wirelessly through the Continuum app. It 's not hard, but it is an extra step.

HP Lap Dock

Wired or Wireless? The choice is yours, but only one is ideal

Another issue is the wireless Miracast experience with Continuum. Due to bandwidth, Continuum functions only at 30 FPS when wireless, versus 60 FPS when wired. It makes a huge difference. While a wireless connection works in the technical sense, the wired one is leaps and bounds faster, more consistent, and just works better.

Plugging in the Elite x3 to the Lap Dock and Continuum is up and running in about 15 seconds. It's not instant, but it's not a long wait either.

While using the Lap Dock wired is a better Continuum experience, it's obviously less convenient to have to plug in a phone or even carry a cable. Apparently, however, we are hitting today's limits with Continuum. Things should get better with OS software improvements and future technology.

Battery Life

HP claims that wireless the Lap Dock will get "up to" 6 hours in wireless mode with a very specific 7 hours and 10 minutes in wired, which may be counterintuitive. That's an ideal battery test using looping locally-stored 720p video at 50 percent brightness, audio at 50% (using headphones), with the Elite x3 in airplane mode.

That is not, however, the real world. How you use the Lap Dock — wired or wireless, full brightness or turned down, blasting the speakers, or using the Lap Dock's battery to trickle charge the Elite x3… all of this will drain the battery faster.

Speaking of charging, the Lap Dock doesn't pack any form of Quick Charge, just normal, low amperage USB Type-C charging. That means the Elite x3 can technically lose its charge even when wired if you're doing intensive CPU and radio-heavy tasks. In a best-case scenario, you may gain a few percentage points of battery on the Elite x3, but often you will just break even.

That's a tad disappointing, but perhaps we are reaching barriers with powering a secondary display and charging the Elite x3 at the same time.

From my experience, the HP Lap Dock wired (since wireless is not a good experience) will net around 4 to 5 hours of real time usage while trickle charging the phone. It's not terrible, but I think some of us were expecting somewhere north of 8 or 10 hours since there is no CPU, RAM, or internal storage for the Lap Dock's battery to power.

I think it's best to think of the Lap Dock as something you can use in a pinch when traveling or at a coffee spot, where you want a larger display and a full keyboard. However, it is not something you will be using on battery for extended periods of time. You can, of course, carry around the AC charger and power everything that way… but at this point you should probably be considering a real laptop.

Continuum is holding it back

I think HP did all they could with what Microsoft has delivered so far in Windows 10 Mobile. It's hard to fault the Lap Dock for any obvious hardware flaws (sans the absent web camera). Even there, however, it's not evident that Windows 10 Mobile could even use an external web camera given one.

The problem is Windows 10 Mobile's Continuum feature is still very much a new thing, still undergoing development and improvements. Microsoft's goal is to bring things like keyboard shortcuts, matching Action Center, pinnable Taskbar items, and more to Continuum to close the visual differences between it and Windows 10 on PC. Same goes for windowed and snapped apps, neither of which are available today in Continuum (but are expected in the Creator's Update, and Redstone 3 later in 2017).

So, while the Lap Dock hardware is fantastic, there are still some software glitches that bring down the experience. For instance, I have had the sound driver fail with the Lap Dock so that sound only came from the phone and not the speakers. On occasion, the mouse cursor fails to show on the Lap Dock. Usually, a quick Continuum reconnection fixes these bugs, but it's frequent enough to be frustrating. I also have had instability using Redstone 2/Creator's Update builds on the Insider Fast Ring, but I'll chalk that up to beta testing software.

I also could not get Skype Preview to work reliable through the Lap Dock. While the app launched and allowed for messaging, calls were problematic with the audio never going through the speakers. Again, beta software.

HP Lap Dock

Typing on the Lap Dock is a fantastic experience

Scrolling and launching apps are also not as smooth or fast as you would want — especially when paired wirelessly. Plug in, however, and the experience hits — or is at least close to — acceptable.

These are all software issues, of course, and part of Continuum being the first of its kind. There is little reason not to expect things to get better with each update, but for now, the Lap Dock is a work in progress.

Final Thoughts

Despite some of the negative experiences with Continuum, the Lap Dock is still utterly fascinating. I find myself using it on the couch or when heading out for the day, even if it's underpowered for my job.

The Lap Dock and Elite x3 excel at lighter experiences like Office (Word, PowerPoint, etc.), email, Twitter, and the like. If you need to sit down and write out something more than a few paragraphs, the Lap Dock's keyboard is far more accommodating than the little digital one on the Elite x3. Even the Edge browser was a better experience than what I expected.

HP Lap Dock

The Lap Dock and UWP apps have moments where they really shine

Nonetheless, the Microsoft Store's app selection, as always, presents issues. I rely on Slack for work, for instance, and the lack of a Continuum-compatible UWP version of the app hurts.

If you are torn between choosing an Elite x3 and Lap Dock or a new "real" laptop, I think it's best you go for the laptop. The Elite x3 and Lap Dock do have a purpose today for those who need light, mobile computing, but for consumers (or prosumers) this technology is only nearing a minimum acceptable mark.

HP Lap Dock

LED lights give an estimate on the Lap Dock's remaining battery life

I suppose if you have $600 (and already own the Elite x3) the Continuum experience with the Lap Dock could be fun. That's a limited demographic, though, and it is perhaps best to leave the Lap Dock to companies who choose to test the Elite x3 experience in the field.

For those curious, the HP Lap Dock works just fine with the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. However, the Elite x3's more powerful processor and extra RAM give a slightly improved experience.

In the face of these criticisms, you must give HP some credit for doing an admirable job. The Lap Dock experience may not quite be there yet today, but you can see the groundwork and first attempt at this technology starting to come together and make sense.

See the HP Lap Dock at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Hey, smartphones were terrible in 2005. They were unstable, had poor battery life, lacked apps, didn't have GPS, sported terrible cameras — all of this was overcome with time and development. I expect the same for Windows 10 and Continuum as well. We're not there yet, but we're getting closer with every try.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • At 599$ you have to be a complete moron to buy this instead of a nice thin normal laptop. I see no reason to choose this.
  • If you take advantage of the sale at Microsoft today on the bundle, the lapdock comes in at around $200, so then its a great deal, but I think it ends today. Anyways, great article Dan. I looked at the lapdock long and hard, but in the end I decided to pass. For me, it makes more sense to wait another year when the more powerful Windows 10 phones arrive that can run Photoshop, Corel, etc. Then this will be time to snag, in my opinion.
  • Still I wouldn't pay 1000$ for the bundle today. At that price I can get an idol 4S with same great specs and a normal ultrabook, or even cheaper, a 950 XL and an ultrabook.
  • Only if u live in America 😪
  • You're absolutely right, these docks cant be more than $150-200. There is just no point shelving out more money than that. Also, connecting by wire is just unacceptable, it completely takes away the mobility of the lapdock. I have a hard time seeing that it will be possible to overcome performance and battery issues with miracast/wireless to the extent that it could compete with wired connection. As it is now it seems the lapdock actually consumes more power than a normal laptop, and then you have the battery drain of the phone aswell.. And how would touch be done with the latency induced by wireless? Microsoft should focus on cheap wired desktop docks for continuum to regular desktop display.
  • You can just get a NexDock - http://nexdock.com/
  • After experience with both, there's a definite reason the HP Lapdock costs more than the Nexdock. It's not awful, it's just not as great.
  • Better to just buy a laptop then connect the phone wirelessly to the laptop. A real laptop can be used as a wireless lapdock for the phone as long as it's got W10 Anniversary Update and are both on the same network. And you have a full laptop as well :-)
  • Or you can get a nexdock - http://nexdock.com/
  • I still have a hard time figuring out why you would want this over a Ultrabook, or a full laptop... Still fascinating though
  • Its not fascinating. Unless you referring to "its fascinating how dumb this is". While it seems like a good idea/gadget, the price makes it a unanimous failure. Why would you spend 599 on a lap dock that will give you dumbed down version of windows. I am genuinely not a troll here, but how on earth did this come out of design phase i do not know.
  • From everything I see, it sounds like everything is in beta... W10, Continuum software, HP drivers, etc. But if the light mobile experience works for you, $1100 price tag is not dumb in comparison to convenience, especially since it will be improving over time. Think about it, for $1100 you get an high end phone, high end laptop, and high end docking solution, with all your info coming from one place. Now If your needs extend beyond what Continuum can do today, then $599 will be dumb to invest. But if Continuum works for you now, $599 means that it will only get better for a long time.
  • MS need to go all in, full on and throw everything at making Continuum work or stop wasting their partners time and money, do or don't do and if they do then make a song and dance about it with weekly updates and a clear roadmap.
  • This^
    For the lapdock to be viable, continuum must be up there. They need to push a lot of resources to accelerate the development of the continuum side of W10 mobile, else there's really no way this can compete with the typical 700 usd ultrabook or even a Surface Pro core m3 for that matter :-(
    Neat product though, HP has done a good job here.
  • I think they have a clear road map, but they are having a hard time meeting deadlines. I'm sure that the hardware is designed with certain software in mind. But if it's not ready at release time, then the hardware is at a loss. But the hardware speaks to the road map, that's how we know it's not ready for primetime.
  • it would be nice if the Lap Dock actually had a "dock/cradle" for the phone to sit in attached to it & had a built in connection that didn't require a cable (like a pogo connection or a usb plug at the base of the cradle)
  • Except then it would be one dock for each phone.
  • how many phones with continuum do u need to use at one time??
  • He meant that the dock won't be universally compatible with other phones. Like how the Lumias can also connect to this HP lapdock. One dock won't fit all phones.
  • well considering i said a cradle that could slide out like the disc tray does on a normal laptop, as long as it was big enough for up to a 6" phone, i don't see a problem. you're both assuming it would have to be a custom x3 cradle (I never said that), you're both just being negative & not using your imagination for something that doesn't exist. Just saying
  • I'll chime in, remember the Motorola Atrix series of phones? They were one of the first to have a lapdock and I had one. It has a cradle for you to drop your phone into and connects the microUSB and microHDMI ports. Well at the time there was 4 or 5 phones that supported the lapdock (Atrix and Atrix2 for at&t, Droid Bionic and Droid 4 from Verizon and I think one from Sprint as well), needless to say, they eventually came out with a dock that used a cable instead of the cradle since each phone had a unique shape. The other issue with cradles is it does not work with your phone if you have any kind of case on it.
  • Jazen - we already talked about the Atrix. The Atrix had a door underneath, im not even remotely talking about something as simplistic & IMO useless as that.
  • I'm an engineer & in my spare time I slapped together a few options for my own laptop a while ago. One of them involved removing the disc drive (was gonna replace it with a 2nd SSD bay) & installing a slide out drawer with a dedicated cable for charging/data transfer of my phone when I was I was using it as a hotspot (it was Universal). I also made a version that was as slim as a CD case that attached to the lid of the laptop (also with a dedicated cable) & slid out to insert my phone in when needed & then slide out of the way when not in use (also Universal). I wanted to be able to use & access my phone while moving or carrying around my laptop. While you guys keep trying to find fault with an idea, I'm basically saying if I can make it work in a weekend of playing around, I'm pretty sure a company like HP could make it happen with their vastly larger resources ;) Just saying have some imagination
  • Motorola Atrix here we go..
  • I meant a front facing cradle (maybe even slide out like the disc tray). The Atrix had a door underneath & u couldn't see the phone when it was inserted.
  • Tbh, I really like the concept of this and it probably is the future of tech, but I think the device type is wrong, this should be a surface type tablet device. That way you get the phone, tablet, laptop and pc experience. Nice looking device though
  • Wouldn't that just be a (convertible) laptop with a sim card or a tethered phone?
  • No, think he means a "dummy" tablet with kickstand and attachable keyboard (i.e. a Surface without the internals). I'd agree - this would be an attractive proposition. Remember - screen/keyboard/touchpad don't age like the internals, so once the wireless connection is faster you could have a timeless physical screen etc. for whatever (replaceable) device you chose to drive it (power gaming rig, mobile or even raspberry pi) - only ever upgrading the driver device every year/two/three.
  • But screen technology (and touch) moves on as well. Anyway, it still sounds like he wants a surface device to be the "core unit", even after rereading it a couple of times.
  • Snails-pace in comparison, whilst most consumers (even 'prosumers') or enterprise customers won't notice a thing.
  • True to some extent. However, can't the same thing be said about an actually stationary computer? A dumb client, if you will? At least you can get a bit more power that way. I still don't like having to plug into a stationary computer to use what is in essense a scaled down/scaled back laptop (or tablet). I guess I don't quite "get" this sort of thing, apart from "wow, very cool you can do that with your phone!"
    I don't think the interconnectness is a good thing. It also means that in an office setting, you have to disconnect it to go to lunch, in order for you to have a phone with you at all times. I don't get it. But then again, I don't get owning a tablet as my main "computer". I do like my Thinkpad Yoga, though - mainly because I can actually be productive, anywhere, anytime.
  • @Danobe, I think that's actually a good example of @AbstractKiller's point -- I upgrade my computer far more often than I upgrade mouse, screen, or keyboard, and in mobile devices, the CPU/phone lifecycle is even faster. On the other hand, this device does not: support touch on the screen, have a hi-resolution screen, or support 60 fps wireless (even at its low plain HD resolution). So, maybe it's premature to think it should be a long-term shell device for fast-changing mobile. Once those features are in place though, and if it can support a replaceable battery (because they wear out over time), it seems likely the shell could be a great accessory that you could plan on lasting for 5-7 years.
  • Yes your correct sorry for not making it clear, but just as the hp device has little or no internals so you could get that with a surface tablet type device, plus you could install a much better graphics card.
  • Sorry for being not being clear so imagine the hp device in the article but you could remove the screen as a tablet bit using the phone as the hardware. One better would be a surface like design.
  • No usb3 port, no sd storage option, w10m still quite primitive in continuum features, too expensive - more geeky thing, than productive
  • remark: Even not as geeky, as an early adopt device, like Hololence
  • Have you used a USB-C OTG adapter yet? Works fine for me - SD Cards, Sound Blaster E1, USB HDDs, they all show up and work on Win10 Mobile. I'm not sure if we are on the same wavelength, however there are several options to store data on SD inside the Settings App, even buried settings like "choose where to store offline maps". The Elite x3 has a combo SIM2/MicroSD slot.
  • I think you see the Lap Dock as a separate computing device rather than an extension of the phone. The phone does have SD storage and if when you use it wirelessly the usb-c port is also available. But when you use it with the Continuum Dock then you have additional ports to work with. Although I find the Lap Dock to be about $100 too much as a stand alone, I do find the price for the entire bundle (phone, lap dock, continuum dock) to be good.
  • @Galayder, SD storage is a function of the phone and USB-C is USB 3.
  • Great review. One thing I am wondering...why don't they just allow non-continuum apps run as a fixed-scale windowed app? That way any app can run, regardless if it's built for continuum or not. Hopefully we'll see this when the update with windowed mode arrives for continuum.
  • W10m lacks x86 architecture support, so the main problem is not in full screen mode)
  • I am talking specifically about mobile apps, not x86. If an app is not built as UWP with continuum support, it won't run in continuum mode. At least that's what I understand; My L650 doesn't support the feature so I can't test it out.
  • That's because UWP app needs to have the resize feature implemented by developer, the same reason, why many of mobile apps couldn't be launched on desktop
  • That's why I said, fixed-scale window, as it would appear on the phone. If I ran continuum mode, I would expect all apps to run in some way or another. But not all devs will jump on the continuum bandwagon here, that's why MS should enable this in the update.
  • I guess it's quite reasonable to leave this decision to developer
  • It's even more reasonable for MS to enable possibilities!
  • Who knows, how is it going to be) We are just observers) Though, there is Insider program
  • Weird.  W10m simulators on windows run only as x86 machines so all software is already available on ARM and x86.
  • That's not the same thing, absolutely not how that tech works. Arm can be emulated on x86 but continuum does not work that way. At least not yet.
  • @ALANMAN87, yes, that sure seems like an obvious and easy win for MS. Perhaps the current issue is as simple as they don't support windowed apps yet so can't support one app running in a phone shaped window on the Continuum display. Maybe when windowed support comes (planned for early 2017), or in the next update after that, it will include the ability to run any app that runs on the Continuum phone to also run in Continuum. But I completely agree, seems odd that feature is not already included.
  • $600? How does HP go to sleep at night selling it at that ridiculous price?
  • I think they hope and assume that people would buy it as part of a bundle rather than by itself.
  • Low relative volume, global support for businesses who will likely get a significant discount off List. Consumers interested should stick to special offers I'd expect.
  • They aren't really interested in selling them. They know it is a crummy experience and they see it as a proof of concept. If it proves to be compelling, they will take it more seriously in the future.
  • Wow Bleached, you actually understand this one. I'm impressed, but more surprised hearing from you. But just to let you know, it's not as crummy as you think it is, just not as refined as it will be. But a working proof of concept about sums it up.
  • @Dan, the HDMI port is a Micro-HDMI vice Mini.
  • So, if you are flying with this lapdock, how do you power it up so the TSA can check it?
  • you can turn on the power and it will boot to the default screen. If that's not enough, just demo Continuum to them. :-)
  • You can turn it on without being connected. It just has a quick HP boot screen and tell you to connect wired or wirelessly.
  • they should add a touchscreen and create some sort of desktop/tablet mode in continuum....
  • I look at my lumia 950 and I think: If only this thing would rotate the screen to portrait while in continuum mode it would be an excellent trackpad! just create a slot in a lapdock to slide the phone in! it would be connected (wired) without wires (!) :) and you could even use it as a second screen! Hell, you could use that little screen for all kinds of things depending on the app that you run! Instead of that oled touch bar thing apple introduced... Right?
  • Thanks. Does it have a touchscreen? That may sound odd, but as a laptop replacement, I often now touch the screen to scroll in things like Edge. Would make it more future proof too. Also, clearly it's a lot more than just a screen and battery. All the control logic to pair and boot must mean there was quite a development involved so you can see why it's quite expensive. Very nice bit of kit, awaiting a faster phone and more complete desktop mode in the OS.
  • No touch screen
  • What is the point of this??? Just buy a real laptop!!
  • Microsoft is stuck in 2004 when carrying around one device would make sense. Today, PCs are cheap and your data is already available anywhere thanks to the cloud. This is a solution looking for a problem.
  • Nobody is talking about carrying one device, MS strategy is more about having one powerful processing device and building around it other form-factor ecosystem, powered by this single processing machine. It's not an official statement, but it looks like it is going this way
  • Read your comment again slowly. "one powerful processing device"...
  • one processing, multiple maintained
  • Much more terrifying situation with Apple - the dongle strategy)
  • The phone looks like a dongle to me. A dongle that renders the laptop useless if not available.
  • Can we can plug in a compute stick and turn it into a full notebook?
  • Good: 3 USB-C ports and HDMI. Bad: The charging issues are baffling. This thing should definitely support quick charging and should use the same charger as the phone. Also, price.
  • $600 for a shell, have to use wires to connect phone or use crappy wireless, and a sub par software experience.   ME THINKS NOT
  • I was under the impression that x86 windows 10 supports the miracast receiver functionalilty. So a normal x86 windows 10 device of any incarnation (tablet, 2-in-1, laptop or PC) will do everything this lapdock will do. Since they are also fully functional stand-alone devices, all will do more. Perhaps a companion review using a laptop is in order?
  • Seems like OEMs are repeating the "Mira" Smart Displays (Windows CE-based Wireless Displays) story all over again...
    1.- ​Microsoft designs a way to build a wireless display as a cheap accessory
    ​2.- OEMs think they can squeeze potential customers with a new concept, decide to sell for twice to three times the price planned by Microsoft
    ​3.- OEMs release accessory devices for more cash than a full portable computer (which could act as a wireless touch screen with the built-in Connect app)
    ​4.- OEMs observe lack of sales and blame MS for making an unattractive product when their overpriced device do not sell
  • I don't know what HP plans to sell these for to its customers (enterprises), but typically there are pretty big markdowns for even very small volume purchases (10 or 20 units). The MSRP is not really meaningful -- this is not intended to be bought one at a time through retail. This could easily cost $250/unit or less to the actual customers. The high MSRP just establishes a value concept from which HP salespeople can appear magnanimous with a big discount, probably in a negotiated purchase deal with a bunch of other stuff (including servers, service contract extensions, etc. that have nothing to do with the LapDock). Also, production probably will be at small volumes at this point targeted for specific customers who have the niche use cases where this seemingly not-quite-ready tech happens to be a good fit, so cost really is high compared to similar tech in other systems produced at much higher volume production runs.
  • Does anybody have recommendations for a good non-HP dock alternate setup - dock, mobile monitor and keyboard/mouse? Would love to try my x3 out on the road...
  •   i want that ultimate mobile device. A device that power everything. A laptop,
    put your mobile in the laptop shell. (Magnetic click) Easy docking it in the right place aka the trackpad aera. Of course your Surface Mobile is pressure sensisitive with haptic feedback and it's your new trackpad. A trackpad that can display information too. It power your device and can run all legacy apps via the project Cobalt. this laptop shell is so light and as slick as your surface mobile.   A tablet, Well yes your laptop shell is in fact a 2 in 1 so he can slide
    in tablet form with no keyboard on the bottom. Theses little hole on the back
    let you use the cameras of your mobile for taking photo video or AR application.   Want to use a pen ?
    Of course your mobile is compatible (à la note)
    Ans your Surface Shell, compatible too.   Want a big screen at work ?
    Place your phone under the screen (Click)
    easy docking. Now you can use a real Desktop computer. Want to use a random screen.
    Look at this keyboard-docking station
    where you put your phone a second display a track pad easy accessible.   Want some VR ?
    Put your Phone in VR Shell
    In fact your VR shell is also an AR Shell since your phone have
    2 cameras, one with depht. Enjoy Mixed reality experience.   Upgrade your shell(s) or you core mobile when you want.
    Put more power à la surface studio when needed.
    EX. VR / AR / Desktop.   and oh wait it's a mobile too. It can connect wirelessly to everything. it can control screens and bring connectivity to all your shells too.   You can do it Microsoft.
    You're almost there.
    Put all the pieces together.  
  • I guess I'm a "moron" because I bought this. It really is fantastic hardware. It does what I want it to do, which is scale up my phone experience. I DON'T want a separate laptop. I had a surface pro 2 and travelling (for leisure) with both that and my phone felt redundant. I was always worried my SP2 would get stolen from the hotel and I'd lose all my personal info. I hated carrying a bunch of chargers. I hated having to download music and podcasts to separate devices which wouldn't sync where I left off (this was a few years ago). One device with critical info to keep track of is all I want or need, and this fits the bill perfectly. (I don't do work on my computer; if I did it would be a different story).
  • Makes total sense, if they add it to our HPE grandfathered store discount will get one for my mother, she loves her 950 and only uses an ageing x86 device for big screen and typing (and thus all the associated support nightmares and time I have to spend sorting it out......). This is of course analogous to the average numpty business user who knows nothing about tech either...
  • The hardware itself LOOKS really nice, pretty much in line with the new laptops that HP has been putting out. So points for the design.   Otherwise this is a waste of money, EVEN for enterprise. Because they'll also get discounts from buying laptops and 2-in-1's in bulk. It seems absolutely pointless to carry around a fake laptop just for the sake of it. The employees would be carrying a fake laptop, the phone that works with it and their personal phone. That makes no sense. If you're going to carry this around you'll be better served carrying around a Surface-type device instead. Not only the "cumbersomeness" is the same but at least it will run proper Windows 10 and be immensely more useful. And with Microsoft services in the cloud, the employee can keep his Android or iOS device without the need to carry an extra phone.  
  • Yup. I am quite pleased to have my phone as a standalone, and my Yoga 260 as my laptop/tablet.
  • I think you're discounting/ignoring the secondary costs of a laptop for an employee. Often, you need one with enterprise-level security and hardware, which is not the same as an entry-level laptop. There is also software licensing and IT costs for management that you're eschewing in your math.
  • But the need to adapt the software to enterprise-level security standards also applies to the phone. And the software licensing and IT costs also apply in deploying a phone with a fake laptop accessory (in this case you have for example the cost of the Windows programs virtualisation service along with the Office suite etc. By giving a laptop you immediately cut the cost of the virtualisation service). Hence why I don't think it makes sense. If you're having the same level of costs deploying a laptop or a phone & fake laptop accessory...it's easier and more eficient to just deploy a laptop.
  • This is a good point. Also, if MS remains committed to this concept, the dock can have a much longer lifecycle than a laptop. Upgrade the phone and keep using the old lap dock. The parts that typically get outdated and need replaced are all in the phone.
  • I don't see this as a better solution than carrying an X3 AND a HP stream laptop for example that costs a 1/3 of what the Lap dock costs.
  • OPEX savings, data security coupled with the Citrix solution. Software licencing. The hardware part is a pittance of lifecycle cost (for those workers for whom this can cover all business use - likely not people who read tech sites like this)
  • This. Also, many laptops need vPro chips for security.
  • $599? What? No wait you are being serious. whahahahaha For that money you just buy a laptop, you can cast you phone to that, but then you don't need to as you have a laptop. Just think, with x86 emulation on arm this dock will be like a real laptop, just 50 times slower. Surface phone needs x86 not emulation or this is all a bit fail
  • This product isn't really for consumers. For enterprise, you need to understand the costs associated with licensing and supporting a second, secured product (laptop). It's not trivial.
  • Laptops for enterprise customers start at about $800, and are typically well north of $1,000 for anything reasonably modern. Also, MSRP on accessory products not intended for retail sales have little correlation to the actual sale price to volume purchasers (the target market for this).
  • Nice concept. For the time being I think I'd buy a SP3 and cast my phone to it when needed. Same price with the benefit of being a Surface
  • Folks we are now at First geneation Windows 10 mobile "Continuum"   Windows 10 Mobile smartphones hardware and software and it is very promosing but needs some improvements. Next year Windows 10 mobile the Redstone 2 updates gives us second generation "Continuum" software. This is the software that will really makes the Windows 10 mobile smart phone's "Continuum"  screen look more like and act more like the Desktop PC experience. later in 2017 we will get the Redstone 3 updates that will add X86 Emulation software to windows 10 mobile smart phones to enable them to access and use to some degree full Desktop PC/Server software. Windows 10 mobilr smart phones wiill be very close to being a Pocket PC- the best smart phones to use with FULL OS Windows 10 Computers.
  • The problem is that there is no real pain for a user to switch.  Mobile Office is no where near the functionality of full office, and many critical business apps are missing from Win 10 mobile.  SnapDragon or Atom procs will never be able to properly push Continuum.  I hope they come out with an x64 m3 phone option that runs Desktop apps in Tablet mode like a Surface Pro does today.  Otherwise this may never make it to version 3.
  • I'd like to know how it compares to NexDock products. AFAIK they haven't released the USB Type-C version which would work seamlessly with Continuum phones, which is a shame for everyone involved, but when they do, I wonder if enabling fast charge would solve the only problem I see in this devices. From my experience with the regular Microsoft dock, the charge on the phone doesn't increase, nor decrease too much, when it should get some charge at least, considering the dock is plugged in for power. So, does the one that comes with the Elite x3 have fast charge and solve this problem already? I see this device now and I think that I would have bought something like this for my use scenario instead of getting a Surface Pro 4 (well, the SP4 is a different category). And I would have a dumb laptop I could carry around without fear of getting it stolen. In a couple of years and if Microsoft's vision keeps inspiring other companies, this kind of use scenario should be common. Especially with some form of win32 emulation. I think it's the best thing to come to mobile computing or to computing altogether.
  • I connected my Lumia 950XL to a nextdock once and I can tell you that it's night and day compared to the Lap Dock. Screen resolution is not even comparable. Also, the fact that the Lap Dock can be used wirelessly is another advantage among others.
  • fdruid - My experience with the NexDock was HORRIBLE!!!  I am so happy to no longer use it.  The trackpad, keyboard and screen were constantly crashing.  I never felt comfortable enough to leave the house with it.  At least HP has the money to work on the issues instead of NexDock's sorry response of "It's a MS issue, not ours". 
  • The world really has gone to the bad place. Why would you want to convert a phone into a computer ? A Windows phone is a good enough computer for portable use. Laptops or notebooks are kinda vain. Always have been. A 100 USD computer box is more than sufficient for my work use.
  • A solution in search of a problem.
  • Awesome idea but it is expensive, software is half-baked and battery life is miserable. I am guessing that standalone iPad has longer battery life than this battery/screen combo without CPU.
  • Daniel - I wasn't able to get the HP Lap Dock to work with a wired connection to my Lumia 950 XL - were you able to get that working over wired? It worked over Miracast only for me.
  • Another great article and review. Quality is top notch as always and kudos to the attention to detail and setting realistic expectations- Windows fans seem to expect the device of their dreams with each new device. 2017 is going to be hell of a year for the patient ones of us. Amazingly wicked work on HPs part, as Dan points out :)
  • I just bought an Android phone. (hate it) and now the surface HP consumer phone rumors are getting more light. What will I say to the wife?
  • I need to get this to take advantage of my grandfathered AT&T unlimited data plan.
  • That is literally what I was thinking...One huge advantage for me would be cutting the cord with Comcast once and for all. I know this wouldn't work for the vast majority of users here, but for someone like me who literally only reads blogs, checks weather, responds to emails and watches a few YouTube videos, this would be the dream -- I could plug in and use my unlimited LTE and never have to pay Comcast that damn $80 every month...my LTE is already way faster than my Comcast service. This might be my biggest reason for buying one...
  • In my experience Wireless display is power hunger and unreliable (950 and my Sony TV or my Win 10 laptop and Sony TV). Sometimes it doesnt work at all. Hopefully one day this technology will fulfill its promise...possibly with faster wi-fi chips. What Ultrabook can you get for 599? or 299? if bought with bundle. Also, the lapdock is a perfect sign of when a Microsoft partner develops "innovative" hardware, M$ always falls behind supporting it as pointed out here, like keyboard shortcuts, trackpad, etc.  
  • First off Kudos to HP for pushing the envelope and devoting resources to the platform.  This is a well thought out strategy and offers a glimpse of the Microsoft UWP future. Doing the math if you both the full bundle from MS for $999 an Office 365 subscription and HP workspace for 10 apps you would be looking at about $3100 list price.  Conversely a Dell Latitude 7000 (1080p), Office 365, and a iPhone or Pixel will cost you $3200 list price.  The Dell comes with a 3 year warranty, integrated video camera full versions of your favorite apps, and your mobile phone will support all of the latest business apps like Slack and AppZen. Without at least an m3 processor and real apps Continuum 2 will be a dud just like Continuum 1 is today.  The concept rocks but the lag with WiDi and having to plug in a cable really takes away from the experience of having a lapdock.  The dock is the best thing going today.  Lack of Multi-Browser support, Mainstream UWP apps, and poor performance make me want to wait 6 months when they will be blowing this out for $499. I hope the x3 version 2 and/or Surface Phone address these core issues.
  • In case it hasn't been mentioned (I didn't have enough time to read through all the comments), this seems like just the latest incarnation of the concept of a laptop shell connected to a mobile device.  The Palm Foleo, Celio Redfly, and Motorola Atrix come to mind.  I still have a Redfly that partners with my iPAQ 110 running WM 6.0.  Obviously the Lap Dock is a much better product, and the software is much better, but it's still the same idea.  I'm looking forward to the time when the kinks are worked out and the experience is seamless.
  • I had an Atrix and never bought the dock accessories. There are a couple of major differences here.
    ​1. When you dock, you are using the same OS, same apps, same files, etc. On the Atrix, when you docked, it booted up a separate Linux environment running different apps with a different file space. You had access to some phone resources, but it wasnt the same system.
    ​2. Continuum is universal. If you buy this HP dock, it works with a Lumia 950 or future Surface phone, Asus phone, or any other device running Continuum. ​Now, the issue I have is why carry something that takes the space of a laptop, has the weight of a laptop, and costs almost as much as a cheap laptop, but requires a phone to run? I get continuum for docking to a Hotel TV or conference room projector, etc. But why not just carry an actual laptop instead of this?
  • How is battery life so dismal?! The Surface Pro 4 has a 39Wh battery, and rated with an i5 processor, a 12.3" touch display with 2736 x 1824 resolution, it will run for 9 hours! This package, running a 46.5Wh battery (over 19% larger!) with only a 1080p screen of similar dimensions, and driving an 820 SoC processor normally designed for efficient operation off its 4.15Wh phone battery, can only squeeze out 7 hours, and in real life 5-6 hours of use? That is nuts! Overall, I feel there are just too many excuses to consider this a successful product. Maybe it's a good thing that Windows 10 mobile isn't trying to sell Continuum to the masses yet. Windows phones are at less than 1% market share, but Satya says this is okay, because now they are targeting enterprise. This is where Windows 10 Mobile is supposed to really shine. In addition to the inexplicably bad battery life, here are some other issues: It costs at least triple what a screen, battery, keyboard combo should. "It's okay. It's worth the cost to enterprise for not having to purchase more software licenses en-masse." Basic features like multiple windows are not supported, and there are bugs such as the cursor disappearing. "It's okay, they will get here before the end of 2017." The phone doesn't really charge much while in use, there's no web cam, no touch screen, no trackpad drivers. "Wait for the next generation of hardware." Performance is limited even by flagship-phone level hardware, and x86 apps are not supported natively, both things a $600 laptop or tablet can easily handle. "Yes, but enterprise..." The screen and keyboard are nice, and it is a much better product than the NexDock. We still have a long way to go, however, until this is ready for primetime.
  • That rant pretty much sums it up for the jump ship mode out there :)
  • 599 for a dock :)))? At that price I can get a decent laptop for work, more than decent.
  • Ok let's just stop defending HP for the outstanding stupid price for this and even for the bundle with the phone. Business of not, the phone and this thing are overpriced! Look at the Idol 4S: SAME SPECS!!! except for the smaller res screen and NFC and, without that VR headset is almost half the price of the X3!. So again, please, throw a valid point for the pricing of the two HP devices: phone and lapdock and stop defending a bunch of morons asking a ridiculous price for nothing! If reviewers like you accept such crap from the companies, the so called companies, will never learn!
    Again don't bullsh*&( me with the business thing, it has nothing to justify the price when the other one has 99% same specs and costs half of it.
  • Development cost money. Windows mobile sales are low. The numbers getting more than just the phone is even lower, and HP is experimenting with some nice HW ecosystem here. When, if, mor people buy the HW, HP can do more with their price range.