Audio matters: testing the HP Elite X3 speakers

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As already discussed many times on AAWP, the Elite X3 is a business workhorse rather than a consumer media powerhouse, but while we're waiting for new firmware and the Anniversary Update to fix all the current issues, I wanted to carry on testing specifics - imaging, and here the forward-facing stereo speaker capabilities of the Elite X3.

In order to give you an idea of the X3's speakers, I've put it up, on video, against some other known good and bad data point devices:

  • Lumia 950 XL (the X3's closest real world competitor)
  • Lumia 1020 (a typical 'Nokia' era mono phone speaker)
  • Google Nexus 6 (typical of the current breed of phones with stereo speakers - see also Alcatel Idol 4, Nexus 6P, NextBit Robin, numerous Sony Xperias, the list goes on)
  • Marshall London (the current audio champion, even if the rest of the phone is slow and outdated)

So here goes. I recorded it in one go, fluffs and all, because I didn't want any video editing software to get in the way - YouTube's own recompression is the only barrier to you hearing what I heard. I shot the video on my trusty Nokia 808 PureView, with its amazing HAAC microphones and low noise floor, so the capture is pretty accurate.

I would advise you to crank up your (hopefully high enough quality!) speakers or headphones though, in order to really hear the differences for yourself.

In short, the Elite X3 speakers aren't terrible - they're loud enough and good enough to play with the rest of the smartphone market in this regard - but some of the latter are in the budget category and for a purchase price of well over £600 and with the B&O branding I really was expecting more here.

Your comments welcome. How important is speaker output to you (watching media, sat-nav, speakerphone calls, and so on)? Did the X3's output disappoint you?

PS. I chose this piece of music because it really pushes the phone speakers in terms of volume and range of frequencies - did you spot the extra bass that the London renders, for example? 

PPS. See also my verdict on the Elite X3's camera - which underperforms more than its speakers. Though HP can fix a lot of it with new firmware, hopefully!