HP responds to specific user complaints about the Elite X3

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Thanks to AAWP reader Alex in Russia, and his persistence across multiple conversations with (escalated) HP support in his native country, we have a translated transcript of HP's official responses to his complaints about the Elite X3 he had bought. Of course, these are (naturally) very defensive, but there are some insights worth commenting on.

What makes this especially notable here was that much of what follows echoes complaints that I've been making here on the site for the last three months.

HP Elite X3 front oblique

What follows is Alex's introduction and then his questions to HP, one by one, with HP's answers inline beneath each one, for ease of reading here. And yes, note that the text has all been through several stages of translation from its native Russian. So we can't 'quote' HP on any of this, but we can get a good sense of the official line on some of the omissions from the device.

Still, let's press on and I'll throw in relevant links to previous AAWP comments and articles of my own as we go.


My name is Alex. I'm from Russia. Here are my questions to HP:

1. Screen 

Alex: I used to see the natural color of images on Lumia screens. 4 days ago I got a HP Elite X3. But I was highly disappointed with the screen and sound of this smartphone. The colour reproduction is just horrible, over-saturated. Remembering that in my previous apparatus was the ability to change colour settings, so I began to look for them here, to no avail (e.g. Settings > Extras > Colour profile > Screen Colour Profile). The OS version between my Nokia Lumia 1520 and HP Elite X3 are the same, the only difference is the firmware version. So, apparently HP, while developing the OS and firmware, 'forgot' to fill the menu item in 'Extras'.

HP responds: "Features not found in HP Elite X3 are extensions that the Lumia team developed independently, without distributing the source code. We will study the possibility of adding these features in our products in the future. HP can not provide specific dates of availability of these functions. In addition, note that the Nokia Lumia 1520 and HP Elite X3 are using screens made using different technologies (LCD vs AMOLED) and cannot be compared directly."

Steve's comments: The battles between those who prefer (backlit) LCD and those who prefer AMOLED displays has raged for the last decade and shows no sign of abating. Alex clearly prefers the more natural castes of the former, while I naturally gravitate to the glorious (if sometimes unnatural) colours of AMOLED. It's a personal preference, though I do think that the two technologies have been getting closer in recent years - LCD more colourful and AMOLED less saturated. The Elite X3's screen is excellent, though I too bemoan any way to adjust the colour profile - this was one of the missing Extras that I complained about here. Surely HP can politely ask Microsoft for the source code to the relevant modules? Aren't they supposed to be close partners?


The various display control options on the Lumias - though, not knowing the inner details of HP's display, we don't really know how much adjustment is possible...

2. Sound

Alex: By studying device characteristics, advertising, etc., I learned that the device comes with powerful stereo speakers from world-famous manufacturer of acoustics, Bang & Olufsen. I was very happy, looking forward to high-quality, powerful, bulky, and loud sound. But here I was disappointed. My world collapsed, for the second time, when I heard the sounds from this smartphone. The lack of comprehensiveness, volume, bass, and other nuances. There is only a stereo effect. And it turned out that 'Extras' (again) is missing the item 'Equalizer', i.e. the manufacturer allowing adjustment of the sound to your taste. But forgive me, I listen to music and want to adjust the sound for my own ears, the way I want it and not as decided for me by HP the company. In my opinion, EQ is missing probably only in children's toys. And this is the flagship worth $800!

HP responds: The sound of the HP Elite X3 should be compared with similar smartphones, but not with the full-size speakers of the brand B & O. The components used by the front speakers are of higher quality than in many other smartphones (e.g. the iPhone), but you must remember that they are still sub-miniature speakers.

Again, the 'Extras' menu contains extensions made by Nokia, these aren't a standard component of Windows 10 Mobile. Furthermore, it should be noted that sound quality connoisseurs consider equalizers something of a 'toy' and not able to really improve sound quality.

Steve's comments: Although I do agree about the missing equalizer functions (which can make a huge difference), I agree even more about the lack of intrinsic quality of the components used by HP here. I did a complete video comparison here which is very telling.

HP itself says "The sound of the HP Elite X3 should be compared with similar smartphones" but actually trying out similar phones with front facing stereo speakers (e.g. Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Sony Xperia Z5, Nextbit Robin, iPhone 7/7 Plus, heck even the old £100 Moto G (2nd gen)) showed that all of them have better fidelity than the Elite X3. Is it the quality of the components used? Is it bad design in terms of the physical cavities the speakers sit in? Or is it that the speaker drivers are screwed up and that an EQ-fixing firmware update can improve things?

3. Screen saver

Alex: All top end devices on W10M have the function of a screen saver (a.k.a. Glance Screen), so when the device is locked, it displays the hours and all notifications (SMS, missed call etc). Not so much on the HP Elite X3.

HP responds: Glance screen is an extension created by Nokia for the Lumias. HP has decided not to develop a similar application for their product.

Steve's comments: I'm sorry, but this is rubbish. Nokia were indeed pioneers in always-on displays on smartphones (starting with the like of the 6630, I think, in 2004?), but the technology is now very well known and used in numerous Android smartphones, not least the well known Samsung Galaxy S7 range. Maybe HP means that the Glance screen code in the Lumias was Nokia's copyright and that (yet again) they have no access to it? Lack of Glance screen's not a showstopper, of course, but given the AMOLED technology used for the display, it does seem like a wasted opportunity. HP even has its own Glance 'lite' mode when connected via Continuum, so I don't see why they couldn't do more with this, perhaps activating this automatically for the first (say) ten minutes after powering the full display down?



It's a fair cop, there's not that much 'meat' in HP's responses here, but I did think it was interesting to see some official comment, however marketing-led or non-committal. 

There are plenty of other questions that I'd ply HP with, if I ever got access to the Elite X3 designer and/or product manager, including the thought behind the pricing of the X3 and its accessories, that faux-metal speaker grille, and 'whatever happened to the OIS that was supposed to be included in the camera?'

More questions for another day, anyway. Comments welcome on the questions and responses above!