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HP Elite Dragonfly Review




The HP Elite Dragonfly is now available in the Philippines. Consider that it’s part of HP’s Elite line and that it’s a business laptop, it does ask for a hefty price for the hardware inside. However, if you do a lot of productivity tasks, value portability the most, or simply prefer 2-in-1 convertible laptops, should you get the Elite Dragonfly, or should you look elsewhere? Find out here!

Design and Construction

The HP Elite Dragonfly looks boardroom-ready. Its void of any design, save for the HP logo. HP wasted no space, keeping the device as sleek and slim as possible. The chassis is made of magnesium alloy to keep the device sturdy without sacrificing weight. It passed our rigidity test, with little to no bending or flexing on the chassis and the keyboard. To top off the design, HP gave the Elite Dragonfly a smooth matte finish, in the dragonfly blue colorway.

On the left, you can find the USB 3.1 Type-A, power button, lock slot, and SIM tray.

Over at the right, users get a full-sized HDMI port, 3.5mm headphone jack, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The only thing that the Elite Dragonfly lacks is a MicroSD Card to make the device even more portable – removing the need to carry dongles.

The front lid is bare, and users can’t open the laptop with one hand due to its lightweight body and stiff hinge.

Speaking of the hinge, the HP Elite Dragonfly is a convertible 2-in-1 laptop, and users can turn the device a full 360. Doing so will disable both the keyboard and touchpad in favor of tablet mode. Here, a keyboard icon will appear on the lower left side of the taskbar, and tapping on it will open an on-screen keyboard.

Underneath, two thin rubber feet hold the laptop in place, a large intake vent, and two bottom-firing speakers.

Opening the device will reveal its 13.3-inch touch display. Taps, swipes, and gestures are surprisingly responsive, and the screen can register up to 8 fingers simultaneously in my testing. Tablet mode was useful for media consumption, reading, and drawing, and the hinge was stiff enough to keep the laptop folded. 

The Elite Dragonfly comes with a TKL keyboard with a couple of important keys on the function row, namely the Sure View toggle (shared with the F2 key), which is HP’s built-in privacy screen, as well as dedicated buttons to answer and decline calls. The arrow keys also share space with the Nav Keys and the right Shift key doubles as the Print Screen button. As a business laptop, the font used is very formal and legible, unlike some gaming keyboards. There’s backlighting too. However, the light does not shine through the keycap. 

The Durakeys used by HP feels incredibly satisfying to type on. There’s no pretravel, with a good amount of post-travel, and the initial actuation force is just right to prevent typos. All keys, including the long keys, are well stabilized, and users can press down on the corners and still get the same actuation force and post-travel as pressing it in the middle.

The glass trackpad used is very smooth, accurate, and responsive. The buttons underneath are tactile and easy to press too.

At the lower right side of the keyboard, is a Windows compliant fingerprint scanner.

Design-wise, the Elite Dragonfly is how you’d want your business laptop to look. It’s lightweight and easy to carry around, with a muted look that doesn’t steal the attention from the room. But as you look closer and use the machine, you get to appreciate the subtle design choices that HP has made. The smooth matte finish that’s extended to the keycaps and touchpad offers a pleasing finger feel, and the simplicity of its aesthetic just makes it even better.

Display and Multimedia

HP outfitted the Elite Dragonfly with a 1080p IPS display with a 72% NTSC (or 99% sRGB) color gamut coverage. It has a maximum brightness of 400 nits and a 60Hz refresh rate. Due to its glossy finish, colors appear more vivid and bright; however, glaring is more apparent even when you set the brightness the max. That being said, when used indoors, photo editors and avid media consumers will be delighted to look at how good images and scenes appear on display. It also comes with the HP Active Pen G3 that allows users to draw and navigate the device (if they hate fingerprint smudges on the screen). The Active Pen is easy to use, and pairs seamlessly without user interaction. While not meant to be used professionally, it’s still pressure-sensitive and allowed our creative members to have an enjoyable drawing experience.

At both sides of the laptop, and underneath, are four Bang & Olufsen designed speakers that delivered crisp, clear sound loud enough for a medium-sized room. It’s the best sounding laptop speakers that I’ve had the pleasure of testing, beating even the speakers from beefier gaming laptops such as the Dell G7. The lows were full even at higher volumes, and the highs were well balanced and did not distort in max volume.

On top of the display sits the dual-array microphone and webcam with a physical shutter. The webcam is compliant with Windows Hello, and you may choose to sign in to the device via facial recognition. As with most laptops, it’s only 720p that’ll be passable for video calls. For tasks that require better fidelity, you’re better off finding an external solution. The same goes for the dual-array microphones. While it was capable of reducing the sound from keystrokes and ambient sounds, recording that requires a higher quality sound will require adding an external mic.

Performance & Benchmarks

Our model of the HP Elite Dragonfly came with an Intel Core i7-8565U processor with the built-in Intel UHD Graphics 620. It’s paired with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Out of the 512GB, only 475GB is available after formatting, with only 432GB usable with the OS installed.

We ran the Elite Dragonfly through synthetic benchmarks in a ~28°C ambient temperature room, plugged into the socket. No OS optimizations were done to skew the results.

 

Starting with Cinebench R15 and R20, we got low scores for both the multicore and single-core tests. Compared to the ASUS Zenbook Edition 30, which uses the same processor, it got an R20 score that’s 17% lower on the multicore test and 27.5% lower on the single-core test.

Testing for everyday use, we ran the machine through PCMark 10 and got the following results:

Unfortunately, HP opted to use the now-dated, 8th generation U-processors from Intel instead of the 10th Generation Mobile processors that come with the much faster Iris Pro Graphics.

Lastly, we tested the included SSD with Crystal Disk Mark and got the following results:

 Read (MB/s)Write (MB/s)
Seq Q32T13223.81902.2
4KiB Q8T8620.5275.3
4KiB Q32T1314.0309.4
4KiB Q1T146.13121.3

The Crystal Disk Mark 6 results are respectable, and the system felt snappy overall.

Battery Life

Doing our standard battery test of 1080p video loop with 50% brightness, 50% volume, headphones plugged in, and airplane mode on, a full charge on the HP Elite Dragonfly lasted for 11 hours and 49 minutes. While this is miles away from the 20-hour battery life rating from HP, it’s still a strong showing. People on the go can finish an entire workday without reaching for a socket. Charging the laptop from 0-100% was also quick, taking a little over an hour with its included USB-C charger.

Conclusion

The HP Elite Dragonfly, considering other laptops in the market available right now, is hard to recommend. While I thoroughly enjoy the aesthetic, feel, display, and battery life, there are better options. For a starting price of PHP 81,440, other laptops, such as the HP Spectre 360 (2020), offers a lot more value for less money. It has a 4K AMOLED panel, the latest 10th Generation Intel processor, and the same convertible functionality while adding only 300grams to its weight.

That being said, the HP Elite Dragonfly is not a bad laptop at all. If you want a laptop with a muted aesthetic, extremely portable due to its weight, and durable build quality, then the HP Elite Dragonfly would be a great option. It’s a pleasure to use, and I have no real complaints (aside from its lack of an SD card reader) during my time using it as a daily driver.

HP Elite Dragonfly specs:
13.3-inch FHD IPS, 72% NTSC, 400 nits touch display
13.3-inch UHD IPS, 72% NTSC, 1000 nits touch display
Up to an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8665U processor
Intel UHD Graphics 620
16GB LPDDR3-2133 SDRAM (soldered)
Up to 512GB Intel PCIe NVME QLC M.2 SSD w/ 32GB Intel Optane Memory
Intel XMM 7360 4G LTE
AX200 WiFi 6 (2×2)
Bluetooth 5.0
2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A
HDMI 1.4
1 x External Nano SIM slot
3.5mm audio jack
4-cell 56.2Whr Li-ion polymer battery, 2-cell 38Whr Li-ion polymer battery
304.3mm x 197.5mm x 16.1mm
0.99Kg
Dragonfly Blue

What I liked:

  • Rigid build quality
  • Minimalistic design
  • Convertible
  • Responsive, color-accurate touch display
  • Long battery life
  • Satisfying keyboard

What I didn’t:

  • Slightly dated hardware
  • Expensive
  • Lack of SD card reader



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