HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook: Impressive, Imperfect, Expensive

1 year ago
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HP can do the other range is called Envy, but it’s the Elite Dragonfly that really summons the green-eyed monster. Designed for business users, this hefty price tag has features that will appeal to anyone looking for a thin, light, and high-end performance laptop.

At CES 2023 HP disclosed that the Dragonfly name will finally be given to consumer models with the new Dragonfly Pro and Dragonfly Pro Chromebooks. But before that happens later this year, there’s the question of adding HP ChromeOS to the current business range.

This is one of the best Chromebooks you can buy.If you can stomach the hefty price. You get a stylish, lightweight and amazing performance laptop, but with a few drawbacks. This is a hardware achievement that falls short of perfection. That’s why.

sparks fly

Photo: HP

Writing, viewing, and planning are a breeze on the Chromebook Elite Dragonfly. There are few devices on the market that greet you with performance like this – neither the new Dell XPS 13 (6/10, WIRED recommends) nor HP’s luxury consumer Specter x360 14 featured in our best laptops guide.

The Intel Core i5-1245U vPro, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD configuration ate through 20+ tabs without issue. The keyboard plays a big role, with solid travel and a nicely light crunch of feedback. Accordingly, the review you are currently reading is written on said laptop, and the words on the page appear as quickly as it is blissfully.

Unfortunately, two points let down the performance package. The tactile trackpad mimics an unsatisfactory “click”, though it’s accurate and a good size. And with more intensive workloads, battery life is only about 6 hours. Your mileage may vary, as it did during my testing, sometimes on less busy days it can approach 8 hours.

The 3:2 aspect ratio display further boosts productivity, while a squarer display adds more screen real estate to your essays, web pages, spreadsheets and more. Image quality is a bit underwhelming, especially for a $1,000+ machine. No real complaints, but you’ll find better panels on devices cheaper than this, and OLED is becoming more common on sub-$1,000 laptops. The anti-glare coating is an added bonus and much needed as this is a fairly reflective display.

So what about the Elite Dragonfly Chromebook business? In addition to the Intel vPro processor, which provides easier and deeper device management as well as an extra layer of security, there are a few more touted additions. For the webcam, there’s a privacy shutter you’ll find on some non-business laptops, and the option to add an HP Sure View display. My review model didn’t have this technology, but I’ve tried it before and it always worked as advertised – a switchable feature that prevents viewers on the left and right from seeing what’s on your screen. Neat trick. The webcam itself delivers detailed images, and the microphone delivers decent audio. Neither is conspicuous, but you won’t get complaints from colleagues.

Luxurious view

This Chromebook is one of the most expensive you can buy, so you have every right to expect a taste of the good life. Fortunately, the design matches this. It’s incredibly thin and incredibly light. The joy of working day in and day out, deftly moving this lightweight machine from home to desk and wherever you go is palpable. The magnesium-aluminum hybrid isn’t as bright as a MacBook or Dell XPS 13 Plus (7/10, WIRED recommends), but it still floats above the plastic and looks luxurious.

Chromebook HP Elite Dragonfly side view

Photo: HP

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