HP Elite Dragonfly review: A top-quality lightweight 13-inch business convertible Review

HP’s thirteen-inch Elite Dragonfly, declared very last September, is between the initial wave of high quality laptops to fly under the banner of Intel’s Challenge Athena, which aims to guidebook OEMs toward the supply of innovative gadgets that align intently with users’ wants. To that close, Intel has created a sequence of Vital Encounter Indicators (KEIs) and a one. specification (which will be up to date per year), plus co-engineering aid and ‘innovation pathfinding’, ecosystem collaboration on parts, and a verification procedure.

Intel’s KEIs include items like responsiveness on battery electrical power, battery lifetime under actual-earth circumstances, and wake-from-slumber time. The one. focus on specification addresses six critical locations: Instantaneous Motion Functionality and Responsiveness Intelligence Battery Daily life Connectivity and Variety Aspect. 


Graphic: Intel

“It’s significantly less a discussion all around cores and gigahertz,” Intel’s British isles shopper compute team director Jeff Kilford informed ZDNet, “and far more about the all round expertise.”

This overview addresses the initial-era Elite Dragonfly, which prices between £1,349 and £1,659 (ex. VAT or £1,618.80 and £1,990.80 inc. VAT). Our mid-range overview unit cost £1,459 (ex. VAT, £1,750.80 inc. VAT). The G2 model was declared at CES in January, introducing tenth-era Intel Core processors, 5G mobile broadband and Tile device tracking, but detailed pricing and availability is not nonetheless obtainable for this up to date model.

Style and design

HP’s design and style aims for the Elite Dragonfly include the regular suspects for a high quality business ultraportable: effectiveness, design and style, portability and protection. But HP has gone additional, decking it out in a customized ‘Dragonfly Blue’ color, supplying it a large monitor-to-human body ratio, and earning substantial use of sustainable elements these types of as OceanBound Plastics.

Inevitably there is a headline assert — the “world’s lightest compact business convertible” — and .99kg for a thirteen.3-inch 360-degree rotating notebook is certainly spectacular. How considerably additional into 2020 that assert will stand is an additional matter.

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We’ve noticed negligible-bezel and blue laptops ahead of, but HP’s pearlescent matte-blue Dragonfly shade is both clever and reasonably fingerprint-resistant many thanks to an oleophobic coating. So extensive as they like blue (no other color is obtainable), mobile know-how workers should really be happy with this laptop’s appears, and there are a great deal of attributes on-board to make certain that they remain safe and sound and protected when out and about.


HP’s Elite Dragonfly is a high quality thirteen.3-inch convertible business notebook based mostly on 8th-era Intel Core processors. With the typical battery, it weighs just under 1kg. 

Pictures: HP Inc

The Elite Dragonfly has a strong magnesium chassis and, like all of HP’s Elite laptops, has been through MIL-STD 810G testing to make certain that it can deal with treatment method “over and over and above what a Computer may perhaps endure on a normal working day in business and business environments”. For these types of a trim notebook (16.1mm), there is reassuringly little flex in both the lid or the keyboard.

The 720p webcam, which is positioned in which it should really be in the 10mm bezel over the monitor, is a hybrid unit with IR aid for Home windows Hello facial recognition. It also has a sliding privacy shutter, even though this can be alternatively fiddly to track down and operate. Biometric authentication is also obtainable through the fingerprint reader, which is positioned to the ideal of the wrist-rest space. Yet another optional protection function — not existing on our overview unit — is HP Confident Perspective, which would make the monitor significantly less readable when seen from the sides at the contact of a critical mixture (Fn-F5). (Take note that Confident Perspective only is effective in landscape orientation, and so is not going to frustrate would-be snoopers if you’re utilizing the Elite Dragonfly in pill manner and portrait orientation.)

The monitor and the keyboard are at the coronary heart of any laptop’s design and style and person expertise, and the Elite Dragonfly won’t disappoint on both depend.

The exhibit on our overview unit was a thirteen.3-inch IPS contact-monitor with entire Hd (one,920 x one,080) resolution, highest brightness of 400 nits and Gorilla Glass 5 defense. This shipped a correctly very good picture, but two other contact-monitor choices, which will both attract far more electrical power, are obtainable: a panel with the same FHD resolution but one,000-nit brightness and the aforementioned Confident Perspective privacy function and a 4K (3,840 x 2,a hundred and sixty) panel with five hundred-nit brightness. All 3 exhibit choices have a negligible-bezel design and style with, HP promises, a monitor-to-human body ratio of 86%. This is very good, but know-how workers may well also value an part ratio with far more depth, these types of as 3:2, so they can see far more of their paperwork. As it is, the 16:nine ratio feels far more ‘consumer’ than ‘business’.


The Elite Dragonfly’s backlit, spill-resistant keyboard should really get the thumbs-up from contact typists (until they’re large people of the up/down arrow keys).

Graphic: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

HP has set a large amount of work into the Elite Dragonfly’s keyboard, recognising that compromise in this space can render the rest of a slimline design and style irrelevant if you’re a regular contact-typist. For case in point, HP has CNC-engineered each critical housing on its spill-resistant, backlit Top quality Collaboration Keyboard, which has a very good, firm motion and is not far too loud. The layout is smart, even though the 50 %-height up/down arrow keys — which double as PgUp/PgDn with the Fn critical depressed — could irritate large people of those people capabilities. The glass multi-contact touchpad beneath the keyboard is effective smoothly, and there is a constructive motion on the built-in mouse buttons. 

Rounding out the enter choices is the optional HP Lively Pen G3, a rechargeable (through USB-C) Bluetooth device with four,096 tension levels and customisable button capabilities. This 15g stylus, which was supplied with our overview unit, is pretty chunky and has no dwelling on the notebook, so if you shell out £55 (ex. VAT, £66 inc. VAT) for it, be mindful not to mislay it. Usefully, the notebook notifies you if the pen goes out of range.


The Elite Dragonfly is based mostly on 8th-era Intel Core U-sequence (Whiskey Lake) processors — exclusively, the Core i7-8565U, Core i5-8265U and Core i3-8145U, and the Core i7-8665U and Core i5-8365U with VPro. Our overview unit had the Core i7-8565U jogging at one.8GHz (up to four.6GHz with Turbo Boost) and 16GB of RAM. Storage on our technique comprised a 512GB PCIe SSD and 32GB of rapid Intel Optane memory, which acts as a cache to accelerate boot-up and software launch. All of the Whiskey Lake processors have a TDP of 15W and function Intel’s built-in UHD Graphics 620 GPU.

Wireless connectivity arrives courtesy of Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX200 Module, which supports the hottest 802.11ax typical as very well as Bluetooth 5. Mobile broadband (4G LTE) is obtainable as an alternative, but was not existing on our overview unit.

There is certainly no room for a wired Ethernet port on these types of a trim notebook, but apart from that the Elite Dragonfly has a very good collection of connections. On the ideal-hand side there is a entire-measurement HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio jack and two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, both of which can be utilised to demand the notebook. There is certainly a USB 3.one port on the still left side, alongside with the electrical power button, a protection cable slot and the (Nano) SIM card slot. Still, if you want to use a mouse or an external keyboard, you may well be best off utilizing Bluetooth in get to maximise the amount of obtainable wired connections.

The audio subsystem, created in partnership with Bang & Olufsen, delivers very good-excellent seem with a great deal of volume. This is specially spectacular in these types of a slimline design and style, in which there is significantly less house for good-sized speaker enclosures. There are 3 microphones — two positioned in the prime bezel and a single in the prime of the lid, dealing with outwards to detect and filter out ambient sounds when you’re conducting a online video phone, for case in point.

Functionality & battery lifetime

“This device is genuinely for extremely-mobile individuals who are always on the go but want to convey their office with them…it truly is not genuinely for the electrical power person who’s heading to be utilizing CAD or large online video-modifying software,” Simon Barlow, business development supervisor at HP, informed ZDNet. 

With that in head, let’s see how the Core i7/16GB Elite Dragonfly designs up. For comparison, we will use an additional 2-in-one device aimed at know-how workers that we not long ago benchmarked — Microsoft’s Area Professional 7, with a tenth-era Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM.


Pictures: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Across the board, the Elite Dragonfly holds its personal against the Area Professional 7 — which at £1,495 (ex. VAT, £1,795 inc. VAT) for a model with comparable RAM (16GB) and SSD storage (512GB) is likewise priced (the Dragonfly reviewed here prices £1,459 ex. VAT, £1,750.80 inc. VAT). The Area Professional 7’s tenth-era Core i5 outperforms the Dragonfly’s 8th-era Core i7 on multi-main CPU effectiveness, though the Dragonfly has the edge on the Cinebench R15 OpenGL examination. Disk effectiveness is related, though the Dragonfly outperforms the Area Professional 7 in the Productivity segment of the PCMark 10 suite but lags powering on Essentials and Electronic Content Development.

UL Benchmarks recommends a PCMark 10 Essentials rating of 4100 or bigger for ‘a assortment of very simple tasks’, a Productivity rating of 4500 or bigger for ‘typical office get the job done and light media content’, and a Electronic Content Development rating of 3450 or bigger for ‘editing images or other digital media content’. Both gadgets easily exceed the advised Essentials and Productivity scores, but the Elite Dragonfly only manages seventy seven% of the advised Electronic Content Development rating, as opposed to ninety four% for the Area Professional 7. So HP’s evaluation of the Dragonfly’s place in the effectiveness firmament (see quotation over) appears really location-on.

HP presents two battery measurements for the Elite Dragonfly, a typical 2-cell 38Wh unit and a large-potential four-cell fifty six.2Wh battery. Our overview unit had the typical battery, for which HP promises up to 16.5 hours’ lifetime. The large-potential battery will hold the notebook heading for up to 24.5 hours, HP says, but will bump the system’s fat to just more than the magic 1kg mark. Rapid charging will provide fifty% demand in 50 % an hour, in accordance to HP.

To examination battery lifetime, we established the monitor brightness to fifty% and kept the electrical power configurations on the default HP Optimized plan, and then ran the PCMark 10 benchmark in close proximity to-constantly till the technique suspended. This corresponds to an extremely large-responsibility workload, and drained 90% of battery potential in four hours 17 minutes, in accordance to Home windows 10’s inside battery report. The Home windows 10 battery report also presents a ‘Current estimate of battery lifetime based mostly on all noticed battery drains given that OS install’, which for our overview unit was twelve hours and 8 minutes. On this basis you can expect all-working day battery lifetime, and far more, under normal situation, but may well want a (rapid) recharge all through the working day if you’re pushing the technique especially hard.

User expertise

Challenge Athena laptops are all about the person expertise, HP and Intel guarantee us. So how did it go all through the examination period of time?

The initial matter we found on environment up the Elite Dragonfly was the quantity of HP software on-board, and the amount of permissions and restarts expected ahead of the circulation of notifications settled down. Our overview unit had the pursuing apps (and this isn’t an exhaustive record): HP Client Safety Supervisor, HP Relationship Optimizer, HP JumpStarts, HP Electrical power Supervisor, HP Privacy Options, HP Help Assistant, HP Confident Simply click, HP Confident Simply click Secure Browsing, HP Confident Sense and HP WorkWell. That’s not to say all this isn’t worthwhile — HP Confident Sense, for case in point, employs deep discovering to help actual-time malware defense, while HP WorkWell displays your get the job done behavior, giving guidelines and recommending breaks.

All round while, we located the Elite Dragonfly a pleasure to examination and use. The industrial design and style is classy and strong, the monitor (albeit 16:nine) and keyboard are outstanding, there is a very good collection of ports, a great deal of configuration choices, and both effectiveness (for mainstream workloads) and battery lifetime are pretty very good. Of system, there are a great deal of other slimline convertible laptops to pick from (we’re hunting ahead to testing Dell’s hottest XPS thirteen 2-in-one), but if you’re happy with HP’s selling price tag you is not going to be dissatisfied by the Elite Dragonfly.

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