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

HP’s 13-inch Elite Dragonfly, announced final September, is amongst the first wave of top quality laptops to fly below the banner of Intel’s Task Athena, which aims to guideline OEMs in direction of the shipping of advanced products that align carefully with users’ demands. To that stop, Intel has formulated a collection of Critical Knowledge Indicators (KEIs) and a one. specification (which will be up-to-date on a yearly basis), furthermore co-engineering guidance and ‘innovation pathfinding’, ecosystem collaboration on components, and a verification method.

Intel’s KEIs deal with issues like responsiveness on battery energy, battery lifestyle below genuine-planet circumstances, and wake-from-rest time. The one. concentrate on specification covers six critical places: Instant Motion Functionality and Responsiveness Intelligence Battery Life Connectivity and Type Variable. 


Picture: Intel

“It really is a lot less a discussion close to cores and gigahertz,” Intel’s United kingdom shopper compute team director Jeff Kilford explained to ZDNet, “and much more about the total working experience.”

This assessment covers the first-generation Elite Dragonfly, which costs amongst £1,349 and £1,659 (ex. VAT or £1,618.80 and £1,990.80 inc. VAT). Our mid-vary assessment device price tag £1,459 (ex. VAT, £1,750.80 inc. VAT). The G2 design was announced at CES in January, adding tenth-generation Intel Core processors, 5G cell broadband and Tile unit monitoring, but thorough pricing and availability is not nevertheless offered for this up-to-date design.


HP’s layout objectives for the Elite Dragonfly incorporate the typical suspects for a top quality small business ultraportable: effectiveness, layout, portability and protection. But HP has gone additional, decking it out in a tailor made ‘Dragonfly Blue’ colour, providing it a superior display screen-to-human body ratio, and producing important use of sustainable supplies such as OceanBound Plastics.

Inevitably there is certainly a headline assert — the “world’s lightest compact small business convertible” — and .99kg for a 13.three-inch 360-diploma rotating laptop is in fact extraordinary. How substantially additional into 2020 that assert will stand is yet another make a difference.

Prime ZDNET Opinions

We have viewed small-bezel and blue laptops before, but HP’s pearlescent matte-blue Dragonfly shade is each clever and reasonably fingerprint-resistant many thanks to an oleophobic coating. So lengthy as they like blue (no other colour is offered), cell knowledge workers ought to be pleased with this laptop’s seems to be, and there are a great deal of functions on-board to assure that they remain protected and protected when out and about.


HP’s Elite Dragonfly is a top quality 13.three-inch convertible small business laptop dependent on eighth-generation Intel Core processors. With the typical battery, it weighs just below 1kg. 

Images: HP Inc

The Elite Dragonfly has a sturdy magnesium chassis and, like all of HP’s Elite laptops, has undergone MIL-STD 810G screening to assure that it can handle treatment method “earlier mentioned and over and above what a Computer system may well endure on a standard working day in small business and organization environments”. For such a slim laptop (sixteen.1mm), there is certainly reassuringly tiny flex in both the lid or the keyboard.

The 720p webcam, which is situated wherever it ought to be in the 10mm bezel earlier mentioned the display screen, is a hybrid device with IR guidance for Windows Howdy facial recognition. It also has a sliding privateness shutter, even though this can be alternatively fiddly to find and run. Biometric authentication is also offered by means of the fingerprint reader, which is situated to the ideal of the wrist-rest place. One more optional protection element — not current on our assessment device — is HP Positive Look at, which would make the display screen a lot less readable when viewed from the sides at the contact of a critical mixture (Fn-F5). (Observe that Positive Look at only operates in landscape orientation, and so will never frustrate would-be snoopers if you are working with the Elite Dragonfly in pill manner and portrait orientation.)

The display screen and the keyboard are at the coronary heart of any laptop’s layout and person working experience, and the Elite Dragonfly won’t disappoint on both rely.

The display on our assessment device was a 13.three-inch IPS contact-display screen with full High definition (one,920 x one,080) resolution, most brightness of four hundred nits and Gorilla Glass 5 security. This sent a properly superior impression, but two other contact-display screen solutions, which will each attract much more energy, are offered: a panel with the identical FHD resolution but one,000-nit brightness and the aforementioned Positive Look at privateness element and a 4K (three,840 x 2,a hundred and sixty) panel with five hundred-nit brightness. All 3 display solutions have a small-bezel layout with, HP statements, a display screen-to-human body ratio of 86%. This is superior, but knowledge workers might also recognize an aspect ratio with much more depth, such as three:2, so they can see much more of their files. As it is, the sixteen:nine ratio feels much more ‘consumer’ than ‘business’.


The Elite Dragonfly’s backlit, spill-resistant keyboard ought to get the thumbs-up from contact typists (until they are major users of the up/down arrow keys).

Picture: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

HP has set a great deal of exertion into the Elite Dragonfly’s keyboard, recognising that compromise in this place can render the rest of a slimline layout irrelevant if you are a frequent contact-typist. For instance, HP has CNC-engineered each and every critical housing on its spill-resistant, backlit Premium Collaboration Keyboard, which has a superior, company action and is not way too loud. The layout is practical, even though the 50 percent-peak up/down arrow keys — which double as PgUp/PgDn with the Fn critical depressed — could irritate major users of those features. The glass multi-contact touchpad beneath the keyboard operates effortlessly, and there is certainly a good action on the built-in mouse buttons. 

Rounding out the enter solutions is the optional HP Energetic Pen G3, a rechargeable (by means of USB-C) Bluetooth unit with four,096 strain degrees and customisable button features. This 15g stylus, which was equipped with our assessment device, is pretty chunky and has no residence on the laptop, so if you shell out £55 (ex. VAT, £66 inc. VAT) for it, be careful not to mislay it. Usefully, the laptop notifies you if the pen goes out of vary.


The Elite Dragonfly is dependent on eighth-generation Intel Core U-collection (Whiskey Lake) processors — especially, the Core i7-8565U, Core i5-8265U and Core i3-8145U, and the Core i7-8665U and Core i5-8365U with VPro. Our assessment device experienced the Core i7-8565U managing at one.8GHz (up to four.6GHz with Turbo Raise) and 16GB of RAM. Storage on our program comprised a 512GB PCIe SSD and 32GB of speedy Intel Optane memory, which functions as a cache to accelerate boot-up and software start. All of the Whiskey Lake processors have a TDP of 15W and element Intel’s built-in UHD Graphics 620 GPU.

Wi-fi connectivity arrives courtesy of Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX200 Module, which supports the hottest 802.11ax typical as nicely as Bluetooth 5. Cell broadband (4G LTE) is offered as an option, but was not current on our assessment device.

You can find no home for a wired Ethernet port on such a slim laptop, but apart from that the Elite Dragonfly has a superior assortment of connections. On the ideal-hand facet there is certainly a full-dimensions HDMI port, a three.5mm audio jack and two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, both of which can be utilised to cost the laptop. You can find a USB three.one port on the still left facet, alongside with the energy button, a protection cable slot and the (Nano) SIM card slot. Continue to, if you require to use a mouse or an exterior keyboard, you might be ideal off working with Bluetooth in get to maximise the quantity of offered wired connections.

The audio subsystem, formulated in partnership with Bang & Olufsen, delivers superior-high-quality sound with a great deal of quantity. This is particularly extraordinary in such a slimline layout, wherever there is certainly a lot less area for good-sized speaker enclosures. There are 3 microphones — two situated in the top rated bezel and just one in the top rated of the lid, going through outwards to detect and filter out ambient sounds when you are conducting a movie simply call, for instance.

Functionality & battery lifestyle

“This unit is truly for ultra-cell men and women who are always on the go but want to convey their office environment with them…it truly is not truly for the energy person who’s heading to be working with CAD or major movie-enhancing application,” Simon Barlow, small business advancement manager at HP, explained to ZDNet. 

With that in thoughts, let’s see how the Core i7/16GB Elite Dragonfly shapes up. For comparison, we’ll use yet another 2-in-one unit aimed at knowledge workers that we not too long ago benchmarked — Microsoft’s Floor Professional 7, with a tenth-generation Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM.


Images: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Across the board, the Elite Dragonfly retains its very own towards the Floor Professional 7 — which at £1,495 (ex. VAT, £1,795 inc. VAT) for a design with similar RAM (16GB) and SSD storage (512GB) is equally priced (the Dragonfly reviewed right here costs £1,459 ex. VAT, £1,750.80 inc. VAT). The Floor Professional 7’s tenth-generation Core i5 outperforms the Dragonfly’s eighth-generation Core i7 on multi-main CPU effectiveness, whilst the Dragonfly has the edge on the Cinebench R15 OpenGL examination. Disk effectiveness is similar, whilst the Dragonfly outperforms the Floor Professional 7 in the Productivity area of the PCMark ten suite but lags at the rear of on Essentials and Electronic Material Generation.

UL Benchmarks endorses a PCMark ten Essentials rating of 4100 or better for ‘a range of easy tasks’, a Productivity rating of 4500 or better for ‘typical office environment function and gentle media content’, and a Electronic Material Generation rating of 3450 or better for ‘editing images or other electronic media content’. Each products comfortably exceed the recommended Essentials and Productivity scores, but the Elite Dragonfly only manages seventy seven% of the recommended Electronic Material Generation rating, when compared to 94% for the Floor Professional 7. So HP’s evaluation of the Dragonfly’s place in the effectiveness firmament (see quotation earlier mentioned) seems to be very location-on.

HP presents two battery measurements for the Elite Dragonfly, a typical 2-mobile 38Wh device and a superior-ability four-mobile 56.2Wh battery. Our assessment device experienced the typical battery, for which HP statements up to sixteen.5 hours’ lifestyle. The superior-ability battery will keep the laptop heading for up to 24.5 several hours, HP states, but will bump the system’s fat to just around the magic 1kg mark. Quickly charging will deliver 50% cost in 50 percent an hour, according to HP.

To examination battery lifestyle, we set the display screen brightness to 50% and held the energy options on the default HP Optimized prepare, and then ran the PCMark ten benchmark around-repeatedly until finally the program suspended. This corresponds to an extremely major-obligation workload, and drained 90% of battery ability in four several hours seventeen minutes, according to Windows 10’s interior battery report. The Windows ten battery report also presents a ‘Current estimate of battery lifestyle dependent on all noticed battery drains since OS install’, which for our assessment device was twelve several hours and eight minutes. On this foundation you can hope all-working day battery lifestyle, and much more, below standard situation, but might require a (speedy) recharge in the course of the working day if you are pushing the program significantly really hard.

User working experience

Task Athena laptops are all about the person working experience, HP and Intel guarantee us. So how did it go in the course of the examination period?

The first matter we recognized on environment up the Elite Dragonfly was the amount of money of HP application on-board, and the quantity of permissions and restarts required before the stream of notifications settled down. Our assessment device experienced the following applications (and this isn’t an exhaustive record): HP Customer Protection Manager, HP Relationship Optimizer, HP JumpStarts, HP Energy Manager, HP Privateness Configurations, HP Guidance Assistant, HP Positive Click on, HP Positive Click on Secure Searching, HP Positive Feeling and HP WorkWell. That’s not to say all this isn’t worthwhile — HP Positive Feeling, for instance, employs deep understanding to help genuine-time malware security, while HP WorkWell displays your function routines, supplying ideas and recommending breaks.

Total nevertheless, we identified the Elite Dragonfly a satisfaction to examination and use. The industrial layout is exquisite and strong, the display screen (albeit sixteen:nine) and keyboard are outstanding, there is certainly a superior assortment of ports, a great deal of configuration solutions, and each effectiveness (for mainstream workloads) and battery lifestyle are really superior. Of training course, there are a great deal of other slimline convertible laptops to select from (we’re on the lookout forward to screening Dell’s hottest XPS 13 2-in-one), but if you are pleased with HP’s cost tag you will never be unhappy by the Elite Dragonfly.

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