Home / Laptops / HP Elite Dragonfly review: A top-quality lightweight 13-inch business convertible

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

HP’s 13-inch Elite Dragonfly, introduced remaining September, is without doubt one of the first wave of top rate laptops to fly beneath the banner of Intel’s Challenge Athena, which objectives to steer OEMs against the supply of complicated units that align carefully with customers’ wishes. To that finish, Intel has advanced a sequence of Key Enjoy Signs (KEIs) and a 1.zero specification (which might be up to date every year), plus co-engineering improve and ‘innovation pathfinding’, ecosystem collaboration on elements, and a verification procedure.

Intel’s KEIs quilt such things as responsiveness on battery energy, battery existence beneath real-world stipulations, and wake-from-sleep time. The 1.zero goal specification covers six key spaces: Quick Motion; Efficiency and Responsiveness; Intelligence; Battery Lifestyles; Connectivity; and Shape Issue. 


Symbol: Intel

“It is much less a dialog round cores and gigahertz,” Intel’s UK shopper compute staff director Jeff Kilford advised ZDNet, “and extra concerning the total revel in.”

This assessment covers the first-generation 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 assessment unit price £1,459 (ex. VAT, £1,750.80 inc. VAT). The G2 type was once introduced at CES in January, including 10th-generation Intel Core processors, 5G cellular broadband and Tile software monitoring, however detailed pricing and availability isn’t but to be had for this up to date type.


HP’s design targets for the Elite Dragonfly come with the standard suspects for a top rate trade ultraportable: efficiency, design, portability and safety. However HP has long past additional, decking it out in a customized ‘Dragonfly Blue’ color, giving it a excessive screen-to-body ratio, and making vital use of sustainable fabrics corresponding to OceanBound Plastics.

Inevitably there is a headline declare — the “global’s lightest compact trade convertible” — and nil.99kg for a 13.Three-inch 360-degree rotating computer is certainly spectacular. How a lot additional into 2020 that declare will stand is every other topic.

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We have now noticed minimal-bezel and blue laptops sooner than, however HP’s pearlescent matte-blue Dragonfly color is each sensible and quite fingerprint-resistant due to an oleophobic coating. As long as they prefer blue (no different color is to be had), cellular wisdom employees must be pleased with this computer’s appears to be like, and there are many options on-board to make certain that they continue to be protected and safe when out and about.


HP’s Elite Dragonfly is a top rate 13.Three-inch convertible trade computer according to Eighth-generation Intel Core processors. With the usual battery, it weighs slightly below 1kg. 

Photographs: HP Inc

The Elite Dragonfly has a robust magnesium chassis and, like every of HP’s Elite laptops, has passed through MIL-STD 810G checking out to make certain that it might probably deal with remedy “above and past what a PC would possibly bear on a regular day in trade and undertaking environments”. For one of these slender computer (16.1mm), there is reassuringly little flex in both the lid or the keyboard.

The 720p webcam, which is situated the place it must be within the 10mm bezel above the display screen, is a hybrid unit with IR improve for Home windows Hi facial popularity. It additionally has a sliding privateness shutter, even supposing this may also be moderately fiddly to find and function. Biometric authentication could also be to be had by means of the fingerprint reader, which is situated to the appropriate of the wrist-rest space. Some other not obligatory safety characteristic — no longer provide on our assessment unit — is HP Positive View, which makes the display screen much less readable when considered from the edges on the contact of a key mixture (Fn-F5). (Observe that Positive View simplest works in panorama orientation, and so may not frustrate would-be snoopers in case you are the use of the Elite Dragonfly in pill mode and portrait orientation.)

The display screen and the keyboard are on the center of any computer’s design and person revel in, and the Elite Dragonfly does not disappoint on both depend.

The show on our assessment unit was once a 13.Three-inch IPS touch-screen with complete HD (1,920 x 1,zero80) solution, most brightness of 400 nits and Gorilla Glass five coverage. This delivered a superbly nice symbol, however two different touch-screen choices, which is able to each draw extra energy, are to be had: a panel with the similar FHD solution however 1,000-nit brightness and the aforementioned Positive View privateness characteristic; and a 4K (Three,840 x 2,160) panel with 500-nit brightness. All 3 show choices have a minimal-bezel design with, HP claims, a screen-to-body ratio of 86%. That is nice, however wisdom employees may also recognize a facet ratio with extra intensity, corresponding to Three:2, so they are able to see extra in their paperwork. As it’s, the 16:nine ratio feels extra ‘shopper’ than ‘trade’.


The Elite Dragonfly’s backlit, spill-resistant keyboard must get the thumbs-up from contact typists (except they are heavy customers of the up/down arrow keys).

Symbol: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

HP has put numerous effort into the Elite Dragonfly’s keyboard, recognising that compromise on this space can render the remainder of a slimline design beside the point in case you are a typical touch-typist. For instance, HP has CNC-engineered every key housing on its spill-resistant, backlit Top rate Collaboration Keyboard, which has a nice, company motion and isn’t too loud. The format is smart, even supposing the half-height up/down arrow keys — which double as PgUp/PgDn with the Fn key depressed — may just worsen heavy customers of the ones purposes. The glass multi-touch touchpad underneath the keyboard works easily, and there is a sure motion at the built-in mouse buttons. 

Rounding out the enter choices is the not obligatory HP Energetic Pen G3, a chargeable (by means of USB-C) Bluetooth software with Four,096 power ranges and customisable button purposes. This 15g stylus, which was once provided with our assessment unit, is relatively chunky and has no house at the computer, so when you shell out £55 (ex. VAT, £66 inc. VAT) for it, watch out to not mislay it. Usefully, the computer notifies you if the pen is going out of fluctuate.


The Elite Dragonfly is according to Eighth-generation Intel Core U-series (Whiskey Lake) processors — in particular, the Core i7-8565U, Core i5-8265U and Core i3-8145U, and the Core i7-8665U and Core i5-8365U with VPro. Our assessment unit had the Core i7-8565U working at 1.8GHz (as much as Four.6GHz with Turbo Spice up) and 16GB of RAM. Garage on our machine comprised a 512GB PCIe SSD and 32GB of speedy Intel Optane reminiscence, which acts as a cache to boost up boot-up and alertness release. The entire Whiskey Lake processors have a TDP of 15W and have Intel’s built-in UHD Graphics 620 GPU.

Wi-fi connectivity comes courtesy of Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX200 Module, which helps the most recent 802.11ax usual in addition to Bluetooth five. Cell broadband (4G LTE) is to be had as an possibility, however was once no longer provide on our assessment unit.

There is not any room for a stressed out Ethernet port on one of these slender computer, however except that the Elite Dragonfly has a sensible choice of connections. At the right-hand aspect there is a full-size HDMI port, a three.5mm audio jack and two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, both of which can be utilized to price the computer. There is a USB Three.1 port at the left aspect, in conjunction with the facility button, a safety cable slot and the (Nano) SIM card slot. Nonetheless, if you wish to have to make use of a mouse or an exterior keyboard, you could be best possible off the use of Bluetooth in an effort to maximise the collection of to be had stressed out connections.

The audio subsystem, advanced in partnership with Bang & Olufsen, delivers good-quality sound with a number of quantity. That is particularly spectacular in one of these slimline design, the place there is much less area for decent-sized speaker enclosures. There are 3 microphones — two situated within the peak bezel and one within the peak of the lid, dealing with outwards to come across and clear out ambient noise when you are accomplishing a video name, as an example.

Efficiency & battery existence

“This software is in reality for ultra-mobile people who are at all times at the cross however wish to carry their workplace with them…it is not in reality for the facility person who is going to be the use of CAD or heavy video-editing device,” Simon Barlow, trade building supervisor at HP, advised ZDNet. 

With that during thoughts, let’s have a look at how the Core i7/16GB Elite Dragonfly shapes up. For comparability, we’re going to use every other 2-in-1 software geared toward wisdom employees that we lately benchmarked — Microsoft’s Floor Professional 7, with a 10th-generation Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM.


Photographs: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Around the board, the Elite Dragonfly holds its personal in opposition to the Floor Professional 7 — which at £1,495 (ex. VAT, £1,795 inc. VAT) for a type with related RAM (16GB) and SSD garage (512GB) is in a similar way priced (the Dragonfly reviewed right here prices £1,459 ex. VAT, £1,750.80 inc. VAT). The Floor Professional 7’s 10th-generation Core i5 outperforms the Dragonfly’s Eighth-generation Core i7 on multi-core CPU efficiency, whilst the Dragonfly has the brink at the Cinebench R15 OpenGL take a look at. Disk efficiency is identical, whilst the Dragonfly outperforms the Floor Professional 7 within the Productiveness phase of the PCMark 10 suite however lags in the back of on Necessities and Virtual Content material Advent.

UL Benchmarks recommends a PCMark 10 Necessities ranking of 4100 or upper for ‘various easy duties’, a Productiveness ranking of 4500 or upper for ‘conventional workplace paintings and lightweight media content material’, and a Virtual Content material Advent ranking of 3450 or upper for ‘modifying pictures or different virtual media content material’. Each units conveniently exceed the really useful Necessities and Productiveness rankings, however the Elite Dragonfly simplest manages 77% of the really useful Virtual Content material Advent ranking, in comparison to 94% for the Floor Professional 7. So HP’s review of the Dragonfly’s position within the efficiency firmament (see quote above) appears to be like lovely spot-on.

HP gives two battery sizes for the Elite Dragonfly, a typical 2-cell 38Wh unit and a high-capacity Four-cell 56.2Wh battery. Our assessment unit had the usual battery, for which HP claims as much as 16.five hours’ existence. The high-capacity battery will stay the computer going for as much as 24.five hours, HP says, however will bump the machine’s weight to simply over the magic 1kg mark. Rapid charging will ship 50% price in half of an hour, in line with HP.

To check battery existence, we set the display screen brightness to 50% and saved the facility settings at the default HP Optimized plan, after which ran the PCMark 10 benchmark near-continuously till the machine suspended. This corresponds to an exceptionally heavy-duty workload, and tired 90% of battery capability in Four hours 17 mins, in line with Home windows 10’s interior battery file. The Home windows 10 battery file additionally provides a ‘Present estimate of battery existence according to all noticed battery drains since OS set up’, which for our assessment unit was once 12 hours and eight mins. In this foundation you’ll be expecting all-day battery existence, and extra, beneath commonplace instances, however would possibly desire a (speedy) recharge all through the day in case you are pushing the machine in particular laborious.

Person revel in

Challenge Athena laptops are all concerning the person revel in, HP and Intel guarantee us. So how did it cross all through the take a look at duration?

The very first thing we spotted on putting in place the Elite Dragonfly was once the volume of HP device on-board, and the collection of permissions and restarts required sooner than the waft of notifications settled down. Our assessment unit had the next apps (and this is not an exhaustive listing): HP Shopper Safety Supervisor, HP Connection Optimizer, HP JumpStarts, HP Energy Supervisor, HP Privateness Settings, HP Improve Assistant, HP Positive Click on, HP Positive Click on Protected Surfing, HP Positive Sense and HP WorkWell. That isn’t to mention all this is not treasured — HP Positive Sense, as an example, employs deep finding out to allow real-time malware coverage, whilst HP WorkWell displays your paintings conduct, providing pointers and recommending breaks.

Total regardless that, we discovered the Elite Dragonfly a excitement to check and use. The commercial design is sublime and strong, the display screen (albeit 16:nine) and keyboard are very good, there is a nice number of ports, a number of configuration choices, and each efficiency (for mainstream workloads) and battery existence are excellent. After all, there are many different slimline convertible laptops to choose between (we are taking a look ahead to checking out Dell’s newest XPS 13 2-in-1), however in case you are pleased with HP’s price ticket you will not be disenchanted via the Elite Dragonfly.


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