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

Nancy J. Delong

HP’s thirteen-inch Elite Dragonfly, introduced past September, is among the to start with wave of high quality laptops to fly less than the banner of Intel’s Undertaking Athena, which aims to information OEMs toward the delivery of advanced products that align closely with users’ needs. To that conclusion, Intel has made a collection of Key Experience Indicators (KEIs) and a 1. specification (which will be current each year), in addition co-engineering aid and ‘innovation pathfinding’, ecosystem collaboration on components, and a verification system.

Intel’s KEIs deal with items like responsiveness on battery energy, battery life less than true-environment disorders, and wake-from-sleep time. The 1. goal specification addresses six vital spots: Instantaneous Motion Efficiency and Responsiveness Intelligence Battery Life Connectivity and Type Issue. 


Graphic: Intel

“It can be fewer a conversation all-around cores and gigahertz,” Intel’s United kingdom client compute team director Jeff Kilford informed ZDNet, “and additional about the total practical experience.”

This critique addresses the to start with-technology Elite Dragonfly, which fees involving £1,349 and £1,659 (ex. VAT or £1,618.80 and £1,990.80 inc. VAT). Our mid-variety critique device price £1,459 (ex. VAT, £1,750.80 inc. VAT). The G2 design was introduced at CES in January, adding 10th-technology Intel Main processors, 5G cellular broadband and Tile product monitoring, but detailed pricing and availability is not still offered for this current design.


HP’s style objectives for the Elite Dragonfly consist of the normal suspects for a high quality small business ultraportable: overall performance, style, portability and stability. But HP has gone more, decking it out in a personalized ‘Dragonfly Blue’ colour, giving it a substantial monitor-to-overall body ratio, and making sizeable use of sustainable materials these kinds of as OceanBound Plastics.

Inevitably you can find a headline claim — the “world’s lightest compact small business convertible” — and .99kg for a thirteen.3-inch 360-diploma rotating notebook is certainly remarkable. How substantially more into 2020 that claim will stand is yet another make any difference.

Leading ZDNET Assessments

We’ve viewed minimum-bezel and blue laptops prior to, but HP’s pearlescent matte-blue Dragonfly shade is both smart and moderately fingerprint-resistant thanks to an oleophobic coating. So extended as they like blue (no other colour is offered), cellular awareness workers need to be pleased with this laptop’s looks, and there are lots of features on-board to guarantee that they stay secure and protected when out and about.


HP’s Elite Dragonfly is a high quality thirteen.3-inch convertible small business notebook dependent on 8th-technology Intel Main processors. With the regular battery, it weighs just less than 1kg. 

Photographs: HP Inc

The Elite Dragonfly has a sturdy magnesium chassis and, like all of HP’s Elite laptops, has been through MIL-STD 810G screening to guarantee that it can tackle cure “previously mentioned and over and above what a Laptop might endure on a usual day in small business and enterprise environments”. For these kinds of a slender notebook (sixteen.1mm), you can find reassuringly tiny flex in possibly the lid or the keyboard.

The 720p webcam, which is situated where by it need to be in the 10mm bezel previously mentioned the monitor, is a hybrid device with IR aid for Windows Hi there facial recognition. It also has a sliding privateness shutter, while this can be relatively fiddly to identify and run. Biometric authentication is also offered via the fingerprint reader, which is situated to the appropriate of the wrist-relaxation area. Another optional stability feature — not present on our critique device — is HP Certain Check out, which helps make the monitor fewer readable when considered from the sides at the touch of a vital blend (Fn-F5). (Observe that Certain Check out only is effective in landscape orientation, and so will not likely frustrate would-be snoopers if you are applying the Elite Dragonfly in tablet manner and portrait orientation.)

The monitor and the keyboard are at the coronary heart of any laptop’s style and person practical experience, and the Elite Dragonfly does not disappoint on possibly count.

The display screen on our critique device was a thirteen.3-inch IPS touch-monitor with entire High definition (1,920 x 1,080) resolution, most brightness of 400 nits and Gorilla Glass five protection. This delivered a perfectly excellent impression, but two other touch-monitor possibilities, which will both draw additional energy, are offered: a panel with the exact FHD resolution but 1,000-nit brightness and the aforementioned Certain Check out privateness feature and a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) panel with 500-nit brightness. All three display screen possibilities have a minimum-bezel style with, HP claims, a monitor-to-overall body ratio of 86%. This is excellent, but awareness workers could also appreciate an facet ratio with additional depth, these kinds of as 3:2, so they can see additional of their files. As it is, the sixteen:nine ratio feels additional ‘consumer’ than ‘business’.


The Elite Dragonfly’s backlit, spill-resistant keyboard need to get the thumbs-up from touch typists (unless of course they’re heavy end users of the up/down arrow keys).

Graphic: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

HP has set a great deal of effort and hard work into the Elite Dragonfly’s keyboard, recognising that compromise in this area can render the relaxation of a slimline style irrelevant if you are a frequent touch-typist. For illustration, HP has CNC-engineered every vital housing on its spill-resistant, backlit Quality Collaboration Keyboard, which has a excellent, agency action and is not also loud. The layout is reasonable, while the 50 %-peak up/down arrow keys — which double as PgUp/PgDn with the Fn vital depressed — could irritate heavy end users of these functions. The glass multi-touch touchpad beneath the keyboard is effective smoothly, and you can find a favourable action on the integrated mouse buttons. 

Rounding out the input possibilities is the optional HP Energetic Pen G3, a rechargeable (via USB-C) Bluetooth product with four,096 strain levels and customisable button functions. This 15g stylus, which was supplied with our critique device, is fairly chunky and has no residence on the notebook, so if you shell out £55 (ex. VAT, £66 inc. VAT) for it, be watchful not to mislay it. Usefully, the notebook notifies you if the pen goes out of variety.


The Elite Dragonfly is dependent on 8th-technology Intel Main U-collection (Whiskey Lake) processors — particularly, the Main i7-8565U, Main i5-8265U and Main i3-8145U, and the Main i7-8665U and Main i5-8365U with VPro. Our critique device experienced the Main i7-8565U operating at 1.8GHz (up to four.6GHz with Turbo Increase) and 16GB of RAM. Storage on our method comprised a 512GB PCIe SSD and 32GB of speedy Intel Optane memory, which functions as a cache to speed up boot-up and software launch. All of the Whiskey Lake processors have a TDP of 15W and feature Intel’s integrated UHD Graphics 620 GPU.

Wireless connectivity will come courtesy of Intel’s Wi-Fi six AX200 Module, which supports the newest 802.11ax regular as well as Bluetooth five. Mobile broadband (4G LTE) is offered as an choice, but was not present on our critique device.

There’s no room for a wired Ethernet port on these kinds of a slender notebook, but apart from that the Elite Dragonfly has a excellent variety of connections. On the appropriate-hand facet you can find a entire-dimension HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio jack and two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, possibly of which can be used to charge the notebook. There’s a USB 3.1 port on the still left facet, together with the energy button, a stability cable slot and the (Nano) SIM card slot. Still, if you need to have to use a mouse or an external keyboard, you could be best off applying Bluetooth in purchase to maximise the number of offered wired connections.

The audio subsystem, made in partnership with Bang & Olufsen, delivers excellent-excellent seem with lots of volume. This is especially remarkable in these kinds of a slimline style, where by you can find fewer house for decent-sized speaker enclosures. There are three microphones — two situated in the leading bezel and a person in the leading of the lid, facing outwards to detect and filter out ambient sounds when you are conducting a movie call, for illustration.

Efficiency & battery life

“This product is definitely for extremely-cellular persons who are constantly on the go but want to convey their office with them…it can be not definitely for the energy person who’s heading to be applying CAD or heavy movie-modifying application,” Simon Barlow, small business improvement supervisor at HP, informed ZDNet. 

With that in intellect, let us see how the Main i7/16GB Elite Dragonfly designs up. For comparison, we’ll use yet another 2-in-1 product aimed at awareness workers that we not too long ago benchmarked — Microsoft’s Area Professional 7, with a 10th-technology Main i5 processor and 8GB of RAM.


Photographs: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Throughout the board, the Elite Dragonfly holds its have against the Area Professional 7 — which at £1,495 (ex. VAT, £1,795 inc. VAT) for a design with comparable RAM (16GB) and SSD storage (512GB) is in the same way priced (the Dragonfly reviewed listed here fees £1,459 ex. VAT, £1,750.80 inc. VAT). The Area Professional 7’s 10th-technology Main i5 outperforms the Dragonfly’s 8th-technology Main i7 on multi-main CPU overall performance, even though the Dragonfly has the edge on the Cinebench R15 OpenGL take a look at. Disk overall performance is comparable, even though the Dragonfly outperforms the Area Professional 7 in the Productiveness part of the PCMark 10 suite but lags at the rear of on Essentials and Digital Material Creation.

UL Benchmarks endorses a PCMark 10 Essentials rating of 4100 or greater for ‘a wide variety of easy tasks’, a Productiveness rating of 4500 or greater for ‘typical office function and gentle media content’, and a Digital Material Creation rating of 3450 or greater for ‘editing pictures or other digital media content’. Equally products easily exceed the suggested Essentials and Productiveness scores, but the Elite Dragonfly only manages 77% of the suggested Digital Material Creation rating, when compared to 94% for the Area Professional 7. So HP’s assessment of the Dragonfly’s spot in the overall performance firmament (see quote previously mentioned) looks very spot-on.

HP features two battery sizes for the Elite Dragonfly, a regular 2-cell 38Wh device and a substantial-ability four-cell fifty six.2Wh battery. Our critique device experienced the regular battery, for which HP claims up to sixteen.five hours’ life. The substantial-ability battery will keep the notebook heading for up to 24.five hrs, HP claims, but will bump the system’s body weight to just above the magic 1kg mark. Speedy charging will provide fifty% charge in 50 % an hour, in accordance to HP.

To take a look at battery life, we established the monitor brightness to fifty% and stored the energy options on the default HP Optimized plan, and then ran the PCMark 10 benchmark close to-continually until eventually the method suspended. This corresponds to an exceptionally heavy-duty workload, and drained ninety% of battery ability in four hrs 17 minutes, in accordance to Windows 10’s internal battery report. The Windows 10 battery report also offers a ‘Current estimate of battery life dependent on all noticed battery drains because OS install’, which for our critique device was twelve hrs and 8 minutes. On this basis you can be expecting all-day battery life, and additional, less than regular circumstances, but could need to have a (speedy) recharge in the course of the day if you are pushing the method specially challenging.

Person practical experience

Undertaking Athena laptops are all about the person practical experience, HP and Intel assure us. So how did it go in the course of the take a look at period of time?

The to start with factor we discovered on environment up the Elite Dragonfly was the amount of money of HP application on-board, and the number of permissions and restarts needed prior to the move of notifications settled down. Our critique device experienced the next apps (and this is not an exhaustive listing): HP Customer Protection Manager, HP Link Optimizer, HP JumpStarts, HP Power Manager, HP Privacy Options, HP Assistance Assistant, HP Certain Click, HP Certain Click Protected Searching, HP Certain Sense and HP WorkWell. That is not to say all this is not valuable — HP Certain Sense, for illustration, employs deep mastering to enable true-time malware protection, while HP WorkWell displays your function practices, providing strategies and recommending breaks.

All round although, we uncovered the Elite Dragonfly a enjoyment to take a look at and use. The industrial style is exquisite and robust, the monitor (albeit sixteen:nine) and keyboard are superb, you can find a excellent variety of ports, lots of configuration possibilities, and both overall performance (for mainstream workloads) and battery life are really excellent. Of system, there are lots of other slimline convertible laptops to decide on from (we are seeking ahead to screening Dell’s newest XPS thirteen 2-in-1), but if you are pleased with HP’s price tag tag you will not likely be dissatisfied by the Elite Dragonfly.

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