HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook review: The epitome of a high-end business Chromebook
Simply the best business Chromebook around, the Elite Dragonfly is fast, slim and drop-dead gorgeous
Of all the big Chromebook manufacturers, HP has worked hardest to push its devices as serious corporate laptops. For one reason or another, these devices haven't quite hit the big time, often seeming like generic business laptops given a quick Chrome OS makeover.
With the Elite Dragonfly, that changes. This isn't just a great enterprise Chromebook, but arguably the best of the lot. Much of that is down to the form factor. This is a 2-in-1 convertible with a 13.5in screen. It's 16.6mm thick and weighs 1.3kg, and in tablet mode the slim bezels and 3:2 format screen make it feel like a supersized tablet, ideal for media consumption or annotating documents with the bundled USI stylus.
In clamshell mode, it's a comfortable business laptop, with the screen ratio doing a fine job of fooling you into thinking that you're working on a larger display. In tent mode, it's a great entertainer or can work with a separate keyboard and mouse as a micro all-in-one PC. It's also one of the first Chromebooks with an Intel vPro badge, bringing the security and management features that large firms expect. And with two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 and DisplayPort connectivity, plus a single USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, microSD and HDMI, you're well equipped for just about every business situation.
The keyboard might not look much, but it's the best in this test. The travel is relatively shallow, but the action is consistent across the whole keyboard and it's crisp, with a tactile response. The touchpad is surprisingly large for such a compact device, making the most of the squarer form factor with a 12 x 8cm surface. Tracking of fingertip motion, swipes and taps is perfect.
We don't tend to rattle on about Chromebook webcams, but the Dragonfly's is exceptionally good. The image is clear, bright and evenly lit, even when working near a window or under mixed lighting. It's also good to see a fingerprint reader, particularly when it makes signing in as hassle-free and fast as this one does.
The screen is one of the best of the year. It has an unusual 2,256 x 1,504 resolution, which works brilliantly with Chrome OS's scaling, and clarity is excellent, helped by a maximum brightness of 424cd/m2. It covered 100% of the sRGB spectrum in our tests, plus 77% of DCI-P3, while colour accuracy is almost flawless with an average Delta E of 1.3.In comparison, it matched or beat the Asus ProArt Studiobook Pro in every facet of the display test, apart from the DCI-P3 score. So, whether you're streaming video, browsing the web, editing video or just wrangling Google Sheets spreadsheets, you will be happy with the image quality.
As with many lighter 2-in-1s, the audio isn't quite as good. There's some depth and body to the sound and no shortage of detail, but it becomes thin and congested as you push up the volume. For music, you'll want to plug in some headphones.
This is the only Chromebook on test with a 12th-generation Intel processor: the Core i5-1245U. It's a 15W CPU designed for thin and light laptops with two Performance cores and eight Efficiency cores, with the former running at up to 4.4GHz and the latter topping out at 3.3GHz. By the standards of 12th-gen processors, it's no powerhouse, but it keeps the Dragonfly riding high across all our benchmarks, and leading in a few, including the demanding Basemark 3 and the new WebXprt4. If you want to run a business and cloud-based apps, it's a very capable machine.
The other advantage of the new architecture is improved battery life, especially when HP has crammed in a 50Wh lithium-polymer battery. Our new 4K video playback test is extremely intense, but the Dragonfly kept on playing for 7hrs 20mins, and would easily have enough juice to get through an average working day.
From its understated ink-blue metal chassis to its specification, this is the epitome of a high-end business Chromebook. The downside is that it's priced to match -- and availability remains uncertain. As we went to press, all HP could confirm is that the range would start at £1,000, for the Core i3 model. The £1,299 figure for our tested Core i5 system is our best guess based on previous HP pricing. But one thing is certain: the Elite Dragonfly is as good as business Chromebooks get.
HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook Specifications
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