HP Elite Dragonfly Gen 3
HP Elite Dragonfly G3 Review
I’m not sure that my critique of the first-generation Dragonfly or G2 HP Dragonfly Max influenced the design of the HP Elite Dragonfly G3, but since they apparently listened to my advice (and similar input from other reviewers), I’ll take some credit for HP delivering a computer that offers a much more competitive and refined experience: a bigger, squarer screen, the elimination of the pen, more ports, a great front-facing camera, and a higher-end CPU.
What we like
Our $2,686 list review unit included a non-touch 13.5″ 1,920–by–1,280-pixel WUXGA+ IPS touch screen, BrightView with 400 nits and 72% NTSC. Under the hood, the 12th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-1265U (two Performance cores, eight Efficient cores, 12 threads) CPU powers the computer. Available 5G mobile broadband, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth® offer a variety of connectivity options. The unit also included 16GB of memory and 512 GB PCIe® NVMe™ TLC SSD storage. Integrated Intel® Iris® Xᵉ drives the graphics. The Dragonfly ships with Windows 11 Pro.
Ports include 2 Thunderbolt™ 4 with USB4™ Type-C® 40Gbps signaling rate, USB Power Delivery, and DisplayPort™ 1.4, 1 SuperSpeed USB Type-A 5Gbps port, a headphone/microphone combo jack and an HDMI 2.0 connection.
Bang and Olufsen speakers deliver excellent sound. I have been disappointed by so many laptop and notebook speakers that I started to wonder if notebook computers even needed built-in speakers to support audio or video playback. Perhaps setting low expectations and reducing costs should be the right call. But Apple’s 14-inch MacBook Pro and the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 restored my belief in the utility of non-headphone sound with the deep, resonant and throaty audio profiles that make listening to music or watching a movie a pleasure.
A spill-resistant, backlit keyboard provides a smooth entry point above the large multi-touch and gesture-aware click pad.
The magnesium and aluminum frame brings refined curves and a sturdy chassis.
The big upgrade to earlier versions includes a 5 MP camera with HP software for image improvement and centering.
The G3 is a post-Covid work-from-home ready device, but its 6-cell, 68 Wh Li-ion polymer battery offers plenty of juice for road trips without bringing the power supply. When needed, HP provides a 65 W USB Type-C adapter that provides power. Still, I typically leave standard USB-C power supplies in the box and connect to the 100W connection coming off my VisionTek docking station.
Security threats also challenge a distributed workforce. Our review unit arrived with HP’s Wolf Enterprise Security suite, which includes self-healing firmware, in-memory breach detection, and isolation schemes for threat containment. Wolf Security shrinks the opportunities for attack. I would like to see all hardware manufacturers offer solid security solutions that complement Microsoft’s security software and hardware, like the Pluton chip and Trusted Platform Module.
The 11.7 x 8.67 x 0.64 in Dragonfly G3 starts at 2.2 lbs. It includes a 1-year warranty, less than previous models.
What could be improved
Notebook computers in this class all deserve a core i7 or better. Apple changed the bar with the M1, M2, and their Pro and Max versions of those chips. In head-to-head comparisons, the Dragonfly G3 with the 12th Generation i7 outperforms its predecessors; other computers equipped with more power-hungry i7s deliver superior performance. HP clearly balances performance with battery life on the G3, opting for a more casual workhorse than a mobile workstation.
I always loved the iridescent blue of the original Dragonfly; it seemed to be more on them than the natural silver or the slate blue option, and even the G2’s black looked bold.
HP Elite Dragonfly G3: The Bottom Line
HP culled some of what looked like innovation from the Hp Dragonfly line. Gone is the pen, the convertible hinge, and the colorful, Dragonfly inspired coating. While still expensive, the new Dragonfly G3 isn’t as expensive as its predecessors—and keep in mind, regardless of list price like most commercial notebooks, the Dragonfly often sells at steep discounts.
The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 addresses all of my issues of concern about its predecessors. It has more power, a bigger screen, outstanding speakers, and ditches the convertible pen mode that just doesn’t make sense in a world of tablets like the iPad. Unfortunately, the thin and light notebook also lost the sparkle that made it special. The Dragonfly line can and should be where HP demonstrates its understanding of the executive laptop market. They almost have the answer to the prefect senior leadership notebook; now they need to remember the more aggressive aesthetic design elements that differentiated the earlier Dragonflies from the competition like the beautiful Lenovo Z series.
HP provided the HP Elite Dragonfly G 3 for review. Images courtesy of HP.
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