HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook review: The best of ChromeOS, but not worth the price

Google has been making high-end Chromebooks for nearly a decade now, courting again to the $1,300 Chromebook Pixel in 2013. On the time, many individuals noticed it as a stupendous however unusual gadget. Within the years that adopted, each Google and its {hardware} companions have made premium Chromebooks an increasing number of commonplace. Although, a still-unconfirmed report earlier this 12 months suggests Google is giving up on making laptop computer {hardware}, a minimum of for now. The corporate hasn’t stated something of the type but, however the actuality is that Google hasn’t made a brand new Chromebook for the reason that Pixelbook Go in late 2019.

In fact, that hasn’t stopped different producers from making Chromebooks with attractive screens, nice industrial design and highly effective {hardware}. However HP’s Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, launched earlier this 12 months, may be the nicest I’ve utilized in a very long time. It additionally has a jaw-dropping worth level, beginning at properly over $1,000. Very like the unique Chromebook Pixel, HP’s newest is a pleasure to make use of that could be very exhausting to suggest due to that worth.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook


  • Excellent show
  • Nice keyboard and trackpad
  • Highly effective {hardware}
  • ChromeOS continues to get higher


  • Battery life is nice however not nice
  • Display solely refreshes at 60Hz
  • Wildly costly


Earlier than we discuss in regards to the bummer that’s the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook’s price, let’s go over the good things. The Dragonfly is analogous in stature to a MacBook Air, weighing in at about 2.8 kilos and measuring solely .65 inches thick. Mixed with a reasonably spacious 13.5-inch touchscreen show with a 3:2 facet ratio, the Dragonfly is comfy to work on and simple to journey with.

Gallery: HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook assessment picture | 8 Images

Design-wise, it’s a spartan affair, with a darkish grey end and just a few silver accents to be discovered. However provided that HP is primarily focusing on this laptop at enterprise customers, it is smart that they went with a basic look right here. There’s an honest choice of ports, regardless of the Dragonfly’s slightly slim profile: it has two USB-C / Thunderbolt 4 ports, a USB-A connection, a headphone jack, HDMI and a microSD slot. That’s rather a lot higher than you’ll get on a typical ultraportable.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Display and keyboard

There’s a handful of issues that make the Dragonfly actually stand out. For starters, it has a wonderful show, with a 3:2 facet ratio that gives much more vertical viewing area than your commonplace 16:9 display. The configuration I’m testing has a 2,256 x 1,504 decision, good for about 200 pixels per inch. Positive, there are extra pixel-dense shows on the market, however this one seems beautiful, with sharp textual content and pictures and mainly no seen pixels. It’s the nicest display on a Chromebook I’ve seen in a very long time. The one minor knock is its unremarkable 60Hz refresh fee, however that shouldn’t be a significant problem for most individuals. Nonetheless, HP spared mainly no expense on every little thing else, so it will have been good to have.

Regardless of the refresh fee, the Dragonfly’s show is nice past simply the facet ratio. It’s vivid and has good distinction with out issues being too over-exaggerated. It’s additionally slightly reflective, which makes it not superb if there’s a lightweight shining on the show, however the display is vivid sufficient that it must be usable in all however the harshest of sunshine.

The keyboard and trackpad are additionally wonderful. The keys are agency, however not too agency, and have loads of journey for a comparatively skinny laptop computer. The trackpad, in the meantime, is massive and responsive. Nothing fairly matches as much as the trackpad on a MacBook for me, however this one feels fairly shut. HP says it’s a haptic trackpad, with personalized vibrations for some particular actions like pinning home windows in break up display or switching between digital desks, however I can’t say I observed a lot of something there.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Good specs (for a Chromebook)

Lastly, the Dragonfly principally has cutting-edge spec choices; the mannequin I examined has a Twelfth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, built-in LTE, 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. LTE isn’t precisely cutting-edge anymore, and 8GB of RAM is a bit stingy on a pc this dear. However except for these quibbles, that is loads of horsepower for mainly something you wish to do in ChromeOS; I by no means skilled any stutters when switching apps or taking part in again music and video. Regardless of the high-resolution display and highly effective processor, battery life is strong if not spectacular. I bought between six and eight hours of regular utilization, which concerned loads of Chrome tabs, Spotify, Todoist, Slack, Google Hold, Trello and the occasional Android app right here and there. It managed to play again a film for 8 hours and 50 minutes in our battery drain take a look at. If battery is your foremost concern, the mannequin with a Core i3 processor or the lower-resolution display will doubtless final even longer.

It additionally does a positive job operating the handful of Android apps I examined it with. Within the final 12 months or so, you’ve been in a position to run downloaded apps in pill, telephone or resizable home windows, and for essentially the most half I used to be in a position to get Todoist, Spotify and Lightroom all working properly in resizable home windows. Even Instagram lastly works correctly, though now that the web site now lets you create posts, it’s probably not crucial any extra. Placing that apart, efficiency throughout mainly all of the Android apps and video games I attempted was strong. However given what number of apps are within the Play Retailer, there’s nonetheless likelihood of operating throughout some that don’t work properly.

Whereas Chromebooks aren’t recognized for gaming, the Dragonfly simply dealt with some cloud-based play through NVIDIA’s GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming – not a shock given the highly effective (for a Chromebook, a minimum of) {hardware}. At this level, ChromeOS has fairly strong sport controller help, and it clearly works with exterior keyboards and mice. So supplied the titles you need can be found, that is most likely the easiest way to play video games on a Chromebook at this level. That stated, this {hardware} ought to greater than meet the reduce for putting in Steam, as soon as Google and Valve begin rolling that out past its present restricted alpha section.

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