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HP's Dragonfly Elite Laptop is Lighter than (MacBook) Air

As a mobile professional who does a fair amount of traveling, it's important that I travel as light as possible. This is especially true during shows like CES or IFA where I'm on the floor at least 10 hours. HP is attempting to lighten the proverbial load with its latest laptop, the Elite Dragonfly. Priced at $1,549 (starting), the notebook will be available starting in November.

Design

Thank god it's metal! Typically, when a laptop manufacturer tries to make an uber-light laptop, they make it out of some chintzy-feeling plastic material like on the Lenovo LaVie Z and the Asus B9 Pro. The Dragonfly is made from CNC magnesium alloy, giving it a premium feel you'd expect from a professional notebook.

At 2.2 pounds, 11.9 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches, the Dragonfly is lighter than, well, the MacBook Air (2.8 pounds, 12 x 8.4 x 0.2~0.6 inches) as well as the Dell XPS 13 (2.7 pounds, 11.9 x 7.8 x 0.3~0.5 inches) and even the HP Spectre x360 (2.8 pounds, 12.2 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches).

But don't assume the laptop's slim, lightweight dimensions mean it's flimsy. On the contrary, the laptop has undergone 19 MIL-STD 810G tests for durability. So it can take a few bumps and be none the worse for wear.

HP is the latest OEM to embrace the color blue. The company has dubbed the system's color as Dragonfly Blue, which looks navy head on and black when you gaze at it on an angle. In order to keep the notebook looking pretty, it's got an Oleophobic coating which is supposed to make it fingerprint and dust resistant (We'll see about that).

Similar to the company's popular Spectre line, the Dragonfly sports 360-degree hinges for additional versatility. The notebook transitioned effortlessly from a traditional clamshell to tent and tablet mode. A USB Type-C rechargeable Active Pen G3 stylus is also included in the bundle as well as a handsome black leather laptop sheath.

Security 

Since the Dragonfly is a business laptop, it comes packed with security features designed to keep your sensitive information protected. Some of your more basic features include a fingerprint scanner and a Windows Hello-compliant IR camera. The camera has a physical shutter so you don't have to use an unsightly sticker to cover the webcam.

HP also offers several proprietary security measures such as Sure View, a privacy display that prevents prying eyes from looking over your shoulder. It dims the display for everyone except the person sitting directly in front of the laptop. You also get HP Sure Sense an AI designed to battle against yet-to-be created malware.

The Dragonfly can also be configured with Intel vPro for an even more secure system.

Display

The Dragonfly Elite offers three 13.3-inch panel options and they're all pretty bright. I demoed the Full HD (1920 x 1080) touchscreen which HP says has 400 nits of brightness. Just from my short interaction with the device, the display was definitely bright and offered serious vividness and detail. I was impressed with the pinks and oranges of the geometric wallpaper.

HP also offers a 4K (3840 x 2160) HDR screen with 550 nits of brightness. The HP Sure View Gen 3 option has a 1080p resolution with 1000 nits of brightness. 

To give consumers as much screen real estate, HP really shrunk the bezels, achieving 85.6% screen ratio. Despite the extremely thin bezels, HP managed to fit the webcam in the center of the top bezel.

MORE: The Best Laptops for Business and Productivity

Keyboard

Typically, when you have laptops this thin and light, the keyboards are generally very shallow keyboards. This doesn't seem to be the case on the Dragonfly. The island-style keys jut out of the keyboard deck expectantly and depress with a slight, but satisfying click. 

HP credits this springiness to the rubber dome under each keycap. But although the keys are bouncy, they're fairly quiet. HP says it designed the keyboard to be 2x quieter than your average laptop. The aim is to ensure that when you're on a conference call the only thing your listeners hear is the sound of your voice.

Specs and Ports

The Dragonfly is packing a lot of power under its waifish hood. In the interest of Intel's vPro software, the laptop has an 8th GenIntel U series CPU with a maximum 16GB of RAM and up to 2TB SSD. 

In terms of connectivity, the notebook has Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit 4G LTE.

Despite its 0.6-inch thick frame, HP managed to fit a full USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port and HDMI 1.4. You also get a pair of Thunderbolt 3, a headphone jack and a nanoSIM slot.

HP Workwell

All work and no play -- you know the rest. In order to help you achieve some modicum of work/life balance there's HP Workwell. It's an optional software designed to help interject break time into your work schedule. You can set up scheduled notifications reminding you to get up and walk around. There are also videos that demonstrate proper stretching techniques so you're not spending too much time in front of the screen

Battery Life

The Dragonfly has two battery configurations. The 2-cell, 38 watt hour Lithium-ion battery that keeps the weight under 3 pounds gives you an estimated 16 hours of battery. HP claims the 4-cell, 56.2 Wh battery will give you 24 hours of battery life. But I'm curious to see how either battery will fare against the Laptop Mag battery test.

Bottom Line

Thinner, lighter but don't skimp on the power -- the HP Dragonfly Elite just might be the new king of ultraportables (if not, it's pretty close). The notebook weighs a mere 2.2 pounds, and still manages to offer a host of security features, a powerful CPU and plenty of storage. I wish HP would give us configs with at least a 9th Gen CPU. 

I'd be willing to forgo vPro for more performance. But, I'm most intrigued about the battery life. If it can live up to those claims, the Dragonfly would put the competition on notice including the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Book S which is also promising all-day battery life. Either way, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the Dragonfly Elite when it launches in November.

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.