I review laptops for a living and this is the brightest screen I’ve ever seen — goodbye glare

Shocked man sitting in front of laptop screen
(Image credit: Getty Images/Berki Alin)

Have you ever taken your laptop outside to enjoy some fresh air, but to your dismay the sun rays beaming down on your screen made it too difficult to see your display? 

Life is difficult enough — you don’t need a silly little laptop screen to add another layer of frustration to it. 

As a laptop reviewer, I’ve stumbled across many cutting-edge laptops with excellent performance, long battery life, and all the bells and whistles you can think of, but if it has a dim display, I’m mercilessly docking points, particularly if it’s expensive. In other words, if it’s less than 500 nits (which still isn’t bright enough if you ask me), I’d think long and hard about whether I’d recommend it.

Fortunately for you, we test every single laptop that comes through Laptop Mag’s conveyor belt — that means we have display scores up the wazoo. And I’ve stumbled upon the brightest laptop I’ve ever seen during my three-year tenure at Laptop Mag.

What is the brightest laptop of 2023?

The brightest laptop I’ve ever seen is the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, which has a jaw-dropping brightness average of 1,279 nits. When I first saw the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook during a preview showcase in New York City last December, an HP rep told me that it’s packed with the world’s brightest Chromebook display. This is an understatement — not only is it the world’s brightest Chromebook display, but it’s also the world’s brightest laptop display in recent years.

Best Laptops 2023: HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook

HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook (Image credit: Future)

The HP rep also boasted that it sports a 1,200-nit display, which triggered my inner skeptic. “There’s no way that this display is that bright,” I thought. However, when we got the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook in for testing, I had no choice but to eat my words. As mentioned, the Dragonfly Chromebook sports a 1,279-nit display. To put this into perspective, a typical premium laptop outputs a brightness average between 400 and 500 nits. As such, the Dragonfly Chromebook delivers a 3x brighter display than your average premium laptop.

What else does the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook have to offer?

The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook we reviewed at Laptop Mag comes with the following specs: 

  • Intel Core i5-1235U
  • Intel Iris Xe graphics
  • 16GB of RAM 
  • 256GB of storage
  • A 14-inch, 2,560 x 1,600-pixel touchscreen

My one gripe with the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is that it is $999, which is steep for a Chrome OS system, but one may argue that this HP laptop breaks a lot of records. It has the brightest display I’ve ever seen, of course, but it also has the world’s first 8MP webcam in a clamshell Chromebook. Plus, it has some cool bells and whistles that you’ll typically find only on a gaming laptop. Let me break down the top three coolest aspects of the Dragonfly Chromebook.

 Where to buy? You can get the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook @ HP for $999.  

 1. It has one of the best webcams I’ve ever seen 

Earlier this month, I wrote an ode to the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook for offering one of the best webcams I’ve ever seen. You’d be hard pressed to get a laptop reviewer to elicit a few “oohs and aahs” over a webcam — they’re often 720p or 1080p, fuzzy, and unimpressive. However, when the press stepped into the room showcasing the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook at HP’s December preview event, a collective gasp filled the room.

The Dragonfly Pro Chromebook’s webcam was on and we couldn’t believe how sharp, clear, and detailed we appeared on the shooter. “Holy sh**!” I said. “We all actually look so good!” So if you frequently take video calls with colleagues, friends and/or family members, I’ll bet my bottom dollar that you’ll get a, “Whoa! What webcam are you using? You look amazing!”

2. It has the world’s first RGB keyboard on a non-gaming Chromebook 

If you prefer your laptop to have some pomp and circumstance, the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook will appeal to you because it can glow up like a disco ball on command. Similar to gaming laptops, this Chromebook — although it’s not a gaming Chromebook (like the Acer Chromebook 516 GE) — has an RGB-lit keyboard with a rainbow of colors dancing on the deck while you type.

I know this may not be for everyone. Perhaps you prefer a more subdued typing experience, but you can always turn it off if RGB-lit keyboards aren’t your thing.

3.  It has great audio

With a $999 price tag, this Chromebook’s speakers better sound divine — and they do. Our reviewer gushed over the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook's Bang & Olufsen-tuned quad speakers for its loud, crisp, and balanced sound while playing Spotify and watching Disney+.

HP claimed that the Dragonfly Chromebook delivers an “exceptionally rich audio experience,” and according to our testing, they’re bang on.

Other specs worth noting? The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook has four Thunderbolt 4 ports, fast charging (50% in one hour), and more vertical screen real estate, thanks to its 16:10 aspect ratio.

Bottom line

If Chromebooks aren’t your thing, the second-brightest laptop, according to our in-house testing, is the Getac K120. It offers a whopping 1,093 nits of brightness, but because it’s considered a rugged laptop, this laptop may not appeal to you (unless you’re the type to battle unforgiving environments and you need a laptop that can withstand your dangerous adventures).

As such, the next brightest laptop that’s worth an honorable mention is the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4. It’s a far and distant second from the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, but it outputs a decent 592-nit panel. 

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Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!