HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook review: The corner office Chromebook

One flaw holds back the otherwise stellar (if pricey) Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook
(Image: © Laptop Mag)

Laptop Mag Verdict

If you can get over the price, or have your employer pay for it, the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook is a fantastic laptop that may win over businesses that appreciate the simplicity of managing Chrome OS devices.

Pros

  • +

    Bright, sharp 2K display

  • +

    Versatile 360-hinge design

  • +

    Outstanding performance

  • +

    5G connectivity available

  • +

    Durable and attractive design

Cons

  • -

    Weak battery life

  • -

    Starts at $1,149

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HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook specs:

Price: $1,149 ($1,709 as reviewed)
CPU:  Intel 12th Gen Core i5-1245U vPro
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
Storage: 256GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD
Display: 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504-pixel touchscreen
Battery: 9:14
Size: 11.6 x 8.7 x 0.65 inches
Weight: 2.8 pounds

The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook grabbed our attention all the way back at CES in January, earning a spot among our best of CES 2022 with a laundry list of firsts among Chromebooks. 

That includes a 12th gen Intel vPro chipset, up to 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM, up to 512GB of storage, and a touch display with up to a 2K QHD+ resolution (or the UltraBright and Secure display with up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness), and HP’s SureView Reflect privacy built-in.

Even if you aren’t familiar with the Elite Dragonfly line, those specs alone should signal to you that this Chromebook won’t come cheap. It has a starting price of $1,149; high-end configurations of the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook can easily top $2,000 — and that puts it up against some stout competition in the business laptop market.

There are definitely some considerations to be made when it comes to using Chrome OS over Windows 11. You are sacrificing compatibility with a lot of software, but if your day is spent in Google Suite apps and other web-based tasks, the Dragonfly offers an excellent experience that makes it one of the best Chromebooks available today and one of the best business laptops

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook price and configuration options

Starting at $1,149, the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook’s price might elicit a double-take from unsuspecting Chromebook shoppers. But it earns that seemingly outlandish price tag with a number of features you simply won’t find on other Chromebooks. The question is whether you value those features.

That $1,149 base HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook comes with a 13.5-inch, 3:2, FHD (1920 x 1080 pixel) touchscreen display, an Intel Core i3-1215U processor, Intel UHD graphics, 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM and a 128GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD.

Our $1,709 review unit is one of the Enterprise models, which upgrades the specs to a 13.5-inch, 3:2, QHD+ (2256 x 1504 pixel) touchscreen display, an Intel Core i5-1245U vPro processor, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD. 

You are primarily paying for the added security offered by the vPro processor and Titan C security chip, something that will appeal to businesses and security-conscious consumers.

Whether the price is a problem for you or not, you likely wouldn't mind saving a little money on the Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, and if you apply the coupon code "CHROME20" when checking out on HP.com (opens in new tab) you can save 20% off any configuration. 

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook design

The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook does you the courtesy of looking as expensive as it is. I called it the “corner office Chromebook” as it will have no problem sliding in next to high-end business laptops like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9. HP’s chrome logo and accents around the hinges stand out against the dark-grey lid of the Dragonfly, adding a bit of interest to an otherwise staid look.

The magnesium and aluminum construction of the Dragonfly makes it both lightweight and durable, meeting the MIL-STD 810H standards for durability that should make it an excellent option for frequent travelers. Better yet, it’s made up of 90% recycled magnesium for both the top cover and keyboard.

Opening the lid, you have a full-size island-style keyboard with a function row above it. The fingerprint sensor is recessed just below the arrow keys on the right side and the haptic touchpad dominates the lower half of the deck. Above the keyboard is the speaker grille for the stereo Bang & Olufsen-tuned speakers. 

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The 3:2 aspect ratio of the display makes the 13.5-inch Dragonfly a bit narrower than the competition, so it will fit into any laptop bag and is more convenient for those times when you don’t have a large workspace available. It also makes it pretty serviceable as a tablet, which given the excellent Android app support on Chrome OS, is relevant if you are looking for more than just web-based options.

Breaking the size down by the numbers, the Dragonfly is 11.6 x 8.7 x 0.65 inches and 2.8 pounds. Length is its one clear advantage over its competitors with the MacBook Air M2 (11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches, 2.7 pounds) coming in thinner and lighter. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (12.4 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches, 2.5 pounds) is notably lighter, but larger; the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 (12.3 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches, 3 pounds) rounds out the group. 

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook ports 

The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook has an incredible collection of ports compared to the average Chrome OS laptop, but given its business focus that is perhaps to be expected. Regardless of the reasoning, you get an HDMI 2.0 port, a Thunderbolt 4 port, and a microSD card slot on its left side. 

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Turning to the right side, you have a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack, a USB 3.2 Type-A port, a second Thunderbolt 4 port, a security lock slot, and a SIM-card tray for its optional 4G/5G connectivity.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

If you need an Ethernet jack, more USB Type-A ports, or an SD card slot, you may still need to turn to a USB-C hub, but for most users, the Elite Dragonfly Chromebook is ticking all the right boxes.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook display 

The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook’s 13.5-inch 2K QHD+ touchscreen display will naturally blow away most Chromebooks, but even compared to its business laptop rivals, the resolution and useful 3:2 aspect ratio make it a standout. 

Thanks to the 360-degree hinge, the Dragonfly also sets up well for watching content either in presentation mode or tablet mode in your lap if you are low on space.

I tested this out watching the trailer for the new Hellraiser on Hulu and the sharp display reproduced every horrifying detail with pinpoint accuracy. I was also impressed with the contrast as the dimly lit trailer could turn into a murky mess on a lesser display. Colors also pop on the Dragonfly. It’s not going to hold up to one of the best smartphone or tablet displays, but it’s a veritable rainbow compared to most in its category.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The colorimeter in the lab agreed with me as the Elite Dragonfly reproduced 79.3% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. Only the MacBook Air M2 came close to that mark at 75.9% while the X1 Yoga (71.1%) and X1 Carbon (69%) look muted by comparison, let alone the Chromebook average of 59.3%.

The brightness test was also solid for the Elite Dragonfly, hitting an average of 392 nits. That’s well beyond the Chromebook average (297 nits) and good enough to beat the X1 Yoga (351) and X1 Carbon (364). However, the Air M2 takes this one home with its outstanding 489 nits. If brightness is a primary concern for you, then there is an alternate display option for the Dragonfly that HP claims offers 1,000 nits of brightness.

The Elite Dragonfly delivered an impressive 0.21 on our Delta-E color accuracy test (lower is better), but that was par for the course amongst its competition. Both the X1 Yoga and X1 Carbon matched it exactly while the MacBook Air M2 bested them all at 0.2. A decisive win over the 0.27 Chromebook average should cheer the Dragonfly up a bit.

Among business laptops or Chromebooks, the Elite Dragonfly has a much better display than it has any right to, and while that color pop and accuracy may feel slightly wasted on just rendering your shaded spreadsheet cells perfectly, it means you can enjoy the laptop for consuming content in your downtime too.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook keyboard and touchpad 

The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook fits a full-size keyboard in its short chassis and does so without leaving you with a cramped deck or miniaturized keys. The expansive haptic touchpad offers excellent control and you can always turn to the touchscreen if you prefer.

I cruised to my typical 87 words per minute with 97% accuracy in the 10fastfingers.com typing test. I wish the keys offered a bit more travel and bounce, but that’s more of a function of being accustomed to my Logitech MX Mechanical Keyboard. Even after a few hours of working on the Dragonfly, I didn’t have the finger fatigue that I get from using many detachable 2-in-1 laptop keyboards, so rest assured it’s a comfortable keyboard — even for extended typing sessions.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The touchpad dominates the lower half of the deck at 4.7 x 3.1 inches, making it large enough to easily navigate and use Chrome OS gestures with ease. The haptics are excellent, perfectly simulating the feel of depressing the touchpad to click without having any actual moving parts. It’s a decided upgrade over the touchpad that you find on most Chromebooks and most business laptops for that matter, so if you prefer not to carry a mouse with you, this may weigh heavily in favor of the Dragonfly. Only the MacBook Air M2 among its competitors offers a larger touchpad.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook audio 

The Elite Dragonfly features quad Bang & Olufsen speakers that are located above the keyboard and offer surprisingly robust sound from the relatively diminutive laptop. It’s not going to blow you away, but if you set your expectations properly, it’s a solid experience given the size constraints. 

I listened to “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire because I can’t help myself and it filled my medium-sized (12’ x 18’) testing room at full volume without distortion. The lyrics and instrumentation sound crisp with the horn section delivering the punch over the top of the infectious tune that never fails to put a smile on my face. You are always going to be better served by a pair of wireless headphones, but when that isn’t an option, the speakers in the Elite Dragonfly won’t disappoint. 

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook performance 

The Intel Core i5-1245U vPro processor in the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, paired with the 8GB of RAM in my review unit, will be more than capable of handling any task you are likely to throw at the Chromebook.

I loaded up 28 Google Chrome tabs with two YouTube videos running simultaneously at 4K and then proceeded to work on this review in Google Docs, which also involves jumping between tabs regularly to verify test results. The Dragonfly handled it all with ease, I never caught a slowdown in any of the web pages or a hiccup in the videos. Running Android apps was a similar experience, and with its 360-degree hinge, it makes a reasonable tablet in a pinch.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Geekbench 5 overall performance test failed consistently on the Dragonfly, but this is a software issue and not a hardware problem. Fortunately, we have a suite of tests that we run, so we can look at other benchmarks to pick up the slack.

Jetstream 2, which tests web-browsing performance, is a strong indicator for Chromebook performance and the Dragonfly blew this one away with a score of 214. That’s nearly double the 114 Chromebook average.

While Chrome OS is more than just a browser, web-browsing performance is certainly the primary concern for its performance as browsing and productivity work are presumably your main focuses for the Dragonfly. This also includes its performance in Parallels, which lets you run Windows apps, including Microsoft Office, a crucial tool for those that want the simplicity of Chrome OS, but still need Windows app support.

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook battery life 

The battery life on the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook isn’t terrible, but it is the biggest weak point of the laptop. In our Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the Elite Dragonfly sputtered to a stop at 9 hours and 14 minutes. 

That falls below the Chromebook average (9:31) and distantly behind its business laptop competition. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon leads the pack at 15 hours and 39 minutes, but the X1 Yoga (14:45) and MacBook Air M2 (14:06) both offer dramatically better battery life as well.

While that should be enough to make it through a typical work day, it might make the Dragonfly a challenge for frequent travelers, and remember that if you use the optional 5G module, you are going to see battery life reduced further. If that’s a particular concern, you could always carry a power bank to top the battery up over USB-C even when you can’t access an outlet. 

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook camera 

The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook features a solid 5MP camera with a physical privacy shutter. In a well-lit environment, it is capable of delivering a crisp and noise-free image for video calls, but the quality drops off quickly in more challenging lighting.

I would still recommend an external webcam when possible, but for quick video calls with your team or a client when you are on the road the built-in camera in the Dragonfly will suffice. 

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook heat 

I did hear the fans spin up on the Elite Dragonfly Chromebook occasionally, but not so often that was a point of irritation and to its credit the Dragonfly manages to keep things cool effectively.

Our testing, which involves playing a 15-minute, 1080p video and then taking temperature readings on various parts of the laptop, confirmed my anecdotal experience. On the Dragonfly, the touchpad only made it to 76 degrees Fahrenheit; the keyboard was hotter at 85 degrees and unsurprisingly the underside was the high mark at 91 degrees. All are within our 95-degree comfort threshold. 

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook software and warranty 

The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook ships with Chrome OS installed. If you are currently a Chrome OS or Android user, this means that setup is dead simple. After you enter your Google account info all of your Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides files will be available along with your Chrome browser extensions and any Android apps. 

The simplicity of Chrome OS from both a user and IT management standpoint is potentially a significant selling point for the Dragonfly for both business users and businesses that want an easily manageable laptop fleet while still offering high-end hardware.

The Dragonfly also comes with a free year of Parallels, which as I mentioned earlier, gives you access to a full Windows environment on your Chromebook and lets you run any Windows apps you need. Switching between the two operating systems is instantaneous, no reboot is required, so even if you are moving back and forth from a Windows app to a Chrome app, it isn’t a problem. 

The HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook comes with a one-year limited warranty. You can see exactly what to expect from HP in our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands special reports. 

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Bottom line 

It’s tough to shake off the price of the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, spending upwards of $1,200 on a Chrome OS laptop is a shock when even many of our best Chromebooks are in the $400-$600 range. If you are looking for a Chromebook for personal use, and money is even a slight consideration, then by all means choose another option; this isn’t the best choice for you.

However, for business users, there is absolutely a case to be made for the Elite Dragonfly. Security is a significant portion of this with Intel’s vPro, Google’s Titan C chip protection, the built-in privacy shutter, and more. On top of that, you have the ease of managing Chrome OS over Windows. For smaller businesses, this is a win that could justify the cost of the Dragonfly in a couple of months.

Those benefits are nice for the business, but for the individual user, you get a thin and light 2-in-1 laptop with outstanding durability and quality components that you simply don’t find in most Chromebooks. That includes the high-end look of a business laptop, so you aren’t left feeling out of place in a lineup of ThinkPads, ExpertBooks, and EliteBooks. Parallels ensures that you have all the Windows apps you need, but then you can retreat back to Chrome OS for web browsing, Google apps, content consumption, and Android apps. 

Battery life is the one feature concern with the Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, while it should get you through a day without any issues, it simply doesn’t have the lasting power of the best business laptops, so if that’s a top priority for you, consider one of the laptops with the longest battery life. 

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.