April 7, 2020

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HP Elite Dragonfly review: A top-quality lightweight 13-inch business convertible Review

HP’s thirteen-inch Elite Dragonfly, declared final September, is between the initial wave of top quality...

HP’s thirteen-inch Elite Dragonfly, declared final September, is between the initial wave of top quality laptops to fly under the banner of Intel’s Challenge Athena, which aims to tutorial OEMs in the direction of the shipping of highly developed gadgets that align closely with users’ wants. To that conclude, Intel has formulated a series of Vital Encounter Indicators (KEIs) and a 1. specification (which will be up to date per year), moreover co-engineering support and ‘innovation pathfinding’, ecosystem collaboration on components, and a verification approach.

Intel’s KEIs protect factors like responsiveness on battery electrical power, battery lifestyle under authentic-environment conditions, and wake-from-snooze time. The 1. concentrate on specification handles six crucial areas: Fast Action Overall performance and Responsiveness Intelligence Battery Lifestyle Connectivity and Kind Element. 


Picture: Intel

“It’s less a conversation all over cores and gigahertz,” Intel’s Uk customer compute group director Jeff Kilford told ZDNet, “and more about the over-all expertise.”

This critique handles the initial-technology Elite Dragonfly, which expenditures concerning £1,349 and £1,659 (ex. VAT or £1,618.eighty and £1,990.eighty inc. VAT). Our mid-assortment critique device value £1,459 (ex. VAT, £1,750.eighty inc. VAT). The G2 design was declared at CES in January, incorporating 10th-technology Intel Main processors, 5G cell broadband and Tile unit tracking, but in depth pricing and availability is not yet offered for this up to date design.

Style

HP’s style and design targets for the Elite Dragonfly contain the standard suspects for a top quality business ultraportable: effectiveness, style and design, portability and security. But HP has absent even further, decking it out in a personalized ‘Dragonfly Blue’ color, offering it a high screen-to-physique ratio, and producing major use of sustainable materials this sort of as OceanBound Plastics.

Inevitably you will find a headline declare — the “world’s lightest compact business convertible” — and .99kg for a thirteen.3-inch 360-degree rotating laptop computer is without a doubt extraordinary. How a great deal even further into 2020 that declare will stand is an additional subject.

Top ZDNET Evaluations

We’ve seen nominal-bezel and blue laptops right before, but HP’s pearlescent matte-blue Dragonfly shade is both intelligent and moderately fingerprint-resistant many thanks to an oleophobic coating. So lengthy as they like blue (no other color is offered), cell expertise personnel need to be content with this laptop’s looks, and there are a lot of features on-board to make certain that they stay safe and protected when out and about.

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HP’s Elite Dragonfly is a top quality thirteen.3-inch convertible business laptop computer primarily based on 8th-technology Intel Main processors. With the regular battery, it weighs just under 1kg. 


Pictures: HP Inc

The Elite Dragonfly has a durable magnesium chassis and, like all of HP’s Elite laptops, has been through MIL-STD 810G testing to make certain that it can tackle cure “over and over and above what a Computer system may possibly endure on a standard working day in business and business environments”. For this sort of a slim laptop computer (sixteen.1mm), you will find reassuringly small flex in both the lid or the keyboard.

The 720p webcam, which is located in which it need to be in the 10mm bezel over the screen, is a hybrid device with IR support for Home windows Howdy facial recognition. It also has a sliding privacy shutter, whilst this can be alternatively fiddly to find and operate. Biometric authentication is also offered via the fingerprint reader, which is located to the proper of the wrist-rest spot. An additional optional security attribute — not existing on our critique device — is HP Guaranteed See, which tends to make the screen less readable when seen from the sides at the touch of a crucial blend (Fn-F5). (Take note that Guaranteed See only operates in landscape orientation, and so will never frustrate would-be snoopers if you’re applying the Elite Dragonfly in pill method and portrait orientation.)

The screen and the keyboard are at the heart of any laptop’s style and design and person expertise, and the Elite Dragonfly will not disappoint on both rely.

The display screen on our critique device was a thirteen.3-inch IPS touch-screen with entire High definition (1,920 x 1,080) resolution, greatest brightness of four hundred nits and Gorilla Glass 5 defense. This delivered a properly excellent picture, but two other touch-screen options, which will both draw more electrical power, are offered: a panel with the similar FHD resolution but 1,000-nit brightness and the aforementioned Guaranteed See privacy attribute and a 4K (3,840 x 2,one hundred sixty) panel with 500-nit brightness. All 3 display screen options have a nominal-bezel style and design with, HP promises, a screen-to-physique ratio of 86%. This is excellent, but expertise personnel may also appreciate an element ratio with more depth, this sort of as 3:2, so they can see more of their documents. As it is, the sixteen:nine ratio feels more ‘consumer’ than ‘business’.

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The Elite Dragonfly’s backlit, spill-resistant keyboard need to get the thumbs-up from touch typists (unless of course they’re hefty buyers of the up/down arrow keys).


Picture: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

HP has put a great deal of effort into the Elite Dragonfly’s keyboard, recognising that compromise in this spot can render the rest of a slimline style and design irrelevant if you’re a frequent touch-typist. For example, HP has CNC-engineered every single crucial housing on its spill-resistant, backlit High quality Collaboration Keyboard, which has a excellent, business motion and is not also loud. The format is practical, whilst the half-peak up/down arrow keys — which double as PgUp/PgDn with the Fn crucial frustrated — could irritate hefty buyers of people features. The glass multi-touch touchpad beneath the keyboard operates effortlessly, and you will find a good motion on the integrated mouse buttons. 

Rounding out the enter options is the optional HP Lively Pen G3, a rechargeable (via USB-C) Bluetooth unit with 4,096 pressure levels and customisable button features. This 15g stylus, which was supplied with our critique device, is pretty chunky and has no home on the laptop computer, so if you shell out £55 (ex. VAT, £66 inc. VAT) for it, be mindful not to mislay it. Usefully, the laptop computer notifies you if the pen goes out of assortment.

Attributes

The Elite Dragonfly is primarily based on 8th-technology Intel Main U-series (Whiskey Lake) processors — exclusively, the Main i7-8565U, Main i5-8265U and Main i3-8145U, and the Main i7-8665U and Main i5-8365U with VPro. Our critique device had the Main i7-8565U jogging at 1.8GHz (up to 4.6GHz with Turbo Enhance) and 16GB of RAM. Storage on our technique comprised a 512GB PCIe SSD and 32GB of speedy Intel Optane memory, which acts as a cache to accelerate boot-up and application start. All of the Whiskey Lake processors have a TDP of 15W and attribute Intel’s integrated UHD Graphics 620 GPU.

Wireless connectivity comes courtesy of Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX200 Module, which supports the newest 802.11ax regular as effectively as Bluetooth 5. Cellular broadband (4G LTE) is offered as an alternative, but was not existing on our critique device.

There is certainly no room for a wired Ethernet port on this sort of a slim laptop computer, but apart from that the Elite Dragonfly has a excellent collection of connections. On the proper-hand aspect you will find a entire-sizing HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio jack and two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, both of which can be used to demand the laptop computer. There is certainly a USB 3.1 port on the left aspect, along with the electrical power button, a security cable slot and the (Nano) SIM card slot. Even now, if you require to use a mouse or an external keyboard, you may be very best off applying Bluetooth in buy to maximise the amount of offered wired connections.

The audio subsystem, formulated in partnership with Bang & Olufsen, delivers excellent-high-quality audio with a lot of quantity. This is primarily extraordinary in this sort of a slimline style and design, in which you will find less area for good-sized speaker enclosures. There are 3 microphones — two located in the best bezel and 1 in the best of the lid, facing outwards to detect and filter out ambient noise when you’re conducting a movie simply call, for example.

Overall performance & battery lifestyle

“This unit is actually for extremely-cell individuals who are constantly on the go but want to provide their business with them…it is not actually for the electrical power person who’s heading to be applying CAD or hefty movie-editing software,” Simon Barlow, business development manager at HP, told ZDNet. 

With that in head, let us see how the Main i7/16GB Elite Dragonfly styles up. For comparison, we’ll use an additional 2-in-1 unit aimed at expertise personnel that we not too long ago benchmarked — Microsoft’s Surface Pro seven, with a 10th-technology Main i5 processor and 8GB of RAM.

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Pictures: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Throughout the board, the Elite Dragonfly retains its very own versus the Surface Pro seven — which at £1,495 (ex. VAT, £1,795 inc. VAT) for a design with comparable RAM (16GB) and SSD storage (512GB) is likewise priced (the Dragonfly reviewed here expenditures £1,459 ex. VAT, £1,750.eighty inc. VAT). The Surface Pro 7’s 10th-technology Main i5 outperforms the Dragonfly’s 8th-technology Main i7 on multi-main CPU effectiveness, while the Dragonfly has the edge on the Cinebench R15 OpenGL examination. Disk effectiveness is comparable, while the Dragonfly outperforms the Surface Pro seven in the Efficiency area of the PCMark ten suite but lags behind on Essentials and Electronic Material Development.

UL Benchmarks recommends a PCMark ten Essentials score of 4100 or better for ‘a selection of straightforward tasks’, a Efficiency score of 4500 or better for ‘typical business operate and mild media content’, and a Electronic Material Development score of 3450 or better for ‘editing images or other electronic media content’. Both equally gadgets easily exceed the encouraged Essentials and Efficiency scores, but the Elite Dragonfly only manages seventy seven% of the encouraged Electronic Material Development score, when compared to ninety four% for the Surface Pro seven. So HP’s assessment of the Dragonfly’s location in the effectiveness firmament (see quote over) looks fairly place-on.

HP presents two battery dimensions for the Elite Dragonfly, a regular 2-cell 38Wh device and a high-capability 4-cell 56.2Wh battery. Our critique device had the regular battery, for which HP promises up to sixteen.5 hours’ lifestyle. The high-capability battery will continue to keep the laptop computer heading for up to 24.5 hours, HP states, but will bump the system’s bodyweight to just more than the magic 1kg mark. Rapidly charging will supply fifty% demand in half an hour, in accordance to HP.

To examination battery lifestyle, we established the screen brightness to fifty% and kept the electrical power configurations on the default HP Optimized prepare, and then ran the PCMark ten benchmark in the vicinity of-repeatedly right until the technique suspended. This corresponds to an extremely hefty-responsibility workload, and drained 90% of battery capability in 4 hours seventeen minutes, in accordance to Home windows 10’s internal battery report. The Home windows ten battery report also gives a ‘Current estimate of battery lifestyle primarily based on all observed battery drains considering that OS install’, which for our critique device was 12 hours and 8 minutes. On this basis you can assume all-working day battery lifestyle, and more, under ordinary instances, but may require a (speedy) recharge through the working day if you’re pushing the technique especially challenging.

Person expertise

Challenge Athena laptops are all about the person expertise, HP and Intel guarantee us. So how did it go through the examination period of time?

The initial factor we noticed on placing up the Elite Dragonfly was the sum of HP software on-board, and the amount of permissions and restarts needed right before the flow of notifications settled down. Our critique device had the adhering to apps (and this isn’t an exhaustive checklist): HP Client Safety Supervisor, HP Link Optimizer, HP JumpStarts, HP Electric power Supervisor, HP Privacy Configurations, HP Assistance Assistant, HP Guaranteed Simply click, HP Guaranteed Simply click Safe Searching, HP Guaranteed Sense and HP WorkWell. That’s not to say all this isn’t precious — HP Guaranteed Sense, for example, employs deep finding out to permit authentic-time malware defense, while HP WorkWell screens your operate behaviors, providing suggestions and recommending breaks.

Over-all though, we located the Elite Dragonfly a satisfaction to examination and use. The industrial style and design is classy and strong, the screen (albeit sixteen:nine) and keyboard are outstanding, you will find a excellent collection of ports, a lot of configuration options, and both effectiveness (for mainstream workloads) and battery lifestyle are incredibly excellent. Of course, there are a lot of other slimline convertible laptops to decide on from (we are wanting forward to testing Dell’s newest XPS thirteen 2-in-1), but if you’re content with HP’s selling price tag you will never be unhappy by the Elite Dragonfly.

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