HP recently announced a new business notebook aimed at hybrid work, the HP Elite Dragonfly G3. The announcement is timely as there is no doubt that hybrid work is here to stay. Work is no longer bound to the office but happens wherever you are, whether at home, the coffee shop, the airport, or even in your car. The requirements for a business notebook for a hybrid laptop are high. You need a slim notebook design with good performance, long battery life, and solid connectivity solutions. The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 aims to be that for business users in a hybrid environment. I have used some of the previous generations of the HP Elite Dragonfly since its launch over two years ago. You can read my initial thoughts on the device here. After launching the first-generation device in January of 2020, HP came out with the same system, but this time with a built-in Tile tracker and Sure View Gen 4. You can find my full write-up on that device here. Since I had good experiences with the previous generation device, I was excited to test this new Elite Dragonfly G3. HP sent me a system to take through my productivity use case. I am constantly on-the-go and run business applications daily, so I think I can give this system an honest shake. Below are my thoughts.
The new HP Elite Dragonfly G3 has a 13.5" clamshell design, slightly larger than the previous gen product. One of the first things I noticed was the unique shape of the PC. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2. The display has a more extended orientation while keeping the same width. The slim design makes the keyboard more compressed, so it makes you put your hands closer than I am used to, leading to some typing errors due to key mashing. The chassis is made of 90% recycled aluminum and should be durable since its MIL-STD 810H certified. HP did implement what it calls rounded "Pillow Corners" on the device. The system has a more rounded edge which feels smooth and premium.
The 1920x1080P display doesn't support touch. I found myself trying to scroll with my fingertip through web pages as I use touch on notebook displays pretty often. The display options scale up to an OLED display with a 3000x2000 resolution. You can get a touch display with the Core i5 version of the product, but I am disappointed that it isn't included in the higher-end SKU. The device hinge can rotate 180 degrees, which is different from the 360-degree hinge of the last generation. I don't use notebooks like a tablet, so it wasn't an issue.
One of my favorite features of this notebook is its slimness and weight. The new HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is incredibly lightweight at 2.19 pounds, equal to less than 1KG and 22% lighter than the new Apple MacBook Air. For business users that travel often, you will barely notice that there is a notebook in your backpack when you're packing this around.
Overall, I appreciate the new design improvements on the HP Elite Dragonfly G3. The system has softer edges, a larger trackpad, and is exceptionally lightweight. I would have liked a touch display on the higher-end model, but it isn't a deal breaker.
As far as specs go, HP did an excellent job of integrating good specs into a slim business notebook. My system came with a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1265U vPRO processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. I would have liked to see more storage on the device, but I understand that is hard to do in a slim form factor. Cloud storage is popular these days, so it may not be an issue for most business users. You can also use the fingerprint reader and Windows Hello for quick login capabilities. The system uses Windows 11 for a much better OS experience than the last gen.
Regarding ports and I/O, the Elite Dragonfly G3 packs much into a small form factor. The system comes with 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports with one on each side, USB-A, HDMI, Headphone jack, Nano Sim slot, and a nano lock slot. The USB-A port pulls down a tab to fit the port in. That's how slim this system is. The system also comes with a 5MP webcam with HP Privacy Camera. I used the webcam for video conferencing on several occasions, the images were sharp, and the face tracking was very accurate.
Regarding connectivity, the system comes with Wi-Fi 6E and support for 5G sim cards. I recommend always-connected PCs for business users, so I am glad HP enabled this experience. The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 has a built-in Tile tracker just like the 2nd generation product for tracking your device via mobile application.
In my office in Austin, I tend to use a desktop with a triple monitor setup. While on the road, I lug around a 15" PC, which sometimes gets heavy and bulky. It's nice to pull a 13" PC out of my bag that is thinner than a notebook for work on the go. I think the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is a great system for productivity use cases like running the business, collaboration, and conferencing applications. I typed this entire article on this device, and it was a breeze apart from mashing some unwanted keys. Since the notebook is light, I smoothly transitioned from the porch to my bedroom to the couch while writing this piece.
I used the system's cellular service by dropping my 5G AT&T sim card from my phone. It is nice to have an always-connected PC because connecting to public Wi-Fi can sometimes be spotty and poses a security risk to the enterprise.
I enjoyed the HP Auto Lock and Awake feature, which is especially useful for enterprise users. You can customize the time limit when you want the system to Auto Lock. Then the system can detect your presence when you return and use Windows Hello to login you back in quickly. The presence recognition and login are almost instant. This is great for when you walk away to use the restroom in a public place or leave your PC open when you grab a snack at the airport vending machine.
Whether I was video conferencing, doing web research, writing blogs, or blasting emails didn't matter. This system never showed any signs of heating up or lagging. It's hard to believe that a small system can handle pretty much any productivity workload you throw at it, but it can.
HP claims an average user can get up to 22 hours of video playback on this device with a 68 Wh battery. One of the reasons HP scaled back the display resolution on some models was to squeeze out the most battery life. It's nice to have a high-resolution OLED display, but most hybrid employees would probably prefer more battery life and less resolution.
I took the system through my typical business use case, which includes running 10+ Microsoft Edge instances simultaneously, running productivity apps like OneNote, OneDrive, PowerPoint, and Excel simultaneously, and recording podcast video and audio through Stream Yard. All of that is on top of my normal workload of writing blogs, sending email, video calling and texting in Google Chat, and streaming the occasional YouTube video. On average, I saw anywhere from 12 to 15 hours of battery life depending on how much streaming and video conferencing I was doing each day. This battery life significantly improved from the 6 to 8 hours I saw on the first-generation Elite Dragonfly. A bigger battery and more efficient processing technology go a long way.
I run my display at a minimum of 75% brightness most of the time, so if you want to sacrifice some brightness, I am sure you could squeeze out more hours of battery life. Overall, I was satisfied with the number of hours I could get out of my device.
The price of the entry unit with Intel Core i5-1235U vPRO processor and touch display starts at $1999.99. The higher-end system with the Intel Core i7-1265U vPRO processor and the non-touch display starts at $2686.99. There are different display options to choose from that can affect the overall price of the unit as well.
The bulky business notebook with minimal features is a way of the past. HP put much thought into the needs of the hybrid enterprise user and implemented new design and performance improvements to the HP Elite Dragonfly G3. The system has solid performance, good battery life, and LTE connectivity. I would have liked to see a touch display with the high-end Core i7 model, but you can't have it all. With a good mix of employees in the office and at home, a good laptop can ensure a better collaboration experience for both parties, and we need that more now than ever.
How we work has changed, and PCs must change to meet those demands. Hybrid work is the current state of how we work, and I believe it is the future. We need more sleek systems with long battery life, like the HP Elite Dragonfly G3, and I am confident HP can provide more designs. While I will probably opt for a 15" notebook for maximum productivity, I can confidently say that the HP Dragonfly G3 may take some trips with me in the future. Nice job, HP.