The HP Elite Dragonfly G4 is designed to be a top-tier, business-grade ultraportable laptop and it didn’t take us long to suspect that HP might have succeeded. It’s not cheap – if you’re a non-corporate buyer – but could this be the business ultraportable laptop that you need?
Table of Contents
|Screen||13.5-inch, glossy, 60Hz, 1,920 x 1,280, IPS, touchscreen display|
|Processor||3.7-5.0GHz Intel Core i7-1355U CPU|
|Memory||32GB LPDDR5-6400 RAM|
|Graphics||1.3GHz Intel Xe|
2 x Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
3.5mm audio jack
4G nanoSIM slot
1 x USB-C to Ethernet adapter
|Extra Security||TPM 2.0 module|
HP Wolf Security
Windows Hello (fingerprint and webcam)
|Dimensions||297 x 220 x 16mm|
Features, Ergonomics and Design
The HP Elite Dragonfly G4 looks classy with its ‘Slate Blue’ metal chassis and stylised HP logo. It’s got a corporate vibe but it’s different enough, in the market, to turn the odd head when out and about. Picking it up instantly suggests high quality. The there’s zero flex in any part of the solid metal chassis (or lid) and yet it only weighs 1.25KG. HP puts this down to its premium materials (which include 90 per cent recycled magnesium) plus its impressively tactile, curved edges and diamond-cut accents. We had very high hopes.
Opening up the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 reveals the 13.5-inch, glossy display which is bordered by a modestly thin bezel at the sides and a thicker one at the top and bottom. Below it is a touch type Scrabble-tile keyboard with two degrees of backlighting plus a large, silver-bordered trackpad. It all looks impressive.
We’ll start with the keyboard because… we love it. It’s got low-noise, low-travel keys that require the perfect amount of pressure to actuate, making it one of the most comfortable and accurate keyboards that we’ve ever used. Whenever you press a key, the lack of rattle and the solid feedback constantly remind you of the Dragonfly’s quality.
There’s no keypad, as we’d expect on a 13.5-incher and our only minor gripe is the squished up-and-down arrow keys.
The white backlighting isn’t the most powerful but, in the dark, it lights up the letters perfectly without too much light bleed. The whole thing is spill-resistant too.
The trackpad matches the keyboard’s quality. It’s very smooth and accurate and the buttons are perfectly weighted and activate with another, high-quality thunk.
The screen is glossy, so be prepared for reflections when viewing dark content. As we mainly used the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 for office work – with white Office-app backgrounds – we rarely found it to be a problem. It can get very bright indeed to the point where it has a colossal 1000-nit rating that’s too bright to comfortably use indoors but means it functions well when outside on a bright sunny day.
It’s also got a built-in “HP Sure View”privacy screen meaning that you don’t have to move far off centre for it for text to become illegibly blurry. While killing viewing angles isn’t great for screen sharing, for a business-oriented laptop, it’s arguably a better feature to have.
The glossy screen is there to help with the touchscreen display. In truth, we rarely used it as the trackpad was so pleasant, but it’s nonetheless responsive and accurate. It doesn’t come with a stylus but it is compatible with them.
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It displays a crisp and clear Windows Desktop with vibrant colours but this high performance only partly extends into multimedia usage. Video is bright and colourful and contrast is acceptable but details can get lost in highlights quite easily. There’s more-than-usual banding in colour gradients but monochromatic transitions are horrendous: full of blocky, distracting artefacts. Despite the glossy screen and vibrant colours, the noticably washed-out blacks regularly reminded us that it’s not an OLED.
Those that care about such things, might gripe about the backlight bleed, which is a little more noticeable owing to the more-square 1,920 x 1,280 resolution which requires larger letterbox bars.
Finally, while basic, slow-moving gaming could look good on the screen, the bog-standard, 60Hz refresh rate marries with a very slow pixel response time to turn any fast-moving objects into a blurry mess.
It’s no way a deal killer, but it’s neither here nor there in its attempts to appeal to everyone: the glossy touchscreen isn’t ideal for office tasks, but it’s not great for multimedia or design work either.
As for the speakers, when Bang & Olufsen attaches its name to them, we expect greatness… even in a laptop with a chassis that’s only 16mm thick. HP doesn’t specify the speakers’ specs but we can attest to the fact they sound extraordinary. They get incredibly loud, there’s punchy bass plus great fidelity from the top to the bottom end. It always makes us wonder, if ultraportables like the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 and Dell XPS 13 Plus can sound so good, why can’t so many larger laptops?
Above the screen is a UHD webcam with a 1440p resolution and (very responsive) Windows Hello compatibility. The webcam captures impressive detail and fends off the grain impressively when in low light. It also automatically locks and wakes the laptop up when you leave and come back. The microphone array does a great job of capturing clear audio without background noise, meaning the Dragonfly G4 is very good for webconferencing.
Another feature is HP’s Wolf Security which provides both consumer and business-grade security features. These include AI-based threat detection, secure wiping plus corporate management and imaging. It’s worth noting that the Dragonfly also arrives with Windows 10 as many businesses will still be using it. However, it does allow you to install Windows 11 via Windows Update.
All in all, the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 is brilliant to work with. The glossy touchscreen might not appeal to everyone but it didn’t get the way of our work too much. We’d probably choose the non-touch, matte-screen variant, though. Everything else about this notebook’s ergonomics and design are very impressive indeed.
HP Elite Dragonfly G4 review images
The images in this HP Elite Dragonfly G4 review feature a red, strawberry-flavoured Starburst brought back to Australia from Intel’s recent Developer Conference in San Jose.
Inside the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 is a fast, low-power 3.7 – 5.0GHz Intel Core i7-1355U processor with two Performance cores and eight Efficiency cores which operate across 12 threads. There’s also a generous 32GB of fast, low-power, LPDDR5-6400 memory and a speedy, 1GB NVMe hard drive. These combined to score 5,693 in the general-computing PCMark 10 benchmark which is about average in the whole, wide world of laptops but very impressive indeed for such a thin-and-lightweight ultraportable.
In the processor-based, Cinebench rendering tests, the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 couldn’t hide from the fact it’s Core i7-1355U processor has just two Performance cores. It only scored 1,230 in the drag-race R15 test and 6,805 in the longer R23 test. It will perform rendering tasks, but it will take it’s time doing it.
3D Performance comes from the lowly, integrated Intel Xe GPU which runs at 1.3GHz. It can’t run the difficult 3DMark ray-tracing tests, Speed Way and Port Royal. However, in the AAA-game-title-mimicking benchmarks, Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme, the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 scored 1,760 and 2,347 respectively – but both scores reflect an average of just 10fps. If you want to play any games, you’ll need to dramatically the drop detail settings and resolution.
Still, in the easier 3Dmark Night Raid benchmark, which apes casual and competitive games, the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 scored 16,705 which is an average of 100fps. So, it’s not completely without gaming potential… just remember that the slow screen means that any fast moving games will look blurry.
It’s worth mentioning the cooling. Thin laptops can get warm and noisy, even if they’re not that powerful. But, the HP Elite Dragonfly G4’s fans only ever ramped up to a very minor whirr under load and this only became noticeable when set to Performance mode in the HP Power Manager app. Furthermore, it only ever got a bit warm in the centre-rear when doing so. It’s a very impressive cooling system.
HP also supplies a USB-C-to-Ethernet dongle should the integrated Wi-Fi 6E not function. There’s also Bluetooth 5.3. You might want more ports, but it’s an impressive cutting edge collection for a modern ultraportable.
Portability and Battery Life
The HP Elite Dragonfly G4’s diminutive metal chassis is incredibly robust and there’s no flex anywhere in it. The hinge is very solid too. It’s designed for road warriors and should easily survive a life of being carted around.
Its diminutive dimensions and 16mm thickness mean this business notebook easily fits into small bags while the 1.25KG weight means you’ll barely know it’s there. The power supply and cables add just 340g more to the ‘bulk.’
Meanwhile, the 68Wh battery ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office battery test for a very impressive 17 hours 54 minutes. That’s basically two full days out of the office!
This all means that the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 finishes tied with its older sibling, the HP Envy, as our Best Portable Laptop.
Price and Availability
The HP Elite Dragonfly G4 is available now and costs a hefty $3,945. That’s far from cheap, even compared to premium gaming laptops. However, that’s what you get when you attempt to build the best business ultraportable and this is arguably it. Still, despite the great ergonomics and features, the Value score takes a significant hit because of the price tag.
HP’s online store states that there’s a variant of the G4 that eschews the glossy touchscreen for a non-touch, matte equivalent. However, we’re struggling to discover its availability in Australia.
That all said, because the HP Elite Dragonfly G4’s business credentials, many potential ‘buyers’ will be procuring this laptop via their work’s IT department or a managed service provider (MSP). Subsequently, it will likely come on a lease with a price that bears little reflection to retail. So, ask IT for one!
7 Alternatives to the HP Elite Dragonfly G4
HP Envy X360
It lacks the business credentials or the quality of the HP Elite Dragonfly G4, but this similarly sized convertible is half the price and even more portable. Read our HP Envy X360 review.
Dell XPS 13
It’s similar to the Dragonfly in many ways and it matches it for quality. It’s dramatically cheaper, even lighter and almost has the same battery life. It’s not as powerful though. Read our Dell XPS 13 review.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
The Dragonfly is one of the few laptops that the Surface can call expensive. It’s not very powerful but its flyweight bulk and ability to insta-transform into a classy tablet, always make it attractive. Read our Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review.
MSI Prestige Evo
A consumer-friendly alternative to the Dragonfly that can also be used in an office. Some variants are even good for gaming and it’s much cheaper. Read our MSI Prestige 14 Evo review.
Lenovo Yoga 7i
This 16-inch Yoga 7i is an attractive, business-grade alternative that costs much less. It’s much bigger at 16-inches, though. Read our Lenovo Yoga 7i review.
Acer Swift Edge 16
It’s another 16-inch ultraportable, but this one somehow weighs even less than the Dragonfly. It’s got a sublime OLED screen and is one of our favourite laptops ever. It lacks business credentials and is hard to buy, though. Read our Acer Swift Edge 16 review.
Asus Vivobook S 14
This consumer-grade ultraportable can be had at a giveaway price. It might not come with the build quality of the Dragonfly but you can buy three for the same money and still have hundreds of dollars left over! Read our Asus Vivobook S 14 review.
Conclusion: Is the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 worth it?
We’ve absolutely loved using the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 for work. Only its screen stops it achieving perfection and that’s mainly because we’re still struggling to make up our minds about the glossyness and lack of multimedia prowess. That’s still a relatively minor issue though and it would easily be one of our Top 10 laptops were it not for the huge price tag.
But, it’s worth labouring the point that this isn’t a consumer laptop. It’s squarely designed for business users and the ultimate, corporate price will be both negotiable and irrelevant to an IT department that’s outfitting its workforce.
If your company uses HP laptops, you’d do very well to ask for one of these. It’s both our Number 3 choice for business and our Best Portable Laptop.
Excellent build quality
Screen is reflective
Screen is slow and poor for multimedia
HP Elite Dragonfly G4 Scores
HP Elite Dragonfly G4 Review Summary
The HP Elite Dragonfly G4 is an almost perfect laptop for mobile workers thanks to great portability and excellent ergonomics. However, its price reflects that its for mostly business buyers only.