HP Elite Dragonfly G3 review: the C-suite laptop

the hp elite dragonfly g3 on a table.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 review: the C-Suite laptop

MSRP $2,686.00

“The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is fast enough for business users and offers superior battery life, along with an elegant and mostly solid build.”

Pros

  • Thin and light chassis
  • Elegant aesthetic
  • Excellent battery life
  • Outstanding keyboard and touchpad
  • Solid business features
  • Superior videoconferencing with 5MP webcam

Cons

  • Performance is below average
  • Expensive

When it comes to business laptops that don’t feel like business laptops, HP’s Elite Dragonfly laptops lead the way. The usual security measures are in place, but these laptops aren’t afraid to stand out in a crowd.

I reviewed the third generation of the Elite Dragonfly, which has morphed from a convertible 2-in-1 into a traditional clamshell laptop. It’s an incredibly well-designed and attractive little laptop that hits the sweet spot for businesspeople who want to stay classy on the road.

Specs

  HP Elite Dragonfly G3
Dimensions 11.7 inches by 8.67 inches by 0.64 inches
Weight 2.19 pounds
Processor Intel Core i5-1235U
Intel Core i7-1265U vPro
Graphics Intel Iris Xe
RAM 16GB
32GB
Display 13.5-inch 3:2 WUXGA+ (1,920 x 1,280) low-power IPS non-touch
13.5-inch 3:2 WUXGA+ touch
13.5-inch 3:2 WUXGA+ Sure View Reflect Privacy
13.5-inch 3:2 3K2K (3,000 x 2,000) OLED touch
Storage 256GB PCI 4.0 SSD
512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
Touch Optional
Ports 2 x USB-C 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A 3.1
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x optional nanoSIM slot
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Optional 5G WWAN
Webcam 5MP
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 68 watt-hours
Price $2000+

What businesspeople want

hp elite dragonfly g3 rear view showing lid and logo.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Before a laptop can go off and be extra, it needs to take care of the basics. The Elite Dragonfly G3 does just that, offering an Intel vPro CPU to support enterprise-level security and management features and HP’s Wolf Security suite to protect against malicious attacks in both hardware and software. The Elite Dragonfly G3 matches other business-oriented laptops like Lenovo’s ThinkPad and Dell’s Latitude when it comes to supporting large businesses.

With that basic threshold met, what else do business users want? Well, they want laptops designed for the long haul, given that businesses tend to milk every dime out of their investments — which means holding onto laptops for longer than many consumers hold onto theirs. So, a business laptop needs a solid build, even if it sports a thin and light design.

The Elite Dragonfly G3 is constructed of magnesium and aluminum, giving it both light weight and a mostly sturdy build. There’s a tiny bit of bending in the lid and some flexing in the keyboard deck, but nothing egregious.

hp elite dragonfly g3 rear view showing logo and edges.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The design is also quite comfortable, with rounded edges along the side of the lid and chassis that make for comfortable use, not to mention an elegant look and feel. The design is minimalist but quite attractive, and the chassis is available in either a Slate Blue (my review unit) or a Natural Silver color scheme. The display bezels are lined in plastic, which detracts a little from the premium feel, but they’re small enough to enable a nicely sized machine. The hinge opens with one hand, quite the feat given the light chassis bottom, and it holds the display firmly in place.

Overall, the laptop provides the kind of quality aesthetic and comfortable build that any user would appreciate. The 2.19-pound weight helps considerably, making the Elite Dragonfly G3 one of the lightest laptops we’ve reviewed, and its 0.64-inch thickness makes it an easy laptop to slide into a bag.

Business users will also appreciate the connectivity, which is extensive for such a small laptop. Wireless connectivity meets the latest standards, with optional 5G WWAN support for always-connected internet.

A compelling compromise

The typical businessperson depends on running applications like Microsoft Office, Slack, Teams, Outlook — often all at the same time. Today’s most common CPUs provide more than enough productivity performance, whether we’re talking about Intel’s 12th-gen Core processors or AMD’s Ryzen 6000 chips. The only exceptions are business users who run demanding scientific, engineering, or creative applications like AutoCAD or Adobe’s Creative Suite — but in those cases, they won’t be choosing thin and light laptops like the Elite Dragonfly G3.

It’s not a machine that’s tuned for high performance, especially since its Core i7-1265U processor runs at only 15 watts. But even similar laptops with the same chip score a bit better in benchmarks. The Dell Latitude 7330 UL is the best example, which outperforms the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 in Geekbench 5 and Handbrake.

Nevertheless, the Elite Dragonfly G3 still receives a bump in performance using its 12th-gen Intel processor, which keeps it more than fast enough to keep up with the kind of workflows it’s designed for. So, while the Elite Dragonfly G3 is far from a performer, it’s plenty fast for its intended use.

Geekbench
(single / multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Complete
HP Elite Dragonfly G3
(Core i7-1265U)
1699 / 5936 194 1618 / 5601 4975
Dell Latitude 7330 UL
(Core i7-1265U)
1727 / 6335 177 1530 / 5015 4767
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
(Core i7-1260P)
1531 / 8209 133 1538 / 6993 4982
MSI Prestige 14
(Core i7-1260P)
1505 / 10041 114 1553 / 8734 6201
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
1650 / 8080 116 1587 / 7682 5537
Lenovo Yoga 7i Gen7
(Core i7-1255U)
1652 / 8194 200 1679 / 7176 5211
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
1417 / 6854 112 1402 / 8682 5647

With competent if not impressive business performance out of the way, the next question is how long does the Elite Dragonfly G3 last on a single charge of the battery? That’s incredibly important to businesspeople, who are more apt to take their laptops on the road. When flying from one side of the country to the other, you want a laptop that will make it all the way without worrying about whether the airliner provides the power you need.

Here, the HP did much better. In fact, it’s a class-leading laptop when it comes to battery life, demonstrating that HP created a solid compromise between performance and longevity. There are 68 watt-hours of battery capacity tucked away inside the laptop’s diminutive chassis, which is a fair amount for the 13.5-inch 3:2 WUXGA (1,920 x 1,280) low-power IPS display. The Elite Dragonfly G3 makes great use of its battery capacity and lower performance tuning to turn in some impressive battery life scores.

hp elite dragonfly g3 side view showing lid and ports.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

It’ll last just under 12.5 hours in light web browsing and nearly 19 hours in local video playback. For actual work, you’ll get less, but there’s no doubt it will last a full business day of work on a single charge — and then some.

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is the only of its rivals to come close to competing with it here, and it’s still a couple of hours behind.

Web browsing Video PCMark 10
Applications
HP Elite Dragonfly G3
(Core i7-1265U)
12 hours, 26 minutes 18 hours, 53 minutes 14 hours, 36 minutes
Dell Latitude 7330 UL
(Core i7-1265U)
6 hours, 55 minutes 10 hours, 33 minutes 8 hours, 33 minutes
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
(Core i7-1260P)
7 hours, 39 minutes 14 hours, 34 minutes 10 hours, 42 minutes
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
10 hours, 10 minutes 16 hours, 12 minutes 10 hours, 33 minutes
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
9 hours, 10 minutes 12 hours, 45 minutes 8 hours, 32 minutes
HP Spectre x360 13.5
(Core i7-1255U)
9 hours, 58 minutes 13 hours, 59 minutes 10 hours, 52 minutes
 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
8 hours, 4 minutes 13 hours, 13 minutes N/A

Creature comforts and conveniences abound

hp elite dragonfly g3 top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

HP paid great attention to creating a laptop that is incredibly comfortable to use. That includes the keyboard, which has large keycaps, excellent spacing, and light, snappy switches that make for fatigue-free typing.

It’s one of the better keyboards on a business-class machine. The touchpad is large with plenty of space on the palm rest thanks to the 3:2 display, and its glass surface is smooth and precise with confident yet quiet button clicks. A touch display is optional and not included in my review unit.

hp elite dragonfly g3 front view showing webcam.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

HP built in some nifty privacy features, starting with an electronic shutter for the webcam that’scontrolled by a key on the keyboard. There’s also user presence detection, which can lock the laptop and put it to sleep when the user walks away and wake it back up when the user returns. It worked well during my testing and, in fact, I needed to turn off the feature to conduct my battery tests.

The display on my review unit was the low-power non-touch 13.5-inch 3:2 WUXGA+ (1,920 x 1,280) IPS display. I found it to be bright and colorful with plenty of contrast, and my colorimeter agreed.

Colors were right at the premium average in terms of sRGB and AdobeRGB gamma and accuracy, which results in a display that’s plenty colorful for productivity work and media consumption. Brightness was well above our 300-nit threshold at 398 nits, and contrast was excellent at 1,610:1, smashing through our preferred 1,000:1. While creators want wider colors, business users will find this display quite pleasant.

Brightness
(nits)
Contrast AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is better)
HP Elite Dragonfly G3
(IPS)
398 1,610:1 75% 1.45
Dell Latitude 7330 UL
(IPS)
503 1,650:1 74% 1.56
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
(IPS)
411 1660:1 76% 1.96
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(IPS)
386 1900:1 81% 0.78
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(OLED)
406 28380:1 95% 0.87
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon
(OLED)
397 27590:1 96% 0.88

Two downward-firing and two upward-firing speakers provide a surprising amount of volume for such a small laptop, with clear mids and highs and a touch of bass. The audio system is more than good enough for videoconferencing, augmented by two-way AI-control noise reduction, as well as the occasional Netflix bingeing session.

Speaking of videoconferencing, the webcam is a high-resolution 5MP model with an infrared camera, and HP built in several tools to make for the highest-quality video and the best experience during videoconferencing sessions. There are the usual lighting adjustment and background blur capabilities, along with an Appearance Filter to smooth out the rough edges and Autoframe to allow the user to move around while still remaining centered in the video.

Finally, Windows 11 Hello passwordless login is provided by both facial recognition and a fingerprint reader. Both methods worked quickly and reliably.

A top-of-its-class business laptop

The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is a business laptop masquerading as an elegant, premium consumer laptop. It has everything a business needs and everything a business user wants. It’s not the fastest laptop, but it’s fast enough, and its battery life is stellar. The fact that it’s incredibly thin and light is just icing on the cake.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is Lenovo’s own attempt at a more premium business laptop, but it still holds onto the classic ThinkPad DNA. But the HP Dragonfly G3 has better battery life and a more modern design, without the trappings of an older era of business.

The Elite Dragonfly G3 is one of the most elegant and comfortable business laptops you can buy, and it’s the best example of the next generation of business laptops.

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