HP Elite Dragonfly Max review: Premium convertible, killer webcam

The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is designed for executives who’re on Zoom calls as a lot as they’re in in-person conferences. The Elite Dragonfly Max incorporates a five-megapixel (1440p) webcam that provides twice the decision of the usual 720p laptop computer webcam, and it’s flanked by 4 microphones for higher Zoom audio.

On condition that it might be years earlier than you come to pre-pandemic journey ranges, I query HP’s determination to outfit the Elite Dragonfly Max with a 13.Three-inch show as a substitute of a roomier 14-inch panel. Then there’s the value: It’s sky-high at $2,789 on HP.com. It competes effectively in most methods with different premium enterprise convertibles, however for that worth the uncooked CPU efficiency and battery life are shocking disappointments.

This evaluation is a part of our ongoing roundup of the most effective laptops. Go there for info on competing merchandise and the way we examined them.

HP Elite Dragonfly Max options: First-class

Primarily based on its specs, the HP Elite Dragonfly Max mannequin we reviewed has a top-end CPU, ample RAM, adequate solid-state storage capability, and considerable connectivity. Listed here are the main points:

  • CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i7-1185G7
  • Reminiscence: 16GB
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Show: 13.Three-inch, 1920×1280 IPS contact
  • Webcam: 1440p with bodily digicam shutter
  • Connectivity: Proper aspect: Two Thunderbolt Four, HDMI 2.zero, headphone/microphone combo port. Left aspect: SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps Sort-A, SIM card
  • Networking: Wi-Fi 6, 5G WWAN, Bluetooth 5.zero
  • Biometrics: IR facial recognition, fingerprint reader
  • Battery capability: Four-cell, 56 Watt-hours
  • Dimensions: 11.98 x 7.78 x zero.63 inches
  • Measured weight: 2.59 kilos (laptop computer), zero.62 kilos (AC adapter)

Our $2,789 Elite Dragonfly Max is the top-end unit within the line. It can save you $550 by choosing the $2,239 baseline Elite Dragonfly Max, which incorporates a Core i7-1165G7 CPU (which has barely decrease clock speeds than its higher-end Core i7-1185G7 sibling) however in any other case the very same configuration. These fixed-configuration fashions transfer out and in of inventory, however the customizable Elite Dragonfly Max, starting at $2,409 on HP.com, is another choice. With it, you may broaden the reminiscence to 32GB and the storage as much as a 2TB SSD, and go for cellular broadband. All fashions characteristic the identical 13.Three-inch, Full HD (1920×1080), touchscreen show with HP’s Positive View privateness characteristic.

Black magnificence

The HP Elite Dragonfly Max oozes C-suite model with a skinny, but rugged magnesium chassis completed in an alluring matte black. It’s positive to show heads within the boardroom or business-class part of an airplane. It’s additionally rugged: The Dragonfly Max handed MIL-STD 810H exams to show its sturdiness towards shock, warmth, chilly, humidity, and different excessive situations. 

The sleek, matte end can also be efficient in repelling fingerprints and smudges. Do you have to wish to wipe down the system, the Dragonfly Max is designed to be wiped down 1,000 instances (per HP) with out staining or fading. That’s greater than 19 years of wipes on a once-per-week schedule. The laptop computer features a utility—HP Straightforward Clear—that disables the touchscreen, keyboard, and touchpad for 2 minutes so you may wipe down the machine with out inflicting wacky enter errors. 

hp elite dragonfly max easy clean Matt Elliott/IDG

HP’s Straightforward Clear utility disables the keyboard, touchpad, and touchscreen so you may wipe down the Elite Dragonfly Max with out disturbing your work.

There are different helpful utilities on board. HP Positive View could be toggled on with the press of a operate key to maintain prying eyes from seeing the contents of your display—it makes it practically inconceivable to see the show until you’re seated instantly in entrance of it. One other utility lowers the temperature of the laptop computer when it’s in your lap, sacrificing a bit in efficiency to keep away from scorching your thighs. The Dragonfly Max additionally reduces battery utilization when it senses it’s been put in a bag, and quickens the wake-up time whenever you take it out.

Weighing solely 2.59 kilos, the Dragonfly Max is a simple journey companion. In comparison with different premium enterprise laptops, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 9310 weighs 2.9 kilos and the bigger 14-inch HP Spectre x360 14 weighs Three kilos. The smaller 12.Three-inch Microsoft Floor Professional 7+ with the Signature cowl/keyboard is just barely lighter at 2.42 kilos. In case you are prepared to sacrifice 2-in-1 versatility, the 13-inch Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano weighs a mere 1.99 kilos.

Stellar show and webcam

The Elite Dragonfly Max’s 13.Three-inch, Full-HD contact show is most exceptional for its brightness score of an astonishing 1,000 nits. Whereas in a side-by-side comparability it didn’t seem any brighter with Positive View disabled than the 500-nit show on my MacBook Professional, it’s however one of many few shows I’ve skilled that may be seen simply in direct daylight. It is best to be aware, nevertheless, that enabling Positive View significantly dims the show.

At any setting, the show’s colours appeared vivid, with deep blacks and vibrant whites. Its HP Eye Ease characteristic reduces blue gentle, and does so with out including the yellowish tint that you just’ve seen in different options. Eye Ease is all the time on and may’t be disabled, not that you just’d wish to. After utilizing the Dragonfly Max for every week, my MacBook Professional’s display seemed chilly and blue by comparability. 

My solely criticism concerning the show is its dimension. At 13.Three inches, with a 16:9 side ratio, the show begins to really feel cramped, particularly if you happen to’re attempting to scroll a big spreadsheet or doc. I’d fortunately carry round just a few extra ounces for a 14-inch show. 

The Elite Dragonfly Max is effectively geared up for the videoconferencing period. The five-megapixel webcam above the show can report 1440p video at 30 frames per second. With twice the decision of the 720p webcams discovered on practically each different laptop computer, the video it captured was excellent, with correct pores and skin tones and colours, and little noise or graininess. There’s additionally a bodily privateness cowl. Video calls sound clearer, due to the laptop computer’s 4 microphones—two front-facing and two world-facing. 

Who wants passwords when the Elite Dragonfly Max presents biometric choices? There’s a separate IR digicam for Home windows Good day face recognition. (The privateness cowl additionally blocks the IR digicam, so that you’ll must open it to make use of this characteristic.) Alternatively, you might use the fingerprint reader situated beneath the lower-right nook of the keyboard.

The laptop computer’s 4 audio system—two that fireplace upward on both aspect of the keyboard, two that fireplace from the entrance fringe of the underside panel—present wonderful audio output for such a compact laptop computer. The total sound displays clear highs and mids and one thing resembling a bass response—uncommon for any laptop computer.

Keyboard, touchpad, connectivity

The keyboard and touchpad are each stellar. The keys supply a agency response with the correct amount of journey, they usually’re very quiet when pressed. The typing expertise is aided by the inflexible, magnesium chassis, which doesn’t flex, even underneath heavy-duty typiing. The keyboard options two ranges of backlighting, and there’s a mic mute button among the many Fn keys that helpfully shines a small LED when you find yourself muted. Given its deal with videoconferencing, nevertheless, I used to be shocked to search out no devoted Fn keys to start out and finish calls. The touchpad was correct in recording my mousing gesture and provided agency clicks, and its matte end made for easy gliding, even throughout a moist July’s week of testing.

hp elite dragonfly max keyboard Matt Elliott/IDG

Even heavy typists ought to be instantly comfy utilizing the Dragonfly Max’s sturdy, agency keyboard.

The highlights of the Dragonfly Max’s port choice are its pair of Thunderbolt Four ports, however I want they have been cut up throughout all sides of the laptop computer as a substitute of each situated on the precise edge. I’d additionally transfer the USB Sort-A port from the left edge to the precise, as a result of it’ll doubtless be used to attach a mouse, and most of the people are right-handed mousers. 

hp elite dragonfly max ports Matt Elliott/IDG

A pair of Thunderbolt Four ports spotlight the Dragonfly Max’s connectivity, though having each situated on the identical aspect of the laptop computer is rather less versatile.

HP Elite Dragonfly Max efficiency

In our testing, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times for the Elite Dragonfly Max. It turned in wonderful software efficiency, nevertheless it exhibited lackluster multimedia capabilities and battery life.

We in contrast the Elite Dragonfly Max towards two different high-end 2-in-1 convertibles,  the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 9310 and the HP Spectre x360 14, every of which options the Core i7-1165G7 CPU; and Microsoft’s Floor Professional 7+, a 2-in-1 with removable keyboard, which makes use of a Core i5-1135G7 CPU. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is predicated on the Core i7-1160G7 CPU; it’s not a convertible, nevertheless it’s a equally sized premium enterprise laptop computer effectively value contemplating. All 5 programs characteristic 16GB of RAM and built-in Intel Iris Xe graphics.

hp elite dragonfly max pcmark 10 Matt Elliott/IDG

The HP Elite Dragonfly Max led the pack on PCMark 10’s productiveness suite. It’s going to deal with all of your mainstream purposes with aplomb.

Our first benchmark is PCMark 10, which measures efficiency on on a regular basis computing work together with workplace productiveness duties, internet looking, and video chats. It’s a detailed race—just about any trendy laptop computer can deal with mainstream purposes with ease—however to its credit score, the Elite Dragonfly Max completed first among the many 5 premium enterprise machines right here. 

The story modifications whenever you take a look at purer CPU efficiency. We first take a look at Cinebench, a type of CPU dash. The Elite Dragonfly Max’s numbers aren’t dangerous, however they path these of comparable competitors by a big margin.

hp elite dragonfly max cinebench Matt Elliott/IDG

The HP Elite Dragonfly Max’s Cinebench numbers are high quality, however they path the outcomes of different premium enterprise laptops.

We use the HandBrake utility to transform a 30GB film to Android desk format, an intensive job that taxes the CPU—and the laptop computer’s capability to maintain it cool. Right here, once more, the Elite Dragonfly Max trailed the competitors.

hp elite dragonfly max handbrake Matt Elliott/IDG

HandBrake is a strenuous check that heats up the CPU, penalizing laptops that should throttle efficiency to handle warmth. The HP Elite Dragonfly Max clearly made some sacrifices to remain cool.

The Elite Dragonfly Max isn’t the primary skinny, gentle, and small laptop computer to falter on CPU efficiency due to thermal constraints. Nonetheless, it’s value noting that the Dell XPS 13 9310 2-in-1, essentially the most related machine in our comparability, blows it out of the water on each exams. 

Though Intel’s Iris Xe built-in graphics is surprisingly good, as our exams have proven, not one of the Iris Xe-equipped laptops right here might be confused with gaming machines, particularly the Elite Dragonfly Max, which introduced up the rear on our 3DMark benchmark.

hp elite dragonfly max 3dmark Matt Elliott/IDG

None of those skinny, gentle, and small laptops might be mistaken for a gaming machine, however the Elite Dragonfly Max is essentially the most underwhelming of the lot. 

Whereas among the lackluster efficiency above could be chalked as much as the constraints of smaller laptops, the battery life is the largest disappointment. We check laptop computer battery life by looping a 4K video utilizing the inventory Home windows Motion pictures & TV app, with display brightness set to about 250 nits and the amount dialed to 50 p.c, with headphones plugged in.

hp elite dragonfly max battery life Matt Elliott/IDG

The HP Elite Dragonfly Max lagged behind a lot of the competitors in battery life, even some that had smaller batteries.

It might appear harsh to ding a laptop computer that ran for practically 11 hours on battery, however take into account the competitors. Positive, the Elite Dragonfly Max, with a 56Wh battery, outlasted the Floor Professional 7+ and its 50Wh pack. However the Dell XPS 13 9310 2-in-1 has a 51Wh battery, and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano has a 48Wh battery, but each lasted longer than the Elite Dragonfly Max. (The HP Spectre x360 14 has an outsize benefit with its 66.5Wh provide.). You’ll have the ability to get by all however the longest workdays on a single cost with the Dragonfly Max, however competing fashions appear to be extra environment friendly.

Competing priorities

The HP Elite Dragonfly Max boasts a fantastic, rugged enclosure and a number of considerate utilities that enterprise execs are sure to get pleasure from. It additionally provides a stunning (if small) show, surprisingly sturdy audio output, and a 1440p webcam that places 720p cams to disgrace. Its first-rate design and lengthy checklist of options assist to justify its lofty worth, however its efficiency on the entire left us wanting. Even a light disappointment is noteworthy when a laptop computer’s worth approaches the $Three,000 mark. 

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