HP's New Dragonfly Laptops Are for Fancy Freelancers

HP Dragonfly
(Image credit: HP)

We typically think of HP's Dragonfly laptops in terms of premium business notebooks, but at CES 2023, the company announced a set of 14-inch Dragonfly laptops (one running Windows and AMD Ryzen, the other a Chromebook using Intel). These, HP says, are designed for freelance types — on-the-go workers who need something that just works, without an IT department.

The Windows version is the Dragonfly Pro, a 3.53-pound magnesium-aluminum laptop using AMD's Ryzen 7736U. (Keeping in mind how AMD names things, that's a Zen 3 processor). It goes up to 32GB of LPDDR5-6400 RAM and either 512GB or 1TB of storage. HP said it collaborated with AMD on its Platform Management Framework (PMF) in a way that ramps the system up for performance when you need it, while trying to reduce fan speed and noise when you don't. 

The touchscreen is a 14-inch, 1920 x 1200 Gorilla glass panel and HP is tossing in a 5 megapixel camera with a privacy shutter. The laptop has a haptic trackpad (which I personally prefer in many cases to clicky ones, but that's just me),  as well as two USB 4 Type-C ports at 40 Gbps and one USB 3.2 Type-C port at 10GBps.

(Image credit: HP)

The Windows version has four buttons along the side: one to open HP Control Center, one for camera settings, one for 24/7 customer support trained on the device (it's unclear how long this lasts before it goes subscription) and a button you can customize. Personally, I think an entire customer support button, which you're unlikely to need most of the time, is a bit much. I'd rather have another customizable hotkey.

The Chromebook version is slightly different. It is using a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U (more slightly older silicon), with 16GB of LPDDR5 and a 256GB SSD. But it gets a nicer screen, at 2560 x 1600 resolution, which HP claims can get to 1,200 nits. It also has more ports, with four Thunderbolt 4 ports. It gets an 8MP camera.

The 3.3-pound Chromebook doesn't have the four buttons to the side, but it does have RGB, which is the first time we've seen it on a Chromebook outside gaming. You can't control much - you can get the default four-zone or some solid colors. But I suppose it's at least a hint of personality.

The two systems do have a few things in common. Both have four speakers (two firing up, two firing down), and each comes in both black and white.  

Both the Dragonfly Pro and Dragonfly Pro Chromebook are set to ship this spring, with pricing being announced closer to the release date.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE

  • PlaneInTheSky
    HP said it collaborated with AMD in a way that ramps the system up for performance when you need it, while trying to reduce fan speed and noise when you don't.

    My ARM laptop is whisper quiet and doesn't suffer from fan noise to begin with.

    I would never go back to an x86 laptop now that I'm used to far more efficient and quiet ARM laptops.

    It's also why I would never buy a Steam Deck, I tried it and the loud fan noise and poor battery life immediately reminded me that x86 was never designed to be a mobile platform.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    PlaneInTheSky said:
    My ARM laptop is whisper quiet and doesn't suffer from fan noise to begin with.
    My i3 powered Surface Go 3 is likewise totally silent. No fans.
    Reply
  • PlaneInTheSky
    My i3 powered Surface Go 3 is likewise totally silent. No fans.

    True, but it has very poor battery life. Another thing ARM doesn't suffer from.


    Another test showed us exactly how quickly you can drain the Microsoft Surface Go 3, despite it having a processor made to go easy on the juice. A half-hour of Skyrim took exactly 33% off the battery, suggesting battery life can reach as low as 90 minutes — although that sort of stamina is pretty typical for a laptop playing a game that maxes-out its performance.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    PlaneInTheSky said:
    True, but it has very poor battery life. Another thing ARM doesn't suffer from.
    hahaha....from actual testing, no it does not.
    I've heard that as well.

    Playing a series of queued up movies, a bit over 8 hours off battery.
    Reply
  • PlaneInTheSky
    hahaha....from actual testing, no it does not.
    I've heard that as well.

    Playing a series of queued up movies, a bit over 8 hours off battery.

    You seem biased about your laptop.

    Even Tomshardware pointed out the very poor battery life.

    And there is no way your battery lasts 8 hours watching movies when tom's could only get 6 hours out of simply browsing.

    Tom's also pointed out other reviews showed similar results.

    Sorry, but I don't trust your claim for a minute.

    Reply
  • USAFRet
    PlaneInTheSky said:
    And there is no way your battery lasts 8 hours watching movies when tom's could only gt 6 hours out of simply browsing.
    I read multiple reviews talking about the battery life.
    So I decided to test it.

    A playlist in VLC, movie ISO files living on the internal drive. Airplane mode.
    482 minutes when it died.

    I'm just going by what I personally experienced.

    And web browsing requires WiFi, which is another battery draw. So not comparable.

    You want me to do a test of playing movies via WiFi, from my NAS?
    Maybe tomorrow....
    Reply