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HP's Elite Dragonfly: Release date, price and specs

(Image credit: HP)

This is the extremely sleek HP Elite Dragonfly, a $1,549 professional machine made of magnesium alloy that works as a laptop and a tablet with a pressure sensitive pen. You know, everything I wanted the MacBook Air to be — but lighter and tested to military durability standards.

The Elite Dragonfly weighs an impressive 2.2 pounds, which HP labels as the world’s lightest “business” laptop. The fact is that this weight makes it 0.6 pounds lighter than the lightest of the Apple machines and also lighter than its PC rivals, the Dell XPS 13 (which weighs 2.7 pounds) and HP’s own Spectre x360, which like the Air comes at 2.8 pounds.

HP Elite Dragonfly Specs

(Image credit: HP)

CPU: 8th generation Core i3, Core i5, Core i7
RAM: Up to 16GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Display: 13 inches (1920 x 1080 or 3840 x 2160)
Graphics: Intel UHD 620
Ports: 2 Thunderbolt with USB-C, 1 USB 3.1, HDMI, headphone/mic, Nano SIM for WWAN
Webcam: 720p
Battery: 2-cell or 4-cell
Size: 11.98 x 7.78 x 0.63 inches
Weight: 2.2 pounds

HP Elite Dragonfly price and release date

The HP Dragonfly Elite will be available Oct. 25 starting at $1,549. However, HP says that the pricing a

HP Elite Dragonfly design and durability

Unlike the Air — which is made from a solid block of aluminum — the Dragonfly is made from magnesium alloy, which has been CNC’ed by robots to get its sharp corner design. The design is a lot more sleek, more ThinkPad-esque if you will, than the curvy Air. Its size is smaller, too: 11.9 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches versus the 12 x 8.4 x 0.2-to-0.6 inches of the MacBook Air. HP's overall package is notably smaller while keeping the same screen size: 13.3 inches.

Perhaps more impressively, this thing is made to last, certified for battlefield operations through the MIL-STD-810G military standard, which covers “extreme conditions like drops, shocks, vibration, and humidity.” 

It’s not surprising. Magnesium alloy is hard. Harder than aluminum. And steel and titanium for that matter. All while being 33% lighter than aluminum — hence the edge over the MacBook Air — 60% lighter than titanium and 75% lighter than steel. The body — painted in which HP calls Dragonfly blue, which looks navy straight on and black at an angle — has also been treated to be resist fingerprints and repel dust.

(Image credit: HP)

HP Elite Dragonfly display and keyboard

If that weren’t enough for a cool laptop, the Dragonfly 13.3-inch Full HD display is a touchscreen with 400 nits of brightness. You can upgrade it to a 13.3-inch display that is full 4K HDR and offers 550 nits of brightness — which is positively next-level fantastic for creative types. The screen has very thin bezels, with a 85.6% screen-to-body ratio.

Talking about creatives, the Elite also has a 360-degree hinge design, which allows you to transform it from notebook to tent to full on tablet. It even includes an Active Pen G3 in the box — a pressure-sensitive stylus that charges via USB-C.

The keyboard, according to Laptop Mag’s Sherri L. Smith, is pleasant to use, with an island-style key design that offers a satisfying click without being noisy (which I personally hate in keyboards). According to Smith, HP claims that the keys are two times quieter than your average laptop keyboard.

(Image credit: Future)

HP Elite Dragonfly specs and battery life

The specs are good: up to 8th generation Core i7 CPU with up to 16GB of RAM and 2 terabytes of solid state storage. However, you don't get a newer 9th or 10th gen processor because these don't yet support vPRO.

The computer is also equipped with Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit 4G LTE, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB 3.1 Type A, HDMI 1.4. And a headphone jack.

The whole thing feeds on a 38 watt hour Li-ion battery that, according to HP, will give you 16 hours of usage. There’s an optional 4-cell 56.2 Wh model with an estimated 24 hour battery life — but will increase the weight of the computer beyond the 2.2 pounds. In any case, those battery life numbers are insane. We will have to see how long this ultraportable lasts in the real world. 

Compare all that technological prowess to the MacBook Air, which is far behind in terms of specs and lasted just under 9 hours on Laptop Mag's battery test. 

Outlook

Of course, getting a MacBook Air that gets you close to the Dragonfly's specs will run you $1,300. That’s $250 less than the base Dragonfly Elite. However, HP's laptop is promising a significantly lighter weight and more durability, as well as better specs and hybrid functionality. Stay tuned for our full HP Elite Dragonfly review.