Discover more from The Shortcut
HP Dragonfly Pro: hands-on review
HP's new laptop is prosumer dream come true
The HP Elite Dragonfly Pro is the laptop update that better balances what we need to see in one of the best laptops for prosumers. I loved testing the previous iterations of the HP Elite Dragonfly, like the 2020 version I reviewed for TechRadar, but what held me back from recommending it to more of you was its high price tag.
At CES 2023, the new HP Elite Dragonfly Pro fixes exactly that. It’s destined to be a more affordable version of the luxurious little laptop I loved to recommend to business users. Suddenly it appeals to a wider audience. I can confirm that its gorgeous thin-and-light design and comfortable keyboard remain intact.
This is a prosumer-oriented Ultrabook, without the niche business and IT features that everyday users just don’t need. Intel vPro is out, AMD Radeon is in, basically. That does make it a less secure device overall, but that shouldn’t matter if you’re not literally leading a company.
What makes this laptop so special is that it brings HP’s best laptop design to a level that more people can afford – even if the company isn’t sharing the exact price tag just yet.
The Shortcut is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
🤓 HP Dragonfly Pro specs
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7736u
GPU: AMD Radeon Integrated graphics
RAM: 16GB, 32GB
SSD: 512GB, 1TB
Display: 14-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,200)
Weight: 3.53 lb
Dimensions: 12.39 x 8.78 x 0.72 inches (W x H x D)
How I tested the HP Dragonfly Pro
This has been my first chance to test the HP Dragonfly Pro for a hands-on review, as it was just announced at CES 2023. This means I haven’t had an opportunity to fully test it in my home lab, but I did spend a good 15 minutes with the device at a hands-on event in New York. I can speak on how the laptop looks, feels, and performs in a very superficial way.
I do look forward to giving the new HP Dragonfly Pro a full review when it shows up on store shelves, so be sure to keep this page bookmarked if you want my full thoughts when that happens.
✒️ Freelancing in style
HP tells me that the Dragonfly Pro is meant for prosumers, or basically anyone that needs a PC to get their work done, but doesn’t necessarily need something with the IT features of a more robust commercial PC. Basically people like me.
To that end, HP has worked with AMD to create a custom version of its new Ryzen 7 7700u processor. The two companies have apparently created a chip that optimizes performance and battery life for the type of light office work freelancers and the like deal with on a daily basis.
The company claims that this laptop is able to reach up to 16 hours of battery life, but I always take battery life claims with a huge grain of salt – they never measure up. Again, we’ll see when the device actually comes in for review.
📅 HP Dragonfly Pro release date
HP hasn’t told me exactly when this laptop will be available to buy, but I have been assured that it’s coming sometime in Q1 2023. We’ll likely get a more specific release date soon, and I’ll update this article as soon as I hear more.
💰 HP Dragonfly Pro price
With the HP Dragonfly Pro being a laptop that’s supposed to be a more affordable version of a premium device, you’d think the company would be excited to put a price tag on it. However, HP has not released an official price for the Dragonfly Pro, but hopefully it’s reasonable. Again, I’ll update this article as soon as I hear anything.
💄 HP Dragonfly Pro design
The HP Elite Dragonfly was so special because it brought a uniquely beautiful design to a business-class laptop. It was a laptop meant to get serious work done, but it looked good doing it.
The HP Dragonfly Pro looks to follow in the original’s footsteps, with a stunning chassis that’s reminiscent of the MacBook Air, just with more ports. The laptop is extremely thin, measuring just 0.72 inches thick and has two gorgeous colorways available.
But even with its thinness, it has plenty of expansion space. It features two USB4 Type-C ports, and 1 USB 3.2 Type-C port. However, it seems like HP has left the 3.5mm headphone jack in the past. It’s something I understand with smartphones, but I’ll never support cutting the headphone jack out of a laptop.
However, it’s likely that whoever is going to be buying this laptop is going to be using Bluetooth earbuds instead of wired headphones, but it’s still a disappointment, and likely unnecessary.
On the side of the laptop are dedicated keys for a task switcher, a HP help service and the webcam. I’m of two minds on these, I like that these functions are conveniently placed without having to dig through a bunch of menus, but I can just see myself accidentally opening the webcam whenever I hit “Enter” to send a message in Slack. This is something that’d be less of a problem the more time you spend with the laptop, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.
Besides that, the keyboard is actually extremely comfortable to type on. With a laptop this thin, you’re basically guaranteed a chiclet keyboard, but it’s actually fairly comfortable to type on. The original was a dream to work on because of its keyboard, it’s expected here: HP didn’t let me down.
On each side of the keyboard you get speakers. Like with most of the rest of the HP laptop lineup, you’re getting speakers co-engineered with Bang & Olufsen. I didn’t get a chance to test these speakers out, but given how good the speakers in the HP Spectre x360 are, I’d assume they’re at least decent.
Is the HP Dragonfly Pro for me?
✅ You’re a freelancer or prosumer that wants to get a lot of work done in style
✅ You want a laptop that’s elegant and lightweight enough to travel with
✅ You wanted the HP Elite Dragonfly but didn’t want to pay commercial tech prices
❌ You’re on any kind of budget
❌ You need something for video editing or something similar