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HP Elite Dragonfly G4 First Impressions

Posted June 27, 2023 | Elite Dragonfly | Hardware | HP | HP Elite Dragonfly | Mobile | Windows | Windows 11

The HP Elite Dragonfly debuted three and a half years ago and has been one of my favorite laptops ever since. So it is perhaps not surprising that I was eager to see how HP would try and improve on the near perfection of its predecessors with this new generation model Elite Dragonfly.

I’ve yet to be briefed on this new PC, but it appears that the theme this time around is “don’t fix what ain’t broke”: the Elite Dragonfly G4 that arrived today appears to be nearly identical, physically, to the G3 version that I reviewed in October last year. But there are some upgrades, of course: the G4 is powered by a 13th Gen Intel Core i7-1365U processor, along with Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of SSD storage.

Like the G3, the Elite Dragonfly G4 is a traditional clams shell laptop, where previous versions were convertible PCs, and it carries forward with the wonderful 13.5-inch 3:2 display panel, which on the review unit offers a Full HD+ resolution of 1920 x 1280 with no multitouch capabilities. It seems uniquely ideal for this form factor.

The design is understated and premium, and it looks and feels like the same magnesium/aluminum blend with diamond-cut edges around the touchpad and soft, curved “pillow corners” on the display lid and base outer edges.

As always, I love the discrete HP branding, especially the Dragonfly text on the display hinge.

Connectivity looks solid, with Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth, and 5G cellular wireless. And expansion looks identical to the previous model (or nearly so). There is a full-sized HDMI port, a nano-SIM card tray, and a Thunderbolt 4/USB4 Type-C port on the left.

And on the right, we see a 3.5-mm combination headphone/microphone jack, a full-sized USB-A port with a drop-jaw, a Thunderbolt 4/USB4 Type-C port, and a nano lock slot.

As with other premium HP PCs, the Elite Dragonfly G4 sports Bang & Olufsen-tuned speakers, but there’s no Dolby Atmos immersive sound. The bundled HP Audio Control app can at least enhance the speaker experience based on the content you’re enjoying.

It’s not clear yet what’s going on with the webcam, though the previous model shipped with an excellent 5 MP webcam and dual edge microphones. But the G4 does support both Windows Hello fingerprint and facial recognition, and the keyboard has toggles for the webcam and microphones, which I like to see.

The keyboard already feels superior to my fingers, so it appears that HP—which makes the best portable keyboards in the PC industry—is carrying forward this laptop’s best feature. The large glass touchpad also appears to have carried forward. If it’s good as its predecessor, you’ll hear no complaints from me.

The Elite Dragonfly G4 arrived with Windows 11 Pro version 22H2, of course, and more third-party utilities than I’d like to see. There are 11 HP utilities and four Intel utilities (including a new one, Intel Unison), plus a superfluous TCO Certified icon in the Start menu that doesn’t serve any purpose. The only real crapware is an Adobe offers entry.

Previous Elite Dragonflies were quite expensive, with starting prices of about $2000, and I would be surprised if this was priced any differently. But I’ll learn more about this PC and its availability soon during my briefing and will report back soon with a full review. So far so good: I don’t see anything surprising here, and barring any unforeseen issues, suspect that this will measure up to the quality of its predecessors.

More soon.

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