HP Is Trying To Reinvent The Business Laptop With The Elite Dragonfly

Photo: Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo

While the typical business laptops often get the job done, they’re usually heavy, ugly and generally hard to love, which exactly what HP is trying to address with the new Elite Dragonfly.

Created as a way to bridge the best things about consumer laptops with the security and durability requirements of the enterprise market, the Elite Dragonfly takes cues both from other HP laptops and some of HP’s biggest competitors.

To start, HP switched to a magnesium alloy chassis (in a lovely shade of dark navy HP calls Dragonfly Blue) instead of aluminium, something that companies like Microsoft have been using on its Surface computers for years. When you combine that with a new multi-layer coating and a new oil-resistant finish, HP says the Elite Dragonfly is significantly more durable than its previous commercial notebooks.

The Elite Dragonfly is also a convertible, so you get presentation and tablet modes in addition to being a good old clamshell. (Photo: Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo)

The Dragonfly’s magnesium frame also helps cut down on weight, which at 1kg, comes in at just under one kilogram. However, that’s also kind of been done before on systems like the LG Gram, which as you’ve probably already guessed from its name, also tips the scale at just under a kilo.

HP is even looking to support more sustainable manufacturing process by using a speaker module made from ocean-bound plastic taken from rivers in South America, with a pledge to increase its use of recycled plastic to 30 per cent across its laptop and printer lines by 2025.

Elsewhere, the Elite Dragonfly includes a lot of handy features for business travellers including support for Wi-Fi 6 and built-in 4G LTE, along with both a fingerprint reader and Windows Hello facial recognition for fast and secure logins.

The Elite Dragonfly also includes stylus support, though HP’s active pen is an optional extra. (Photo: Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo)

Inside, the Dragonfly comes well equipped with a range of Intel processors with support for vPro, three different screen options including one with HP’s third-gen SureView Privacy filter to block out any potential prying eyes, and two battery sizes, the latter of which HP claims can last up to 24.5 hours on a single charge.

You also get a decent selection of ports including two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3, a Type-A USB 3.1 port, a headphone jack, and a full-size HDMI ports. For a lot of folks, that’s good enough not to have to carry any dongles around, which is especially nice when you’re trying to travel light.

OK, now while the Elite Dragonfly might not be quite as revolutionary as HP thinks it is, derivative innovations aside, in person, the Dragonfly does feel like a marked improvement from some of the Pavilions or Latitudes sitting on office desks across the country.

There’s very little flex to the Elite Dragonfly’s chassis, and the laptop’s clean, minimalist lines definitely stand out against the dark, drab tones you see on most business machines. HP also says the Elite Dragonfly has survived a battery of 19 different mil-spec 810G tests, so it’s not just a pretty face.

This is what it looks like when the Dragonfly’s privacy shutter is closed. (Photo: Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo)

The Dragonfly also has very minimal bezels, especially beneath its display, which stands in contrast to the ungainly chin HP has been trotting out on its recent Spectre notebooks. Thankfully, HP kept the Dragonfly’s webcam in the correct position above the screen and even included a handy privacy shutter that physically blocks the webcam’s view for increased peace of mind.

Finally, as a deskbound companion to the Elite Dragonfly, HP is also releasing the massive 43.4-inch HP S430c monitor. Featuring a 3840 x 1200 resolution, not only is the S430c the widest display HP has ever made, it also includes HP’s Device Bridge tech, which allows you to display content from two devices (including a phone) at the same time, and gives you the ability to transfer files from one device to another simply by dragging and dropping icons between the two desktops.

Transferring files is as easy a dragging a file from one side of the monitor to the other. (Photo: Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo)

With so many business users frequently turning to consumer machines like Surfaces or MacBooks when they need something fancier, the Elite Dragonfly is an interesting attempt to reset the expectations of what a commercial laptop should be. Now the problem is that employees (or their bosses) will have to convince IT departments to actually shell out for something like this instead of going with something cheaper, which is bound to turn into a bureaucratic mess.

The HP Elite Dragonfly goes on sale October 26 in the U.S. starting at $US1,550 ($2,269), while the HP S430c will be able slightly later on November 5 for $US1,000 ($1,464). There is currently no confirmed Australian release date.

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