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HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook Review: The New King of Premium Chromebooks

The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is finally here, and it‘s making waves as one of the most feature-packed, high-performance Chromebooks ever released. Officially unveiled at CES 2023, this sleek and stylish device aims to redefine what‘s possible with Chrome OS. But with a steep starting price of $999, is it worth the investment? Let‘s dive in and find out in our comprehensive HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook review.

Release Date and Pricing

First, let‘s cover the basics. The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook was announced in January 2023 and is set to start shipping on March 24, 2023. It‘s available to order now from HP‘s website.

In terms of pricing, the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook starts at $999 for the base configuration. This puts it firmly in premium laptop territory, competing with high-end Windows ultrabooks and MacBooks. It‘s a big jump up from the $300-$500 price range where most Chromebooks sit.

HP is betting that the sleek design, cutting-edge specs, and productivity features will justify the high cost for its target audience of business users, content creators, and power users. But more on that later. First, let‘s take a look under the hood and see what this Chromebook is packing.

Key Specs and Features

The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is loaded with impressive hardware for a Chrome OS device:

  • 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U processor (12 threads, up to 4.4 GHz)
  • Intel UHD Graphics
  • 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD storage
  • 14" LCD touchscreen with 2560×1600 resolution
  • 1200 nits of brightness
  • 100% sRGB color gamut
  • RGB backlit keyboard
  • 8MP webcam
  • Four Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports
  • WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
  • Fingerprint reader
  • 51 WHr battery

As you can see, HP didn‘t hold back with this Chromebook. The 12th gen Intel CPU and 16GB of fast LPDDR5 RAM provide more than enough performance for even demanding users. 256GB of SSD storage is double what most Chromebooks offer. The 14" QHD+ display boasts an ultra-bright 1200 nits – perfect for using outdoors or in bright environments.

Some other standout features include the RGB backlit keyboard (rare on a Chromebook), 8MP webcam for high quality video calls, four Thunderbolt 4 ports for flexibility, and the latest WiFi 6E for fast and reliable connectivity. All of this cutting-edge hardware is packed into a thin and light chassis weighing just over 3 pounds.

Design and Build Quality

Speaking of the chassis, let‘s talk design. The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook carries on the sleek and professional look of HP‘s Dragonfly series. The chassis is made from lightweight aluminum and magnesium, giving it a sturdy and premium feel without the bulk.

It‘s available in Ceramic White or Sparkling Black color options. The white version in particular is quite striking, although it may show dirt and smudges more easily. The Dragonfly Pro has a simple and clean aesthetic that will look at home in any office or coffee shop.

At 0.7" thin and 3.3 pounds, it‘s very portable for a 14" laptop. The slim display bezels give it a modern look and allow the bright, colorful touchscreen to really pop. Above the display is the 8MP webcam – a huge upgrade from the grainy 720p cameras found on most laptops.

The RGB keyboard is another design highlight, letting you customize the colors and effects to your liking. The keys have a pleasant tactile feel and quiet operation, as well as a built-in fingerprint reader for convenient and secure logins.

The only downside of the sleek design is the lack of legacy ports like USB-A and HDMI. You‘ll need adapters or a USB-C hub to connect older accessories. But that‘s a small tradeoff for such a portable machine.


So how does the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook perform? In short, exceptionally well. The 12th gen Intel i5 CPU and 16GB of RAM make this one of the most powerful Chromebooks you can buy. It boots up in seconds, handles multi-tasking with ease, and never feels sluggish even with dozens of Chrome tabs open.

The Intel UHD Graphics won‘t satisfy hardcore gamers, but it‘s plenty for web-based games, Android apps, and light photo/video editing. The SSD storage also contributes to the speedy performance. Apps open quickly and large files transfer in a snap.

The Dragonfly Pro Chromebook really shines for productivity. The 14" high-res touchscreen provides ample space for split-screen multitasking. At 1200 nits, it‘s extremely bright – great for outdoor use. Colors are vibrant and accurate thanks to 100% sRGB coverage. The screen bezels are slim but still allow room for comfortable touchscreen use.

The backlit keyboard is a joy to type on, with good key travel and quiet operation. The large glass trackpad is smooth and responsive. HP even includes a stylus that attaches magnetically to the side of the laptop for quick note-taking and sketching.

Thanks to the high-res webcam, quad speakers, and noise-cancelling mics, the Dragonfly Pro is also excellent for video conferencing. You‘ll look and sound crystal clear on calls.

In terms of software, ChromeOS keeps improving with support for Android and Linux apps to supplement web apps. Creative apps like Lightroom, Canva, and Slack all run smoothly. Of course, you sacrifice some native apps compared to Windows or macOS. But for users who spend most of their time in the browser, ChromeOS is fast, simple, and secure with automatic updates.

Battery Life

The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook has a 51 WHr battery that HP claims will last for "all-day" use. In practice, expect around 8-10 hours for light tasks like web browsing and word processing, or 6-7 hours for continuous video playback or heavier workloads.

That‘s good but not class-leading battery life for a premium ultrabook. Some of the extra power is likely going to that ultra-bright display. On the plus side, it supports fast 90W USB-C charging and can juice up to 50% in just 30 minutes. With four USB-C ports, you can charge from either side.

ChromeOS – Strengths and Limitations

As great as the hardware is, software also plays a huge role in the user experience. So it‘s worth discussing some of the benefits and drawbacks of HP‘s choice to use ChromeOS vs Windows or macOS.

On the plus side, ChromeOS is incredibly fast and simple to use. It boots up instantly, runs smoothly, and doesn‘t get bogged down over time like Windows. It‘s also more secure, with automatic security updates and safeguards against malware. The ability to run Android apps greatly expands its capabilities.

However, ChromeOS is more limited than a full desktop OS. Many popular apps like the Microsoft Office suite, Adobe Creative Cloud, and certain VPNs and business programs aren‘t available. You‘ll need web app alternatives or Android versions which sometimes have reduced functionality.

ChromeOS is also designed for always-on internet connectivity. While more apps work offline now, the experience is still best when you have a steady WiFi connection.

Ultimately, ChromeOS is a great fit for users who primarily work in web apps and want a simple, low-maintenance computing experience. But power users who rely on niche software or want full desktop apps may find it limiting.

Who Is It Best For?

So who is the target user for the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook? At this premium price point, it‘s clearly not aimed at casual users or students looking for a basic web browsing device.

Instead, this Chromebook is best suited for:

  • Business professionals who want a stylish, powerful device for productivity tasks
  • Content creators using web and Android apps for design, photo/video editing, etc.
  • Power users who want the performance of a premium Windows ultrabook in a ChromeOS package
  • Anyone who wants a top-of-the-line Chromebook with cutting-edge features and build quality

If you fall into one of these groups and are already a fan of ChromeOS, the Dragonfly Pro is the ultimate device. It packs the best performance, display, and hardware features into one sleek package.

However, it‘s harder to recommend for average users, students on a budget, or anyone who needs full desktop apps. For those folks, a mid-range Chromebook or entry-level Windows laptop will be a better value.

Alternatives to Consider

The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook mostly competes with other premium Chromebooks like the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, Acer Spin 713, and ASUS CX9. It beats them all in performance and display quality, although it‘s considerably pricier.

At the $999 price point, it also competes with top Windows ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13, HP Spectre x360, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and Microsoft Surface Laptop 4. These offer more software options and comparable specs, but may not match the Dragonfly Pro‘s unique features like the RGB keyboard, 8MP webcam, and 1200-nit display.

Compared to the M1 MacBook Air, the Dragonfly Pro trades off some battery life, speakers, and the Apple ecosystem for a brighter touchscreen, better webcam, and more ports.

HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook Review: Final Verdict

So where does that leave us? The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is undoubtedly the most premium Chromebook ever made, and it has a price tag to match. It offers unbeatable performance, a stunning display, cutting-edge features, and a sleek design that turns heads.

If you love ChromeOS and want the absolute best hardware and user experience, this is the device to get. Content creators, power users, and professionals who prefer ChromeOS will find a lot to like.

However, it‘s tough to recommend as a value purchase. The price is hard to justify when capable Windows laptops offer more software options and similar specs for cheaper. Average users won‘t make use of the high-end hardware.

Battery life is also only average despite the power-sipping CPU, likely due to powering the ultra-bright display. The lack of USB-A and HDMI also means living the dongle life.

Ultimately, the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is a technological showcase that pushes the boundaries of what a Chromebook can be. It‘s a productivity powerhouse with a premium look and feel.

While its high price will be a barrier for average users, those who can afford it will enjoy the best ChromeOS experience money can buy. It earns its place as the king of Chromebooks – with a price to match its premium status.