Review of HP Dragonfly G4 on Thurrott.com

I thoroughly examined the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 in October 2022 and commended it for being an exceptional ultralight laptop with a sleek and modern design. It provided the best typing experience I had ever encountered and boasted impressive battery life, among other advantages. In 2023, HP has further improved upon this PC by removing the Elite moniker while retaining all the excellent features of the G3. They have also made some significant internal upgrades, particularly in power management and hybrid work capabilities.

Design-wise, the Dragonfly G4 remains identical to its predecessor, the Elite Dragonfly G3, with its 3:2 clamshell design and lightweight, durable, and premium magnesium/aluminum body. The overall build quality is exceptional, from the texture of the materials to the elegantly curved “pillow corners” on the display lid and base outer edges. Furthermore, it maintains the impressively light starting weight of 2.2 pounds, as well as the Slate Blue and Natural Silver color options. The construction is incredibly sturdy, passing MIL-STD 810H tests for shock, vibration, and extreme temperatures. Despite its thinness, there is no flex in the body, even when applying pressure on the keyboard. This level of rigidity is remarkable and enhances the user experience. HP’s subtle and professional branding remains intact, solidifying the Dragonfly G4’s appeal as a visually stunning PC.

Similar to its predecessor, the Dragonfly G4 offers various display options, all featuring a 13.5-inch panel with a 3:2 aspect ratio and wide viewing angles. The unit I reviewed came with a non-touch BrightView WLED WUXGA+ (1920 x 1280) panel with low blue light capabilities, providing a brightness of 400 nits. I found this display ideal for my typical indoor productivity tasks on a standard PC. However, there are other choices available, such as multitouch, anti-glare, and HP’s renowned Sure View Reflect privacy shield, which boosts brightness up to 1000 nits. There is also an OLED UWVA panel with a stunning 3K2K (3000 x 2000) resolution, offering the same brightness level. Considering the screen size, form factor, and anticipated usage scenarios, I would highly recommend the display that came with the review unit.

In terms of internal components, the Dragonfly G4 sets itself apart from its predecessor with the inclusion of 13th Gen Intel Core U-series processors. Users can select from various options, including Core i5-1335U, i5-1345U, i7-1355U, and the i7-1365U, which was included in the review unit. Each processor variant is available in vPro and non-vPro configurations and features integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. The PC supports up to 32 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and offers multiple storage choices, ranging from a 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD to a massive 2TB PCIe-4×4 NVMe TLC SSD. The review unit came with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage, which perfectly met my requirements. The upgrade to the latest Intel Core chipsets was a predictable move. However, HP has implemented power management and performance enhancements that were previously successful in collaboration with AMD for the HP Dragonfly Pro. Although the implementation differs due to the different system architectures employed by AMD and Intel, the user experience remains similar. The Dragonfly G4 features an intelligent and adaptable power management system that delivers excellent performance with minimal fan noise, maintaining quiet and cool operation. Even in scenarios where the laptop is used on a soft surface, which typically obstructs exhaust vents and leads to increased heat and fan noise, the Dragonfly G4 remains impressively silent with only minimal warmth on its underside. HP has achieved this through a system called Smart Sense, which optimizes power and thermal performance based on the user’s scenario. The HP Power Manager app allows users to configure Smart Sense manually, selecting between Cool, Quiet, and Performance modes. Personally, I found the automatic configuration of Smart Sense to be extremely effective and did not encounter any need to modify the settings. This feature can be set and forgotten, as I experienced no performance issues, excessive fan noise, or heat-related concerns.

Connectivity options for the Dragonfly G4 include dual-band Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, both of which are the latest and most advanced options available. Users can also opt for additional features such as Near Field Communication (NFC) and broadband wireless (4G/LTE Cat 16 or 5G) connectivity, with both eSIM and nano-SIM choices. These choices are exactly the same as what was offered in the G3, providing users with optimal flexibility.

As for ports and expansion, little has changed compared to the previous model. The Dragonfly G4 offers the same collection of modern and legacy ports, including USB-C ports on both sides of the PC. I personally appreciate this arrangement, as it allows for greater convenience and accessibility. The left side of the laptop features a full-sized HDMI 2.1 port (an upgrade from HDMI 2.0 in the previous model), a nano-SIM card slot (if configured), and a Thunderbolt 4/USB-C port with 40 Gbps of data transfer performance, USB Power Delivery, and DisplayPort 1.4 capabilities. On the right side, you’ll find a 3.5-mm combination headphone/microphone jack, a full-sized USB-A 3.1 charging port with 5 Gbps of data transfer, and a drop-jaw, another Thunderbolt 4/USB-C port with the same capabilities as the left side port, and a nano lock slot. This selection of ports is impressive, especially considering the laptop’s slim and lightweight design.

Regarding audio and video, the Dragonfly G4 delivers an excellent multimedia experience, thanks to its four Bang & Olufsen-tuned stereo speaker system with top-firing tweeters, bottom-firing woofers, and four discrete smart amplifiers. The audio quality remains as impressive as that of its predecessor. While the bundled HP Audio app may not replicate the immersive power of Dolby Atmos, it does provide an “auto” setting that optimizes audio output based on the content being enjoyed. Additionally, the laptop features two edge microphones, 2-way AI-based noise cancelation (inbound and outbound), and HP Dynamic Voice Leveling, all of which were also present in the G3. However, the most significant advancements in the Dragonfly G4 lie in its video controls, which greatly enhance its hybrid work functionality compared to the Elite Dragonfly G3. These features include multi-camera support, auto camera select, and keystone correction. These additions greatly benefit users who require versatile video capabilities for their work or personal activities.

To summarize, the HP Dragonfly G4 is an impressive laptop that builds upon the success of its predecessor, offering a well-designed and highly functional device. It maintains the sleek and lightweight design of the Elite Dragonfly G3 while incorporating meaningful internal improvements, particularly in power management and hybrid work capabilities. The laptop’s build quality is outstanding, with a durable yet elegant magnesium/aluminum body. The display options provide a great visual experience, and the internal components offer ample processing power and storage. The intelligent power management system, powered by Smart Sense, ensures excellent performance with minimal fan noise and heat issues. Furthermore, the laptop offers comprehensive connectivity choices, convenient ports, and impressive audio and video features. Overall, the HP Dragonfly G4 is a top-tier ultralight laptop with the capabilities to outperform its competitors.

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