How premium can a premium laptop be and what features should it have? Depending on who you are speaking to, the answers for this will differ. But there will be some answers that are common, like a thin design, lightweight and long battery life. Because these are the big pain points of the segment companies have been trying to mitigate for years. And there will be some other features which have been on user wish lists for years but have never made devices at scale, like mobile connectivity. The HP Elite Dragonfly G4 tries to tick all the boxes on what should be a premium device in 2023.
HP Elite Dragonfly G4
The moment you take the HP Elite Dragonfly G4 out of the box, you will realise this is not a run-of-the-mill Windows laptop. This has a size and built that is unique. It has a smaller footprint but is not exactly as thin and light as the size zero devices that had become a rage a few years back. This is a device that comes well within your grip too, like a file or folder that you have been carrying around for ages.
It is stylish too, as you would expect from an HP device. The edges of the clamshell are more curved and smooth and not sharp as you would expect from a thin design. The HP logo on the front is like a statement in chrome. And there is more chrome along the trackpad edges—all style and not bling.
The HP Dragonfly G4 comes with a 13.5-inch, 1920 x 1280-pixel touchscreen. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)
Given the kind of users this notebook PC is meant for, the unit comes with a 13.5-inch diagonal anti-glare WLED UWVA WUXGA+ (1920×1280) display with low blue light despite its 1000 nits brightness. The display comes with a night light and adaptive colour settings in case you want to tune it for more comfort. The Sure View Reflect Privacy feature is a good one, but has a slight issue when you are working with the laptop perched on a sofa handle for instance. It seems like the screen is flickering because of the slight angle changes. So keep this in mind. Thanks to the quad speaker set up from Bang & Olufsen, the audio quality is among the best I have experienced in this segment and you will enjoy watching a new Netflix show on this device.
One confusing aspect, however, is the touch screen. I don’t know how and when to use this, especially since this is not a convertible device which can come screen-first.Despite the 13.5-inch chassis size, the keyboard inside is almost full-size, and so is the trackpad. The keyboard is superb to type on, along with good travel HP has added a spring to the keys which makes typing a pleasure on this notebook. Also the backlit keys are perfect for someone like me who likes to write early in the morning with natural light. The F keys have a lot more options than one is used to, including a flight mode which sort of suggests why this notebook is unique, and a button to block the camera.
The Dragonfly G4 is one of the few laptops to feature mobile connectivity. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)
The thin built has not prevented HP from packing in an HDMI port, two USB-C ports, a USB-A port and a 3.5mm jack onto the sides. Plus, there is a smartphone-like SIM slot which gives you proper wireless connectivity with this device.
Frankly, this is the first laptop in ages that I have used with a SIM slot. And there is no complication here — just slip in the Nano SIM into the slot and it starts working. The SIM is used only where there is no Wi-Fi available and the system alerts you when you are trying to sync your Office 360 account or do something data-heavy while on the LTE. There is also an E-SIM option which I did not test.
The HP Elite Dragonfly G4 clearly has more emphasis on mobility and convenience than on raw power. But you still have the option to choose between Intel i5 and i7 processors with up to 32GB RAM and 2TB storage. And since this device is mostly aimed at top executives and business users, the top-end models come with Intel vPro remote management tools. The review unit came with Intel Core i7 yoked to 32GB RAM and there wasn’t anything I could do to stress it out. One worry I had was if it would heat up while on cellular connectivity. This too was not an issue during the review period.
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The Dragonfly G4 comes preloaded with HP Wolf Security which works in the background to scan your files and isolate threats. This also saves you some money and you would not need to invest in another anti-virus package.
The 5MP camera is decent and actually makes your face look bright even in low light. But at this cost, the device could have packed a Full HD camera.The battery can last a full workday with heavy use, even on cellular, which is suitable for a Windows device of this size.
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Starting at Rs 2,20,000, HP Elite Dragonfly G4 is clearly a device for top management who will find all their computing and after-work needs to be taken care of on the fly. This is the sort of device that will compete with the MacBook Airs and give users the choice which they did not have earlier.
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