Hands-on: HP's new Elite Dragonfly G3 with 3:2 display is one light, good-looking laptop

Hp Elite Dragonfly G3 Versus G
Hp Elite Dragonfly G3 Versus G (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

CES 2022 was a busy time if you're into the world of laptops and PCs (see our best of CES for a recap). Between Intel and AMD announcing next-gen processors and the sheer number of new laptops revealed, this year's CES was easily one of the most PC-centric CES events in modern history.

HP had plenty of devices, too, mainly focused on the enterprise segment, but it was the refreshed Elite Dragonfly G3 that caught our attention. Ditching a 16:9 display for a taller 3:2 and delivering a completely new design language, this Elite Dragonfly could be one of the more interesting professional Ultrabooks for 2022.

HP sent us a (mostly) working prototype of the Elite Dragonfly G3, and I compared it to the original model. Here's what you need to know.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3: Who's it for and what's new

Hp Elite Dragonfly G3 Hero

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The Elite Dragonfly is unique amongst HP's laptop lineup. HP has its Spectre line (high-end consumer products like the Spectre x360 14), while the 1000 series EliteBooks are its premium business laptops.

The Elite Dragonfly fits in between those two product lines.

With a full HDMI port, Sure View privacy screen, Intel vPro, and HP's security suite of software, the Elite Dragonfly is enterprise-friendly and brings some prosumer flair to its design like discrete amplified quad speakers, Intel Evo, and optional high-res OLED.

For 2022, HP made the following significant changes to G3 from G2:

  • 3:2 display instead of 16:9
  • Non-touch instead of touch
  • No longer an "x360" convertible laptop
  • Intel 12th Gen P-series processors
  • 5MP Full HD camera (up from 1MP 720p)
  • Larger battery: 48WHr or larger 68WHr (versus 56WHr)
  • Dragonfly Blue colorway is now a darker Slate Blue
  • Optional OLED display

There are also a lot more changes to the overall design language. For instance, one complaint I've had, in general, with laptops is when OEMs create sharp edges near the palm rest. While the angles look good on a short keyboard deck, they can dig into your palms, causing discomfort. That was the case with the original Elite Dragonfly and G2 versions. With G3, the edges of the laptops are all now smooth and rounded, making them much more comfortable to use.

Interestingly, HP has shifted from a very blue colorway to a darker blue that looks like a mix between the original Dragonfly Blue and the Sparkling Black of 2021's HP Elite Dragonfly Max. There's also a Natural Silver option, which matches HP's EliteBook product line.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryDragonfly G3Dragonfly G2Dragonfly MAX
Display13.5-inch 3:2Non-touchWUXGA (1920x1280) or 3K2K OLED (400 nits)Sure View13.3 inches 16:9TouchFHD, 400 nits, low powerFHD, 1000 nits, Sure View4K UHD, HDR400, 550 nits13.3 inches 16:9Touch, IPSFHD, Sure ViewAnti-Sparkle, 1000 nits
ProcessorIntel 12th Gen vPro, EvoIntel 11th Gen vPro, EvoIntel 11th Gen vPro, Evo
MemoryUp to 32GB LPDDR5 (soldered)Up to 32GB LPDDR4 (soldered)Up to 32GB LPDDR4 (soldered)
StorageUp to 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSDUp to 2TB PCIe 3.0 SSDUp to 2TB PCIe 3.0 SSD
Front Camera5MP (separate RGB and IR sensors) with HP Sure Shutter720pHP Sure Shutter5MPHP Privacy Camera
SecurityWindows Hello IR and fingerprintWindows Hello IR and fingerprintWindows Hello IR and fingerprint
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6EBluetooth 5.2Optional: 4G LTE, 5G, NFC, TileWi-Fi 6Bluetooth 5.0Optional: 4G LTE, 5GWi-Fi 6Bluetooth 5.0Optional: 4G LTE, 5G
Ports1x USB-A 3.12x USB-C (Thunderbolt 4)HDMI 2.0Nano SIM slotCombo headphone/mic1x USB-A 3.12x USB-C (Thunderbolt 4)HDMI 1.4bNano SIMCombo headphone/mic1x USB-A 3.12x USB-C (Thunderbolt 4)HDMI 1.4bNano SIMCombo headphone/mic
AudioFour B&O-tuned speakers with discrete amplifiersFour B&O-tuned top-firing speakersFour B&O-tuned top-firing speakers
Battery45WHr or 68WHrFast ChargeUp to 100W Type-C charger56.2Wh56.2Wh
Dimensions11.71 x 8.68 x 0.65 inches(297.4mm x 220.4mm x 16.4mm)11.98 x 7.78 x 0.63 inches(304.3mm x 197.5mm x 16.1mm)11.98 x 7.78 x 0.63 inches(304.3mm x 197.5mm x 16.1mm)
WeightFrom 2.2 pounds (< 1kg)From 2.2 pounds (< 1kg)From 2.49 pounds (1.13kg)
ColorsSlate BlueNatural Silver (Hybrid Mg/Al)Dragonfly BlueDragonfly BlueSparkling Black

The four speakers have moved slightly, with two now on the bottom front edge and the others behind the keyboard. Audio is booming and clear thanks to all four featuring discrete amplifiers.

The most significant change, however, is that much taller 3:2 display. I've been arguing for this screen aspect ratio since 2018, not only because you see so much more content, but also because of the resulting design changes, including the need for a more extended keyboard deck to match that taller screen. That gives you two substantial benefits:

  1. More room for your palms to rest while typing
  2. More space for a larger (taller) touchpad

With the Elite Dragonfly G3, we get just that. The new touchpad is massive, and this laptop is simply more comfortable on which to type compared to the cramped older one.

The other major difference is shifting from a 2-in-1 convertible laptop with pen support to a non-touch clamshell. I can't recall many times where an OEM has completely shifted a laptop's design so much and kept the same name. I'm going to assume that HP saw that data, and most of its customers were OK with it just being a regular laptop (HP still offers the brand-new EliteBook x360 1040 G9 to fill that niche).

HP Elite Dragonfly G3: More to come

Hp Elite Dragonfly G3 Versus G2 Front

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Overall, the feel of the Elite Dragonfly G3 is radically different from the G2 model, but in a good way. Weighing just 2.2 pounds and with that larger 13.5-inch screen, this is one of the lightest laptops I've used with this many ports and features.

Of course, this is just a prototype, so things like the 12th Gen Intel processor are not yet optimized or ready for testing. There are also features not working, like the 5MP webcam, so it is too early for more in-depth comparisons.

We'll be doing more on HP's refreshed product line in the coming months. As to when you can get the new Elite Dragonfly G3, HP says it is expected to be available in March (assuming there are no supply constraints). Pricing will be available closer to product availability, but the Elite Dragonfly usually begins at around $2,000.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.