HP Elite Dragonfly G3 hands-on

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HP has overhauled its Elite Dragonfly with some significant changes, some of which will likely be welcome in consumer and business circles alike, and some of which may be… controversial. We got a chance to try out a prototype of the new Elite Dragonfly G3, which isn’t performance-ready but gives us an idea of what the new chassis will look and feel like.

Put this next to the various Elite Dragonfly models we’ve reviewed in the past, and you won’t have trouble telling the difference. The main thing you’ll notice is the display. The Dragonfly line is finally going the way of the Spectre x360 and adopted the 3:2 aspect ratio. It’s taller than a 16:9 panel, giving you more room to multitask with less scrolling, and also leaves extra space for a bigger touchpad. The panel on this unit is only 1920 x 1280, but it’s pretty sweet, delivering a crisp picture.

The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 on a table in front of a gray fabric wall. The screen displays The Verge homepage.

Taller and grayer than previous review units.

You won’t necessarily see the other big change right away, but it’s one I’m actually even more excited about. HP has actually made the keys larger than they were on the previous Dragonfly. I already really liked the G2’s keyboard, so I didn’t think this would be a huge deal for me, but this new keyboard is actually incredible. I really do notice the difference. Not only am I hitting way faster typing speeds than I usually do, but I’m making almost no errors (which is quite unusual for me). I’m really not looking forward to going back to my typical laptop keyboards. Whatever HP did here is a god-send.

The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 keyboard seen from above on a wooden circular table.

This is already one of my favorite keyboards.

Of course, the insides got a bump as well. The new G3 will come with 12th Gen processors, up to 32GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of storage. There’s now a USB-C port on both sides, which makes charging slightly less of a hassle. And the fingerprint reader and the power button have both been moved to the keyboard, making them both pretty convenient to reach (and, in the case of the power button, less prone to being accidentally pressed).

But some of the changes to the chassis I’m not quite sold on yet. For one, the Dragonfly G3 is no longer a convertible — it’s clamshell only. Many lines are going the way of the clamshell across manufacturers, so I assume I’m in the minority here, but I do enjoy 2-in-1 laptops, and the utility of the touchscreen is less clear to me in a clamshell form factor.

The ports on the right side of the HP Elite Dragonfly G3.

USB-C port here!

The ports on the left side of the HP Elite Dragonfly G3.

And another one here!

Additionally, the color options are more limited. Previous Dragonfly units have come in really gorgeous Dragonfly Blue and sophisticated matte black shades, but this model doesn’t offer that — Natural Silver and darker Slate Blue are the options. While I haven’t gotten to see a Slate Blue chassis, the Natural Silver looks like laptop-cart fodder. One of my favorite things about the Dragonfly in the past has been its unique color and finish. This silver unit looks more like a run-of-the-mill Elitebook than any previous Dragonfly I’ve reviewed.

But Slate Blue may be nice, and I’m sure color options aren’t the most important thing for all kinds of business customers. We’ll have more to say about this device when it hits shelves in the next few months and when pricing is announced.

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