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HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook review: beset by bad battery life

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I’m all the time excited to evaluate Chromebooks like the brand new $999 HP Dragonfly Professional. These are gadgets catered to an viewers of ChromeOS fanatic professionals — people who find themselves utilizing Parallels and growing with Linux and perhaps even gaming, people who find themselves keen to pay high greenback for the very best efficiency and probably the most premium {hardware}.

Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook, Lenovo’s ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook, and HP’s Elite Dragonfly Chromebook had been all extremely thrilling gadgets to evaluate. That they had stunning chassis, nice screens, and highly effective efficiency that aren’t ample within the Chromebook area, they usually had prestigious, well-respected branding behind them. However their battery life didn’t reside as much as their excessive worth.

The Dragonfly Professional isn’t any exception. And as I exploit it, I simply discover myself questioning: when? When will we get extra Chromebooks just like the Flip CX5 — stunning, fancy, well-designed ChromeOS gadgets that additionally final me a full day unplugged? Please, any individual. I’m so drained.

How we price and evaluate merchandise

The great is on the surface

Had been I solely evaluating the chassis, the Dragonfly Professional Chromebook could be a slam-dunk suggestion. It has a ton of nice perks.

For instance, there are 4 Thunderbolt 4 ports. That’s a wide selection. I may plug in just about no matter screens and equipment I wanted to. There isn’t any headphone jack, although. I believe there ought to nonetheless be a headphone jack. Folks do nonetheless use wired headphones.

The system additionally comes with an 8MP digital camera — acknowledged to be the primary front-facing 8MP digital camera, in reality, ever to seem on a Chromebook. It seems to be fantastic. I requested a co-worker for his opinion on a Zoom name, and he replied, “It seems to be like a webcam.” Nonetheless, you already know, neat. Talking of video calls, the audio system sound fairly good, with a encompass high quality that was corresponding to that of a good exterior speaker. I might love to make use of this as a multimedia system.

Cute little fingerprint sensor subsequent to the facility button.

Oh, and there’s an RGB keyboard, which may auto-sync to your background wallpaper (or you possibly can set it to a colour you favor). I truly couldn’t get this to work on the unit I acquired, and I’m nonetheless ready to listen to again from HP about potential fixes, so I’ll need to replace this evaluate as soon as that’s sorted out. In the event you’re somebody who desires flashy colours however doesn’t need a gaming laptop computer, your day has arrived.

The spotlight for me, although, might be the display. It’s the brightest display I’ve ever seen on a Chromebook. HP claims that it reaches 1,200 nits, and cranking all of it the way in which up definitely precipitated vital ache to my eyes. The 2560 x 1600 (16:10) decision additionally makes for a pleasant viewing expertise. And the panel helps adaptive lighting based mostly in your setting. (I didn’t actually discover this occurring, however maybe that’s the purpose.) Once more, this can be a dream for film watching and would definitely be my Chromebook of alternative for outside work.

HP calls it an “ultrabright light-adapting touchscreen.”

It prices over USB-C (as a result of that’s the one possibility).

Humorously, this Chromebook (which is $999 for the Core i5-1235U, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage in my check unit) truly has a brighter and higher-resolution display, higher-tech webcam, jazzier keyboard, and higher port choice than the Home windows model of the Dragonfly Professional, which begins at a number of hundred {dollars} extra. It seems to be like a a lot better deal on paper — till the battery runs out.

HP’s Dragonfly PCs typically have a vertical row of hotkeys on the facet of their keyboard, however this Chromebook doesn’t.

The problems are inside

I’ve no complaints concerning the 1235U’s efficiency. It dealt with every part I wanted it to. I used to be typically working with three to 4 apps open and round a dozen Chrome tabs. I proceed to run into glitches right here and there with ChromeOS — for instance, the Spotify and Messenger Android apps had been freezing in every single place, very gradual to replace, wouldn’t shut, and wouldn’t resize — however I assume that for those who’re contemplating shopping for a Chromebook, you’ve determined that you just’re fantastic with these limitations.

The one time I heard fan noise was after I was making an attempt to stream a Spotify playlist overtop the aforementioned load whereas operating an exterior show. The keyboard was typically heat, and the keys within the middle sometimes toed the “uncomfortable” line, however nothing caught fireplace.

This Chromebook has a brighter and higher-resolution display, higher-tech webcam, and higher port choice than the Home windows model of the Dragonfly Professional

However the greatest downside I had was with battery life. Two and a half hours. That’s how lengthy this system lasted me to a cost on common, operating the workload I described above at medium brightness. I definitely bought longer than this in some trials, particularly those who had been lighter on the Android apps, however I’m pretty assured that, if this had been my private system, I would want to cost it two, perhaps 3 times per day.

Totally different folks’s workloads can result in differing battery life outcomes, however I’ll say two issues:

  1. I constantly get longer lifespans than most reviewers I do know.
  2. This was all achieved with the keyboard backlighting off.

Good audio system. They’re good!

Now, I do know that battery life isn’t everybody’s precedence. I do know some folks don’t care about it. However for those who’ve learn my opinions earlier than, you’ll know that I’ve a robust, principled stance on this situation. I mentioned this in 2020 after I reviewed the OLED Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, and I’ll say it once more right here: exterior of gaming and workstations, a battery lifetime of lower than 5 hours just isn’t acceptable on a $1,000 system. I don’t care how fancy the webcam and audio system are or what number of colours the keys can produce. Battery life is a quality-of-life situation for many individuals in a method few different options are.

I gained’t say to not promote a tool that gained’t final half a day. However it can not price this a lot. $999 is MacBook territory.

I needed a lot to like this system, and I do assume it’s one thing particular. It gives an eclectic mixture of options that you just gained’t discover in every other Chromebook available on the market. The Elite Dragonfly Chromebook was good; that is equally funky however extra reasonably priced. Sadly, HP didn’t put a large enough tank on this chassis to juice the Core i5 together with a vibrant, high-resolution display.

I like utilizing Chromebooks like this. However their battery life, in comparison with what you will get from less expensive gadgets, is usually a disappointment. I hope that HP, Samsung, Lenovo, and different producers who’re vying to fill the premium slot the Pixelbook left behind could make enhancements right here. As a result of these are skinny, gentle, and lovely machines. They aren’t meant to reside on a desk.

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