HP Elite Dragonfly Max Review

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In this article, I give you my HP Elite Dragonfly Max review with specs included. You might say oh boring business laptops but HP’s elites have a way of being a little bit sexy and the original Dragonfly really captivated a lot of those of you who watched that review I mean it was super light it was very premium and it came in the most fetching yet subdued version of blue so this time when HP finally refreshed the line there is a Dragonfly G2 and then there’s the Max which despite the name is not any bigger.

There are a couple of add-ons here that you could probably almost spec out for the regular G2 but you might as well just get them bundled here is the idea.

So what are the differences with the max? You get the privacy screen, HP’s sure view reflect screen included the standard and otherwise it’s an option for the regular G2 Dragonfly it’s their latest generation and they do get better and better.

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I mean, they went from when privacy screens first came out to being atrocious. Honestly, you couldn’t see it very well either let alone other people trying to see your screen. I’ll talk a little bit more about the display in-depth but again.

There are four microphones instead of I think it’s three on the G2. You get an additional world-facing microphone because this thing is all about the Zoom call.

The other upgrade is a five-megapixel webcam instead of the usual 720p. So for those who do spend a lot of time video conferencing and want it to look sharper well it’s there for you. In terms of the colors and the noise levels, they’re still not superb but it’s a noticeable improvement certainly over a standard webcam which is typically what you would call a potato cameo.

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The last thing is the color. This is called a sparkling black finish same magnesium alloy casing same 2,49 pounds which is 1,13 kilograms. So, very light, very rigid, nicely built, but I guess they figure for this is the executive tier you might want to be a little more low-key, and even the kind of chill but pretty blue might be a little too out there for some executives I don’t know I’ll leave that one up to you.

The G2 starts around two thousand dollars, the max model starts around twenty-four hundred dollars because you’re getting some of the add-ons included with that one. This is a 360-degree convertible, think of it as the nobbling alternative to the HP Spectre x360 with no gold trim no kind of out-there colors that sort of thing it supports obviously touch this is a convertible but also Wacom AES 2.0 pen which HP sells and there are other Wacom AES 2.0 pens on the market for those who are note-taking fans.

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The HP Elite Dragonfly Max, released in 2021, is an ultra-portable and premium business laptop that caters to professionals seeking top-notch features, sleek design, and security. In this in-depth review, we’ll explore the laptop’s design, display, performance, security features, audio capabilities, battery life, and more.

Design and Ports

The Dragonfly Max is exceptionally well-built, featuring a magnesium alloy casing and ocean-bound recycled plastics on the underside. It weighs in at a mere 56 watts, making it one of the lightest 13-inch ultrabooks available. The bottom cover is secured by five Torx T5 screws, and once opened, reveals a mostly battery-dominated interior with two speakers, an M.2 SSD slot, and optional 5G modules.

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  • Thunderbolt 4 Ports: Two Thunderbolt 4 ports are available, one of which supports charging.
  • USB-A Port: A USB-A port ensures compatibility with legacy devices.
  • HDMI 2.0b: This allows for external display connectivity.
  • Headphone Jack: Standard audio output for headphones.
  • Nano SIM Card Slot: For optional 5G connectivity.

While it lacks an SD card slot, the inclusion of a nano SIM card slot, which is easily accessible, adds a convenient touch. This feature stands out for its practicality, eliminating the need for tools like paper clips to access the SIM card slot.

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The Dragonfly Max boasts a 13.3-inch IPS Full HD display with a standard 16:9 aspect ratio. The IPS technology ensures wide viewing angles, and the display is enhanced with privacy features. The privacy screen, with a brightness of 1000 nits, is activated via the F2 key. Even when turned off, the display retains a level of privacy, becoming dimmer at off-angles and beyond four feet. The effectiveness of the privacy screen is commendable, providing a secure visual shield for sensitive information.

Webcam and Windows Hello

The high-resolution webcam doubles as a Windows Hello IR camera, contributing to secure and convenient facial recognition for device unlocking. Additionally, a fingerprint scanner and HP’s BIOS protection and recovery tools enhance the laptop’s security features, making it enterprise-friendly.

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The Dragonfly Max houses an Intel Core i7 11th Gen processor, ensuring reliable performance for business tasks, web conferencing, and light content creation. The option for VPro and Intel Iris Xe graphics caters to diverse user needs. The laptop is available in configurations with 16 or 32 GB of soldered-on DDR4 low-power RAM. Storage options include an M.2 NVMe SSD slot with capacities ranging from 512 GB to 2 TB, offering flexibility for users with varying storage requirements.

Cooling and Fan Noise

The laptop’s performance is balanced with a focus on quiet and cool operation. The fan noise is tuned to be unobtrusive, ensuring a quiet user experience. While not the fastest in the Intel 11th Gen ultrabook lineup, it offers respectable performance suitable for typical business applications.

Keyboard and Trackpad

One of the standout features of the Dragonfly Max is its exceptional keyboard. While it doesn’t boast deep travel, the keyboard is praised for its tactile, springy, and cushy yet firm feel. HP has invested in keyboard quality, aiming to rival and surpass competitors, particularly the ThinkPad line. The absence of an eraser stick pointer, commonly found in other Elite models, aligns with the laptop’s sleek design.

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The trackpad, large and glass-covered, supports Microsoft Precision drivers, ensuring smooth and accurate navigation. The absence of complaints about the trackpad indicates its functionality and user satisfaction.


The Dragonfly Max impresses with its audio capabilities, featuring four stereo speakers, two of which are user-facing. While not focused on providing intense bass, the audio is loud, clear, and above average for a 13-inch ultrabook. The four microphones contribute to an enhanced web conferencing experience, providing better noise cancellation.

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Battery Life and Charging

Equipped with a 56-watt-hour battery, the Dragonfly Max offers commendable battery life. The 65-watt fast charger can charge the laptop from zero to 50% in just 30 minutes. While the claimed 10 hours of battery life is contingent on specific usage scenarios, real-world testing achieved approximately 10 hours with productivity tasks and web conferencing at 150 nits brightness. The impact of the optional 5G module on battery life is noted.

In Short

The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is a versatile and well-designed ultrabook that prioritizes portability, security, and user experience. With a focus on enterprise-level security features, including the effective privacy screen, and a premium keyboard, it caters to professionals who demand high-quality performance in a sleek form factor. While not the fastest in its class, it strikes a balance between performance and quiet, cool operation. The absence of an SD card slot and its relatively high cost may be considerations for potential buyers.

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For those who prioritize privacy, security, and a top-notch keyboard in a compact and lightweight package, the HP Elite Dragonfly Max stands as a compelling choice in the competitive ultrabook market.

HP Elite Dragonfly Max Pros and Cons

The HP Elite Dragonfly Max, released in 2021, offers a premium computing experience with a focus on portability, security, and user satisfaction. Here’s an extensive list of its pros and cons:


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1. Premium Build Quality:

  • The laptop features a magnesium alloy casing, ensuring durability and a premium feel.
  • The use of ocean-bound recycled plastics reflects HP’s commitment to environmental responsibility.
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2. Lightweight and Portable:

  • Weighing only 1.56 kg (56 watts), the Dragonfly Max is one of the lightest 13-inch ultrabooks, making it highly portable for professionals on the go.

3. Impressive Privacy Features:

  • The laptop includes a privacy screen with a brightness of 1000 nits, providing effective visual privacy even in crowded spaces.
  • Windows Hello IR camera and a fingerprint scanner enhance security, catering to enterprise-level requirements.
  • HP’s BIOS protection and recovery tools contribute to robust security measures.
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4. Versatile Connectivity:

  • Two Thunderbolt 4 ports support high-speed data transfer and external display connectivity.
  • A USB-A port, HDMI 2.0b, and a headphone jack ensure compatibility with a variety of peripherals.
  • The inclusion of a nano SIM card slot for optional 5G connectivity is a practical touch.

5. High-Quality Display:

  • The 13.3-inch IPS Full HD display with a standard 16:9 aspect ratio delivers vibrant colors and wide viewing angles.
  • The privacy screen, when activated, provides an additional layer of security for sensitive information.

6. Powerful Performance:

  • Equipped with an Intel Core i7 11th Gen processor, the Dragonfly Max delivers reliable performance for business tasks and multitasking.
  • Options for VPro and Intel Iris Xe graphics cater to diverse user needs.

7. Exceptional Keyboard:

  • The keyboard stands out for its tactile, springy, and cushy yet firm feel, making typing a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
  • Backlit in white, the keyboard contributes to both functionality and aesthetics.

8. Large and Precise Trackpad:

  • The trackpad, large and glass-covered, supports Microsoft Precision drivers, ensuring smooth and accurate navigation.

9. Audio Quality:

  • Four stereo speakers, two of which are user-facing, provide better-than-average audio quality for a 13-inch ultrabook.
  • The four microphones enhance web conferencing by contributing to effective noise cancellation.

10. Respectable Battery Life:

  • With a 56-watt-hour battery, the laptop offers respectable battery life, lasting approximately 10 hours with moderate usage.
  • The 65-watt fast charger can charge the laptop from zero to 50% in just 30 minutes.

11. Environmentally Conscious Design:

  • The use of ocean-bound recycled plastics in the laptop’s construction aligns with sustainability initiatives.

12. Accessibility for IT Maintenance:

  • The laptop’s design allows for easy access to the internals, with standard screws facilitating maintenance tasks.


1. No SD Card Slot:

  • The absence of an SD card slot might inconvenience users who rely on SD cards for additional storage or file transfer.

2. Relatively High Cost:

  • The premium features and build quality come at a higher price point, making it less accessible for budget-conscious users.

3. Not the Fastest in Performance:

  • While offering reliable performance, the Dragonfly Max is not the fastest in the Intel 11th Gen ultrabook lineup.
  • It prioritizes quiet and cool operation, potentially sacrificing some performance compared to competitors.

4. Limited Resolution Options:

  • The laptop offers only a Full HD display option, lacking higher resolution choices for users who prefer 4K displays.

5. Impact of Privacy Screen:

  • The effectiveness of the privacy screen comes with the trade-off of reduced brightness and visibility at off-angles.

6. No Eraser Stick Pointer:

  • The absence of an eraser stick pointer, a feature found in some other Elite models, might disappoint users accustomed to this input method.

7. Impact of 5G Module on Battery Life:

  • Enabling the optional 5G module can impact battery life, reducing the claimed 10 hours under specific usage scenarios.

8. Not Ideal for Gaming:

  • The laptop, designed for business use, lacks dedicated graphics and is not suitable for demanding gaming tasks.

In conclusion, the HP Elite Dragonfly Max impresses with its premium design, security features, and excellent user interface. While it may not be the fastest in terms of performance, it caters to a niche audience that values portability, security, and a top-notch typing experience. The cons, such as the absence of an SD card slot and the higher cost, should be weighed against the numerous pros, especially for professionals seeking a high-quality business laptop.

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HP Elite Dragonfly Max
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