NEW YORK: HP REVEALED what it claims to be the "world's lightest business convertible" at a launch event in New York this week in the form of a compact 13in laptop called the Elite Dragonfly x360.
Weighing in at just under 1kg, the convertible device is the lightest biz laptop the firm has ever created. It's also equipped with a set of 360-degree hinges that means it can flip from laptop to tablet mode within a few seconds and promises over 24 hours of battery life on a single charge.
But despite all these accolades, how does it feel to use in the flesh? We got some hands-on time with the device at the event to see how light it really feels and if the performance matches up to HP's claims.
The main thing here is the weight and how HP has managed to shrink a bunch of essential hardware features that business users need into a compact 13in chassis while keeping the laptop below 1kg.
HP said this was achieved by making the chassis from a magnesium alloy material, created via a new production process which sees the firm CNC every surface individually to ensure it's more precise and that only material that is needed makes its way into the final finished product.
But with a weight of 997g, does feel as light as expected? Well, yes and no. For a business machine, it really does feel light in the hand and we can imagine it appealing to those that travel a lot for work as it would really make a difference in a backpack or handbag. Although, on the other hand, we were kind of expecting it to feel a little lighter. Especially with the tagline "lighter than air".
The Elite Dragonfly x360 has been beautifully made. The laptop has an ever so slight iridescent look to it when it catches the light, giving a bit of individuality to a work device. When the light's not on it, it looks more like a navy blue/black colour.
Finally, as we mentioned earlier, HP's latest offering can transform into four different modes - including a tablet - thanks to its 360-degree hinge. This is quite an old school trick, but still, works a charm, though it still does feel a little too thick to use as a tablet. Nevertheless, it's a good way to cheat on the place when asked to put your large devices away for landing.
The Elite Dragonfly x360 carries a Full HD 13in screen embedded in a new enclosure so that it achieves a 86 per cent screen to body ratio, giving it a lovely slim bezel; 10.25mm at the top and 4.75mm at the sides, to be precise. There's still a 720 HD webcam in there, too, despite the lack of room, with a shutter also for added privacy.
The screen on the device we looked at was rather glossy, reflecting the lights of the demo room right back into our eyes. However, we were very impressed with the display overall, thanks to its tiny bezels and vibrant colour representation.
When launched, there'll be a choice of three displays in the Elite Dragonfly x360. A 1W FHD at 400nits, an HDR 400 UHD at 550nits and the top-spec HP Sure View Gen319 at 1,000nits. Obviously these will differ in price depending on what you opt for. The resolution of these will also vary, from a 1920x1080 up to a 3840x2160 pixel resolution.
The keyboard on the Elite Dragonfly x360 is probably one of the most innovative we've seen in a long time. Not only has HP worked to ensure it's a lot lighter than its previous models, but it's made it twice as quiet.
The keyboard deck is 32 per cent lighter, the keyboard itself is 26 per cent lighter and then the trackpad is 37 per cent lighter - again thanks to the materials used and the CNC manufacturing procedure. Then, a rubber dome under the keycap gives a really pleasant travel experience while reducing that annoying key noise. No more Tappy-McTappison when you're trying to be quiet and not wake up your sleeping partner, or something. It's also backlit, if you need it.
The Elite Dragonfly x360 has some pretty impressive innards despite its lightweight form. It's powered by an Intel quad-core U-series CPU with VPro, 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 2TB of storage. However, HP said the Intel processor the device will ship with is an 8th-generation chip, for now, although this could change in the future.
While we couldn't put the device through its paces while on a stand on the show floor, the laptop did prove responsive to commands during our hands-on time.
In terms of connectivity, HP has also managed to squeeze in a range of full-sized connectivity ports. There's two Thunderbolt 3 and a USB 3.1 port as well as an audio jack for headphones, and an HDMI port for an external screen. There's also the support for WiFi 6 included.
The battery life doesn't suffer as a result of the Elite Dragonfly x360's compact size and lack of weight, either. According to HP, it doesn't only charge halfway in just 30 minutes, but it will run for an impressive 24.5 hours. This is due to a dual battery set up: a lightweight battery which provides 16.5 hours and then a performance battery that tops it up to 24.5. We're really looking forward to trying this battery out in a full review - a true 24-hour battery life would be a dream come true for business travellers. It's just - usually - very unrealistic.
The HP Elite Dragonfly x360 is an impressive bit of kit, especially for those who work a lot on the go. With its convertible modes and massive battery life, it's definitely a versatile machine.
However, whether businesses are going to splash out on one for their workforce remains to be seen The laptop doesn't come cheap by any means, with prices starting from £1,099 - excluding tax. Gulp. Nevertheless, if you are keen on getting one, it will be available to buy "sometime in November". Keep your eyes peeled. µ