HP Dragonfly G4 review: The ideal business laptop for traveling
At a glance
Long battery life
Bright, high-contrast display
3:2 aspect ratio
The current version of the Dragonfly G4 remains an outstanding notebook for traveling because you hardly have to make any compromises for the low weight. It combines a very long battery life with practical speed, a very good albeit viewing angle-limited display, and a relatively large number of ports.
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Road warrior, hybrid worker, business traveler. There are countless terms for people who work more on the road than at their desk. HP is addressing this target group with the Dragonfly G4. In the fourth generation, HP has equipped its lightweight notebook with a Core i7 from Intel’s Raptor Lake generation–apart from that, little has changed.
The Dragonfly weighs just under 2.64 pounds and is housed in a sturdy blue-grey casing made from a magnesium-aluminium mix. The material surface has a pleasant grip as it is slightly roughened. As the corners and edges are rounded, the Dragonfly is also painless to pick up. You can open the display 180 degrees with one hand. Read on to learn more.
Looking for more options? Check out PCWorld’s roundup of the best laptops available today.
HP Dragonfly G4: Small notebook, loads of connections
Considering its compact form factor, the Dragonfly is well equipped: Above all, it has more ports than other ultra-mobile lightweights, which often only offer Type-C with Thunderbolt 4. The Dragonfly also has two of these 40 Gbps ports for connecting the power supply unit among other things. However, there’s also an HDMI 2.1 output and a USB Type A socket.
The HP notebook comes with plenty of business-ready extras, too. In addition to WLAN with Wi-Fi 6E, you can also go online on the go via the built-in 5G module. The slot for the nano-SIM card on the left-hand side of the casing can be conveniently removed without opening tools.
You can log in using your finger via a sensor button at the bottom right of the keyboard or via the full HD camera. Its lens can be closed with a special button, but automatic logging in and out of the notebook via HP’s Auto-Lock & Awake still works because this function recognizes the user via a proximity sensor.
You can also use the F2 key to restrict the display’s viewing angle. This Sure View privacy filter is designed to prevent nosy neighbors on trains and planes from catching operational or other secrets with a quick glance at the screen.
The underside of the housing can be easily opened after removing four screws. The battery, SSD, and cellular module can be replaced. However, the RAM and WLAN hardware are soldered on.
HP Dragonfly G4: Top choice for office work, sufficient for multimedia tasks
The Core i7-1355U in the Dragonfly delivers the usual speed for an economical processor from the U-series: The performance is absolutely sufficient for office applications and for most multimedia programs. It just isn’t made for demanding video editing and rendering applications. This is because the hybrid CPU can’t really pick up speed due to the thermal conditions in the compact casing. It calculates around ten percent slower in Cinebench R23, for example, than in a larger 15-inch notebook.
The speed advantage over the predecessor Dragonfly G3 with Alder Lake CPU is around 10 percent, a little more for multimedia, a little less for Office. However, compared to a professional multimedia notebook with GPU such as the Lenovo Yoga Pro 9i, the speed deficit is only significant when, as in rendering, the CPU and graphics card are required to work together. During normal work with photos and videos, the lag is usually only around ten percent because the Dragonfly is equipped with a generous 32GB of RAM.
The two small fans in the HP notebook are quiet even under a heavy load. However, they frequently change their rotational speed, which causes the operating noise to fluctuate and disturb sensitive users more than when the fans rotate a little faster but at a constant volume.
HP Dragonfly G4: Battery life will last you a long journey
An ultra-mobile business notebook is defined above all by its weight and battery life. The Dragonfly impresses in both disciplines. In addition to its low weight, it has an outstanding battery life of 17.5 hours in the WLAN test. The battery capacity is 68 Wh, if you’re curious.
HP Dragonfly G4: The display is ideal for office use
The 13.5-inch screen has an aspect ratio of 3:2. This is practical for office work, as the additional vertical pixels allow you to see more content from text documents and websites, for example, than with 16:9 or 16:10. The resolution of 1920×1280 is not exceptionally high, but is sufficient for standard office applications.
In the test, the Dragonfly shines with a very high brightness and excellent contrast. The latter makes text and spreadsheet work more pleasant while the former, in combination with the anti-reflective display surface, makes image content easy to read even in difficult lighting conditions. The Dragonfly can also automatically adjust its brightness to changing light conditions using a sensor.
The luminance is not evenly distributed, as the brightness decreases significantly from top to bottom. However, this is less noticeable on the small screen than on a large monitor. What is immediately noticeable, however, is the display’s dependence on the viewing angle.
Even if you haven’t activated “Sure View”, the image immediately loses contrast and color saturation if you are not sitting in front of it optimally. Nevertheless, the screen can be tilted flexibly so that users of any height can find the ideal viewing angle.
HP Dragonfly G4: The keyboard and touchpad are designed for frequent typists and clickers
A top keyboard rounds off the Dragonfly G4’s office suitability. The keys are relatively large for this form factor. What’s especially pleasing is the very pronounced pressure point that all keys have across the entire keyboard surface including the space bar. As is usual with ultrabooks, the arrow keys are not positioned separately and the up and down keys are combined in the size of one key.
The touchpad also impresses with clear pressure feedback. It even remains very quiet when the mouse is clicked. The Dragonfly’s surface strikes the perfect balance between grip and speed. You can position the mouse pointer precisely or let it whiz quickly across the display as required.
HP Dragonfly G4: Test results and features
HP Dragonfly G4 (818N5EA): Test results
Speed in office programmes
90 points (out of 100)
Speed with multimedia programmes
62 points (out of 100)
3D Mark performance
37 points (out of 100)
Display: Brightness / brightness distribution / contrast
474 / 81% / 1820:1
Display: Colour space coverage (in percent)
sRGB: 100 / Adobe-RGB: 77 / DCI-P3: 78
Display: Colour fidelity (Delta-E deviation)
Battery life (hours:minutes): WLAN test
Operating noise under load
Temperature top / bottom
40 / 46° Celsius
HP Dragonfly G4 (818N5EA): Equipment
Intel Core i7-1355U
Standard clock: 2.0 GHz (P-Cores); 1.2 GHz (E-Cores); Turbo clock up to 5.0 GHz (P-Cores); 3.7 GHz (E-Cores)
Cores / Threads
10 / 12 (2 P-Cores + 8 E-Cores)
32 GB LPDDR5-4800 (not replaceable)
Intel Iris Xe (integrated in CPU)
NVMe SSD SK Hynix PC801 (PCIe 4.0 x 4)
Network: LAN / WLAN / Bluetooth / Mobile
– / WiFi-6E (Intel AX211) / 5.3 / 5G
Windows 11 Pro
Display: Diagonal / resolution / format
13.5 inch / 1920 x 1280 / 3:2
Dot density / refresh rate
171 ppi / 60 Hz
Weight: Notebook (with battery) / power supply unit
1176 / 302 grams
Connections on the right
1x Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x Type-C Thunderbolt 4, 1x audio output/input, 1x security lock