HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook: Excellent with few issues

Chromebook enthusiasts have been pausing for a device like this. They’ve been staying for quite some time — the latest lust-worthy, high-end Chromebook was Google’s Pixelbook in 2017.

HP has probably done almost everything it can to make an incredible enterprise machine.

The port selection is acceptable, including an HDMI, two USB-Cs, and a USB-A. The Core i5-1245U chip inside absolute flies. Even photo editing in the Lightroom app was velvety smooth and quicker. Swapping between tabs and apps was instantaneous. Provided everything you need to run plays agreeably with ChromeOS, You will not see any workload sharing this noteworthy device trouble.

It’s light, at just 2.8 pounds, with a sturdy magnesium/aluminum hybrid chassis. It glimpses just like HP’s premium Windows Dragonfly line, with an impressive 3:2 display with outstanding Bang & Olufsen-tuned speakers, a surprisingly sharp 5MP webcam with a physical shutter, and an optional rechargeable USI pen that magnetically hooks to the chassis.

Some power users want a high-powered Chromebook for coding, virtualization, games, and the like. You can get similar power in cheaper devices for much less money. For example, the widely praised Acer Chromebook Spin 714 currently offers almost the same processor, which is less than half the price of my unit and over $400 less than the absolute cheapest Dragonfly Chromebook’s MSRP.

Battery life could be more reasonable, but it was not terrible. It averages seven hours of continuous use with a mix of Chrome tabs, Android apps, and PWAs at medium brightness. You can expect to feel some constant warmth on the keyboard and across the bottom, but nothing uncomfortable. The included adapter took 54 minutes to charge the device up to 60 percent, which is quite a fast charging speed as Chromebooks.

The Dragonfly is undoubtedly more powerful than Spin 714 — but whether it’s that much more powerful is another matter.

ChromeOS users are required to choose between using Slack in their browser. There’s a reason most people don’t do this on Windows — the desktop app makes many things more accessible, including shortcuts, workspace swapping, launching, searching, etc., or using Slack in its Android app form.

Messages are sometimes delayed. You will occasionally get a notification, click on it to open Slack, and then not be able to find the message.

The Android app available on ChromeOS doesn’t seem to communicate well with other versions of Slack. As a result, you’ll often be bombarded with message notifications from the previous day that you’ve already seen and addressed.

Background refresh is funky. You will often see someone typing when you click into Chrome but have Slack open on the side, but their message won’t come up until you’ve clicked back into Slack. Also, links sometimes don’t unfurl and show previews where they would in the desktop version.

Statuses are slow to update. You might maintain to wait a few seconds each time you tap into the app for it to show who is online and who isn’t. The app sometimes won’t bring unread channels up to the top of the app. Text sometimes gets overlapped over other text in a way that doesn’t necessarily interfere with your use but makes the app look decidedly unfinished.

There are also general responsiveness issues. You keep having to click channels multiple times to get them to open. The app may freeze a few times.

But the desktop software that ChromeOS can offer isn’t worthy of this beauty — or this price. Again, you may understand some of your issues are nitpicky, but this is software that business users use daily and are being asked to pay very high prices. We all know fixes are coming. PWAs are on their way. Linux is becoming more accessible. Android apps on ChromeOS have come a long, long way. It is a great and fun operating system to use. But it’s not ready for the C-suite just yet.