The new HP Dragonfly G4 is a smash hit, but how does it compare to the versatile Dragonfly Folio G3?
- The Dragonfly G4 is a sleek and lightweight laptop designed for professionals, featuring high-end collaboration tools and extra security features.
- The Dragonfly Folio G3 offers a unique convertible design and versatile functionality, making it a great choice for those who enjoy inking and using their laptop as a tablet.
- The Dragonfly G4 is available at a starting price of $2,548, while the Folio G3 starts at $2,379. Prices can increase significantly depending on the hardware and features chosen.
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HP’s lineup of Dragonfly laptops is geared toward the professional lifestyle. The Dragonfly G4 was announced at CES 2023 and officially launched in spring 2023, making it the successor to the Elite Dragonfly G3. It’s a sleek and lightweight clamshell notebook with 13th-generation Intel Core mobile CPUs, 13.5-inch displays, extra security features, and a bunch of high-end collaboration tools.
Also in the lineup is the Dragonfly Folio G3, which shares many of the same collaboration and security features but has a pull-forward, convertible design that adds a ton of versatility, especially if you enjoy inking and using your laptop as a tablet. These are two of the best business laptops and some of the best HP laptops out there; let’s compare them to help you decide which is right for your needs.
Price, availability, and specs
The HP Dragonfly G4 is now available with a starting price of about 2,548. There are many configuration options available, and you’ll see the price quickly climb as you add hardware and features. Prices can climb beyond $4,600 if you opt for a model with a Core i7 CPU, 32GB of RAM, Sure View Privacy display, and 5G connectivity. You can find the best configuration options at HP’s official site, but I have seen some other pre-configured models at Amazon.
The Dragonfly Folio G3 is available at HP’s official website and starts at about $2,379 before any discounts. The introductory model includes an Intel Core i7-1255U processor (CPU), 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and a 13.5-inch FHD+ touch display. Going all-out with a Core i7-1265U vPro CPU, 32GB of RAM, 3K2K OLED display, 1TB SSD, and 5G connectivity costs about $4,810. This laptop is also available at some third-party retailers, though you won’t find the same configuration options.
Design and features
The HP Dragonfly Folio G3 is a convertible laptop that’s unlike other convertible laptops. Instead of having a 360-degree hinge that allows the display to rotate around to become a tablet, the Folio G3’s display pulls forward for what HP calls “Watch” and “Write” modes. It’s a similar design to Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio. Pull forward once, and the screen’s bottom edge rests between the keyboard and touchpad. Pull forward again, and it sits (almost) flat against the keyboard at an angle for easier inking.
The Folio G3’s lid and hinges are covered with a faux leather wrap that adds some luxury and an easier grip when carrying the laptop. The extra hinges and wrap do add some weight, so the Folio G3 weighs about a pound more than the Dragonfly G4. Dimensions are otherwise quite close, with a 13.5-inch display in a chassis that’s closer to 12 inches in size. If you’re interested in inking or just want some extra versatility for using your laptop, the Folio G3 should be your first choice.
The Dragonfly G4 hasn’t physically changed much compared to its predecessor. In his HP Elite Dragonfly G3 review, Editor-in-Chief Rich Woods explains that it’s “stylish” and “easy to carry around at 2.2 pounds.” The Dragonfly G4 is available in the same Slate Blue and Natural Silver colors, with rounded edges that make it more comfortable to hold onto. It’s not a convertible laptop like the Folio G3, but that won’t matter for users who don’t often feel the need to use their laptop as a tablet.
Port selection is more generous on the side of the Dragonfly G4. It has two Thunderbolt 4, USB-A, HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm audio, and an optional Nano-SIM slot should you opt for 4G LTE or 5G connectivity. The Dragonfly Folio G3 has just two Thunderbolt 4, a 3.5mm audio jack, and the same optional Nano-SIM slot. You’ll be more likely to feel the need for a powerful docking station if you go with the Folio G3; those who prefer living life without dongles or docks should find the Dragonfly G4 to be more accommodating.
The Folio G3’s audio setup is split between four B&O speakers. There are two between the keyboard and display and another two along the bottom front edge of the chassis. This spreads out the sound to keep it unmuffled no matter how you use the laptop, and HP even includes some software to automatically tune the speakers depending on whether the display is pulled forward. The audio sounds quite good, especially for a business laptop. The Dragonfly G4 also has four speakers in a similar orientation, with two between the keyboard and display and another two along the front edge of the laptop. Those who value audio quality will have a great time with either laptop.
HP has been focusing a lot on the collaboration tools that go into its products. And since the Dragonfly lineup is geared toward professionals, the camera and supporting software are not lacking. These are some of the best laptops for those who work online and by distance. The Dragonfly Folio G3 has an 8MP camera with a 100-degree field-of-view (FOV), as well as automatic backlight and low-light adjustments. Auto-framing, background blur, and an appearance filter are also on board. The Dragonfly G4’s camera isn’t quite as impressive at 5MP and an 88-degree FOV, but it’s still going to make you come through clear and looking your best, thanks to the included software. It even has a new Natural Tone feature to make your skin look more lifelike while on camera. Both laptops have IR cameras for biometric logins through Windows Hello, and both have camera shutters for extra privacy. The Dragonfly G4 adds a fingerprint reader for those who prefer it over a facial scan.
Part of the Dragonfly G4’s allure involves a new multi-camera feature and keystone correction that makes collaboration much easier. You can connect a second camera, train it on a whiteboard or document, and let the software crop and adjust so that the image comes through clearly for your viewers. The software can also detect which camera you’re looking at, keeping you in frame at all times.
As mentioned, both laptops are available with 4G LTE and 5G connectivity. This is totally optional and does add to the cost of the laptop, but it will undoubtedly come in handy if you’re often working outside of Wi-Fi range. You’re otherwise looking at modern Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity for your wireless accessories.
Finally, there’s not much to say about the Dragonfly keyboard other than it’s a dream to use. Both laptops have a similar layout with large keycaps and font, perfect spacing, and plenty of travel. I typed thousands of words on the Folio G3 without issue, and the same goes for colleagues who have regularly used the Dragonfly G3 (which has the same keyboard as the G4). The Precision touchpads are enormous and offer accurate pointing.
Display and inking
The displays available for these two laptops are quite similar. The only difference is that the Folio G3 comes only with touch functionality due to its convertible design. The Dragonfly G4 gives you the touch option for the FHD+ displays, while the OLED 3K2K screen is touch-enabled no matter what. All screens have a tall 3:2 aspect ratio and a 13.5-inch size.
The most affordable option has a 1920×1280 (FHD+) resolution, 400 nits brightness, and an anti-glare or glossy finish (depending on whether you go with touch on the Dragonfly G4). There’s also an FHD+ screen with HP’s Sure View privacy technology that cuts down on viewing angles to keep your data safe while working in public. It hits 1,000 nits to go along with the privacy tech. And finally, the big upgrade has a 3000×2000 (3K2K) resolution, an OLED touch panel, and 400 nits brightness. This will deliver the best color accuracy and contrast, but it also costs the most.
These are great screens to work on, thanks to the extra pixels from the 3:2 aspect ratio. In my HP Dragonfly Folio G3 review, I tested the FHD+ screen for color accuracy, and it hit 100% sRGB, 76% Adobe RGB, and 79% DCI-P3. That only gets better with the OLED screen. The Folio G3 also comes with a full-size active pen for inking. It’s great for taking notes or sketching diagrams, and there’s a magnetic anchor on the side of the laptop for storage when not in use.
Performance and battery
The Dragonfly G4 uses Intel’s latest 13th-generation mobile processors, which gives a bump to performance and efficiency. Looking back at the older Dragonfly G3, the 12th-generation Intel U-series CPUs delivered snappy performance and battery life that could go for a full workday without needing a charge, and those have both been improved here. The Dragonfly G4 also comes with a new Smart Sense feature that helps balance heat and power across workloads. It can even learn your work patterns to better preserve battery life when the laptop is idling or asleep.
The Dragonfly Folio G3 is available with 12th-generation Intel Core U-series CPUs, up to a 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, and up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM. The 53Wh battery lasted between seven and eight hours on a charge in our testing, though that will no doubt change if you opt for the OLED display and 5G connectivity. In my Dragonfly Folio G3 review, I mention that “you should be able to hit the office and not worry about plugging in until the later afternoon.”
If we’re comparing benchmark numbers, the Elite Dragonfly G3 with Core i7-1265U CPU hit a 5,094 PCMark 10 score, 1,713 single-core Geekbench 5 (GB5) score, and 7,284 multi-core GB5 score. The Dragonfly Folio G3 with Core i7-1265U hit a 5,450 PCMark 10 score, as well as 1,704 and 8,189 single- and multi-core GB5 scores. Performance is similar if not leaning favorably toward the Folio G3, but the new 13th Gen Intel chips in the Dragonfly G4 will put it ahead in terms of available power. This is unlikely going to be the deciding factor, as both laptops will be able to crush a day’s work with ease.
Which HP business laptop is right for you?
Choosing between these two laptops will likely come down to whether or not you think you’ll use the Dragonfly Folio G3’s pull-forward design enough to warrant the price and extra weight. It’s undeniably fun to use, but if you don’t often use an active pen or feel the need to set your display forward like a tent, the Dragonfly G4 should be a better choice. The new collaboration tools are attractive, and the 13th-generation Intel hardware will provide a slight performance bump.
We’ve written an article comparing the Dragonfly G4 and the Elite Dragonfly G3, which has more information on the differences and similarities between the two generations. The Elite Dragonfly G3 is still readily available from HP and should make a solid alternative if you want to spend less than the Dragonfly G4’s asking price.
HP Dragonfly G4 Right choice for most people
HP’s Dragonfly G4 is mostly a performance upgrade over the G3 model. It comes with new, 13th-generation Intel Core CPUs, new power management features, and powerful new collaboration tools. It should be the right choice for those who aren’t interested in the Folio G3’s pull-forward design.
$2548 at HP
I regularly use the Dragonfly Folio G3 to this day, and it’s one of the best laptops in recent memory when it comes to performance, features, and design. It’s very expensive, but its rare pull-forward design, inking capabilities, snappy performance, and comfy keyboard will certainly appeal to plenty of people. Just be prepared to pay a lot for this laptop.
HP Dragonfly Folio G3 Unique convertible design$1899 $2379 Save $480
HP’s Dragonfly Folio G3 is perfect for those who want a unique convertible design, snappy performance, and outstanding displays. It provides a lot of versatility, especially if you love inking, and it has many security and collaboration features.
$1899 at HP $3372 at HP (customizable) $2334 at Newegg