HP Dragonfly Folio G3 Review: A 2-in-1 for discerning business users

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At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Sophisticated 2-in-1 designTactile, precise keyboardGreat touchpadQuiet performanceNifty pen design

Cons

High priceMeh screen as configuredSlightly bulky and heavy

Our Verdict

A snazzy dresser with a high price tag.

In the world of business PCs, few want to stand out or make waves. That’s why HP’s Dragonfly line has constantly impressed with its blend of innovative, high-quality machines that are mature. The Dragonfly Folio 2-in-1 is now a tried and true concept, which acts like a normal laptop most of the time until you pull the screen forward, either to past the keyboard or all the way flat. No detaching pieces to break or lose.

The latest in the Folio family is the HP Dragonfly Folio G3, based on Intel chips and an improved design. This laptop makes a very positive first impression, but is it an impression that can last?

Looking for more laptop options? Check out our roundup of the best laptops available today.

HP Dragonfly Folio G3: Specifications and features

Our review unit features the following specs:

CPU: Intel Core i7-1265U (10 cores, 12 threads: 2 performance, 8 efficiency) with vProMemory: 16 GB LPDDR5 RAM, soldered down (up to 32 GB configurable)Graphics/GPU: Intel Iris Xe GraphicsDisplay: 13.5-inch 3:2 WUXGA+ (1920×1280) IPS LCD touchscreenStorage: 512 GB M.2 NVMe PCIe solid state driveWebcam: 8MPConnectivity:  2x Thunderbolt 4, 1x 3.5mm combo audioNetworking: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth TKTK, 5G WWAN (optional)Biometrics: Windows Hello facial recognitionBattery capacity: 68 WhDimensions: TKTK (W) x TKTK (D) x TKTK (H) inchesWeight: 3.06 pounds, 3.86 pounds with AC adapterPrice: $2,474.20

HP Dragonfly Folio G3: Design and build quality

IDG / Brendan Nystedt

The HP Dragonfly Folio G3 makes a great first impression. From the moment you take the faux leather-wrapped machine from its box, you can feel the solidity of its build. Its metal deck has nary a flex, and has comfy smoothed edges that don’t dig into your fingers or wrists. Although you won’t get a whiff of new car smell from its plastic leatherette outer case, it helps yet make this computer feel soft and inviting to use.

Even the 2-in-1 action, which could feel floppy or fragile has a satisfying feel to it. Strong magnets keep the screen in place for regular laptop use, and a firm pull brings it forward to one of two positions. All in all, there’s a dedication to design and sophistication with the Dragonfly Folio G3 that I’m not sure I’ve seen in another computer, much less a business-targeted model.

Along the sides are ports and vents so subtly carved in that I didn’t notice them at first. This was to the machine’s detriment the first few times, as I tried to plug the USB-C charger into the groove right next to the port, instead of the port itself. There’s a small click-in tray for the SIM card should you get a version with 5G built-in, and the opposite side has a wireless charging pad and docking slot for the included pen (but more on that later). It’s minimalist but in a way that is different from Apple’s MacBooks or Dell’s premium XPS models. From its embossed HP logo to its dark metal finish the whole affair is subtle, fashionable, and shows a sense of maturity.

If I can leverage any criticism at the Folio G3 it’s that the whole contraption feels bulky compared to other laptops. Something about the metal construction plus the dense plastic leather makes it seem heavier and thicker than it actually is. It’s only a bit over 3 pounds, but something like the Surface Pro 9 is almost a half-pound lighter, while the business-focused ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 is under 2.5 pounds. It’s clear that the extra grams go towards the Dragonfly Folio’s robust-feeling screen mechanism and premium metal parts. 

HP Dragonfly Folio G3: Connectivity

IDG / Brendan Nystedt

Given that this machine was designed for on-the-go workers who need to make a great impression in meetings (whether there’re on Teams or in the room), I didn’t expect a ton of ports. As it stands, you get 2 Thunderbolt 4-friendly USB-C ports on the lefthand side, with a 3.5mm headset jack nearby. Strangely, only one of these ports can accept charge, something I haven’t seen on many recent laptops. This meant that occasionally, I’d come back to a computer that wasn’t fully charged. The correct port is the one closest to you, and I’d also double check that the pinhole charging light’s illuminated to be certain it’s taking on power.

In terms of wireless options, the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 comes standard with Intel Wi-Fi 6E, the latest in terms of standards. Additionally, my review sample came with a 5G WWAN modem, also by Intel. Users can choose to use the internal eSIM to subscribe to a data plan, or insert a physical SIM into the small slot on the machine. While I was unable to test the 5G connectivity, the wireless was as good as I’d expect from a laptop in 2022.

HP Dragonfly Folio G3: Keyboard, pen, and trackpad

Although shallow, the keyboard on the Dragonfly Folio G3 is simply superb. It has an almost mechanical preciseness to it, with each key giving a distinctive and easy-to-feel snap when you’ve hit it just right. If I have to be away from my chonky desktop mechanical keyboard, this is the kind of home-away-from-home I love typing on for hours on end. The keyboard is backlit, although it only has a couple of levels of brightness. The full function row has a ton of useful shortcut keys, including a mute button, camera killswitch, airplane mode toggle, and even a user-programmable button marked with three diamonds.

IDG / Brendan Nystedt

In the scheme of things, the touchpad here is almost the equal of the keyboard. Its big glass surface lets your fingers glide along, and palm detection was near-perfect. Gestures were accurately interpreted—all in all it’s just the kind of touchpad every laptop deserves. While you won’t find any high-tech haptic motors inside, the click of this trackpad gives you a positive response but it’s not too harsh. Goldilocks would love it.

IDG / Brendan Nystedt

If you like taking handwritten notes, the Dragonfly Folio includes a pen in the box. The pen magnetically docks and charges on the side of the Folio, and has a unique magnetic docking tab that keeps it from getting knocked off. While it can come free in a bag, I found it stays put very well. Artists might not love this pen due to some noticeable jitter when drawing straight lines, but for annotation, doodles, or normal notetaking tasks, it works just fine.

HP Dragonfly Folio G3: Display, speakers, and webcam

If there was any aspect of the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 that gave me pause, it would the display. The 3:2 aspect IPS screen is totally fine in use, with good colors and solid contrast. The resolution is perfectly chosen, at 1920×1280 there are no weird scaling issues and text looks plenty crisp. It’s just that at this premium price, I’d expect something extra special.

Apple’s 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models have next-gen mini LED screens with incredible colors and HDR-grade highlights. Dell offers OLED panels on a bunch of its computers. Why does the luxurious Folio G3 get such a basic screen? (For what it’s worth, HP says they offer an OLED on this Dragonfly model, but it’s special order only, and the vast majority of models will come with this ho-hum IPS LCD).

IDG / Brendan Nystedt

Thankfully, the 8 megapixel webcam does a better job at making the Dragonfly feel tailor-made for work scenarios. Although it’s not the sharpest camera I’ve ever seen on a laptop, you will be well-exposed and visible whether you’re sitting to the side of the display or head-on thanks to a wide field of view. There’s also an auto-zoom feature that will punch in on your face or head-and-shoulders to keep you in the picture if you move around. It’s clear that by cutting down an 8MP image, there’s very little loss in overall quality if you activate it so you’ll look more or less as good. Microphones can also capture sound from a wide array of positions, even if you’re across the room from the Dragonfly Folio.

An infrared sensor near the camera that can tell whether or not someone is actively in front of the computer. I thought it was a little aggressive about the time it dims the screen with its Walk Away Lock setting, but for those who work in an open office, it could be a nice feature to have.

While HP could have skimped on the speakers, the Dragonfly Folio G3 manages to put out some impressive sound. I was especially impressed with the midrange and the way that spoken-word content remained clear and without distortion unless you push volume past 80%. That really emphasizes the design parameters of the microphones, webcam, and speakers here: pretty excellent for Teams or Zoom meetings.

HP Dragonfly Folio G3: Software

HP kept the added software to a minimum here, only keeping apps for features that otherwise wouldn’t have settings. There’s an “Easy Clean” app that disables the computer’s input devices for 2 minutes, letting you clean the screen, keyboard, and mouse without accidental inputs. The myHP app has additional settings that you may or may not find useful, including auto screen dimming and a privacy alert that both use the webcam. Inexplicably, the tool that can control the computer’s infrared presence detection, called HP Auto Lock & Awake, is only accessible via the Settings app.

Perhaps the most aggressive included app is HP’s Wolf Security suite, which is so important it also gets a sticker next to Intel’s on the laptop’s palmrest. This is HP’s umbrella branding for its system administration, antivirus, and tracking tools. This might be a plus for organizations that are already in the HP fold but if your company uses different software to keep its laptops safe, it could mean each system needs to be reimaged. Contrasted with other antivirus suites, Wolf seems relatively sedate, rarely popping up notifications and never bullying the user into paying for a subscription.

HP Dragonfly Folio G3: Performance

With its Intel Core i7-1265U the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 2-in-1 stays cool and quiet under most circumstances. While it only has two performance cores, what you’ll get is more than adequate for normal tasks.

IDG / Brendan Nystedt

We use the PCMark 10 benchmark to get a birds’ eye overview of a laptop’s day-to-day performance. The i7-1265U is fast for a low-power chip but it’s definitely not the most impressive processor available in a thin laptop. We can see this in the PCMark test looking at the difference between the Dragonfly Folio G3 and the performance-focused business machine from Dynabook, the Portege X40. The HP is good enough for most normcore business needs, though, so don’t let the lackluster score make you think it’s slow by any stretch.

IDG / Brendan Nystedt

We use Cinebench R15 to get an idea of how well all a laptop’s cores work together in an intensive 3D rendering test. The HP Dragonfly Folio G3 was behind the competition by a bit. We know that the Dragonfly Folio G3 was designed to keep cool and quiet, and between that and its lower-power U-series chip, we can see how it scores a lot lower than a machine like the Dynabook Portege X40, with its performance-focused, hot-running design.

IDG / Brendan Nystedt

Given that this is a very thin business laptop, you shouldn’t expect amazing graphics performance from the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 2-in-1. It has the standard Intel Xe Graphics you find on machines that cost a bit more, and that cost far less as well. Again, the difference we see here comes down to HP’s tuning to focus on a cool, quiet computer rather than any significant differences in the processors.

IDG / Brendan Nystedt

Battery life wasn’t a strong suit for the HP Dragonfly Folio G3, clocking 10 hours and 5 minutes in our looping video test. If you value battery life in your business machine, the ARM-equipped Surface Pro 9 ran rings around the Dragonfly Folio G3, clocking in at almost 16 hours under the same test. A business-oriented ARM ThinkPad logged an extra 2.7 hours of runtime compared to the HP as well. It’s clear that if power and software compatibility aren’t an issue in your organization, that Windows on ARM should be considered in this price range. 

HP Dragonfly Folio G3: Conclusion

The HP Dragonfly Folio G3, taken on its own, is a compelling machine. It has a great design and keyboard and touchpad. Plus, it includes a pen. About the only area where I can ding this machine is that for the price, you probably deserve a far more premium display. The IPS touchscreen used here is absolutely fine, but far from amazing.

It really isn’t until we throw in some competing machines that it becomes a little less compelling. For its size, HP has stuck to a more normal, cooler U-class Intel chip that’s totally fine but doesn’t blow the doors off. That’s where it’s clear that this is a notebook for normcore business users. There are a ton of other premium machines that can match it on battery life for better power, or beat it on runtime while tackling business tasks (assuming you stick to the Microsoft ecosystem) about as well.

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