Review: HP's Elite Dragonfly Max is currently my favorite business laptop

With its amazing performance, enhanced collaboration features, and sleek design, HP's Elite Dragonfly Max is a dream business laptop that any pro in the hybrid work age will love.

At least anyone willing to pay for it: the HP Elite Dragonfly Max has a starting price of $2,239. And as configured for our test, the laptop retails for $2,789, which includes the fastest available Intel Core i7 processor and 5G connectivity.

But for many users, I think the price will be worth it - especially given the growing reliance on laptops as a meeting hub. The Elite Dragonfly Max is just as good.


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) improves battery life, display, security: test


The performance of the Elite Dragonfly Max is great as websites and applications load quickly. Everything just feels faster than on other laptops I've tested lately. The Dragonfly Max is powered by an 11th Intel processor.

Despite the strong performance, the notebook lasts more than a full work day on a single charge. In my battery life test, using the Dragonfly Max intensively with multiple applications and tabs, I got 8.5 hours of battery life - one of the best results among laptops, that I've tried lately.

The 13.3-inch display is also excellent. While the resolution is average for a laptop in 2021 at 1,920 x 1,080, the convertible touch display gets a boost from its extremely high brightness of up to 1,000 nits. Sometime during During my trial I switched to another laptop and this display looked very dim compared to the Dragonfly Max.

The notebook also comes with an integrated privacy screen that uses HP's Sure View Reflect technology. The display prevents onlookers from sniffing by dimming the screen when viewed from an angle - a handy feature for anyone planning to be on the go to work when things open up again.

Speaking of working on the go, the Elite Dragonfly Max offers optional 5G connectivity (included in the higher price). In my testing, the included 5G (from AT&T) offered solid speeds, including for video streaming - making the Dragonfly Max a great option for the security-conscious mobile professionals who prefer to avoid public Wi-Fi.

The Elite Dragonfly Max's keyboard is awesome. I'd call it my favorite laptop keyboard to date - even better than the always-great ThinkPad X1 Carbon keyboard. The keys are deep, sturdy, and responsive, allowing for the fast typing I love For my reviews, one measure of a keyboard is whether I've decided to actually write the review on this laptop or switched to one with a better keyboard. In the case of this review, I've chosen to write it on the Writing Elite Dragonfly Max.

In terms of overall design, the notebook offers great aesthetics with an appealing "sparkle" black finish and slim display bezels. And even with "Max" branding, the Elite Dragonfly Max is lightweight at 2.49 pounds.

It's also thin, measuring 0.63 inches while still offering work-friendly ports like USB-A, HDMI, and USB-C. All around, the Elite Dragonfly Max is significantly more compact than a typical 13-inch laptop, thanks in part to minimal bezels.

One of the Dragonfly Max's other strengths is collaboration, which is one of the areas where it stands out from the standard Elite Dragonfly G2. The Dragonfly Max packs a 5-megapixel camera (compared to a 1.2-megapixel camera on the Elite Dragonfly G2) and four wide-range microphones optimized for conferencing (compared to three on the G2 model). The Dragonfly Max webcam definitely offers better video quality than other notebooks I've tried recently, including HP's

Elite Folio

.The quad speaker system

is also very good, with two up-firing speakers and two down-firing speakers (powered by four amplifiers) ultimately producing loud and rich sound.

In addition to the emphasis on collaboration, the Elite Dragonfly Max has another COVID-era feature worth noting - a feature called HP Easy Clean. Opening the Easy Clean app puts the notebook into "sanitize mode," which locks the device with it it can be wiped clean. Whether there's a pandemic or not, this is just a handy feature if your screen or keyboard needs cleaning (particularly helpful for notebooks with a touchscreen like this one).

The only downside I've found with the Elite Dragonfly Max is that it heats up when multitasking intensely.

All in all, this is my favorite new business laptop right now. It's fast, it looks good and everything just works. And the integration of 5G, improved collaboration and a built-in privacy screen make it an ideal device for working on the go.

In short, the Elite Dragonfly Max has it all. For anyone looking for the best mobile working experience money can buy in 2021, this could be it.