It’s been quite some time – 1936 to be exact – since Konrad Zuse, a German engineer introduced the Z1 to the world. The Z1 was the first computer in a lot of senses, and it took up the space of an entire living room but supplied processing power way less than any laptop out there.
But . . . not so great for traveling, luckily we are looking at two different laptops that are.
While the MacBook Air has long been the go-to for a lightweight laptop with stellar performance, each year more laptops try to take that crown. In this post, I want to look at 2 of the best of them, the HP Elite Dragonfly and the New Dell XPS 13 9300.
Indeed, for most of us, an ideal laptop for traveling professionals is not necessarily all about having an insane intel optane memory or additional security features, it’s also about an attractive chassis, the clarity of the screen, and being lightweight and portable. Comfortably balancing the laptop on an airplane seatback tray is also a pretty big bonus.
So, let’s take a quick look at which laptop fares better in this intense battle of specifications and quality as two computing heavyweights, HP and Dell, put forward the HP Elite Dragonfly vs Dell XPS 13 in the bout of lightweight laptops.
- You may also like: Best VPN for travel, tips and guide
Note – Please know, some of the external links on this page are affiliate links, this means that if you purchase after following one, I make a small commission from the sale at no additional cost to yourself.
HP Elite Dragonfly vs Dell XPS 13: The quick answer
A quick thing off the back is that with the New Dell XPS 13, Dell have ditched the 2-in-1 design in favor of a slightly bigger screen. So if you want a 2-in-1, you will etch have to buy the previous Dell model (still a great machine) or the HP Elite Dragonfly.
When it comes to security and weight, the Dragonfly edges it and the build quality, despite its size, is something HP can be proud of, considering its durability can withstand the roughest of conditions.
Of course, the attractiveness of the Dell XPS 13 is some level ahead of the Dragonfly, with its super-slim body and frightening display outline leaving a classic example of how screens should look like on the sands on time, but that doesn’t mean the Dragonfly doesn’t make your heart skip a beat either.
Similarly, the XPS 13 delivers a better performance than the Dragonfly with the latest processors, even though the Dragonfly frantically scrambles to match up.
My choice? Well if I factor in the price, I believe the New Dell XPS 13 shades it. With the stronger performance, my love for the crazy sexy screen, and the fact is it a few hundred dollars cheaper, that swings it for me and why it is my #1 laptop for travel.
But – it’s not that easy, let’s break it down.
HP Elite Dragonfly
The Dragonfly does not let its name down, as it has what should be a weighty system given wings to fly. With 512GB of memory space (SSD M.2 PCIe for that matter!), paired with a magnificent 32GB of Intel Optane Memory the Dragonfly packs enough capacity to support any storage needs for all road warriors. Add to that a modest Intel UHD 620 Graphics that is covered by running on an Intel Core i7-8665U processor and you get a performance-ready machine that will not fail its user.
Also, the Dragonfly’s blue magnesium chassis makes it a beautiful and ultralightweight business laptop that puts many of its rivals to shame – including the MacBook (but more on that later), especially because of an extraordinary battery life that is normally mutually exclusive with a lightweight chassis.
The HP Elite Dragonfly review isn’t complete without saying that it also comes with a wide selection of ports, including one USB 3.1 Type-A, Two Thunderbolt 3, one HDMI 1.4, a nano SIM slot, headphone jack ports for connectivity.
- Great Size
- Security features abound
- Magnificent battery
- Wide selection of ports
- Older processors
- Power button too close to the ports
- 【Upgraded】; Seal is opened for Hardware/Software upgrade only to enhance performance. 13.3" Full HD (1920x1080) Touchscreen Display; Wi-Fi 6 AX200...
New Dell XPS 13 9300
While it might not have an Intel optane memory, the XPS 13’s 512GB of SSD memory space is still an amazing return for storage, especially in light of its other good points. For one, the XPS has one of the most beautiful displays in the business laptop market, courtesy of itty-bitty bezels that surround its screen, a trademark of Dell’s InfinityEdge design.
The internal composition of the XPS 13 features an Intel Iris Pro CPU blessed with 16GB of RAM running with a 1.3-GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor that makes it a massive asset for a business laptop so small.
- Great performance
- What bezels?
- Okay battery
- Looks captivatingly beautiful
- Limited connectivity with just 2 Thunderbolt ports
- Precision cut from a block of aluminum in two pieces so there is no variability in construction.
HP Elite Dragonfly vs Dell XPS 13: Similarities
From a distance, in what way are the two business laptops similar?
The Elite Dragonfly and the XPS 13 were equal when it came to multitasking tests, as both comfortably held their own, even while watching episodes of ‘The Witcher’ in high-definition on Netflix with 14 other tabs open on Firefox.
Dell are not known for flaky products, so it’s not much of a surprise that the XPS 13 laughs in the face of danger and enduring the 19 MIL-SPEC tests. However, the Dragonfly is just as able, and even better at withstand risky levels of temperature, humidity, vibration, shock and atmospheric pressure.
If the choice was not a sum of their parts, how would the HP Elite Dragonfly vs Dell XPS 13 battle go down?
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the largest issue with lightweight laptops, are there miniature typing real estate. They might be super-mobile, but the feedback from the buttons never satisfy as much as the heavier ones do, and their shallow roots make it harder to like. This changes a lot for these two, but not enough to redefine the inferiority of the keyboards of lightweight systems, however, speed sets them apart.
The Dragonfly had that bounce while typing that helped to make sure that the bottom of the keys was rarely hit, compared to the less clicky feedback from the XPS 13 that wasn’t the greatest typing experience.
Winner: HP Elite Dragonfly
Life without charge
The Dragonfly could last for thirteen hours and 30 minutes after charging to full capacity, even with 130 nits of brightness and running the system down by surfing the net using the Wi-Fi. Of course, credit to the research and development team for HP that figured how to best use the four-cell battery of the business laptop with its 56wh rating.
Compared to this, the XPS 13 could only supply digital assistance for 11 hours, twenty-five minutes in that same condition.
Winner: HP Elite Dragonfly shades it
The XPS 13 might not come in rose gold like many people will prefer it in, but the platinum arctic or silver color is an altogether beautiful touch that makes the business laptop the most beautiful laptop in the room, with ease. The lid is colored silver, and made using anodized aluminum, and glass-weave fiber is the chosen material for the keyboard deck that is colored white.
With all this detailing done with the XPS 13, the Dragonfly might seem hopeless, but its charm is undeniable, regardless. The Dragonfly blue tint on the CNC magnesium chassis pops the entire laptop, and while it’s bezels are honestly incomparable to the cuteness of XPS 13’s InfinityEdge, it still looks good enough. Also, compared to other brands that overuse color, the Dragonfly was simply touched with color for its logo and ultra-flexible hinges.
Winner: Dell XPS 13
How do you rate the product that had the nerve to successfully mock the MacBook Air’s weight by using the tagline ‘lighter than Air’. The Dragonfly and its 11.9 x 7.8 x 0.6-inch
Dimensions don’t register as the slimmest, but thanks to clever material selection by the engineers over at HP, they successfully got the dragonfly to weigh less than the MacBook Air, as if it the laptop was given wings.
In comparison, the XPS 13 is one of the slimmest pieces of tech out there, with its 11.7 x 8.2 x 0.3~0.5-inch dimensions, but 2.9 pounds makes it weigh a lot more than the Dragonfly, with a difference that people on-the-go with a frequent need to pull in and out their business laptops after lugging it around, will certainly notice.
Winner: HP Elite Dragonfly
In what is one of the major considerations when comparing the HP Elite Dragonfly vs the Dell XPS 13, some interesting things revealed themselves. First, note how the XPS 13 is ‘just’ with a 1.3-GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, at least compared to the 1.6-GHz Intel Core i7-8665U processor of the Dragonfly. Yet, the XPS 13 left a devastating speed gap for the Dragonfly when it came to weightlifting.
The XPS 13 delivered a balanced 47 frames per second performance thanks to its Intel Iris Pro CPU (using Ice-lake processors) on the Benchmark tests, compared to the 31 frames per second delivery of the Dragonfly and its integrated Intel UHD 620 GPU.
Similarly, the XPS 13 beat the file transfer speed of the Dragonfly by a little margin, as the XPS 13’s 512GB SSD produced a max speed of 467 megabytes per second with 5.22 GB worth of files in just over 12 seconds, while the Dragonfly’s 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD and 32GB Intel Optane 3D XPoint SSD mustered less speed at 429.4 megabytes per second.
In fact, Dragonfly slightly upped the XPS 13 when it came to video transcoding, transcoding faster by two minutes, even after losing the overall tests by more than 5,000 points.
Winner: Dell XPS 13
You rarely see lightweight business laptops packing enough ports to make them a mobile accessory indeed, but the Dragonfly has enough ports to break that jinx, with two Thunderbolt 3, a HDMI 1.4 port, one USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 1 ports, as well as a nano-SIM card slot and a headset jack.
The XPS 13 has less connectivity to offer with as many Thunderbolt ports as the Dragonfly, but just the headset jack and a microSD card slot in addition.
Winner: HP Elite Dragonfly
If the display decided the better business laptop in this HP Elite Dragonfly vs Dell XPS 13 review, then very few laptops in the world are worthy of holding a candle to the XPS 13. Dell’s InfinityEdge design holds no prisoners due to its captivating display accentuated by all-round infinitesimal bezels and a 13.4-inch 1920 x 1200 touch panel with 16:10 ratio. The Dragonfly stuck with 16:9 on its 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 touch display.
As for their performance on display, the Dragonfly could reproduce color up to 177%, winning the 113% of the XPS 13 in the process, but losing quite impressively to the XPS 13 by producing 373 nits of brightness, when the Dell XPS 13 could average 516 nits. Thus, while the Dragonfly’s display was made to excel in quality comparisons to the XPS 13, the real estate, brightness and color reproduction of the XPS 13 made it easier to pick out details.
Winner: Dell XPS 13
The previous XPS 13 was the reigning king of 2-in-1 lightweight laptops for some time now, and the Elite Dragonfly shares that ultraportable hinge quality. However, the New Dell XPS 13 9300 has forgone the 2-in01 design for a sleeker build and slimmer bezels.
Winner: Depends on what you prefer!
Both the Dragonfly and the XPS 13 are decked with a huge list of security features that make confidence an easy asset with it. T
here’s the fingerprint reader, Windows Hello facial recognition, and the very latest ‘privacy screen’ that prevents people from seeing what’s on your screen except they look from behind you from some distance, which is achieved by manipulating the contrast and brightness of the screen.
However, the HP slightly shades it with the addition of a sweet camera cover so stop unwitting recording from any hacker (of FBI agent!. Saves putting that little piece of tape over it!
Winner: HP Elite Dragonfly
Do the laptops allow the use of beta or preview software?
The warranty of both systems doesn’t cover beta software, solely because many preview software come with bugs that can cause problems and errors. There will be no support in such cases.
How does the camera of these laptops compare to each other?
Neither cameras stand out for amazing performance, but it is pretty mind-blowing how they have managed to fit a camera into the Dell XPS bezel at all. We also love the manual camera shutter over the HP Elite Dragnonfly, it’s an extra level of privacy protection.
Do either of them come with an LTE option?
Yes, the HP Elite Dragonfly supports LTE connections, the XPS 13 is sorely lacking in that regard.
How badly does the Dragonfly’s 8th Gen processor affect current performance?
When it comes to remote management and IT in general, the latest Ice Lake and Comet Lake processors in the MacBook Pros and XPS 13s can slightly show up the Dragonfly on a lot of actions, but the difference is hard to notice normally.
Final thoughts on the HP Elite Dragonfly vs Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS has ruled the 2-in-1 scene for quite some time now, and it’s still a wonderful choice for a business laptop, especially since its beauty of build, vivid display and value – based on price – is something that HP needs to look into.
Nevertheless, the Dragonfly amazes with its ethereal and durable chassis, and blows the mind with the suite of actually-useful security features, many ports and amazing battery life.
As I mentioned earlier, price and power put my vote to the New Dell XPS 13 9300, but whichever one you choose, I’m sure you will love it.