HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook: Hands-on from CES 2023

CNN Underscored will bring you great content from CES 2023 throughout the week. Be sure to check out our CES 2023 coverage hub for hands-on experience with the year’s biggest tech, straight from the show floor.

For many people, Chromebooks are cheap, no-frills machines for browsing the web and getting some work done. But they can be more than that. New high-end Chromebooks combine the simplicity of ChromeOS with the power and looks of a high-end laptop, and HP’s new Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is one of the most striking examples we’ve seen.

The Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, due out this spring at an as-yet-unannounced price (we expect it to be in line with current premium Chromebooks, around $500 or more), uses the same sleek design language as its Windows counterpart, while throwing in some Neat touches, including slick RGB lighting that you usually only find on gaming laptops. We had a chance to get hands-on with this fascinating new Chromebook ahead of its launch at CES 2023, so here are some early impressions.

product: HP Dragonfly Chromebook Pro
Launch date: Spring 2023
Price: Released in spring (premium Chromebooks typically cost $500 or more)
Why it’s worth your attention: Chromebooks are rarely this good looking, and they often don’t offer high-end features like customizable RGB lighting. If you want the simplicity of ChromeOS, but in a design that really stands out, Dragonfly is on your radar.

HP DragonFly Chromebook Pro 1

Mike Andronico/CNN

No ChromeOS laptop like the Dragonfly Pro has grabbed my attention since 2020’s Samsung Chromebook 2 . HP’s latest premium Chromebook looks nearly identical to the standard Dragonfly Pro, which is to say it’s stylish enough to stand out in the office, light enough to travel with and attractive in both ceramic white and shiny black.

The Dragonfly Pro Chromebook felt great to use in my limited hands-on time, with a hefty 3.3-pound frame that’s a breeze to pick up, and a satisfyingly bright and colorful 14-inch 2560 x 1600 display that when It literally popped up my favorite YouTube video when I booted it up. I was immediately drawn to the laptop’s keyboard, which, in addition to feeling nice and springy, offers customizable RGB lighting — a rarity in Chromebooks.

HP Dragonfly Chromebook Pro 4

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You can choose from some preset colors and patterns in the ChromeOS settings menu, or let it automatically match Dragonfly Pro’s many colorful wallpaper options. The Dragonfly Pro Chromebook’s RGB lighting might not be as punchy or dynamic as what you’ll find on gaming laptops, but it’s still a nice touch that perfectly complements the laptop’s sleek design and color display.

HP’s latest Chromebook is powered by a 12th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, paired with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which should keep you up to speedy emails, some work, and Android gaming via the Google Play Store every day. HP promises “all-day battery life” (we’re looking forward to testing that), as well as fast-charging support that can get you to a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes (ditto).

HP Laptop 14 1

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The Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is just one of HP’s impressive CES 2023 rosters, which run the gamut from sustainability-focused affordable notebooks to high-end Windows machines, including the standard Dragonfly Pro, which gives you the same Sleek design, but with the flexibility of Windows 11, the power of an AMD processor, and a wider range of storage and memory options.

HP All-in-One 2

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Staples such as the HP Notebook 14-inch and HP Notebook 15.6-inch have been updated with new components, with the former available in a particularly interesting “Eco Edition.” According to HP, up to 25 percent of the new notebook is made from post-consumer recycled plastic, with additional sources including used cooking oil. It also comes in 100% sustainably sourced recyclable packaging. It looks gorgeous, too, in a stunning Waterfall Blue colorway.

HP’s sustainability efforts also extend to its newest all-in-one PC, which the company tells us has an enclosure made from at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled plastic, a stand made from 75 percent recycled aluminum, and a base made entirely of Made from recycled polyester. Recycled coffee grounds are used to create an attractive speckled finish. Overall, it’s nice to see HP push heavily on eco-friendly products, especially when they all look this good.

HP Dragonfly Chromebook Pro 2

Mike Andronico/CNN

HP’s lineup of consumer PCs this year is impressive, not just because the company’s machines are sleek and performant, but because many of them are designed with the planet in mind. The Dragonfly Pro 14 looks like a real contender for best laptop, and its Chromebook counterpart is one of the most attractive we’ve seen. Considering affordable, eco-friendly options like the HP Laptop 14-inch and 24-inch All-in-Ones, HP should have something for almost everyone in 2023. We look forward to testing HP’s new lineup 24/7 as PCs begin rolling out, so stay tuned for more.

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