Listen. Is a $2,379 folio-style laptop an impractical and illogical purchase for most people? Yes. But is it a heck of a lot of fun to use while coveting a more luxurious life? Also yes.
I’m currently typing this on a prototype unit of the HP Dragonfly Folio G3, announced today. HP is following in the footsteps of some other laptop manufacturers this year and replacing the traditional 2-in-1 form factor of its high-end convertible line with something a bit more (I guess, in theory) versatile.
For those who don’t obsessively follow the convertible laptop space (and first of all, how could you be so ignorant? Go stand in the corner), the folio design puts a flex point in the middle of the G3’s screen, which that screen is able to rotate backward or forward around. It can also be pulled forward to be angled like a tent over the keyboard, folded into a tablet, or just used like a regular laptop.
Look, this is hard to explain. Just take a look at the pictures, and you’ll know what kind of thing I’m talking about. If you’re familiar with Acer’s ConceptD Ezel, it’s that sort of deal.
Now, the thing about HP doing this, specifically, is that the company has been trying to make this kind of fabric-bound folio luxury doodad a thing for years. It tried it back in 2019 with the Spectre Folio, and it did another one last year in the Snapdragon-powered Elite Folio. One wonders if HP’s just bouncing this form factor around different floors of the office so that every department gets its turn. I, for one, will welcome a leather-covered folio-style Omen 45L next year.
Regardless, today, the folio design has come for the very expensive, C-suite-targeted Dragonfly business line. And you know what? It’s a good time.
Using this thing (which, again, I recognize is too expensive for humans to actually buy) really looks and feels like using a Dragonfly. It’s a bit thick, including the cute little cover, but does not feel thick at all. Sliding it into a backpack feels like sliding a notebook in.
The prototype’s chassis is sturdy, flex-free, and easy to fold into different positions. When I watched stuff, or was on a particularly long Zoom call, I used it like a tent. When I needed the keyboard again, it popped right back into laptop mode. I wish everything in life were so easy.
While I know better than to expect too much out of prototype units, I just keep running into stuff that’s weirdly great about this one. The keyboard is one of the clickiest, most comfortable ones that I’ve used for quite some time. The 8MP webcam is crisp and clear. The speakers sound good at nowhere near maximum volume. Even the key backlighting just looks quite beautiful to me. (I was not, by the way, saying all of this stuff about the clamshell Dragonfly G3 prototype I took for a spin earlier this year.)
I can’t speak to this thing’s performance since it’s a preproduction unit. I do feel compelled, however, to tease one thing: I’ve barely needed to plug it in during my testing period. That, to me, is a good sign for the kind of battery life we might see from the final unit.
Honestly — and this is a thing I feel like I’ve said about so many excellent machines this year — if this thing didn’t have negative seven ports (okay, that’s an exaggeration — there are Thunderbolt 4 and a headphone jack), I would be trying to keep it for as long as possible. Some laptops have an unspeakable quality that makes them fun to use, and these folio ones really are fun. I can run all the benchmarks in the world on a thing, and then I can also ask myself: am I sad that I have to return it? The answer, for the Folio G3, is yes. I am going to miss this little thing.