HP Elite Dragonfly G3 vs Surface Laptop Studio: Which is better?

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 vs Surface Laptop Studio: Which is better?

With the HP Elite Dragonfly G3, HP has made some big changes to its most premium business laptop. It has a taller display, new colors, and a clamshell design, in addition to upgraded processors. But while there are good reasons to love it, choosing a new laptop is always difficult when there are so many great options out there. In this article, we’ll be comparing the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 to the Surface Laptop Studio so you can decide between the two.

To be clear, these laptops are geared towards very different audiences, so there’s a good chance you already have a preference. One is a business laptop and the other is more geared towards creative professionals. But both are fantastic laptops, so we’ll just be taking a closer look at the differences in case you’re still on the fence.

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HP Elite Dragonfly G3 vs Surface Laptop Studio: Specs

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 Surface Laptop Studio
CPU
  • 12th Generation Intel Core processors with vPro
  • 11th generation Intel Core H35 i5-11300H (up to 4.4GHz, 4-core, 8 threads, 8MB cache)
  • 11th generation Intel Core H35 i7-11370H (up to 4.8GHz, 4-core, 8 threads, 12MB cache)
Graphics
  • Intel Iris Xe
  • Intel Iris Xe Graphics (Core i5)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB GDDR6 (Core i7)
Display
  • 13.5-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1280) 400 nits
  • 13.5-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1280) HP Sure View Reflect, 1000 nits
  • 13.5-inch 3K2K (3000 x 2000) OLED, touch, 400 nits, anti-reflective
  • 14.4 inch PixelSense Flow (2400 x 1600), Dolby Vision, up to 120Hz refresh rate, touch, Surface Pen support
Storage
  • Up to 2TB PCIe SSD
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
  • 1TB
  • 2TB
RAM
  • Up to 32GB LPDDR5
  • 16GB LPDDR4x
  • 32GB LPDDR4x
Battery
  • 4-cell 45WHr battery
  • 6-cell 68WHr battery
  •  58Wh battery
Ports
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) ports
  • 1 USB Type-A port (also used for charging)
  • HDMI 2.0
  • 3.5mm combo audio jack
  • Nano SIM slot (optional)
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • 1 Surface Connect port
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
Audio
  • Premium speakers (up to 78 dB), discrete amplifiers
  • Quad Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Atmos
Camera
  • 5MP webcam with HP Presence and privacy shutter
  • 1080p Full HD front-facing webcam
Windows Hello
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • IR webcam
Connectivity
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (2×2)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Optional: NFC
  • Optional: 4G LTE or 5G cellular
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Xbox Wireless
Color
  • Natural Silver
  • Slate Blue
  • Platinum
Size (WxDxH) 297.4 × 220.4 × 16.4mm (11.71 × 8.68 × 0.65 inches) 323.28 x 228.32 x 18.94 mm (12.72 x 8.98 x 0.746 in)
Weight
  • Starts at 0.99kg (2.2 lb)
  • Core i5: 1.74 kg (3.83 lbs)
  • Core i7: 1.82 kg (4 lbs)
Price TBA Starting at $1,599

Performance: The Elite Dragonfly G3 has 12th-generation Intel CPUs

One of the first big differences you’ll notice in the specs above is that the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 comes with 12th-generation Intel Core processors, while the Surface Laptop Studio is still using 11th-generation models. That gives the Elite Dragonfly G3 a big advantage, especially because these new Intel processors have a new hybrid architecture. If HP is using Intel’s P-series processors, we’re looking at up to 14 cores and 20 threads, compared to just four cores and eight threads on the Surface Laptop Studio.

The Surface Laptop Studio’s processors do have a 35W TDP, which is going to be higher than the processors HP is using. While the company hasn’t specified yet, the Elite Dragonfly G3 will likely be using the new P-series processors that have a 28W TDP – that’s what most premium laptops for 2022 are using. However, they could also be 15W processors. A higher TDP generally means better performance, especially in sustained workloads, as long as the thermals can keep up.

It’s early to compare benchmark scores because Intel’s 12th-generation processors don’t have enough representation to determine an average score yet, but here’s an example of how these processors may compare (assuming the Elite Dragonfly G3 will use 28W processors):

Intel Core i5-11300H
(average)
Intel Core i5-1250P
(see test)
Intel Core i7-11370H
(average)
Intel Core i7-1280P
(see test)
Geekbench (single-core/multi-core) 1,286 / 4,448 1,442 / 7,543 1,395 / 4,860 1,790 / 9,312

While these results are still early, you can see how beneficial the extra cores are when it comes to multi-core performance. This could be a major win for the HP Elite Dragonfly G3.

The Surface Laptop Studio has an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU.

One area where the Surface Laptop Studio does win, though, is the GPU. If you go with the Intel Core i7 models, the Surface Laptop Studio includes discrete graphics, specifically an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti. That means you can feasibly use the Surface Laptop Studio for more GPU-intensive tasks like gaming and some creative workloads, and it’ll do far better at it than the HP Elite Dragonfly. The GeForce RTX 3050 Ti is a fairly powerful GPU that’ll be able to handle most modern games at good framerates, which you can’t say for the integrated graphics in the Intel processors.

Front view of Surface Laptop Studio

Rounding things out, the HP Elite Dragonfly has the newer and faster LPDDR5 RAM, which is the first major upgrade to RAM we’ve had in a few years. That should also I’ve it a performance boost over the Surface Laptop Studio, especially as apps get optimized for this new type of RAM.

Display and sound: Two great screens for different users

One of the big changes HP has made with the Elite Dragonfly G3 is the 13.5-inch display, which now has a 3:2 aspect ratio just like the Surface Laptop Studio. This taller aspect ratio is great for productivity and it’s a very welcome change. The base model comes in Full HD+ (1920 x 1280) resolution, and you can add a privacy display on top of that, meaning people around you can’t see what’s on your screen. There’s also a 3K2K (3000 x 2000) OLED display option, which looks fantastic. This is a very sharp resolution, plus you get benefits like true blacks and vibrant colors thanks to the OLED display, and this configuration also supports touch.

Meanwhile, the Surface Laptop Studio has a slightly larger 14.4-inch display, also with a 3:2 aspect ratio. With this laptop, there’s only one configuration available, and it’s not bad at all. It’s a 2400 x 1600 display, which is somewhere around Quad HD resolution, and it’s an LCD panel. It’s also got a 120Hz refresh rate, which is its biggest advantage against the Elite Dragonfly G3, and it supports touch and the Surface Pen. That high refresh rate is also great to make use of the discrete GPU in the Core i7 models, and it reinforces this laptop as a kind of do-it-all device. It’s for artists, creators, and gamers.

There’s a big difference here in terms of versatility, though. While the OLED models of the Elite Dragonfly G3 do support touch, it’s still a clamshell laptop. On the other hand, the Surface Laptop Studio is a convertible, and a very unique one at that. You can pull the screen closer to you to watch movies, or lay out flat over the keyboard and start doodling or taking notes with the Surface Slim Pen 2. The display is much more versatile on the Surface Laptop Studio, and it’s ideal if you’re an artist or you just like taking handwritten notes.

Display pulled forward on Surface Laptop Studio

Above the display, both laptops have pretty good webcams, but HP takes the cake here. The Surface Laptop Studio has a Full HD 1080p webcam with Windows Hello support, but that’s it. That’s better than most laptops, but HP goes a step further. The Elite Dragonfly G3 has a 5MP camera with HP Presence, meaning it supports features like auto framing and lighting correction, in addition to also having 1080p video. It also supports Windows Hello facial recognition, and there’s even a fingerprint reader if you prefer unlocking the PC that way.

HP Presence on the Elite Dragonfly G3 webcam includes features like auto framing and lighting correction.

As for sound, the Surface Laptop Studio has Quad Omnisonic speakers, meaning the speakers are under the keyboard firing directly at you, while HP only says the Elite Dragonfly G3 has “premium speakers” with discrete amplifiers. Both should give you a great experience, but having quad speakers should give the Surface Laptop Studio an advantage.

Design: The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is much lighter than the Surface Laptop Studio

Moving on to the design, the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 carries the legacy of its predecessors in that it’s one of the lightest business laptops around. It weighs just 2.18lbs in its base configuration, and that’s great for business users who need to travel with the laptop on their back or in a briefcase. It’s also a thinner laptop, measuring 16.4mm.

The Surface Laptop Studio is significantly heavier, starting at 3.83lbs for the Core i5 models and at 4lbs for the Core i7 versions. There’s a bit more going on with the Surface Laptop Studio, including the double-hinge design that allows the display to be laid on top of the keyboard. Plus, the Surface Laptop Studio has a larger display and a higher TDP. This makes it more ideal to use in a studio or office, though it’s not overly heavy if you want to carry it with you every now and then.

In terms of looks, the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is everything you’d expect from a business laptop. It comes in either Natural Silver or Slate Blue, though the latter is closer to black. There’s not much to point out here.

Side view of Surface Laptop Studio

The Surface Laptop Studio is very much another Surface, too, and it only comes in the signature Platinum color. Personally speaking, I do prefer this color to HP’s silver, but it’s still fairly standard for Microsoft. It does have some unique design elements like the flat edges and the cutout all around the bottom of the base, which also makes room to store the Surface Slim Pen 2.

Ports and connectivity: The Surface Laptop Studio is heavily focused on Thunderbolt

Rounding things out with ports, the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is significantly more versatile than the Surface Laptop Studio. HP’s laptop includes two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB Type-A port, HDMI, and a headphone jack. That means out of the box, you can plug in almost anything you want, and that’s very rare to see in such a small and lightweight laptop. And you can always expand that with a Thunderbolt dock if you want to.

On the other hand, the Surface Laptop Studio leans heavily on Thunderbolt 4, since that’s almost all it has. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a Surface Connect port for charging, and a headphone jack. Both Thunderbolt 4 and Surface Connect can be used to connect a dock if you want more ports, but out of the box, the Surface Laptop Studio is just much more limiting.

In terms of wireless connectivity, the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 comes with optional cellular connectivity, with your choice of 4G LTE or 5G, which is what you’d expect from a business laptop. This allows you to connect to the internet anywhere you go, even when there’s no Wi-Fi, which is a big deal for business users.

The HP Elite Dragonfly has optional cellular connectivity.

On the other hand, the Surface Laptop Studio leans a bit more into gaming with support for Xbox Wireless connectivity, meaning you can use your Xbox Wireless Controller with lower latency than using Bluetooth, plus you can connect multiple controllers if you want to.

Aside form that, both laptops support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, though the HP Dragonfly has the benefit of supporting the newer Wi-Fi 6E standard and the 6GHz wireless band.

Final thoughts

With all of this in mind, it should be apparent that the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 and the Surface Laptop Studio are meant for very different people. The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is ideal for business users. It has modern processors with vPro support, it’s very lightweight, it has tons of ports, and a solid display, including the option for a privacy screen if you need to work with sensitive information in public. This is a laptop you can take anywhere to get work done, especially if you add cellular connectivity. It’s also a great option for media consumption, if you get the OLED display configuration.

The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is ideal for business users, and the Surface Laptop Studio is for creators.

On the other hand, the Surface Laptop Studio is meant for users who want a bit more power. Whether you’re an artist, a creative professional, or even if you enjoy some gaming, this laptop is a much better choice. It has a fairly powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU and a 120Hz display to make use of that power, so it’s great for gaming, and Xbox Wireless support makes it even better if you’re a controller gamer. Plus, the convertible form factor is made for creators, allowing you to doodle something up easily and quickly with the Surface Slim Pen 2. It’s not as portable, but it’s a powerful machine with a lot of versatility.

Personally speaking, my choice would easily go to the Surface Laptop Studio. I absolutely love the versatility of this design and its specs, so it’s simply no context. But if all you want is a great laptop to get work done, the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is for you.

Surface Laptop Studio in stage mode

if you do prefer the HP Elite Dragonfly G3, you’ll need to wait a little longer, since it’s not available for purchase yet. If you prefer the Surface Laptop Studio, you can buy it below, and we’ll have a link for the Elite Dragonfly G3 as soon as it’s available, too. Otherwise, you can check out the best HP laptops or the best Surface PCs if you want to see what each brand has to offer.

    The Surface Laptop Studio comes with an all-new design, more powerful internals, a 120Hz display, and Thunderbolt support, making it one of the most versatile Surface devices yet.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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