Technology NewsWhich business laptop is for you?

Which business laptop is for you?

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As tends to be the case every year, both Lenovo and HP refreshed their top-of-the-line business laptops for 2023, introducing the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 and the HP Dragonfly G4 (a slight rebranding of the HP Elite Dragonfly). These are both fantastic laptops that build on a legacy of high-quality devices, and at the same time, both are relatively minor upgrades from the previous generation.


If you’re looking for a new laptop for work, you might find yourself trying to decide between these two, and they do have a lot in common, so it’s fair to say either one will serve you well. The most notable difference is probably in terms of looks, where you can choose between the classic ThinkPad look or the more modern-feeling silver chassis of the HP Dragonfly. However, some interesting features in the HP Dragonfly might make it more appealing for remote work. Let’s take a closer look.


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 vs HP Dragonfly G4: Pricing and availability

If you’re looking to buy either of these laptops, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Lenovo has said that the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 will be available in April, though these dates can sometimes slip, especially with how difficult it’s been to procure parts over the last couple of years. HP is a bit more conservative with its estimates, and the Dragonfly G4 is expected to launch sometime in the spring. There’s a good chance they’ll be available around the same time.

HP hasn’t provided any information on pricing for the Dragonfly G4 and says it will share more details closer to the release date. Lenovo, for its part, says the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 will start at $1,729 when it launches. In both cases, it’s not uncommon for these laptops to go on sale and there are a lot of price fluctuations, plus you can configure a lot of the specs, so the starting price is more of a guideline than a set value you can expect to pay.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 vs HP Dragonfly G4: Specs

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11

HP Dragonfly G4

Operating system

CPU

  • 13th-generation Intel Core processors
  • 13th-generation Intel Core processors

Graphics

Display

  • 14-inch, 16:10 aspect ratio, up to 2.8K (2880 x1800) OLED, HDR500 True Black
  • 13.5-inch IPS, 3:2 aspect ratio, Full HD+ (1920 x 1280), 400 nits, optional touch, optional anti-glare
  • 13.5-inch IPS, 3:2 aspect ratio, Full HD+ (1920 x 1280), 1000 nits, HP Sure View Reflect, touch optional, optional anti-glare
  • 13.5-inch OLED, 3:2 aspect ratio, 3K2K (3000 x 2000), 400 nits, touch

Storage

  • Up to 2TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
  • Up to 2TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD

RAM

Battery

Ports

  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0b
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Optional: Nano SIM slot
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Optional: Nano SIM slot

Audio

  • Dolby Atmos speaker system
  • Quad-array 360-degree microphones
  • Discrete audio amplifiers
  • Dual top-edge microphones

Camera

  • Up to 1080p Full HD MIPI RGB + IR webcam with Computer Vision and physical shutter
  • 5MP MIPI camera with 88-degree FOV + IR camera

Windows Hello

  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint sensor

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi 6E 2×2
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Cellular options:
    • 5G sub-6 Cat20
    • 4G LTE Cat16
    • 4G LTE Cat4 (China only)
  • Wi-Fi 6E 2×2
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Cellular options:
    • 5G sub-6 Cat20
    • 4G LTE Cat16

Color

  • Natural Silver
  • Slate Blue

Size (WxDxH)

  • 12.42 x 8.76 x 0.60 inches (315.6 x 222.5 x 15.36mm)
  • 11.71 x 8.68 x 0.65 inches (297.4 x 220.4 x 16.4mm)

Weight

2.48 pounds (1.2kg)

2.22 pounds (0.99kg)

Starting price

$1,729

TBA

Display and webcam: They’re different, but both are great

One of the first and more significant differences between the HP Dragonfly G4 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 is the display. Like the previous iteration, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 comes with a 14-inch display and a 16:10 aspect ratio, which has become increasingly common in premium laptops and business laptops in general. Lenovo hasn’t shared a full list of configurations, but we know there are options up to a 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED panel, and that’s similar to what we got last year, which was very good already.

Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1-Carbon-12

ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 10)

The base model will likely include a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) panel, which is also more than good enough for a laptop of this size. There will be options for touch support, a ThinkPad Privacy Guard to prevent prying eyes from snooping on your work, and there could be an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS panel option based on the previous model.

The HP Dragonfly G4 has a slightly smaller 13.5-inch display, but it has a taller 3:2 aspect ratio, which is far less common but preferred by many for productivity. This tall screen makes it even easier to get work done with less scrolling required, while the smaller size makes it slightly more portable. The base configuration will also be a Full HD+ panel but with a slightly higher pixel count at 1920 x 1280 to accommodate the taller aspect ratio.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 14

You’ll also have the option for HP Sure View Reflect, the company’s version of a privacy screen and arguably the best one on the market. Then, there’s the top-tier configuration, the 3K2K (3000 x 2000) OLED panel, giving you all the benefits of OLED in an even sharper resolution than the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s OLED panel.

The HP Dragonfly has some exclusive webcam features, like keystone correction for showing off documents and whiteboards

The specs are pretty similar for the most part, though, so the choice really comes down to whether you prefer the slightly larger and wider display of the ThinkPad or the smaller but taller HP Dragonfly panel.

Meanwhile, both laptops have webcams capable of 1080p video, but the HP Dragonfly G4 actually has some advantages when it comes to the webcam. First, it has a 5MP sensor, which means it can crop into the sensor without losing quality and makes features like auto framing that much better. The HP Dragonfly also has some exclusive webcam features, like keystone correction for showing off documents and whiteboards, and multi-camera support, so you can seamlessly switch between two connected cameras or even use them at the same time.

Design: An old-school icon or a more modern take

While the display is the biggest functional difference between these two laptops, the design is really what everybody’s going to notice. These laptops look radically different, and it might very well be what makes your decision. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 is just like every ThinkPad since way back in the day, with a black chassis, red accents, a red TrackPoint, and duplicate mouse buttons above the touchpad. The latter is a feature that works very well for a lot of people, and it’s the whole reason many still buy ThinkPads. For others — myself included — it feels outdated and looks ugly.

Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1-Carbon-5

ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 10)

If you feel the same way, the HP Dragonfly G4 may be much more up your alley. This is a modern and premium-looking laptop that features a magnesium chassis and comes in either Natural Silver or Slate Blue, both subdued colors that look great in a work environment.

It’s not like silver laptops are all that unique, and for someone who prefers a design that stands out, this can actually be kind of boring. But it does look premium and more modern, and if you want something a bit more distinct, the Slate Blue color option is a great alternative. With the ThinkPad, you can’t really change the color, though you can get a carbon fiber weave pattern on the lid if you want a more distinct look.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 3

As far as portability goes, the HP Dragonfly G4 is the lighter laptop, starting at just 2.2 pounds compared to the 2.48 pounds of the ThinkPad. HP’s laptop mostly uses magnesium for its chassis, while the ThinkPad X1 Carbon uses a mix of carbon fiber and aluminum. HP’s laptop is slightly thicker measuring 16.4mm compared to the 15.36mm of the ThinkPad, but it is smaller overall.

Ports: Plenty of connectivity for both

Business laptops tend to have solid connectivity options, and that’s the case for both of these models. Lenovo’s laptop actually comes out ahead here, featuring two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, and an optional nano-SIM slot for models with cellular connectivity. HP’s laptop is nearly identical, but it’s down one USB Type-A port.

Things are almost the same in terms of wireless connectivity, too. Both laptops obviously support Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, but both also have options for cellular connectivity. You can choose between 5G support for 4G LTE (Cat 16) on both laptops, though neither spec sheet says what modems are being used for cellular support just yet.

Performance: The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is faster

While both of these laptops come with 13th-generation Intel Core processors, they’re not exactly the same. Just like in 2022, Lenovo is using 28W P-series processors for its laptop, while HP is sticking with U15 models with a 15W TDP.

Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1-Carbon-2

ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 10)

As you might be able to guess, 28W processors are significantly faster, but they also use more power and generate more heat, making laptops harder to cool and less portable. Still, that extra performance may be useful, so it’s up to you whether you prefer power or battery life.

Just like in 2022, Lenovo is using 28W P-series processors for its laptop, while HP is sticking with U15 models with a 15W TDP.

It’s worth mentioning that HP does have a couple of interesting new features for power management, though, most notably Intelligent Hibernate, which helps your laptop save power by hibernating when you’re not planning to use it. Typical Windows modern standby can kill the battery on your laptop even when it’s sleeping, so this could be a very useful feature for some users.

Aside from all this, we should mention that the ThinkPad X1 Carbon can be configured with up to 64GB of RAM, double what the HP Dragonfly G4 offers, so it may be more suitable for memory-intensive tasks. Both laptops have up to a 2TB SSD, so you’ll have plenty of fast storage.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 vs HP Dragonfly G4: Which should you buy?

Whether you buy the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 or the HP Dragonfly G4 depends a lot on personal taste. Do you prefer the tall screen of the HP Dragonfly or the slightly more common aspect ratio of the ThinkPad? Is HP’s more modern design something you prefer, or are you more of a fan of the iconic ThinkPad look and features? Those questions will greatly influence your final decision.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 7

Of course, there’s also performance, which can end up being very different depending on the processors each company uses. Do you want the faster 28W processors at the expense of battery life, or would you rather have a machine that can last you much longer away from a charger? The ThinkPad will probably be faster, but the HP Dragonfly is better if you’re away from the office more frequently.

You still have time to make these considerations since neither laptop will be available until at least spring. If you want to buy a new laptop right now, you might want to check out the best ThinkPads and the best HP laptops that are available today. The PCs on those lists are still great and definitely worth your time.

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