HP’s Dragonfly Chromebook is the most exciting Chromebook I’ve seen in a while. The device, which combines high-end specs with premium hardware design, was announced at CES in January. And now, HP has finally revealed the price of this thing: The consumer version of the Dragonfly Chromebook is expected to ship this summer, and it will cost — brace yourself — $1,149.
Okay, so that’s not as bad as it could have been. The Enterprise model of the Dragonfly is listed at the time of writing with a suggested retail price of $2,165, which is the highest starting price I’ve ever heard of from a Chromebook. Still, $1,149 is… a lot.
For that high price, this dragonfly device will contain all kinds of high-end features. It will be the first Chromebook with Intel’s vPro platform, a staple of high-end business PCs. It also has the world’s first haptic touchpad on a Chromebook, a display option that can hit a whopping 1,000 nits of brightness, an HDMI port, and 12th-generation Intel processors. Current-generation Intel chips aren’t hitting Chromebooks as soon after their release.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook, another recent time a company tried to add a Chromebook option to its well-established premium business line, started at $909 at the time of release (and I thought that was quite high back then). Other companies have tried the high-end Chromebook – Samsung made a beautiful and very red device for $999, and Google’s convertible Pixelbook (also $999) was groundbreaking hardware at the time of release. Both devices topped out at just under $1,000, but we still didn’t see excellent value for their price tags after our testing.
Also keep in mind that $1,149 is the base price of the Dragonfly. HP tells me that this base model will have a Core-i3-1215U, 8GB of memory, 128GB of storage, and a QHD+ touchscreen (which has a maximum of 400 nits, not 1,000). That’s very expensive for those specs, even in a Chromebook. And I imagine a lot of people shopping in the Dragonfly price range probably want more.
This puts the Dragonfly Chromebook in a bit of an odd space. On the one hand, there aren’t many competing options for high-end Chromebooks. On the other hand, for this price you can buy a very well built Windows laptop with similar specs. High-end business laptops generally aren’t good deals — they’re usually an arena where manufacturers can really show off the tech they’re capable of as they target customers with bottomless pockets.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t Chrome OS enthusiasts who would prefer this over something like an HP Specter or that there aren’t advantages Google’s operating system can claim over Microsoft’s. But for Chrome OS to become commonplace in the C-Suite, good hardware isn’t enough; Chrome OS should be able to match the software support Windows currently offers. If the Dragonfly Chromebook is as good as it looks, Chrome OS will have to step it up a notch, and how well it does could point to the future of the premium business Chromebook as a category.