Apple’s MacBook Pro 14 has taken over as the best 14-inch laptop you can buy today, thanks to great performance and battery life, an amazing display, and an elegant, functional design. It’s one of the best laptops you can buy, and it’s recently been upgraded with the newer Apple M2 Pro and Max CPUs for better performance and efficiency.
HP introduced the Dragonfly Pro at CES 2023 to take on the MacBook Pro, and it has a pretty steep hill to climb. We haven’t reviewed the laptop yet, but it marks an interesting switch for Dragonfly to the consumer segment from the commercial market. Will HP’s newly designated 14-inch machine get the best?
|HP Dragonfly Pro||Apple MacBook Pro 14|
|Dimensions||12.39 inches x 8.78 inches x 0.72 inches||12.31 inches by 8.71 inches by 0.60 inches|
|Weight||3.53 pounds||3.5 pounds|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 7 7736U||Apple M2 Pro
Apple M2 Max
|Graphics||AMD Radeon graphics||united|
|exudation||14.0-inch 16:10 Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,200) IPS||14.2-inch 16:10 Liquid Retina XDR 3024 x 1964|
|Ports||2 x USB-C 4.0
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
|3 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
SD card reader
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2||Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0|
|Webcams||5MP with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello||1080p|
|Operating system||Windows 11||MacOS Monterey|
|Battery||64.6 watt-hours||70 watt-hours|
|Rating||Not yet reviewed||5 out of 5 stars (M1 version)|
The Dragonfly Pro and MacBook Pro 14 are within fractions of an inch of each other in width and depth, and they both weigh about 3.5 pounds. The Dragonfly Pro is a bit thicker, though, something we find hard to account for.
HP makes a lot of keyboards, especially with their Specter and Dragonfly lines, and we hope this carries over to the Dragonfly Pro. If this happens, we will see a quick, responsive keyboard that makes fast typing comfortable for hours. It still can’t live up to the Magic Keyboard on the MacBook Pro 14, however, which remains the best keyboard on a laptop today. It’s not as deep as others, but its switches are accurate and consistent, and typing on it is a pleasant experience. Both laptops have haptic touchpads, although Apple’s is slightly larger. We got to test how HP’s version of Force Touch compares to the MacBook Pro 14, which is the current standard for touchpads.
An interesting aspect of the Dragonfly Pro is HP’s new 24/7 live concierge support, which can be accessed using one of the four hot keys on the right side of the keyboard. There is a fee for the service, which puts you in touch with a live technical support agent if you run into a jam. Interestingly, if you do not sign up for the service, then that key will not be used and will not be remapping.
The Dragonfly Pro uses the AMD Ryzen 7 7736U 15-watt to 28-watt 8-core/16-thread CPU, and the two companies work together to use an adaptive platform management framework that aims to embrace the performance of real- world productivity workflows. This is a low-power version of AMD’s latest Ryzen 7000 series chips, likely to provide strong productivity and limited creativity performance. Compare that to the smallest M2 Pro in the MacBook Pro 14, which starts with a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU and improves on the performance of the class-leading M1 Pro.
Although this is a new update to the MacBook Pro 14 while writing this comparison, we are still ready to guarantee that the smaller M2 Pro will significantly surpass the Dragonfly Pro in performance and will give a greater lead when you can upgrade to the M2 Max, which can have as many as 12 CPU cores and 38 GPU cores. The MacBook Pro 14 will be a super fast laptop for any task, be it productivity or creativity. And we’re comfortable saying that without benchmarking any laptop.
The MacBook Pro 14 enjoys a unique 14.2-inch 16:10 mini-LED XDR display at 3024 x 1964 resolution and runs at up to 120Hz. It has wide and accurate colors, incredible brightness, and deep contrast that rivals OLED with its inky blacks. It’s an amazing show that’s great for creators and for media consumers thanks to its unique HDR support.
The Dragonfly Pro is, surprisingly, limited to a 14.0-inch 16:10 Full HD + (1,920 x 1,200) IPS display at 60Hz. We haven’t tested it and therefore can’t confirm its quality, but the HP specs put it at 400 nits of brightness – less than the display of the MacBook Pro 14 – and 100% sRGB, which is the only standard specification for premium display.
Again, the MacBook Pro 14 outperforms the Dragonfly Pro. Its display is amazing, while, if we were to guess, the panel of the Dragonfly Pro is good but not great. And it’s not as sharp as it should be given today’s premium laptop standards, especially when compared to the MacBook Pro 14.
You can feel two laptops in your backpack – these are not small 13-inch machines. But they won’t weigh you down either, and they’re both slim enough to fit easily into a backpack. The MacBook Pro 14 is thinner, though.
The biggest difference is likely to be in battery life, something we got to test on both machines. But the M2 Pro and Max CPUs are even more efficient than the M1 Pro and Max, which already provide the best battery life we’ve seen in powerful laptops. We expect the MacBook Pro 14 to deliver hours of longer life than the Dragonfly Pro, unless HP pulls a rabbit out of its hat.
The Dragonfly Pro had better be cheap, or it wouldn’t be a chance
The MacBook Pro 14 outperforms the Dragonfly Pro in almost every aspect. We predict that it will be faster, offer better battery life, enjoy a better display, and have a better keyboard and touchpad. On paper, HP doesn’t stand a chance.
We’ll have to wait to see the price because the MacBook Pro 14 starts at $2,000 and goes up from there. You can spend over $6,000 on a fully configured machine. If Dragonfly Pro wants to get customers away from the MacBook Pro 14, it needs to be inexpensive.