If you’re in the market for a powerful new Linux laptop then the 2-in-1 HP Dragonfly Elite (first-gen) might not be your first thought.

This 13.3-inch notebook isn’t sold with Linux, and instead coms preloaded with Windows 10.

But Jim Salter at Ars Technica decide to try out the latest Ubuntu 19.10 release on the Dragonfly Elite to see if a non-Windows experience was up to scratch.

And the result?

Pretty dang encouraging!

HP Dragonfly Elite + Ubuntu

As mentioned, the HP Dragonfly Elite ships with Windows 10 by default. There is no “buy with Linux” option, and HP isn’t making any sort of marketing claims about compatibility with Ubuntu, Linux Mint or any other distro.

But like a lot of modern laptops and PCs you can go ahead and install Ubuntu for yourself — and it’s in this area that the first-gen version of this particular portable is said to score well.

“We didn’t face any significant hurdles getting Ubuntu 19.10 installed […] and the laptop was completely and immediately functional”

Jim Salter

For some context, the HP Dragonfly Elite is a business-orientated notebook made from a lightweight (sub-1kg) magnesium alloy. It’s sold with a choice of speedy Intel processor, 16GB RAM, large SSD storage, and a 13.3-inch ‘ultrabright’ touchscreen that can flip back in to tablet and tent modes.

Jim says it took around 10 minutes to install Ubuntu on the notebook. And once the post-install confirmatory reboot was passed (and the Secure Boot faff figured out) he was presented with a fully functioning Ubuntu laptop:

“We didn’t face any significant hurdles getting Ubuntu 19.10 installed […] and the laptop was completely and immediately functional, without the need to mess around with anything,” writes Jim Salter.

Touchscreen, display, active stylus, bluetooth, Wi-Fi, keyboard function keys, touchpad… Everything work.

Touchscreen, stylus, Wi-Fi, keyboard function keys …Everything ‘just works’

“The Dragonfly Elite is a great performer […] changing operating systems didn’t slow the system down or make anything get perceptibly clunky—it’s still a well-behaved eighth generation i7 system with 16GB of RAM and fast solid state storage, and it behaves just as you’d expect such a system to.”

Even the battery life holds up, apparently!

Worth buying?

Manually installing Linux on a laptop isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but it’s not as hard or as challenging here as it can be.

The biggest hurdle to clear here is the price as the HP Dragonfly Elite G1 is not cheap.

This is a premium, business orientated notebook with some professional-level features. The price starts at around $1.6k/£1.6k for an Intel i5 model with 16GB RAM and moves upwards.

Pricing for a comparable Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition model preloaded with Ubuntu, Intel i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and a 1080p non-touch display starts around the $1.1k/£1.1k mark.

While you lose the active stylus and touchscreen the Elite G1 offers you do gain £500 in your pocket to buy a Wacom tablet or whatever.

Check out Window Central’s review for more info on this laptop
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