If your question is whether it will work on a laptop like that, the answer unfortunately has to be “it depends”, specifically on what you intend to do, but also on what the OS is, what the audio hardware is like etc.
I have used Cubase 9, 10, 11 and 12 on pretty low-spec CPUs, so I don’t think the i3 would be a problem as long as don’t run lots of reverbs or other compute-intensive plugins. Elements is not less of a load than Pro, by the way, there are just less features, so feel free to install Pro and try it out.
IMHO, the main question with laptops is not whether or not they are capable of running audio, but whether they are capable of realtime audio processing while also maintaining useful battery life.
If you already own Pro you could just load & authorize it on the laptop and see for yourself. The difference between Pro & Elements isn’t really about performance (the audio engine is the same) but rather which features & capabilities are available to use.
That shouldn’t matter. Once you have the Download Manager on your laptop you can use it to download any Steinberg products including both Cubase Pro & Elements. Why do you think you “can’t download Pro?”
It’s indeed strange that the original post has been edited. Originally, there was a mention of Cubase 11 as well. Without more info about what exactly the OP is trying to run without the USB-eLicenser, it’s anyone’s guess what the solution to the problem is (if there is one).
I just don’t understand why one wouldn’t install Cubase Pro 12 on the laptop and carry on about his/her business.
@Robin_S is it that you don’t have internet access on the laptop? I’m confused.
It is probably right that I have other things on my desktop machine that mean the USB dongle still needs to be present but when I open the e-licenser it seems to require the dongle for Cubase too! I also have various bits of legacy hardware (Korg & Roland etc) that I should retire soon as that complicates things too.
I did read somewhere that not everything has been fully transferred to non-dongle licence and, as I have been using Cubase from SX onwards and have had, and still have, multiple other Steinberg plug ins etc that could be it. Have to admit to not really understanding the administration of licences fully so I use the activation manager thing.
(Never had 11 though - went from 8 to 12 - that was a big leap!)
Anyway, I saw that you could download a 60 day trial copy of Elements from Steinberg so that is what I did and it works!
I suspect that it will get a bit twitchy if I use too many plug-ins but for what I want to do right now it will be fine.
I will explore what you are saying about there being no need for the dongle as it is using a USB port I could do with being free.
Thanks for all your thoughts - they led me in the right direction.