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The first Snapdragon X Elite laptops are out — and they’re fast

The new Snapdragon X Elite. 'Tis fast...
2 minute read
The new Snapdragon X Elite. 'Tis fast...

The first batch of Snapdragon X Elite powered Copilot+ PCs have been released and, judging from initial testing, they are just as fast as Qualcomm said they were going to be.

It’s fair to say that the computing world took the numbers that Qualcomm was claiming for its new Snapdragon X Elite processors with a pinch of salt when they were first announced. Yes, they looked good on paper, but we’ve been here before with whizzy new processors that have simply fallen apart when they get to the messy realities of the real world.  

So far, though, it looks like the performance of these new machines is every bit as good as people would have hoped. Bench tests on the likes of the new Asus Vivobook S 15, Microsoft Surface Pro 11, and HP Omnibook X are returning very pleasing figures for everyone except Apple, whose M3-powered MacBook Airs can no longer we thought of as the undisputed cock o’ the laptop walk, and Intel, whose hegemony can now be thought of as well and truly busted.

Benchmarking tests from Tom’s Guide in the table below show that the X Elite either matches or improves on Apple silicon, with the performance gains more noticeable when it comes to multicore.  The Handbrake test referred to in the table involves transcoding a set length 4K video clip to 1080p.

toms guide Snapdragon X Elite benchmarks

Source: Tom's Guide

So, all in all, pretty speedy. 

The data is still coming in regarding other aspects of the Copilot+ PCs performance, so here’s a summary of what we know so far.

  • Battery life is looking good, some are even calling it exceptional. Expect something at least as good as a MacBook that will enable you to do a full Fays work without worrying.
  • Gaming performance is iffy for many, mainly because of a lack of native ARM support for a lot of titles that have to run under an emulation layer
  • The same is true for plenty of productivity tools as well. According to the Wall St Journal, Samsung notes that Adobe Indesign, Illustrator, and After Effects will not run on its new X-Elite powered Galaxy Book 4 Edge. However, Adobe has promised more native ARM support, including that for Premiere Pro, is coming ‘soon’.
  • And, of course, some of the more whizzy AI tools designed for the Copilot+ PCs are delayed. Notably Recall, Microsoft’s privacy busting and poorly implemented Uber-Search function, has been downgraded from the starting line-up to the Windows Insider beta program

Of course, there will always be issues with the introduction of a new platform. Apple silicon threw more than a few curveballs when it first debuted, and it’s perfectly reasonable that a pivot towards ARM-based CPUs will do the same. That means that there’s a definite early adopter feel to the new Copilot+ PC machines right out of the box. But the signs for the Snapdragon X Elite are looking good, that performance is as impressive as everyone hoped it would be, and it will be interesting to see how the slightly lower-specced and lower-priced Snapdragon X Plus based machines perform under real world testing too.

Tags: Technology