Snapdragon X in Surface Laptops: Microsoft Promises Game-Changing Performance & Battery Life

Microsoft Surface laptops with Snapdragon X

Microsoft has showcased its new Surface laptops with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon X series processors. These are ARM chips that make a big leap in performance when compared to Qualcomm’s previous offerings. The competition? Microsoft is going against the MacBook Air with the Apple M3, and the company claims that its new laptops are over 50% faster.

But it’s not just the performance where the new Surface laptops with Snapdragon X shine. At a press briefing, Microsoft has shown that the new systems are very efficient. As shown in the press briefing, the new Microsoft laptops can beat MacBook Air with Apple M3 by a noticeable margin. The difference widens up when compared to Intel-based Surface Laptop 5.

A Closer Look at What the New ARM-powered Microsoft Surface Laptops Can Offer

As per Microsoftthe new Surface laptops with Snapdragon X series processors are over 50% better in sustained loads. This claim from the company isn’t made up, though. More specifically, the X Elite and X Plus benchmarks from Qualcomm align with this claim.

The story is the same when you consider the specifications of the new Snapdragon X series processors. To fill you in, the Apple M3 comes with 4 high-performance cores. In comparison, the Snapdragon X Plus and X Elite have six and eight, respectively.

Snapdragon X Elite chipset

But, yes, there are some things that Microsoft is not sharing details on. First of all, the single-core performance of the Apple M3 is much better than that of the Snapdragon X series processors. Secondly, the MacBook Air with the M3 SoC is passively cooled. This introduces thermal throttling on heavy loads.

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On the other hand, the new Microsoft Surface line with Snapdragon X series processors has an active fan. That’s how laptops can offer a much more stable performance under heavy loads.

What About the Battery Life?

As for the battery life, Microsoft showed that the new Surface laptop line can comfortably beat the MacBook Air with M3. To give you a better idea, the Surface Copilot Plus PC lasts 16 hours and 56 minutes in web browsing test. The apple MacBook Air M3 lasts 15 hours and 25 minutes.

When it comes to video playback, the Microsoft Surface laptop with a Snapdragon X processor can last over 20 hours. The MacBook Air M3, on the other hand, can last 17 hours and 45 minutes. These numbers do show that the new ARM processors from Qualcomm have an edge in terms of efficiency.

Apple M3 chip

Things get even more interesting when you put the Surface Laptop 5 with an Intel processor in the equation. It can last 8 hours and 38 minutes in the Web Browsing test. In video playback, the laptop can offer 12 hours and 30 minutes of runtime. So, the generational leap for the Snapdragon X laptops is very noticeable.

Worth noting that independent benchmarks are crucial for verifying Microsoft’s battery life claims. While press briefings suggest the Surface Copilot Plus with Snapdragon X surpasses the MacBook Air M3 in web browsing and video playback, we still need to wait for real-world testing for a more nuanced picture.

But Compatibility Still Remains a Concern for the Snapdragon X Series ARM Laptops

It’s not yet clear how well ARM-based Windows laptops will do in terms of compatibility. Yes, Apple’s M series processors are also ARM-based. However, Apple has the Rosetta 2 translation layer, which is well-performing. Microsoft is trying to do something similar with its Prism emulator.

Microsoft Surface with Snapdragon X

So far, the company has claimed that the Prism emulator is much better than its previous attempts. Microsoft even says that it can match Rosetta 2 when it comes to performance. If this holds true, we may actually see proper modern MacBook competitors in the market.

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