The days of Windows and Intel walking mostly in lockstep may be coming to an end. Two high-profile new PCs this year have been announced using Arm processors, similar to the ones that power modern smartphones. They join amachines from the past two years.
Theclaims to offer 23 hours of active battery life, while the uses the phrase "all-day battery." If you look at the fine print, it reads, "Up to 13 hours of battery life based on typical Surface device usage."
The new 13-inch Surface Pro X uses a custom version of a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, called the SQ1 Arm chip. The X has slim bezels and is closer in size to a 12-inch device, and weighs just 1.68 pounds. Its stylus is a special slim version of the Surface Pen and fits into a charging dock in the keyboard cover. Yes, since it's a Surface, the keyboard and stylus are sold separately. Adding both will cost you an extra $269. Read more about the Surface Pro X.
The Galaxy Book S runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, similar to the ones found in many phones, rather than a standard Intel CPU. This should allow very long battery life, even using an always-on 4G LTE connection. It has more of a traditional clamshell design, rather than being a 2-in-1 tablet. Sure, it's less flexible, but for the same $999 starting price, you won't have to buy an add-on keyboard. Read our Samsung Galaxy Book preview.
The first wave of Arm-powered laptops from a couple of years ago didn't especially impress us. Battery life in the and (both tested in 2018) ran about 12 hours each. Excellent, but not the 20-plus hours promised, and prices weren't low enough to offset that.
Rather than dropping prices, these new Snapdragon and SQ1 models from Samsung and Microsoft deliberately aim at a high-end audience, starting at $999. Below, we've compared the available specs for each of these not-yet-available systems.
Samsung Galaxy Book S vs. LG Gram 15
||Samsung Galaxy Book S||Microsoft Surface Pro X|
|Price (USD)||$999 (starting price)||$999 (starting price)|
|CPU||2.84GHz + 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx||3GHz Microsoft SQ1|
|RAM||8GB RAM DDR4||8GB or 16GB LPDDR4x|
|Display||13-inch 1,920x1,080 touch display||13-inch 2,880x1,920 touch display|
|Storage||256GB/512GB SSD||128GB/256GB/512GB SSD|
|LTE||LTE Cat.18/Nano SIM||
Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE Modem Nano SIM
|Battery life claim (hours:min)||"Up to 23 hours"||"Up to 13 hours"|
The Surface Pro X and Galaxy Book S are both expected this fall.