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Microsoft Surface Pro X vs. Samsung Galaxy Book S: Arms race

Two new Arm-powered Windows devices that want to bridge the gap between phone and PC.

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 a small handful of Arm-plus-Windows machines from the past two years.

The Samsung Galaxy Book S claims to offer 23 hours of active battery life, while the Surface Pro X 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." 

Sarah Tew/CNET

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.


Sarah Tew/CNET

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 Asus NovaGo and HP Envy x2 (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. 

Now playing: Watch this: First look at Surface Pro X, Pro 7, Laptop 3
Now playing: Watch this: Samsung Galaxy Book S takes a stab at all-day laptops

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
Display 13-inch 1,920x1,080 touch display 13-inch 2,880x1,920 touch display
Storage 256GB/512GB SSD 128GB/256GB/512GB SSD 
Wi-Fi 802.11ac 802.11ac
Bluetooth 5.0 5.0
LTE LTE Cat.18/Nano SIM Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE Modem Nano SIM
Battery 42Wh Unknown
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.