Along with OEM vendors like ASUS and HP, Microsoft announced a new generation of PCs. Powered by energy efficient ARM SoC Snapdragon 835, they run Windows 10 and can last up to 20 hours without charge according to Microsoft. Real world performance and battery usage under heavy conditions remains to be seen. Also, how Windows performs on ARM compared to iOS and Android is also an important benchmark.
Snapdragon 835 is an ARM system-on-a-chip (SoC), which includes a Gigabit LTE modem, a multi-Gigabit 802.11ad radio and integrated 2x2 11ac MU-MIMO Wi-Fi module, the Qualcomm® Adreno™ 540 GPU, the Qualcomm Kryo 280 64-bit ARM CPU, and a power-efficient Hexagon 682 DSP.
Always Connected PCs
Microsoft calls devices built on ARM SoCs as "a new culture of work". These new devices from HP and ASUS will go on sale in early 2018. Currently, HP Envy x2 and Asus NovaGo are the two very first devices which are being introduced in the new ARM device family. A new device is also expected to be released by Lenovo in early 2018.
The "Always Connected" term was invented to differentiate the new device class for customers. It should become a proper category like desktops, ultrabooks, laptops, etc.
Here are key features of these devices.
- Instant on. Always Connected PCs don't use hibernation. They are able to turn on instantly.
- Always connected. Like a smartphone, they will be able to receive notifications and network data in the background. It is not required to manage their network devices and interfaces manually.
- Battery life. Due to a big size of the device's case, a bigger battery can fit it, providing incredible battery life for Snapdragon devices.
HP Envy x2
The HP ENVY x2, an Always Connected PC, combines the best of a smartphone experience with the best of a Windows PC. Impossibly thin and incredibly durable, the HP ENVY x2 offers lightning-fast 4G LTE2 and Wi-Fi. With up to 20 hours of active use battery life, the detachable PC provides flexibility and connectivity to perform daily tasks while on the go.
Here is a hands-on video:
ASUS NovaGo is the world’s first Gigabit LTE laptop, with superfast download speeds allowing users to download a 2-hour movie in just 10 seconds. Powered by a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 Mobile PC platform with X16 LTE, the NovaGo is always on, always connected with a battery supporting 30 days of standby and 22 hours of active use.
You can watch this hands-on video:
So, Always Connected PCs look very promising. The only issue is the default operating system. All PCs come with Windows 10 S, the highly restrictive edition of Windows 10 which is practically of no value to anyone wanting to run Win32 apps. It is limited to Store apps only and can't run classic Desktop apps at all. The good thing is that Microsoft is going to offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro from this edition until 30th September 2018, which you can use.
So, what do you think about these new devices? Are you excited? Will you buy one? Tell us in the comments.