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Hands-on: Asus NovaGo’s Snapdragon-based Windows PC feels predictably ‘good enough’

The Asus NovaGo is a Windows laptop with something totally new: the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform, Qualcomm’s bid to use a smartphone chip to squeeze some Windows PC share in a difficulty prolonged dominated by Intel.

Spending a small time with a appurtenance on Tuesday was an practice in testing—and managing—expectations. Qualcomm executives have certified that a Snapdragon height will be a bit slower to launch apps, a bit slower to boot, a bit slower here and there. Our early impressions uncover a kind of opening that Qualcomm hopes will be “good enough” for mainstream users with medium demands. 

On a outside, a Asus NovaGo looks like any other ultrabook. It measures 12.4 x 8.7 x  0.59 inches and weighs just over 3 pounds. The NovaGo feels stout in a hand, maybe a bit heavier than some other ultrabooks we’ve tried. The 13-inch shade has a midrange, 1920×1080 fortitude that’s gainful to Qualcomm’s guarantee of prolonged battery life from Snapdragon-based PCs. Memory amounted to 6GB. 

Asus NovaGo ultrabook Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform Mark Hachman / IDG

The Asus NovaGo is a automobile tablet, definition it can flip over into display mode.

Some outmost facilities spirit that this isn’t only an typical PC, however. For one thing, a demo units weren’t plugged in. Qualcomm and a device makers trust a Snapdragon PC height can broach 22 hours or so of active use on battery, or about dual days when standby time is churned in. The thought is that you’ll leave your horse during home, and those chargers—standard tub types, not USB-C—never done an coming during a event.

Asus NovaGo ultrabook Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform Mark Hachman / IDG

A fingerprint reader hides within a Asus NovaGo’s touchpad.

Speaking of USB-C, it’s nowhere to be seen on a NovaGo. There’s a span of USB-A ports on a left-hand side. On a right, there’s a energy button, headphone jack, an HDMI port, and the other spirit that this is something special: a SIM slot. SIM slots are some-more ordinarily found on business-class devices. Its participation on a NovaGo suggests this underline will be trickling down to consumer devices.

Asus NovaGo ultrabook Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform Mark Hachman / IDG

Asus chose not to go with USB-C, selecting USB-A instead.

Interestingly, a NovaGo and a other Snapdragon-based device we saw, a HP Envy x2, both run a Insider (beta) chronicle of Windows 10. We’re told this creates them fast patchable. As it happens, a existent Windows 10 Fall Creators Update supports a new Snapdragon processors.

Performance: Your mileage might vary

With a Snapdragon smartphone chip determining a bone-fide PC, it’s healthy to consternation about performance. In a experience, some of a simple tasks you’d ask a PC to do worked great, while others didn’t. Web browsing flew, during slightest on Edge. When we attempted a PowerPoint desktop app, a NovaGo slowed down and afterwards indeed crashed. It took some-more than a notation to restart, yet a 6 slides in a brief display commissioned over a discerning few seconds.

Windows took only a few seconds to resume after a cover was closed. A cold boot, though, took an even 30 seconds to strech a login screen. That’s not horrendous—we’ve all sat by foot cycles that lasted prolonged adequate to fetch a crater of coffee—and, as Qualcomm execs forked out, an always-on PC doesn’t need to reboot often.

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