Snapdragon X Elite Copilot+ PC reviews show it falling behind in gaming performance

This week the first Copilot+ PCs finally made their way into the hands of the public (and reviewers), giving us a taste of Windows on Arm.

1 minute & 48 seconds read time

Microsoft's new Copilot+ PCs are here. The AI-powered Windows 11 laptops ditch traditional x86 CPUs (for now) for Qualcomm's new Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite chip. Many have been waiting for reviews to find out how these new 'Windows on Arm' machines stack up to the competition.

Snapdragon X Elite Copilot+ PC reviews show it falling behind in gaming performance 01

However, with software delays and the controversial Recall feature being pulled at the last minute, reviewers haven't had much time to explore the new Copilot+ PC line-up.

That said, several reviews with benchmarks and battery information are now available - many of them focusing on the ASUS Vivobook S 15. It doesn't feature the most powerful version of the Snapdragon X Elite chip, but we've got our first taste of what to expect.

It's not surprising that gaming performance falls short (it's not the main selling point). Still, the Snapdragon X Elite GPU in the ASUS Vivobook S 15 is around 15-20% slower than AMD's current 'Phoenix Point' Ryzen with integrated Radeon 780M graphics and Intel Core Ultra systems with integrated Arc graphics.

Most gaming with the Arm chip is handled via emulation, so we could see the performance improve dramatically in the months ahead with driver updates. However, so far, gaming on the Snapdragon X Elite looks disappointing. The Witcher 3's 19 FPS 1080p performance is 50% slower than the Apple MacBook Pro 14 and 21% slower than the Apple MacBook Air 15. On the plus side, Copilot+ PCs like the ASUS Vivobook S 15 are cheaper than MacBooks.

That said, many games run well on the ASUS Vivobook S 15. You can play DOTA 2 at over 60 FPS with Medium settings. Also, lower The Witcher 3's graphics settings, and you can hit 60 FPS. However, games like Cyberpunk 2077 are pretty much unplayable at 1080p, even when selecting the low-quality preset. Also, there are a number of games with emulation stutter, including Overwatch 2, which, as an online competitive title, makes it unplayable.

As for battery life, the ASUS Vivobook S 15 with Snapdragon X Elite chip is impressive but not dramatically - depending on the workload, it just falls short of the Apple MacBook Air. In heavy loads, battery life is better than what you'd find with Windows laptops with AMD and Intel x86 chips - but measured in minutes, not hours. On the plus side, the ASUS Vivobook S 15 has a vibrant 120 Hz display, so we'd need to see other Copilot+ PCs in action to see if Microsoft's efficiency and battery life claims live up to the promise.

Also, reviewers have found that running a Copilot+ PC on power or battery doesn't see a massive drop-off in performance, which is excellent news.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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