When Windows 10 on ARM was revealed around two years ago, it came with big promises. Namely, all-day battery life without compromising too much on performance.
Unfortunately, though it hit most of those metrics, the Always Connected platform didn't quite hit the last. The first PCs were somewhat sluggish, and subsequent Snapdragon processor releases didn't mark major improvements.
Those numbers are comparable to the i5-825OU, the mid-range Intel processor Qualcomm appears to be targetting. This confirms the company's test at Computex 2019, which put it more or less in-line with 825OU in a number of Office applications.
Of course, these numbers are likely to go down for apps Windows 10 on ARM isn't running natively. Being able to match Intel's mid-range processor from two years ago also doesn't sound particularly impressive.
However, when it comes to generational leaps, it's clear Qualcomm is making fast progress. The 8cx is expected to be twice as powerful as the 850 while offering better battery life than Intel's offerings. Previous Futuremark tests put the i5-8250U at 10 hours 21 versus the Snapdragon's 17. The improvements could entirely remove the need to carry a charger around, with multi-day battery life even possible under light use.
Logically, it would make sense for a wealth of these laptops to start shipping in time for the holiday season. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Book S is launching this month in time for the back to school season, boasting the 8cx and up to 22 hours of battery life.
All of this performance headway is impressive, but it's still unclear how consumers will react to the new models. Previous Always Connected efforts weren't met with particular enthusiasm, and some will expect more performance for the Galaxy Book S's $999 price tag. For now, though, the 8cx seems suitable to meet casual user's requirements. If Qualcomm continues to make such headway, we could see it as a major player in laptop chips in the years to come.