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Windows on Snapdragon doesn't solve the underlying issue of Windows ARM

Windows on Snapdragon doesn't solve the underlying issue of Windows ARM
Windows on Snapdragon doesn't solve the underlying issue of Windows ARM
Based on our experience with the $1000 Lenovo Yoga C630 powered by a Snapdragon 850, software reliability is still a huge hit or miss on Windows 10 Pro. Qualcomm's grand plans for Windows on Snapdragon is off to a slow and rough start.

Lenovo recently launched its high-end Yoga C630 Windows convertible powered by the fancy Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 SoC. For about $940 USD, users can get an admittedly attractive chassis with SIM capabilities and tremendously longer battery life than most traditional Intel Core ix-powered Ultrabooks. Once you dive deeper into performance, however, half of the laptop begins to fall apart.

In our review of the Yoga C630 WOS Edition (Windows on Snapdragon), we transitioned the laptop out of its default Windows 10 S operating system to "proper" Windows 10 Pro. Core features like hardware acceleration remain intact for smooth 4K60 video playback on YouTube. Applications with full support for ARM like GeekBench 4, Microsoft Office, and Edge would also run without any issues.

Unfortunately, most Windows applications are optimized for x86 only and system performance drops like a lead balloon when attempting to run such programs. CineBench, PCMark, 3DMark, Super Pi, FurMark, and more would either run extremely slowly or not launch at all. It's a strange experience of extremes as performance would be buttery smooth one minute only to become like molasses the next minute depending on which applications are open. PCMark 10, for example, ranks the C630 WOS in the same ballpark as a significantly cheaper Celeron N3350 laptop because the program is not optimized for ARM.

The high dependence on program compatibility means this dichotomy in user experience will likely continue in the foreseeable future when using WOS. The benefits of ARM, such as longer battery life and improved standby features, have yet to outweigh the performance roadblocks when compared to a standard Windows laptop.

Qualcomm made a big deal about its WOS platform last year at Computex 2018 and so we're hopeful that the chipmaker won't let it die a slow death.

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PCMark 10
Productivity
Lenovo Yoga 730-13IKB-81CT
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
6653 Points ∼69%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
5926 Points ∼61%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
5664 Points ∼58%
HP Spectre x360 13t-ae000
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Liteon CA1-8D256-HP
5253 Points ∼54%
NuVision Encite Book 12 Plus
HD Graphics 500, N3350, SanDisk DF4064
1743 Points ∼18%
Lenovo Yoga C630 (Snapdragon)
Adreno 630, 850
1674 Points ∼17%
Essentials
Lenovo Yoga 730-13IKB-81CT
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
9289 Points ∼84%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
7988 Points ∼73%
HP Spectre x360 13t-ae000
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Liteon CA1-8D256-HP
7376 Points ∼67%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
6855 Points ∼62%
NuVision Encite Book 12 Plus
HD Graphics 500, N3350, SanDisk DF4064
3073 Points ∼28%
Lenovo Yoga C630 (Snapdragon)
Adreno 630, 850
3034 Points ∼28%
Score
Lenovo Yoga 730-13IKB-81CT
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4081 Points ∼53%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3764 Points ∼48%
HP Spectre x360 13t-ae000
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Liteon CA1-8D256-HP
3313 Points ∼43%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
3160 Points ∼41%
Lenovo Yoga C630 (Snapdragon)
Adreno 630, 850
1363 Points ∼18%
NuVision Encite Book 12 Plus
HD Graphics 500, N3350, SanDisk DF4064
1102 Points ∼14%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4906 Points ∼75%
Lenovo Yoga 730-13IKB-81CT
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4901 Points ∼75%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
4811 Points ∼74%
HP Spectre x360 13t-ae000
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Liteon CA1-8D256-HP
4149 Points ∼64%
NuVision Encite Book 12 Plus
HD Graphics 500, N3350, SanDisk DF4064
2148 Points ∼33%
Lenovo Yoga C630 (Snapdragon)
Adreno 630, 850
1118 Points ∼17%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3994 Points ∼66%
Lenovo Yoga 730-13IKB-81CT
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3895 Points ∼64%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
3780 Points ∼62%
HP Spectre x360 13t-ae000
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Liteon CA1-8D256-HP
3306 Points ∼54%
NuVision Encite Book 12 Plus
HD Graphics 500, N3350, SanDisk DF4064
1462 Points ∼24%
Lenovo Yoga C630 (Snapdragon)
Adreno 630, 850
1347 Points ∼22%

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 01 > Windows on Snapdragon doesn't solve the underlying issue of Windows ARM
Allen Ngo, 2019-01-21 (Update: 2019-01-21)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.