Asus NovaGo creates a convincing case for ARM powered laptops, with a beautiful design and 22-hour battery life'
Windows 10 laptops, it seems, have been getting more and more expensive lately but have not much progress in terms of what they can afford. Battery life has stagnated, performance has improved, but after the explosion of 2-in-1 devices, it feels like a Windows hardware plateau experience.
That will change in the near future, however, with the introduction of Qualcomm based laptops based on ARM-based Snapdragon like the new Asus NovaGo.
Powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chip and running Windows 10, NovaGo is one of the first two devices in a new generation of ARM "Always On PC" laptops that promise superior battery life to Intel-based and always-on 4G gigabit connectivity.
Asus NovaGo Review: Specifications and main price
- Display: 13.3in 1,920 x 1,080
- Dimensions: 31.6 x 221 x 316 x 15mm (WDH), 1.4kg
- Processor: 2.14GHz Snapdragon 835
- RAM: 4 / 8GB
- Storage: 64 / 256GB UFS 2.0
- Operating system: Windows 10 S (upgradeable to Windows 10 Pro)
- Price: 4GB / 64GB, $ 599; 8GB, 256GB, $ 799
Asus NovaGo review: Key features and first impressions
During my live session with a laptop, this laptop runs as fast and feels as responsive to an ordinary Intel-based laptop, but the main feature of NovaGo - which is powered by smartphone base - is its long battery life.
Just like the HP Envy x2, which was launched simultaneously with NovaGo at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Tech Summit 2017, NovaGo has an amazing battery life of 22 hours (local video playback).
Given, in the review benchmark of the Expert Review community, we usually see the equivalent Intel-based laptops that last between five and 11 hours per charge, that's a big advantage. And along with the ever-existing 4G connectivity (think of it as a gigantic smartphone with built-in keyboard) that makes NovaGo a tempting proposition.
However, physically and in terms of the software it runs, this is a Windows 10 laptop through and through. Outside the box, Asus NovaGo runs Windows 10 S, which is like Microsoft Surface Laptop, can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro (as long as you do it on September 30, 2018). And the OS and its core applications have been recompiled to run natively on an ARM-based Snapdragon 835 chip.
Most third-party apps, however, including Microsoft's own x86-based Office suite, will run with competition but according to Microsoft that should not negatively impact the user experience. Indeed, some popular applications, including Office, have been given a performance boost, through the use of what is known as "compiled hybrid executable file".
It's also worth noting that 64-bit Windows applications will not run at all on ARM-based Windows laptops for now, so you'll need to install a 32-bit version instead.
It remains to be seen how even unoptimized 32-bit applications are running; I want Adobe Photoshop to run smoothly on the device with long battery life of 20 hours, but I do not hold my breath.
Physically, Asus NovaGo is really convincing. It's well-made, versatile 360 degrees, touchscreen, keyboard, and touchpad work exactly as you expect. There's a stylus and full support for Windows Ink and you even get sensible port and socket options.
There is a full-size HDMI output on the right edge and a 3.5mm headphone jack in addition to the power button, volume rocker and dual-purpose SIM card and microSD expansion slot. On the left edge you will find DC power input and two full-sized USB ports. There is no fan here to pedal and disturb you in a quiet environment.
Asus NovaGo review: Early verdict
And that's the price that sealed the deal. The Asus NovaGo is available in two configurations: one with 4GB of RAM and 4GB of storage and one with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Both are priced competitively, with prices cheaper than two dollars at $ 599 (£ 447) and others at $ 799 (£ 597).
If the price translates directly to the Sterling pound, Asus NovaGo will be set to give Intel-based rivals to earn their money seriously. Windows 10 laptop with 22 hours of battery life and 30 days standby for slightly under £ 599. Well, that's a machine worth considering.