Asus NovaGo review: Hands on with the first Snapdragon 835 Windows 10 laptop

We’ve known they were coming for some time, but the first Snapdragon-powered laptops have finally been unveiled at the Qualcomm Tech Summit in Hawaii. The Asus NovaGo (not sure how that name will go down in Spain) is our first sighter, and if the claims turn out to be true, it looks like these mobile-chip powered laptops could be serious challengers.

Asus NovaGo reivew: Key specifications and prices

13.3in 1,920 x 1,080 screen
31.6 x 221 x 316 x 15mm (WDH), 1.4kg
2.14GHz Snapdragon 835 processor
4/8GB RAM
64/256GB UFS 2.0 storage
Windows 10 S (upgradeable to Windows 10 Pro before 30 September, 2018)
Price: 4GB/64GB, $599; 8GB, 256GB, $799

Asus NovaGo review: Key features and first impressions

Physically, there’s no difference between the NovaGo and a decent Intel-powered Windows 10 laptop. It’s reasonably slender and light, feels well made and has a good quality keyboard that – from my admittedly short time with it – felt nice to type on.

The touchpad and touchscreen seem responsive enough, too – there’s also stylus support here – and, in fact, the whole Windows 10 experience is pretty nippy. That’s pretty impressive given this is running on a smartphone chipset.

Effectively, though, this shouldn’t be all that surprising. The resolution of the laptop’s 13.3in display is lower than many high-end smartphones, which makes this, effectively a phone in the shape of a full-sized laptop, albeit with more laptop-style connectivity. Alongside a dual-purpose SIM tray, which will take both nano SIM and microSD cards for storage expansion, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, a full-sized HDMI output and a pair of full-size USB ports.

The differences between the NovaGo and regular Windows laptops are twofold. First, always-on connectivity courtesy of the Snapdragon 835 chipset and, thanks to a 4X4 MIMO antenna array, gigabit 4G connectivity. And second, battery life that’s potentially three to four times as long as an Intel-powered machine.

Asus is claiming the NovaGo will last for 22 hours during video playback and will deliver 30-days on standby. That’s something that could seriously challenge the domination that Intel holds over the Windows laptop market.

One thing to note here before you get too excited, is that the NovaGo won’t run full Windows 10 out of the box. Instead, you get Windows S – just like the Microsoft Surface Laptop. The good news is that, just like that laptop, you get a free, time-limited upgrade to Windows 10 Pro asolong as you redeem that offer before the 30th of September 2018.

Asus NovaGo review: Early verdict

With prices starting at US $599 for the model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and rising to $799 for the 8GB/256GB model, the Asus NovaGo looks like it may well be a tempting purchase when it eventually reaches UK shores.

It looks and feels like a proper laptop – performance, from first impressions, seems responsive, and battery life ought to be awesome as well. Keep your eyes peeled for our full review – I can’t wait to get my hands on one.

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