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Permanently connected laptops with Windows promise, but still need work

Laptops with integrated cellular communications may become relevant for consumers this year, after many years of availability only for business customers. One of the biggest successes for these connected computers is from Qualcomm, which advertises its Snapdragon platform as the future of mobile laptops. Windows on Snapdragon computers that run on Qualcomm smartphones processors and modems will finally appear on store shelves this spring.

The Windows on Snapdragon platform is more than just a built-in cellular modem that saves you from having to rely on Wi-Fi. This is a complete change in the structure of the Windows kernel, allowing it to run on processors originally designed for smartphones. Along with such serious architectural changes, in addition to the built-in connection, there are a number of advantages, including instant resumption of work from sleep mode, a much longer battery life and quiet, cool cars. In fact, the new platform makes laptops work just like we used to working with smartphones: instantly, quietly and efficiently.

Of course, this idea was tried before, and Microsoft has had several significant failures in history (* cough * Windows RT * cough *), which promised a lot of the same. Qualcomm and Microsoft claim that this time will be different, since the processors are much more powerful, and Windows on Snapdragon is not limited to just a few applications.

To get an idea of how this new platform works and how it differs from the standard Windows 10, which is already available on hundreds of millions of devices, I used one of the first Windows on the Snapdragon PC that appeared on the market: the Asus NovaGo convertible. Asus plans to sell NovaGo in the United States starting May 1 for $ 599, including 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of disk space.

The model I used will not be sold in the US and will have more RAM and memory than the one we can buy, so this is not an overview of the device itself, but rather a look at how a platform that will work on different devices HP, Lenovo and others. (TL; DR on the car: it's a convertible nail, outdated design, no USB-C ports and mediocre everything else - basically what you expect from a laptop for $ 600.) NovaGo, like my main computer, to see how it can handle my daily workflow, which applications I can install and use on it, and how good these applications are for battery life. Although the experience was not as bad as Windows RT or other early designs, he still did not sell me on the platform.

The first thing that struck me about using a PC with a permanent connection was how little it differed from Windows 10 on any other laptop or computer I used. The interface is the same; performance when switching virtual desktops, flipping through applications, using gestures on the trackpad and interacting with the touch screen is also the same. Liquid animations, of course, are not given, especially since a tiny chip for a smartphone is installed on this computer, but I am pleased to report that they also work here, like on any other Windows laptop I used.

Most modern applications, especially those that were downloaded from the Microsoft Store or pre-installed on a computer, opened quickly, with a slight difference in how they work on Intel-based computers. However, other applications were much more sluggish on the Snapdragon computer, which led to disappointing impressions (more on applications).

Since the processor in this computer is the same Snapdragon 835 chip that was found in countless Android smartphones last year, there is no need for fans. NovaGo is a dead silent machine, but it stays cool under load.

As I recently discovered in Microsoft Surface Pro LTE, having a permanently available LTE connection on my computer is fantastic. I do not need to rely on a sketchy, publicly available Wi-Fi, nor do I have to worry about connecting my smartphone to the Internet. I tested NovaGo with the T-Mobile service, and it worked just like T-Mobile smartphones in my region. In addition, when the cover is closed and the laptop is in standby mode, it still supports the connection to receive email and other updates, like a smartphone. I want it to be on every computer I use, even if I have to use it for an unlimited data plan.

Resuming Windows on a Snapdragon PC from sleep mode is like waking up a smartphone: you just press the power button and it's ready to go. Cold boot for

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Jolene, editor