Surface Laptop with Qualcom's Snapdragon X Elite: Performance and Battery Life Tested

Microsoft's latest Surface laptop, equipped with the cutting-edge Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite SoC, has undergone rigorous testing, revealing impressive performance and efficiency that may set a new standard for portable computing

by Sededin Dedovic
Surface Laptop with Qualcom's Snapdragon X Elite: Performance and Battery Life Tested
© Snapdragon / Youtube channel

Microsoft recently introduced a brand-new Surface laptop that uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite SoC. This new laptop has now been tested and thoroughly examined by independent experts in the field from Signal65. The review was commissioned by Microsoft, and other expert media in this field have yet to provide their impressions because the availability of these laptops is quite limited at the moment.

Additionally, Microsoft is very careful to ensure the successful launch of the new generation, as it wouldn't be good to start with bad experiences and comments. Our experience tells us that all of this should still be taken with a grain of caution.

Nevertheless, any information about the new platform is welcome, and if we judge by the initial impressions from the mentioned source, the results appear to confirm what Qualcomm previously claimed. The test procedure included comparing the Surface model with the X Elite processor against four other devices across a multitude of benchmark tests in different categories, including thermal testing, to see how the new Qualcomm chip handles the challenge of operating in a laptop in various usage and work situations.

Ryan Shrout claims that the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite SoC delivers the level of performance that Qualcomm previously promised. The chip boasts outstanding AI performance and features incredibly long battery life in the latest Microsoft Surface laptop.

The CPU performance was also excellent, often surpassing Intel’s Meteor Lake models and occasionally outperforming Apple’s M3 silicon. The chip also boasts good thermal behavior, with competitively low temperatures even under maximum load.

### Snapdragon X Elite is Efficient and Cool

The new Snapdragon X Elite Surface laptop was compared with the older Surface Laptop 5 model, which uses the Alder Lake Core i7-1255U, the Surface Pro 9 with Snapdragon SQ3 silicon designed specifically according to Microsoft's guidelines, the MSI Prestige 16 AI EVO laptop featuring the latest Intel Meteor Lake Core Ultra 7 155H, and of course, Apple’s latest MacBook Air 15 powered by the M3 silicon.

Starting with the thermal test results, the Surface laptop equipped with Snapdragon X Elite lagged behind its predecessor using Alder Lake and the Apple M3 MacBook Air model but was competitive with the MSI Meteor Lake laptop.

In multiple cycles of Cinebench 2024 tests, the Surface laptop with the X Elite chipset reached a temperature of 50.3 degrees Celsius in the hottest zone, while the MSI Prestige 16 EVO reached 56.2 degrees Celsius in the hottest part.

The Apple M3 MacBook Air performed best, with 45.8 degrees Celsius, and the previous generation Surface laptop recorded a temperature of 47.1 degrees Celsius in the hottest spot. When reducing the workload to lighter tasks using only one processor core in the Cinebench test, the Snapdragon X Elite Surface showed much better results, with a temperature of 37.4 degrees Celsius.

The MacBook Air again ranked first with 35.1 degrees Celsius, followed by MSI with a measured 41.3 degrees Celsius, and the Surface 5 trailed with a measured temperature of 44.1 degrees Celsius.

Qualcoms Snapdragon X Elite© Snapdragon / Youtube channel

### Battery Life and Performance Tests

Signal65 conducted two battery life tests, one with local video playback and the other using the Procyon productivity test.

The Snapdragon X Elite excelled, beating the competition in both battery life tests. Only the MacBook Air was not subjected to the Procyon test. In the local video playback test, the MacBook M3 Air finished in second place with 16% less battery, MSI had 25% less battery behind the Snapdragon model, while the Surface Pro 9 SQ3 consumed 44% of the battery.

The older Surface 5 had a 58% worse battery life result — less than half the battery capacity remained after the test compared to the winning Surface model using the Snapdragon X Elite. Signal65 measured performance in Cinebench, Geekbench, and AI tests.

The Snapdragon X Elite achieved top scores in Cinebench and Geekbench multi-core tests, although the Apple M3 outperformed it in single-core work by 15% and 17%, respectively. The Intel Meteor Lake chip wasn’t far behind, while the Snapdragon Elite led with 5% to 18% better performance.

Snapdragon X Elite completely dominated the competition in AI tests, thanks to its dedicated NPU coprocessor delivering 45 TOPS of performance. It is the first chip to offer this level of performance solely for the NPU (without the help of CPU and GPU cores).

In these tests (Procyon), Snapdragon was twice as fast as the Apple M3 processor, also doubling the performance compared to the Microsoft SQ3 chip and tripling the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor. (The older Alder Lake processor couldn't even run this test due to the lack of an NPU coprocessor.) However, it is important to remember and keep in mind that this is a commissioned review, paid for by Microsoft.

As such, it’s not surprising that the conclusion is very favorable for the new Surface laptop, reports Tomshardware.