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The first Copilot+ PC has been tested — and it destroys the MacBook

The Surface Laptop shown in front of a Copilot+ sign.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

We’ve heard a lot about Microsoft’s new Copilot+ PCs over the past few days, but we can finally put some hard data to the company’s bold claims. Signal65, a benchmarking and analysis company, put the new Surface Laptop through its paces, and it absolutely wrecks the MacBook Air M3.

The laptop, equipped with a Snapdragon X Elite processor, put up impressive results across the board, but battery life stands out most. According to the report, the Surface Laptop lasted over 21 hours in a local video playback test. For reference, that’s close to twice as long as the Surface Pro 9, and more than 15% longer than the MacBook Air M3.

A battery life test for the new Surface Laptop.

In raw performance, the MacBook Air M3 won out in single-core performance in both Cinebench and Geekbench by around 15%. However, in multi-core performance, the Surface Laptop was upwards of 30% faster than the M3. Even more impressive, the Snapdragon X Elite was more than twice as fast as 12th-gen Intel Core i7 chip, and around 5% faster than Intel’s latest Core Ultra 7 155H.

A test of CPU performance on the Surface Laptop.

You can download the full report from Signal65 if you want to dig into the numbers, but there are plenty of interesting comparisons. In a video encode through Handbrake, for example, the Snapdragon X Elite beat the Apple M3 by close to 25%.

It’s important to point out that this isn’t a review of a Copilot+ PC, though. The report was compiled by Ryan Shrout, an ex-Intel employee who’s now a part of Signal65, and it was commissioned by Microsoft. Companies like Microsoft will often hire a third-party analysis lab for this sort of performance validation to substantiate its performance claims. That isn’t to say that the report is inaccurate, but just that a wider swath of reviews can target more areas of performance.

In the first 24 hours since the new Surface device launch using the X Elite, and the release of our @Signal_65 report analyzing performance and battery life (you can find it here: I've answered a lot of questions around competition with the Mac and the…

— Ryan Shrout (@ryanshrout) May 21, 2024

Although the report was commissioned by Microsoft, it’s not just gassing the Surface Laptop up. One section that’s particularly interesting concerns emulated performance. Here, Shrout tested apps running through Microsoft’s new Prism emulation layer against laptops running the same apps natively, and the Surface Laptop doesn’t always win.

In Blender, for example, the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H was around 46% faster, while the Apple M3 was 17% faster. On the flip side, the Snapdragon X Elite managed to match the performance of the Core Ultra 7 155H in Lightroom Classic, despite the Intel chip running a native version of the app.

Prism is a key factor in Copilot+ PCs, as it will serve as the bedrock for apps like Lightroom and Blender that don’t natively run on the Snapdragon X Elite at this point. Although you’re not getting native performance, this report at least shows that Prism is doing a lot of work, and it’ll hopefully get better with time.

We don’t have to wait long until we see more independent reviews of Copilot+ PCs. The first crop is available for preorder now, and they’ll release on June 18. By then, we’ll know if these PCs are really as powerful as this report suggests.

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Jacob Roach
Lead Reporter, PC Hardware
Jacob Roach is the lead reporter for PC hardware at Digital Trends. In addition to covering the latest PC components, from…
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