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Qualcomm, ARM and Windows change the shape of notebooks

by on01 May 2018



No fan inside!

Bear in mind that just like Intel Core M machines, Snapdragon 835 powered NovaGo 2in1 doesn’t have a fan. This means it will always be silent. Of course, this will cost you some performance, but it will never annoy you with fan noise. The 5W TDP that doesn’t need an active fan is a blessing and a curse. It will be totally silent, but it will save you from some performance one would expect from Core i5 or Core i7 based notebook. Asus 2in1 doesn’t go after that market. 


Let’s start with the form factor. It measures 1.49 cm (0.59 inches) height x 31.6 cm (12.44 inches) width, 22.1 cm (8.7 inches) depth and weights 1.39 kg (3.06 pounds). It is not the most compact machine and definitely not the lightest.

The machine comes with a 52Wh lithium-polymer battery and the official spec promises 22-hour battery life and over 30 days of modern connected standby. Connected standby is incredible, the machine will easily last a few weeks.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform SoC is the heart of the machine. It runs between 2.2GHz (up to 2.6GHz) CPU clock rate which is faster than the 835 on phones. Since this is a laptop, it is easier to remove the temperature and clock the SoC higher. Adreno 540 at 710MHz takes care of graphics. The machine has 13.3 LED back lid Full HD (1920 x 1080) touchscreen with 100 percent sRGB color gamut, 178° wide-view technology and 8.9mm-thin bezel with 78 percent screen-to-body ratio.

The test machine had 8GB LPDDR4x and 128 GB UFS 2.0 storage. There will be versions with 4GB, 6GB LPDDR4x RAM and 64 GB and 256 GB storage too.

The machine supports 802.11/a/b/g/n, 802.11ac, 2x2 MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1. Let’s not forget one of the key parts - the X16 modem. The modem supports Gigabit LTE with download speeds of 1 Gbps and upload speeds of 150 Mbps. It also supports QAM 256 download, QAM 64 upload and 4x4 MIMO, everything you need to get to 1 Gbps peak speed in case your carrier supports it.


The left-hand side has an Asus custom power (USB Type C would be better), LED battery indicator and two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A.

The right-hand side has a micro SD card reader supporting up to 256 GB cards as well as Nano SIM slot for your provider's SIM card. There is a full-size HDMI as well as the 3.5 mm audio headphone / microphone in. below that, you will wind the volume rocker and the last key in that line is the power.


We must admit that this is a rather unusual place for the power key, but then again modern phones would have a volume rocker and power key on the right side of the phone.

The machine supports fingerprint reader unlocking and has a very spacy trackpad. The back of the machine and the whole finish in gray attract a lot of fingerprints. The plastic made sure that the machine is not heavy but again it didn’t help the machine looks like a high end piece.  



Getting Asus NovaGo 2-in-1 and unpacking it was rather exciting. It looks exactly like any other Windows 10, X86 based PC but it doesn’t use Intel or AMD processors. Another key differentiation is that the Snapdragon 835 inside has a Snapdragon X16 LTE modem capable of Gigabit LTE speed.

The second key thing is that the stand by on these machines is out of the planet. In connected standby, it can go weeks without charger. Battery life, of course depends what you do is great too. We will come back to this a bit later.

When you boot Windows 10 S for the first time, you have a few selections to make and then Windows works. We got an offer to install a new BIOS and Windows got some 1709 updates. It all looked and felt like any other notebook running windows we ever tried. With a few clicks of the mouse we got Windows 10 PRO enabled and were able to install a few apps outside of the Windows store.


Some drivers were updated via Windows update and the machine was good to go. Asus and every other early Snapdragon 835 on Windows 10 adopters ship with the full version of Office 365. This is a X86 version running emulation. Microsoft is working to recompile the Office for the ARM based Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and future processor.

When you open up Microsoft Word 365, again there is no difference compared to an Intel based notebook. After playing a bit with  Office 365, we wanted to check the non-Microsoft apps. Chrome worked, and we installed Irfan view application that we prefer for basic cropping and picture editing. That worked too. Microsoft shop had the Netflix app, and that also worked.

Last modified on 02 May 2018
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