Sunday, June 23, 2024

Why Samsung has the most exciting Copilot+ PC right now

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The keyboard and trackpad of the Galaxy Book4 Edge.Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

We were just inundated with a whole slew of new Windows laptops. These aren’t your average notebooks, though — they’re part of Microsoft’s new Copilot+ PC program — built from the ground up with AI and ARM chips in mind.

Contents

  • Design efficiency
  • Galaxy AI
  • Pricing concerns

A lot of these laptops emphasize the same performance and battery life gains caused by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X chips. Those are impressive, but comparing all these laptops against each other, it’s Samsung’s entry that makes me the most excited.

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Design efficiency

Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

I came into the announcement of Copilot+ PCs wondering if any of these new laptops could compare to the MacBook Air M3. After all, that’s repeatedly been Microsoft’s target with these new devices. While many of these Copilot+ laptops appear to compete (and even defeat) the MacBook Air in terms of performance and battery life, many of them were still thicker than that device. Take the new Surface Laptop, for example. Although Microsoft has made tweaks to the design, it’s left the thickness of the device untouched, remaining at 0.69 inches thick. The 0.44-inch MacBook Air M3 is significantly thinner.

I wasn’t interested in thinness for thinness’ sake — this kind of design can take full use of the efficiency of the ARM architecture. It’s what allowed Apple to go from its underpowered Intel MacBook Air to the breathtakingly thin M2 MacBook Air.

Some of the other Copilot+ laptops come closer, but are not quite at the MacBook Air’s level. Then, I came across Samsung’s area of the showcase floor, where they had two unassuming little laptops: the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge 14 and 16. I could immediately see just how thin they were — in particular, the smaller model. As it turns out, it’s only 0.43 inches thick, while the 16-inch model is 0.48 inches. That means the 14-inch is officially thinner than the MacBook Air. In the case of that larger model, Samsung even managed to squeeze an HDMI port into the side.

This excites me because it shows that these new Qualcomm chips are really as efficient as Apple Silicon — especially if the Galaxy Book4 Edge turns out to hold up its side of the deal in terms of performance. Even more impressive is the fact that the MacBook Air is fanless, while the Galaxy Book4 Edge is not. That means better sustained performance without requiring a thicker chassis.

I’m certain that the Galaxy Book4 Edge won’t be the thinnest Copilot+ PC forever, but I’m glad Samsung took the opportunity to trim down the size.

Galaxy AI

Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

The other big push behind Copilot+ is AI, obviously, and here’s another area where the Galaxy Book4 Edge is a standout. All of these laptops benefit from the new AI features built into Windows like Recall, but the Galaxy Book4 Edge has the benefit of its place within the larger Samsung ecosystem.

In particular, it has a new feature that uses its advantage to make Copilot more useful. Using Copilot and Phone Link on the Galaxy Book4 Edge, you can now control your phone entirely through the natural language made possible from the AI. So, let’s say you want to text someone or have the map to your next location set up on your phone — it can now all be done through the natural language on your PC.

This is, of course, in addition to all the additional Galaxy ecosystem features built into Samsung laptops, such as Samsung Flow. This is only the beginning, of course, as more developers begin to build tools on top of Copilot and utilize the NPU of these new laptops.

Pricing concerns

Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

The one concern I have around these new Samsung devices is the price. Samsung has limited configurations available, and they range on the pricier side of what’s available in the Copilot+ lineup. That can be a problem, especially since the M2 MacBook Air still sells for so cheap. One of the problems is that the Copilot+ PCs require 16GB of RAM, meaning the base configurations can’t be overly cheap.

But if there’s ever been a true MacBook Air competitor possible on the Windows side, the Galaxy Book4 Edge certainly seems poised to fill that position. We won’t know for sure until we can review it ourselves, but it’s certainly near the top of our list of Copilot+ laptops we want to test more.

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