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What is a Windows Copilot Plus PC? New AI-infused laptops explained

Microsoft has unveiled a new calling card for the most AI-capable Windows PCs that’ll be adorned with a Copilot+ PC label. Here’s what you need to know.

During the Build 2024 keynote Microsoft unveiled the new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop models, which are the first to rock the distinction of being the “fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built”

However, third party manufacturers are in on the new trend too, with ASUS’ Vivobook S 15 taking up the mantle and more models from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung also on deck to arrive next month.

Here’s what you need to know.

Snapdragon now, Intel later

The first generation of Copilot+ PCs have plenty on common but the most striking element is the presence of Qualcomm processors. All will be powered by the Snapdragon X series of chips, which are designed to rival the Apple M-Series processors. Intel and ARM-based versions of the standard will arrive later.

Microsoft says the Arm64-based chipset will offer the fastest available versions of apps like Teams, PowerPoint, Outlook, Word, Excel, OneDrive and OneNote. Chrome, Spotify, Zoom, WhatsApp, Blender, Affinity Suite, and DaVinci Resolve.

As well as powerful CPU and GPUs, those chipsets also include the a new breed of high performance NPU that’s connected to large language models via Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. That’s gonna do all the AI heavy lifting and, when necessary, keep your data on the device without consulting the cloud.

“They are up to 20x more powerful and up to 100x as efficient for running AI workloads and deliver industry-leading AI acceleration. They outperform Apple’s MacBook Air 15-inch by up to 58% in sustained multithreaded performance, all while delivering all-day battery life,” Microsoft says in a blog post.

“With incredible efficiency, Copilot+ PCs can deliver up to 22 hours of local video playback or 15 hours of web browsing on a single charge. That is up to 20% more battery in local video playback than the MacBook Air 15-inch.”

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Coplilot+ PC specs

Microsoft says these fastest and most intelligent PCs will have access to at least 40+ TOPS (trillion operations per second). They’ll need 16GB of RAM at a minimum and each laptop will have 256GB of storage. However, that can go up to 64GB and 1TB respectively.

They will all be capable of at least 15 hours of web browsing and 22 hours of local video playback from a single charge too. All models will have the Copilot key on the Windows keyboard too.

The laptop category will be priced starting at $999.

Recall for CoPilot+ PC

Microsoft is particularly excited about a feature called Recall, which uses AI as a photographic memory to enable you to bring hard-to-surface documents, folders, images and emails to the fore.

It’s designed more like the human brain that enables you to bring something back from the depths of the hard drive based on the information you do remember about it, rather than having to know the date or file name.

CoPilot Plus PC Recall

“Copilot+ PCs organize information like we do – based on relationships and associations unique to each of our individual experiences. This helps you remember things you may have forgotten so you can find what you’re looking for quickly and intuitively by simply using the cues you remember,” Microsoft says in the blog post.

“You can scroll across time to find the content you need in your timeline across any application, website, document, or more. Interact intuitively using snapshots with screenray to help you take the next step using suggested actions based on object recognition. And get back to where you were, whether to a specific email in Outlook or the right chat in Teams.”

Latest version of GPT-4o

These PCs will get access to the very latest version of OpenAI’s newest ChatGPT release, called GPT-4o. It was announced during last week and features this rather remarkable-sounding live translation tool.

Abode apps and more

Microsoft is pretty chuffed about Adobe’s creative suite of apps – Photoshop, Lightroom, Express, Illustrator and Premiere Pro are either available on Copilot+ PCs now or will arrive this summer. They’ll be optimised for use with the PC’s neural processing unit (NPU).

Meanwhile, djay Pro will get a new version of the NeuralMix tool that will enable users to remix any track thanks to the NPU. LiquidText has NPU-centric annotations that keeps your data on the device, and Capcut will include an NPU-based Auto Cutout tool for removing the background of any video clip in an instant.

Photoshop for Windows

CoPilot+ PCs coming soon

The new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop models will be available from June 18 this year, with pre-orders starting today. They’re joined by the following from third-party OEMs:

  • Acer Swift 14 AI
  • ASUS Vivobook 15
  • Dell XPS 13, Inspiron 14 Plus, Inspiron 14, Latitude 7455, and Latitude 5455
  • HP Omnibook X AI, HP Elitebook Ultra G1 AI
  • Lenovo Yoga Slim 7x, ThinkPad T14s Gen 6
  • Samsung Galaxy Book 4 Edge

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