Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Snapdragon X Plus vs Apple M3: Worth the wait?

The new Snapdragon X Plus has been announced. It’s another new chip from Qualcomm aimed at taking on the Apple M-series and rejuvenating Windows laptops. Here’s how it compares with the Apple M3.

Qualcomm’s venture into laptop chips has been a long time coming but it will all begin over the next few months. Now, though, we know it isn’t all about the Snapdragon X Elite. The company has revealed a new chip that sits just below its flagship, the X Plus. The new chips may see Windows laptops finally catch up to Macs when it comes to their potent combination of performance and efficiency but the jury’s still out. Let’s see what the key differences are.

Qualcomm should win for multi-threaded CPU and NPU performance

We’ve tested the new Apple M3 in our full MacBook Air M3 review and we’re mightily impressed. By comparison, with laptops sporting the new Qualcomm chips yet to be released, we have to reserve judgement on their capabilities. But, on paper, Qualcomm is touting boosted capabilities with the X Plus compared with the M3.

Oryon benchmarks
Image Credit (Qualcomm)

The Snapdragon X Plus is said to offer 10% faster multi-threaded CPU performance compared with the Apple M3. So, in theory, X Plus laptops should provide the performance and efficiency of multitasking and other multi-threaded workloads compared with M3 devices. It’s worth noting the X Plus can be equipped with more memory than the M3, up to 64GB versus 24GB for a Mac.

Further, the X Plus is set to offer a whopping 45 TOPS of AI-focused NPU power. The Apple M3 only comes in at 18 TOPS. However, it all comes down to how it’s used.

Apple M3 offers higher CPU speed and a 3nm process

Qualcomm may claim it has the edge on multi-threaded performance but the Apple M3 wins on some key fundamentals. The Snapdragon X Plus offers up to 3.4GHz processing speeds across its 10 CPU cores, while the Apple M3 can reach up to 4.05GHz. The M3 is also built upon a smaller 3nm process than the 4nm X Plus, which typically means boosted efficiency.

MacBook Air M3 angled on table
Apple MacBook Air M3 – Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Snapdragon X Plus should offer more choice

Given Qualcomm isn’t in the business of making its own laptops, the Snapdragon X Plus is set to debut across different Windows manufacturers. We’re expected to see the new Snapdragon laptop chips across Microsoft Surface models while other popular manufacturers like Asus, Acer, Lenovo and HP may well be involved but that’s unconfirmed. Comparatively, you can only get the M3 on devices made by Apple.

Battery life remains an unknown

Admittedly, it isn’t an easy task for Qualcomm to tout the battery life capabilities of the Snapdragon X Plus as manufacturers will be able to pair it with differing battery sizes and chassis with varying efficiency capabilities. However, with a huge benefit of moving to Arm being the additional battery life that a more efficient chip can bring, it remains a key point of curiosity.

X Plus battery life
Image Credit (Qualcomm)

Qualcomm has said that the chip “can go longer on a single charge with up to multi-day battery life” but that will need to be tested when we get our hands on one of these devices.

We know the MacBook Air M3 can offer up to 18 hours of battery life from our review testing, while Qualcomm has been rather coy relating to its new chips. The only indicative comparison we have is through Qualcomm comparing the X Elite with an Intel Core 7 155H chip. Qualcomm says it offers 43% longer battery life for local video playback, 58% longer for web browsing and 40% longer for Office 365 apps.

Asus Zenbook 14 OLED
Asus Zenbook 14 OLED – Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

In our testing of the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED that includes the aforementioned Intel chip, we found that it managed up to 13 hours of battery life. So, there’s potential that Snapdragon X Elite laptops could line up fairly nicely with the Apple M3 in terms of battery life, but we don’t yet know if the X Plus differentiates in that regard from its flagship stablemate. And, given we’ve yet to test any new Snapdragon devices and they’ll differ greatly between different machines, take all this with a pinch of salt.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.

Trusted Reviews Logo

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the best of Trusted Reviews delivered right to your inbox.

This is a test error message with some extra words