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One of the best laptops for work travel I've tested is not a Lenovo or MacBook

The latest HP OmniBook X is a snappy Copilot+ PC with a feature set that remote workers will appreciate.
Written by Kyle Kucharski, Editor
The HP Omnibook X 14
Kyle Kucharski/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The OmniBook X 14, HP's new Copilot+ AI PC, is available now for $1,149. 
  • It's extremely portable and has perhaps one of the longest-lasting batteries on the market right now.
  • The mediocre display and modest hardware configuration may leave this laptop overshadowed by other Snapdragon PCs.

Upon first glance, Qualcomm's new Snapdragon X Elite processor offers the same Windows on ARM experience as anywhere else, except it's noticeably faster, snappier, and more responsive. 

Such is the case with the OmniBook X 14, HP's first generation of consumer-facing laptops with the Snapdragon chip: a mid-range Copilot+ PC without any earthshaking features but an impressive battery and improved performance in an ultraportable form factor. 

Also: I saw the future of AI at Qualcomm's headquarters, and Copilot+ PCs were only just the beginning

First impressions of the OmniBook reveal a well-optimized laptop that boots up quickly, awakens from sleep almost immediately, multitasks well, and is totally silent. It also runs cool, has a fantastic battery, and is thin and light, making it ideal for digital nomads or professionals with a hybrid work format.

View at Best Buy

I used the OmniBook X 14 as my main driver for two weeks during the testing process, and the closer I looked at it, the more complicated the picture became. More on that in a bit. Let's break down the specs first. 

The OmniBook X 14 comes with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD but can be upgraded to 1TB of storage, bringing the price up to $1,250. The Snapdragon X Elite's strong performance is evident in ways consumers will care about: apps open and close quickly, webpages spring to life instantly, and the device has no problem switching between different tasks without missing a beat. 

During benchmarking in Geekbench, I got a single core score of 2,326, and a multicore score of 13,160, placing it right around the likes of fellow Snapdragon-equipped Lenovo Yoga Slim 7x, and the Dell XPS 14 with the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H. Both of those machines have OLED displays, however, with the former being slightly less expensive.

Also: Every Copilot+ PC Microsoft just announced to take on Apple's M3 MacBooks

Additionally, the OmniBook X comes with the XIE-78-100 model of the Snapdragon Elite chip, which, at 3.4GHz, is the slowest configuration, essentially the same as the Snapdragon X Plus, (the lower-tier model) with no dual-core boost.

The 14-inch touchscreen display is fine, but it's not an OLED, and it's not very bright. The color gamut is respectable, but it taps out at 300 nits of brightness and a 60Hz refresh rate. I would have liked to see a brighter display and/or a 120Hz refresh rate.

HP Omnibook X 14
Kyle Kucharski/ZDNET

The laptop's form factor is surprisingly light and thin, at just 2.97 pounds, and comes in either a neutral chrome color or a matte ceramic white model, which is sharp-looking and smudge-resistant. 

Connectivity is fine, with two USB-C Thunderbolt ports, a USB-A port, and 3.5mm headphone jack. There's no SD card slot, which, paired with a slightly better display, would have gone a long way toward making this laptop a little more premium. On that note, the keyboard isn't high-end, but it is satisfying and functional, smudge-resistant (a big one for me), and has a nice key travel distance with attractive backlighting.

Also: This Lenovo laptop is ultraportable, lasts all day, and has a MagSafe-like superpower

The device's 5MP webcam is also quite nice and contributes to its use case as a portable workstation for digital nomads or hybrid professionals tethered to daily videoconferencing. 

Further supporting that fact is HP's AI-powered Poly Camera Pro software, which comes loaded on the OmniBook with a wide range of templates and quality-of-life settings for the webcam, including spotlighting, subtle appearance touch ups, background blurring, and a digital business card overlay feature that displays your name and contact information in a variety of designs.

HP Omnibook X
Kyle Kucharski/ZDNET

If you're taking calls with any degree of regularity, the Snapdragon chip feels great to use, with near-instant load times for the webcam and associated conferencing apps, and despite the 60Hz refresh rate, a silky-smooth video feed.

Also: I bought the cheapest Surface Pro Copilot+ PC - here are my 3 takeaways as a Windows expert

Alright, I saved the best part of this laptop for last. Simply put, the battery on this thing is impressive. HP states that the 59Wh battery on the OmniBook X 14 gets up to 26 hours of battery life, and I found this to be more or less accurate. 

The AI in the Snapdragon chips adjusts the power supply to the processor based on current needs, dropping to virtually zero when the device is off or asleep. In practice, the goal behind this is for the laptop to simply not lose juice when it's not in use.

HP Omnibook X 14
Kyle Kucharski/ZDNET

While using the laptop, the battery life is also quite good. In fact, during my two weeks of using the OmniBook, I rarely even thought about the battery, just plugging it in when it was convenient to do so, instead of being prompted to by Windows.

Even better, I got almost identical results when benchmarking plugged into power versus while running on battery. This means performance doesn't take a dip if you don't have access to an outlet, sealing the deal as a solid laptop for ultra-mobile remote workers. Keep in mind that I got these results only after several back-to-back Windows updates, including a BIOS update, that rolled out during testing.

Also: How to pick a laptop for college: 4 things to consider and 10 laptops we recommend

Performance and physical specs aside, the OmniBook X 14 is part of the first generation of Snapdragon X laptops, which operates on ARM compared to any Windows machine on x86. This means that certain programs don't run well yet, and some don't run at all, an important factor to consider.

HP Omnibook X 14
Kyle Kucharski/ZDNET

There are going to be hiccups as developers optimize and make their programs compatible, and even apps that are compatible with Windows on ARM aren't fully optimized. When I first fired up DaVinci Resolve on the OmniBook, it was laggy. After a Windows update a few days later, performance improved.   

Gaming is not fully supported by Windows on ARM yet, either. Many titles don't work, and if they do, the performance is subpar. The OmniBook isn't a gaming laptop, so I wouldn't be trying to run games on this machine anyway, but right now we don't have much of a choice either way.

Also: One of the most powerful laptops I've tested has MacBook written all over it (but isn't one)

This gets to the meat of the issue here. Yes, the CPU is fast and efficient, and the NPU on these processors runs AI-related tasks better than anything else on the market, but the chips are held back by Windows' functionality (at least for now), and this tension between the two will be at the root cause of a lot of issues until the growing pains subside.

ZDNET's buying advice

The HP OmniBook X 14 is a solid choice for remote workers, digital nomads, and professionals who need a powerful laptop with a marathon battery. I would also recommend this laptop to those who are actively engaged with AI-related tasks and all in with its future applications.

If you're looking for a Copilot+ PC with a better display, you might want to check out the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7x. If you're looking for an HP laptop with an Intel chip, take a look at the HP Envy x360 2-in-1

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