These are the best Windows on ARM laptops you can buy

These are the best Windows on ARM laptops you can buy

Microsoft and Qualcomm first introduced Windows on Arm back in 2017, but it took some time for Arm devices to catch on. The ability to run Windows on Arm-based processors is a big deal. Arm processors offer always-on connectivity, instant wake, and many of them come with cellular connectivity without adding a premium to the price. The first few Windows on Arm devices all had the same processors, and they weren’t very good. But nowadays, there are multiple Arm processors designed for PCs and devices using each one. That means there’s a bit more choice than there used to be in this space. To help you find them, we’ve rounded up the best Windows on Arm laptops you can buy right now.

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One thing that’s important to note is not only are these PCs using different processors, but they all have different designs. The Windows on Arm segment now offers quite a few diverse choices, so you can almost certainly find something you like. Whether it’s a tablet, a clamshell, or a convertible, there are options. With that being said, it’s also worth mentioning that not a lot of Windows Arm devices coming out frequently, so a few of these are a bit old by now.

It’s also worth mentioning that, thanks to Windows 11, these devices are even better now, with Microsoft adding support for x64 emulation. That means you can now run most types of apps on these laptops, even if they don’t have 32-bit versions anymore.

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Best overall: Lenovo ThinkPad X13s

Front view of Lenovo ThinkPad laptop

It’s not always easy to choose the best laptop for one of these lists, but this is an extremely easy choice to make. That’s simply because the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s is the first – and so far, only – device to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor, and it’s simply the more modern of the bunch.

That Snapdragon processor is a huge leap over the previous generation, and it’s an octa-core processor. Four of those cores are based on the Cortex-X1 Arm cores for maximum performance, and the other four are Cortex-A78 cores, which are still decently fast, but more power efficient. To be clear, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 touts up to 85% faster CPU performance compared to its predecessor, it’s no joke. And it also claims up to 60% faster GPU performance, so this really is the best laptop to get if you want a new Windows on Arm device right now. Importantly, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s can also be configured with up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, so it has all the makings of a premium laptop.

Moving on to the display, the ThinkPad X13s has a 13-inch panel, as the name suggests, and it comes in the 16:10 aspect ratio, which is very welcome for productivity. This tall aspect ratio is great for reading and writing documents, spreadsheets, and anything else. It comes in Full HD+ resolution (1920 x 1200), and you can opt to add touch support if you want to. There are no upgrade options for the resolution, though you can choose a low-power display option that goes up to 400 nits of brightness, a bit better than the base model’s 300 nits.

Above that display, there’s a 5MP webcam, which is one of the best you’ll find on this list. The base configuration doesn’t include Windows Hello support, but it is an optional upgrade, and you also have the option to add Computer Vision, which allows the laptop to detect when you approach it or walk away from it and wake up or lock itself accordingly.

In terms of design, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s is exactly what you’d expect from a ThinkPad, for better or worse. It’s great to see, as there weren’t any ThinkPads with Arm processors until now, so if you wanted that iconic design with an Arm CPU, you finally have that option. However, this is a look not everyone will love, so it’s up to your personal preference. The laptop is fairly thin at 13.4mm, and it weighs just 2.35lbs, so it’s very easy to carry around anywhere, and while it has a bit of an old-school look, it’s definitely modern in that regard.

As for ports, you get two USB Type-C ports and a headphone jack, and that’s about it. This is a common limitation for Arm-based laptops, but you can add more ports with a USB-C hub if you want to. There’s also a nano-SIM slot, which is optional and included if you choose to add 5G connectivity to the laptop. If you do, you can choose to get just sub-6GHz 5G or also add mmWave support, which is something you only really see in Arm laptops. Intel or AMD models only support sub-6GHz.

FOr the performance alone, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s is worthy of being the best Arm-based Windows laptop, but on top of that, you get a great display, a fantastic webcam with optional facial recognition, and the iconic ThinkPad design that we’re seeing for the first time in an Arm laptop. This is definitely the device to get out of all the ones on this list.

    The Lenovo ThinkPad X13s is the most powerful Arm-based Windows laptop right now, and it has other great specs.

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Best convertible: HP Elite Folio

HP Elite Folio in folio orientation angled view

Until you’ve used a device covered in vegan leather, you might not know exactly what you’re missing out on, but this is absolutely fantastic. Vegan leather not only looks classy and sophisticated, but it also feels soft to the touch. Based on that alone, the HP Elite Folio is one of my favorite devices on this list. It’s also got solid performance, though, like most laptops on this list, it’s been outdone by the ThinkPad X13s.

That’s because it’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, which was the best Arm processor for Windows PCs at the time, and is still the second best now. It’s still an octa-core processor, but these cores aren’t as powerful as the ones found inside the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. Still, it’s a reasonably fast processor, and you can pair it with up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD for storage. This means you’ll be able to multi-task without much of an issue, and you’ll also have a solid amount of storage for your files over time.

The display is also a plus with the HP Elite Folio. It’s a 13.5-inch panel, but it comes in the 3:2 aspect ratio. This is taller than a typical 16:9 display (and even 16:10), and that extra vertical space is great for reading and browsing the web since you can see more lines of text. The resolution is Full HD+(1920 x 1280), which is more than sharp enough for a screen of this size, and it has up to 400 nits of brightness, so you should be able to see it outdoors without much of an issue. This is a business laptop, too, and so you also have the option to add a privacy screen, which prevents people around you from reading what’s on the screen while you’re working.

A potential downside of this laptop is the small 720p webcam, which isn’t going to have the greatest quality, but it should be good enough for occasional use. Plus, it’s still something we see all too often. The camera does include an IR sensor for Windows Hello, so you can still unlock the PC securely and easily.

This really is one of the best-looking laptops on this list thanks to that vegan leather cover that wraps all around it. But it also benefits from a really clever design for a convertible. Instead of spinning the screen around the keyboard, you can pull the screen towards you, or lay it flat on the keyboard. You can even make it so it’s covering the keyboard and not the touchpad. It’s a very unique design and it deserves all the praise for that. It’s also a fairly thin and light laptop. It measures just 16mm in thickness, and it weighs 2.92lbs, which is very portable and easy to carry anywhere.

That thin design and the leather cover do result in a somewhat limited selection of ports. You get two USB Type-C ports and a headphone jack, which isn’t a lot, so you’ll need a USB Type-C hub to add more ports. You also get a nanoSIM card slot if you choose to get the Elite Folio with cellular network support, which costs extra. You can choose between LTE and 5G connectivity here, and the latter should get you higher speeds, but it’s also significantly more expensive, so it’s up to you if you really need that.

While it’s no longer the cream of the crop, the HP Elite Folio is still one of the best Windows on Arm laptops you can buy, especially with its design, tall screen, and the ability to add a privacy screen, which make this more suitable for business users.

    The HP Elite Folio is one of the most unique-looking Arm laptops yet, with the leather cover giving it a classy look and feel. It's powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, it has up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Plus, it has a tall 13.5-inch 3:2 display that's great for productivity

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Best 5G convertible: Lenovo Flex 5G

If leather isn’t your thing but you still want a professional 5G convertible, the Lenovo Flex 5G is another great choice. In fact, you could argue it’s one of the best 5G laptops. This is a classy all-metal laptop, and it’s going to look great in any business setting.

Because it’s not the newest device around, it’s still packing the original Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor, not even the Gen 2 refresh, but it’s not a huge deal. The second iteration of the processor only slightly increased the clock speed, so it’s not like you’ll be missing out on performance because of it. In addition to that, you get 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, a solid combination for day-to-day work tasks. 8GB is the minimum we’d recommend for a solid multi-tasking experience on Windows, so you’re good in that regard.

The display on the Lenovo Flex 5G is a 14-inch panel and it comes in the more typical 16:9 aspect ratio with Full HD resolution. A taller display may have been a nice addition for some users, but the 16:9 aspect ratio makes it ideal for content consumption, and the included Dolby Atmos stereo speakers help with that, too. It can reach up to 400 nits of brightness so it should be decently visible outdoors. Since this is a convertible, the screen supports touch, There are no upgrade options from the base model, but to be fair, this should be more than enough already.

Like the HP Elite Folio, you only get a 720p camera here, which is a downside with many laptops on this list, but once again you do have facial recognition for Windows Hello. On top of that, the Lenovo Flex 5G also has a fingerprint sensor, so you can choose the most convenient login method at any given moment.

Design-wise, of course, the Lenovo Flex 5G is a convertible, which means you can rotate the screen around the hinge to use it as a tablet. It’s thinner than the HP Elite Folio, though, being just 14.7mm at its thinnest point. It also weighs 2.9lbs, so it’s decently portable, too. As for looks, it’s a fairly standard-looking metal laptop, coming in a subdued silver color, which makes it good if you don’t want to attract too much attention when you pull it out of your bag.

In terms of ports, it’s about as limiting as the laptops above, featuring two USB Type-C ports and a headphone jack. However, you do get an extra switch on the side to turn on airplane mode. A big benefit of the Flex 5G, however, is the cellular connectivity, which is included by default. You won’t have to pay extra to get LTE or 5G support, and you know exactly what you’re getting from the start.

Overall, the Lenovo Flex 5G is a fantastic 5G convertible and having that connectivity by default is a big plus since it makes the choice easier.

    The Lenovo Flex 5G is a great convertible with 5G support included by default, plus a screen and speaker system designed for media cosumption.

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Best battery life for Windows on Arm: Acer Spin 7

Acer Spin 7

The last convertible in the traditional sense on this list is the Acer Spin 7, and it feels more like a premium consumer product than a business one. It covers all the basics for a great experience on Windows, and it looks great while doing so.

As any premium Windows Arm laptop would until recently, the Acer Spin 7 comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 chipset, featuring 8 cores running at up to 2.84GHz. It also comes with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage, so you should get solid multi-tasking capabilities and plenty of space for your files over time. What makes it stand out the most though is it promises up to 29 hours of battery life, the highest of any Windows on Arm device on this list, making this ideal for long trips when you’re away from an outlet for extended periods.

Similar to the Lenovo Flex 5G, the display is a 14-inch panel and it comes with a 16:9 aspect ratio and Full HD resolution. However, the Acer Spin 7 doesn’t get quite as bright, reaching a maximum brightness of 300 nits. Being that it’s also a convertible, the Acer Spin 7 also supports pen input, however, and it comes with a pen built right in, which you can store inside the laptop itself so you never lose it.

The webcam is once again a bit disappointing, being that it’s a 720p webcam without Windows Hello support. That’s not to say there’s no form of Windows Hello support, however, as there is a fingerprint reader on the keyboard deck, so it’s still fairly easy to unlock the PC.

The Acer Spin 7 has a more striking design than the Lenovo Flex 5G, however, thanks to its classy dual-color scheme. The main body of the laptop is a dark blue color, but accents like the Acer logo on the lid, the hinge, the keyboard key labels, and the edges of the trackpad use a gold color to accent them, giving the device a hint of personality. It’s once again a fairly thin device at 15.9mm, and that’s one of the common benefits of Arm laptops. It weighs 3.09lbs, though, which makes it one of the heavier laptops on this list. It should still be very portable, however.

The Spin 7 suffers from the same problem in terms of ports, however, featuring just two USB Type-C ports and a headphone jack. It does include a security port, though, so you can lock the laptop on a desk to make it harder to steal. The Acer Spin 7 also supports 5G with both sub-6 and mmWave networks supported.

All things considered, the Acer Spin 7 is a great Arm-based laptop, offering great performance, a beautiful dual-tone design, and potentially the best battery life of any device on this list.

    The Acer Spin 7 is a premium convertible with a stunning design, 5G support, and a pen built right in for jotting down notes on the go.

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Best Windows on Arm tablet: Surface Pro X

Surface Pro X in black on wooden table

Arguably one of the most prolific Windows on Arm devices is Microsoft’s Surface Pro X, which represented the company’s big push for Windows devices powered by Arm processors. It was first introduced in 2019, and while it hasn’t changed a ton, it’s still of the best Windows on Arm devices you can get.

Performance-wise, the Surface Pro X doesn’t stray far from other premium Windows devices with Arm processors. It’s sold with either the Microsoft SQ1 or SQ2 processor, and these are essentially tweaked versions of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx and 8cx Gen 2. They’re slightly faster, but not by a whole lot. It also comes with up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage, being one of the most powerful Windows on Arm devices. Those 16GB of RAM can make a big difference in multi-tasking performance, so it’s great to have that option.

What really helps the Surface Pro X stand out is its display. It’s a 13-inch panel and it uses the typical 3:2 aspect ratio that all Surface devices have. The HP Elite Folio also has a 3:2 display, but the Surface Pro X features a super-sharp 2880 x 1920 resolution, making for an absolutely fantastic visual experience on a display of this size. This is a PixelSense display, meaning it also supports touch and the Surface Slim Pen. It also has fairly small bezels on the sides.

That’s not all, though, because the Surface Pro X also has by far the best camera on this list. It’s using a 5MP front-facing webcam, and it can record video at 1080p, plus it supports Windows Hello. That means you’re going to get great video quality in meetings and video calls, especially compared to the other cameras on this list. Not only that, but the Surface Pro X adds a rear-facing camera, too, and that one support 4K video and 10MP pictures.

The design is also a point in favor of the Surface Pro X. This is a tablet, though you can add the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard to make a more laptop-like experience. However, it’s an extremely thin and light tablet, measuring just 7.3mm in thickness and weighing 1.7lbs. Even if you do add the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard with a Surface Slim Pen 2, you’re looking at 2.35lbs in weight and a thickness of 13.6mm where the Surface SlimPen 2 is stored.

This is the most portable of the devices on this list, and it doesn’t miss out on much. Except ports, that is. The Surface Pro X does have two USB Type-C ports like most devices we’ve looked at so far, but it doesn’t have a headphone jack, likely due to being as thin as it is. Originally, all models of the Surface Pro X came with LTE support, but recently Microsoft has introduced a Wi-Fi-only version, so you can save some money if you don’t need LTE. There’s no 5G support yet, however.

The Surface Pro X easily offers the most premium user experience in more ways than one. It’s extremely portable, it has a fantastic display, and great webcams. You can also turn it into a more typical laptop experience by adding the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard with the Surface Slim Pen 2.

    The Surface Pro X is the best premium Windows on Arm tablet, feautinrg a high-resolution display and webcams.

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Best budget Windows on Arm PC: Samsung Galaxy Book Go

Front view of Samsung Galaxy Book Go

In a sea of premium Arm-based devices, the Samsung Galaxy Book Go is a breath of fresh air, aiming for the entry-level market with features you just can’t get on other laptops at this price point.

It’s a traditional clamshell form factor and it comes packing a Snapdragon 7c Gen 2, and it was one of the first consumer devices to do so. That’s not quite on the same level of performance as the Snapdragon 8cx laptops we’ve looked at so far, but compared to other laptops in its price range, it’s not bad at all. It also comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and for a laptop at this price, that’s acceptable. It’s obviously not going to be a mind-blowing experience, but if you’re shopping in this price range, it’s about as good as you’ll find anywhere else.

That all applies to the base model, but you can spring for the 5G model, which costs more than double the price. That does add a more powerful chipset (the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2), 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. It also adds 5G support, while the base model has no cellular connectivity whatsoever. You can check out the 5G model on Samsung’s website.

Still, the base $350 model has some great selling points like the display. it’s a 14-inch panel, and it’s got Full HD resolution. That’s the same as many of the premium laptops on this list, and while some might consider Full HD the bare minimum, many laptops at this price don’t have that. The screen quality itself isn’t on the same level as those premium laptops, of course, and while it has a somewhat large bezel where the camera is, it’s still 720p without Windows Hello. In fact, there’s no form of Windows Hello here.

One area where the Galaxy Book Go outshines the premium laptops we’ve looked at so far is the ports. It comes with two USB Type-C ports, one USB Type-A, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. You don’t see USB Type-A ports on most Arm laptops, so it’s nice to have it here for peripherals that still need it.

It’s still a very portable laptop, too, measuring just under 15mm in thickness and weighing 3.04lbs pounds for the base model. The overall design feels premium, even though it’s still made out of plastic. In our review of the Samsung Galaxy Book Go, we even noted that it felt like metal, and it was the spec sheet that said otherwise.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Book Go isn’t a mind-blowing laptop, but it’s very impressive for its price. If you want a taste of Windows on Arm without breaking the bank, this is one of your best options.

    The Samsung Galaxy Book Go is a fantastic budget laptop with decent entry-level performance, a Full HD display, and a premium design.

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That covers most of the current Windows on Arm laptops, which does still show a somewhat lacking ecosystem compared to Intel and AMD products. Still, there’s variety in form factors, design, and even price points here. We picked the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s as the best overall device because it’s simply the only device already using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, and that’s a major leap in performance compared to the previous generation. However, the Surface Pro X is a superior device in many ways, specifically the display and design. And if those aren’t your style, there are some solid options to choose from here.

You might not want an Arm laptop though, because there are other limitations that come with it. For example, Arm laptops don’t have Thunderbolt, so you can’t use a Thunderbolt dock for expansion. We have a list of the best Thunderbolt-enabled laptops if that’s something you need.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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