With the newly developed Snapdragon 8cx, Qualcomm has the chance to finally supply a Windows laptop with power. Battery life and integrated mobile connectivity (read: your laptop always has an internet connection) has always been the company's strengths, but the previous Snapdragon 850 did not always have enough power to train with a web browser full of web apps.  We will not know if this will really change until we spend some time on real Snapdragon 8cx computers – none of which has been announced – but had my Qualcomms Snapdragon 8cx Reference design notebook on the hands, and my first impression was promising.
When I launched the beta version of a new Firefox browser, which was redesigned for native operation on ARM-based computers, I could easily open a dozen browser tabs and browse through them without bigger problems. While a PowerPoint presentation and a Windows Store instance were in the background and mirrored to an external monitor. It was not a buttery experience, but it was not a boring experience either, and it felt like there was room for maneuver.
. I'm not just talking about a dozen Google cases. I'm talking websites with a decent page load and a running demand for a computer's memory and processor, including The Verge CNET a pair of HD videos from YouTube, a Google Sheets spreadsheet and a fully loaded instance from Tweetdeck with all my social media columns. It took a second for the spreadsheet to load correctly, but that could have been connectivity – I was surfing on a relatively limited 20Mbps Verizon LTE connection.
Obviously testing is not enough. I did not do a single quantitative benchmark. The local friendly Qualcomm representative did not let me access the Windows Task Manager to see how much my browser load put a strain on the new chip.
And there is not much to say about the reference design itself. It looks and feels like a fairly generic, medium-sized, thin, but somewhat plasticky Windows convertible, with a fairly weak screen and a camera bump at the back. None of this necessarily applies to terminals from real PC manufacturers.
We have a chance to test more in mid-2019 when Qualcomm expects the first 8cx devices to hit the market. The early Firefox performance is a good sign for the time being.