Asus NovaGo review

The longest lasting laptop – and that’s about it

Asus NovaGo

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Measuring the performance of the Asus NovaGo directly is difficult, as just one of our benchmarks is compatible with Windows 10 S Mode. Luckily, that benchmark is our very own battery test, which we’ll touch on later. 

Regardless, direct performance comparisons between this laptop and its competitors – beyond battery life – would be unfair. Of course, we could simply turn off S Mode, but the claims that Asus, Microsoft and Qualcomm make in regards to the laptop’s performance refer to S Mode results.


Here’s how the Asus NovaGo performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Windows 10 S Mode:
Battery life (TechRadar movie test): 15 hours and 5 minutes

Windows 10 Pro:
Geekbench 4: 838 (single-core); 3,160 (multi-core)
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 10 hours and 51 minutes

Asus (rather smartly) doesn’t make any specific claims regarding hardcore performance from the NovaGo. Rather, the company simply states that the Snapdragon 835 processor allows the device to be thinner than most, last up to 22 hours on a charge and can instantly start from a dormant state faster than any Windows laptop before it.

Based on our use of the NovaGo, we’re left nonplussed by its performance, even if it starts up like a tablet. While it operates just fine through basic tasks in the web browser and apps, we found the laptop to be slow in launching those apps, or loading files within apps. There’s a noticeable delay when trying to do either – enough for it to get annoying.

Plus, it’s clear how the processor struggles to handle digital inking, judging by how it follows our fingers from rather far behind.

Then, we updated the laptop to Windows 10 Pro for free, and the performance results are even worse. Not only could it only run Geekbench 4 due to processor incompatibilities, but it produces numbers that don't even come close to products in its price range.

These three scenarios leave us less than confident that the Snapdragon 835 processor can handle workloads much larger than website editing. To that end, this laptop might be best for mobile professionals with middling workloads that are constantly on the go, like real-estate agents and media producers, or students.

Asus NovaGo

Battery life

The reason we recommend people in those fields or similar ones to consider the Asus NovaGo (or a laptop like it) is because of its immense battery life. While Asus promises up to 22 hours of use on a single charge, we managed 15 hours and 5 minutes in our battery test.

That’s a far cry from Asus’s claim, but it’s also a far cry from what any of its competitors can produce. Regardless of the marketing possible overselling it, NovaGo is among the longest-lasting laptops we have ever seen.

You could take this laptop on just about any flight, domestic or otherwise, and it would last for the entire duration. And, if the flight is longer than 15 hours, then the Windows 10 Battery Saver feature might eke you through those extra few hours.

However, introduce Windows 10 Pro, and battery life takes a nosedive. Upon updating this laptop to the full version of Windows for free, its battery life result tanked by almost five hours.

Asus NovaGo

Software and features

Windows 10 S Mode is the star of the show, with nary a piece of bloatware to be found. This pared-down mode of Windows 10 is what in part allows for the laptop’s lengthy battery life and instant-on features, removing much of the overhead that the operating system normally has on top of these functions.

Of course, with that comes the fact that only Microsoft Store apps can be installed on the system. While this affects us editors in media very minimally, save for the complete lack of benchmark tests, it’s sure to present hurdles to other professionals and home users.

For instance, Adobe’s suite of apps isn’t available on the Microsoft Store, and the sole Adobe file editing app that is, Photoshop Elements, will not run on the device due to a processor incompatibility. It’s the lack of access to apps more so than the performance that will drive users to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free.

Asus NovaGo

Final verdict

The Asus NovaGo is an awfully niche product. It’s priced awkwardly just between budget laptops that aren’t nearly as pretty but just as capable (if not more so) and luxury machines with more premium builds and higher-end components.

The laptop also performs in such a way that limits its applications in work and learning environments. This is all before you get to the keyboard without a backlight and the lack of even basic USB-C for that price.

That said, NovaGo sits among the longest lasting laptops we’ve ever tested, which for some will be enough to click the ‘buy’ button. However, apply due diligence when looking to buy this laptop, as there’s clearly room to improve when it comes to Snapdragon processors inside Windows devices.

Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.