I spent a day using Copilot+ on the HP EliteBook Ultra, and it drove me crazy

I spent an entire day using the various Copilot+ AI programs available on the HP EliteBook Ultra to solve one of my main questions about the new AI PCs: Are they worth it?The Copilot+ Snapdragon laptops boast increased performance and battery life. Still, the other key selling point is the onboard AI capabilities courtesy of the Qualcomm Hexagon NPU. But what features do the Copilot+ laptops even offer?Since Microsoft has recalled the Recall feature, which would capture snapshots of a user’s laptop activity, we’re left with the AI Cocreate program in Windows Paint, live captions with AI language translation, enhanced Studio camera effects, and the Copilot AI assistant. All of the other AI features of a Copilot+ laptop require third-party applications that aren’t preinstalled on your machine like increased generative AI in Adobe Photoshop or gesture motion controls via Cephable.Enhanced AI features aren’t all they’re cracked up to beCocreate in Windows Paint does allow you to draw your own images, but it mostly functions like any other text-to-image AI image generation tool using Stable Diffusion, which you can easily get from Open AI’s Dall-E 2, Figma, Adobe Firefly, Pixlr, and even through Microsoft’s Copilot assistant. And in my general day-to-day, I don’t have any reason to use image generation.The Copilot+ live captions feature is perhaps the most interesting to me, and it does work better in a quieter environment than a crowded demo floor. But even then, you can get better translation through YouTube or even most video chat apps, and the Copilot+ live captions software struggles with accents and language identification, plus it has a pretty severe lag when translating slang. Get our in-depth reviews, helpful tips, great deals, and the biggest news stories delivered to your inbox.I did enjoy rattling off some phrases in Japanese, confusing the system with a recitation of Dante’s Inferno in Italian, and seeing if I could get it to translate accurately when standing well away from the laptop. But again, this isn’t a feature I need to use with any frequency.The Copilot+ live captions feature is perhaps the most interesting to me, and it does work better in a quieter environment than a crowded demo floor. The enhanced background blur studio effects are also easy to find in just about any video chat feature. From Google Meet to Zoom, background blur isn’t new technology. Sure, the NPU may allow the background blur features to be a bit smarter at blurring objects in the background or obscuring people who may walk through the frame, but it’s not exactly something you need to have right now.And while the Copilot assistant is nice, it isn’t exclusive to Copilot+ PCs. You can put Microsoft’s new chatbot on your iPhone if you want.You can’t argue with the performance and battery life boostThe performance of most Copilot+ PCs, and the HP EliteBook Ultra in particular is certainly impressive. The EliteBook easily keeps up with the Apple MacBook Air 13 M3 and even outperformed the MacBook on some benchmarks. The 16-hour and 1-minute average battery life of the EliteBook is also more than capable of standing up against the MacBook Air.So the Copilot+ program certainly isn’t a bust. But the AI features aren’t a great reason to upgrade to a new laptop — for now.

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