HP EliteBook Ultra Copilot+ PC gives the MacBook Air a run for its money

The HP OmniBook X and HP Elitebook Ultra G1q in front of an abstract blue background
(Image credit: HP, edited with Canva)

The first wave of Microsoft Copilot+ PCs arrived on June 18, which means our labs have been hard at work testing all of the claims made about the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chipset's performance. 

The HP EliteBook Ultra is HP's AI business laptop, so we're looking for a good balance between performance and battery life. HP made multiple claims about the laptop's performance, pitting it against the MacBook Air 13 M3 and MacBook Pro 14 M3

While the EliteBook’s battery life easily beats the MacBook Air, things are a bit less cut and dry in the performance score face-off. In a reviewer's workshop for the new Copilot+ AI PCs, HP admitted that the EliteBook Ultra takes a performance hit over the OmniBook X thanks to the increased HP Wolf Security system onboard the EliteBook platform.

So when it comes to pure computing power, can the EliteBook keep up?

Apple MacBook Air 13 M3

The MacBook Air 13 M3 is a 13-inch fanless laptop while the HP EliteBook Ultra is a 14-inch laptop with cooling fans. So the MacBook Air will suffer from more heat-induced performance degradation than the EliteBook. With that said, the MacBook Air 13 M3 stays surprisingly cool under most conditions, so the comparison isn't completely off base.

On the Geekbench 6 benchmark, the MacBook Air has the edge on single-core performance with an average of 3,082 while the EliteBook's single-core average is just 2,371. On the multicore side, the laptops flip and the EliteBook comes out the winner with an average of 12,717 compared to the Air's 12,087 score. Of course, most of your general laptop usage will involve multiple cores so we often weigh multicore performance higher than single-core performance. 

However, depending on what kind of business you are in, the scales may tip in the other direction. For example, photo and video editing or CAD software require higher single-core performance, so if those are primary tasks for you it may make more sense to opt for the MacBook Air instead.

As for our Handbrake test which takes the 4K version of Tears of Steel and encodes it to 1080p 30FPS, the HP EliteBook Ultra was one minute faster at converting the video file than the MacBook Air. The EliteBook took 6 minutes and 40 seconds to complete the conversion while the MacBook Air took 7 minutes and 40 seconds to complete the same task.

So unless you desperately need to run a lot of Photoshop, the HP EliteBook wins the performance battle with the MacBook Air.

Apple MacBook Pro 14 M3

The MacBook Pro 14 and the HP EliteBook Ultra are both 14-inch clamshell laptops with cooling fans, so this is the closest one-to-one comparison we can find between the Copilot+ AI PC and an Apple laptop.

On Geekbench 6, we found the MacBook Pro had a similar lead on single-core performance as the MacBook Air. The MacBook Pro averaged 3,163 on Geekbench 6's single-core CPU benchmark while the EliteBook averaged just 2,371. Much like with the MacBook Air, those places flipped on multicore performance. The HP EliteBook's 12,717 multicore average outpaced the MacBook Pro 14's 11,968 score.

However, things were much different on our Handbrake test. The MacBook Pro 14 M3 was able to take the 4K version of Tears of Steel and encode it to a 1080p 30FPS format in just 5 minutes and 38 seconds, while the HP EliteBook Ultra took 6:40 to complete the same task.

Of course, if your job mostly involves balancing spreadsheets, responding to emails, and having 20+ Chrome tabs open the HP EliteBook is still the better choice. However, if you do any design or editing work the increased single-core performance and speedy video encoding speeds of the MacBook Pro 14 M3 are far more useful.

HP OmniBook X

The HP OmniBook X is a nearly identical laptop to the HP EliteBook Ultra. The primary difference between the two laptops comes down to chassis color and the HP Wolf Security software loaded onto the EliteBook Ultra as part of HP's enterprise laptop platform. HP already confirmed that the EliteBook will take a bit of a performance hit compared to the OmniBook X, but just how much of a performance hit is it?

On Geekbench 6, the EliteBook had a slightly higher single-core performance average of 2,371 compared to the OmniBook X's average of 2,347. However, a difference of under 50 points on Geekbench's single-core metric is practically nothing so they're nearly identical. On the multicore side, the OmniBook X has a little more power, averaging 12,861 compared to the EliteBook (12,717). Again, we're talking only 150 points on GeekBench multicore scores which is not the biggest difference though it's a little more significant than the single-core performance gap.

On Handbrake, the OmniBook X was far faster, completing the Tears of Steel encode in 5 minutes and 46 seconds. That's almost a minute faster than the EliteBook (6:40).

As the OmniBook X and EliteBook Ultra are both Windows laptops we were able to run our 25GB file transfer test. The OmniBook X was quicker at copying over our 25GB multimedia test folder, taking just 30.08 seconds to copy the files for a transfer rate of 893 MBps. The EliteBook took 37.7 seconds to copy the folder for a transfer rate of 712 MBps.

Overall performance results

The HP EliteBook Ultra stacks up well against to the MacBook Pro 14 M3 and MacBook Air 13 M3. Based on pure computing power, the HP OmniBook X is the better Windows laptop. The OmniBook X even gives the MacBook Pro 14 a run for its money on our Handbrake test.

The MacBook Pro and MacBook Air will still offer better single-core processing power, so if you need to do heavy design work, Apple still retains the edge. But if you just need a laptop to handle more generalist tasks, the EliteBook and OmniBook make a great case for Microsoft's Copilot+ PC program.

The OmniBook X packs a more powerful punch in terms of pure performance and it's also cheaper than the EliteBook Ultra, though it does miss out on the increased security platform. So if you need a personal laptop, the OmniBook X is the way to go, but if you need to buy some laptops for your small business the EliteBook is the safer choice.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
LaptopGeekbench 6 single-coreGeekbench 6 multicoreHandbrake time25GB file copy timeTransfer rate (MBps)
HP EliteBook Ultra2,37112,71706:4037.7712
HP OmniBook X2,34712,86105:4630.08893
Apple MacBook Air 13 M33,08212,08707:40Row 2 - Cell 4 Row 2 - Cell 5
Apple MacBook Pro 14 M33,16311,96805:38Row 3 - Cell 4 Row 3 - Cell 5

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Madeline Ricchiuto
Staff Writer

A former lab gremlin for Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, and Tech Radar; Madeline has escaped the labs to join Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer. With over a decade of experience writing about tech and gaming, she may actually know a thing or two. Sometimes. When she isn't writing about the latest laptops and AI software, Madeline likes to throw herself into the ocean as a PADI scuba diving instructor and underwater photography enthusiast.