Microsoft Copilot+ PC: I love some of these AI features, but a few feel unfinished

Copilot+ AI PCs
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft first announced its new range of Copilot+ PCs ahead of the Microsoft Build developer conference, and today, we're seeing the first Copilot+ PCs launch, including Microsoft's own Surface Pro 11 and Surface Laptop 7.

If you're unfamiliar with what a Copilot+ PC is, here's a brief overview. According to Microsoft, "Copilot+ PCs are the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built." To be deemed a Copilot+ PC, it has to feature silicon capable of 40+ TOPS, which only Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite chip currently offers. Intel and AMD's competing Copilot+ PC chips will arrive before the end of the year.

More capable silicon equals more helpful AI features, and Microsoft seems to think these 7 features are enough to convince Windows users to upgrade their laptops.

For me, the power of the Snapdragon X Elite alone may get me to upgrade my Windows laptop. But that's not all, some AI-powered features available on Copilot+ PCs are quite compelling too, like the generative AI features Cocreator, Image Creator, and Restyle Image. If you love doing image work on your laptop, there's no question Microsoft is giving you some fun new tools.

However, Live Captions could be finicky, upgrades to Windows Studio Effect are minor, and I can't see myself using Recall. I've never been searching for something so long on my computer that I've wished AI could help me, and that's before the privacy and security considerations.

So while I haven't had a chance to test these new AI-powered features on Copilot+ PCs, I find myself torn as I consider the 7 biggest AI features Microsoft's marketing as reasons to buy a Copilot+ PC. I don't think they are powerful enough to convince me to upgrade my Windows laptop for AI alone, but let's take a closer look.

7. Restyle Image

restyle image feature copilot+ pc

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Restyle Image feature allows you to take your photos and turn them into reimagined art pieces. 

You can apply AI-generated effects to the foreground or background, or the entire image. Within seconds, you could take a photo of a beautiful sunset and transform it into something new with a preset style, like Fantasy, Anime, Surrealism, Impressionism, Watercolor, Cyberpunk, Renaissance, or Pixel art.

6. Live Captions

live captions feature copilot+ pc

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's new Live Captions feature can create subtitles (and translate from 44 different languages into English) for any audio on your PC, from video calls to content streaming from YouTube, a website, or a streaming service.

You can move the caption box around on your screen, make it bigger to display more words at once, adjust the caption styling, filter profanity, and more. Once Live Captions is enabled, you'll see captions appear in real-time as the audio comes through.

5. Windows Studio Effects

windows studio effects copilot+ pc

(Image credit: Microsoft)

If you frequently need to be on video calls for work or school, you'll love the AI improvements to Windows Studio Effects.

On a Copilot+ PC, you can leverage Windows Studio Effects to use a teleprompter while presenting, automatically adjust your lighting, and create and apply unique filters, like illustrated, animated, or watercolor.

4. Recall 

recall copilot+ pc

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Recall feature on Copilot+ PCs is currently a preview experience due to its rocky reception following the announcement, so it's not available to everyone just yet. With Recall, it's easy to find information that you can't seem to locate, whether it's in a document, webpage, or another app.

According to Microsoft, "Windows will save snapshots of your active screen periodically, as frequently as every 3-5 seconds" in order for Recall to function properly. Because this brings up obvious privacy concerns, which led to it being Microsoft has made it easy to customize Recall's privacy controls for your needs. 

3. Customize privacy & security in Recall

recall settings copilot+ pc

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft makes it clear that you'll be able to see when Recall is running on your Copilot+ PC, thanks to a Recall icon in the System Tray. 

In addition to this awareness, you'll be able to pause snapshots until the next day or change privacy settings for specific applications or websites. You can also turn off save for snapshots completely, delete snapshots, or adjust your storage plan.

The company also notes an "InPrivate browsing" feature available in Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or other Chromium-based browsers to stop browser content from being saved in your snapshots.

2. Image Creator in Photos

image creator feature copilot+ pc

(Image credit: Microsoft)

In addition to being able to use Restyle Image to reinvent your own pictures, Copilot+ PCs come with an Image Creator feature that can build pictures from scratch using generative AI. 

From the Photos app, Image Creator allows you to experiment with preset options, like "Dessert ideas" or "Sci-fi book covers," or you can type in your own imaginative text prompt. Microsoft notes you can be as specific as you want, and gives an example prompt of "floral tablescapes for a wedding, soft pastel, neutral background, in a romantic style."

You'll see 20 AI-generated images to choose from, and it's easy to change your prompt or adjust the built-in creativity slider to generate new images if you're not happy with the first set.

1. Cocreator in Paint

cocreator in paint

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Rather than create from scratch with Image Creator in Photos, Cocreator in Paint lets you start a drawing and finish it off with generative AI.

This tool is called "Cocreator" because generative AI works alongside you as you continue to edit the image in Paint. As you edit, generative AI will adjust its image accordingly. With a built-in creativity slider in Cocreator, you can easily customize the amount of assistance you get from AI.

Outlook

Many have deemed 2024 the year of the AI PC, and even though we're only halfway through the year, I'd say that's an accurate claim. We've seen countless Windows AI PCs pop up, dedicated Copilot key and all, and the new more powerful range of Copilot+ PCs might stand a chance at rivaling MacBooks in terms of performance and battery life.

Beyond Microsoft's Surface Pro 11 and Surface Laptop 7, we'll see Copilot+ PCs from every major PC manufacturer, including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, and Samsung. And we cannot wait to get our hands on these Copilot+ PCs to run our own performance and battery benchmarks.