Qualcomm made its name with powerful smartphone processors, but the last few years has seen the US company successfully expand into the laptop space. The first Snapdragon-powered PCs launched in 2017, boasting instant wake times and great battery life. However, many suffered from performance and compatibility issues.

Significant strides forward have been made recently, though, especially following the release of the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G compute platform in 2020. 5G is still relatively rare on laptops, but its inclusion here aligns with Qualcomm’s ‘always on, always connected’ vision for the future of computing.

However, this constant internet connection can cause problems for security. Unless you use a VPN, your internet activity can be visible to your internet service provider, the government or even potential hackers. The internet is also where you’re most likely to find viruses and malware, often cleverly disguised as useful resources.

Even the most diligent internet user can run into problems from time to time, but security software can provide a crucial extra layer of security. Sophos’ Intercept X provides malware, ransomware, exploit and virus protection, making it one of the most complete services around. Now, the company has announced that Intercept X will soon be available on Snapdragon-powered 5G laptops.

The software offers a range of crucial security features, including real-time antivirus and anti-malware protection, exploit prevention and ransomware file protection. It also offers control over specific apps and websites that could be deemed a risk.

Intercept X will also have some features specifically designed with Snapdragon PCs in mind. It will use Qualcomm’s Connected Standby feature to continue monitoring your device even when it’s not in use. Deep AI integration will also optimise various apps, allowing them to ‘run faster and more power efficiently’ – this should lead to improved battery life. The ‘hardware-level root of trust’, considered the foundation of all secure computing operations, will also be utilised to improve encryption and protect important data from being modified.

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However, Intercept X won’t come built-in to Snapdragon 5G laptops, nor will it be available for free. After a short trial period, the software costs anywhere from US$20 (approx. £14) to US$40 (approx. £28) per user per year. Nonetheless, it feels like a small price to pay for an impressive range of security features. 

Sophos says it expects Intercept X for Snapdragon compute platforms to be available ‘in the second half of 2021’. If you’re using a Windows device, it’s already available to buy on the Sophos website.

Mulling over whether to invest in a Snapdragon PC? Check out our guide: Should I buy a 5G laptop? If you’d rather get a more traditional device, check out our best laptop chart.





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