Intel has made a major drive to improve the overall portability, performance, and connectivity of laptops with its chips at their heart in recent years. Beginning with Project Athena in 2019, it's expanded its laptop vetting system with the new Intel Evo Certification. Laptops that meet a certain standard of responsiveness, performance, and battery life, can be sold with the Intel Evo sticker – a badge that could help denote quality in the way that the Ultrabook label once did.
It's something that will be for Tiger Lake laptops only, at least for now, but the Intel Evo certification has the potential to be an important label to look out for when buying an Intel laptop in the coming year.
Like Project Athena But Better
The Intel Evo Certification is a bar that laptop manufacturers have to clear if they want to benefit from its marketing potential. It builds on Project Athena by demanding everything it did, and a little more.
The Intel Evo Certification demands that any laptop that bears its mark must offer the following:
- An Intel Core i5 or Core i7 Tiger Lake CPU with Xe graphics.
- At least 8GB of RAM and 256GB of NVMe SSD storage.
- A 12 - 15.X-inch display that's at least 1080p with touch-screen support, and narrow surrounding bezels.
- An ultra-slim clamshell or 2-in-1 chassis.
- A backlit keyboard, precision touchpad, and pen support.
- Modern Connected Standby/Lucid Sleep that guarantees a sub-one second wake time.
- At least 16-hours of video playback or nine hours of reliably strong performance on a single charge. It must also recharge to at least four hours of battery life in less than half an hour.
- Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6 supported as standard. Optional Gigabit LTE or 5G connectivity.
- A USB-C charging port.
- A fanless design, or no fans larger than 15mm.
- Biometric login options, like a fingerprint reader or facial recognition.
- Immersive audio with high-fidelity audio codec and speaker tuning.
- User-facing camera with a resolution of at least 720p at 30FPS.
- Support for Far-field, OpenVino, and WinML AI technologies.
- Windows 10 or Chrome OS operating system.
What is an Intel Evo laptop? It's one that meets all of the above stipulations and, in many cases, goes beyond the bare minimum. While that isn't easy, for laptops that manage it, they offer a certified level of quality that could make the buying experience far simpler for consumers. Knowing that these major milestones are reached before you've even looked at reviews of individual products could take some of the hard work out of picking a new laptop.
New Intel Evo Laptops run on Tiger Lake
Despite the Intel Evo Certification being a relatively new process, there are already manufacturers releasing compatible models complete with all of the Intel Tiger Lake processing power and lengthy battery life you would expect from the new labeling.
Flagship devices of generations past, like the HP Spectre x360 13-inch model, and the Dell XPS 13, are both now Intel Evo laptops. They offer up to Intel Core i7-1165G7 Tiger Lake CPUs, 16GB of memory, and up to a terabyte of NVMe storage space – going well beyond the Intel Evo specifications. The Spectre x360's battery life should be superior however, offering over 20 hours of video playback, while the XPS 13 just about scrapes by on the Intel Evo 16-hour demand.
Other Intel Evo laptops likely to be popular for new buyers include the new Lenovo Yoga 91, Acer Swift 5, and Asus ZenBook Flip S.
While that is a somewhat limited range of Evo laptops for now, as new laptops debut with Intel's 11th-generation, 10nm Tiger Lake CPUs, we should see it grow. Project Athena ended up with tens of laptop models from different manufacturers, so it's likely that Intel Evo laptops will become much more common over the next year.
How do you spot an Intel Evo laptop?
Now that you can answer the question of "what is an Intel Evo laptop," it's important to know how to spot them in the wild. Fortunately, Intel has made that rather easy. Next time you're shopping for a new laptop, just look for the new Intel Evo badge.
If a laptop has been given the Intel Evo certification, it should be obvious. It's the largest part of the badge, even overshadowing the Intel and Core i5 and i7 logos.
Do you have to buy an Intel Evo laptop?
Certainly not. Intel Evo laptops offer an excellent array of features and specifications and will guarantee a minimum level of quality in many key areas. However, if you don't need a laptop that will last all day on a single charge, or particularly a Core i5 or Core i7 level of performance, it's perfectly acceptable to opt for a laptop without the Intel Evo label. Just make sure you do your due diligence in checking reviews to guarantee it meets your needs.
Whether you buy an Intel Evo laptop or not, though, Cable Matters has all the Thunderbolt and USB-C cables you need to make the most of it.