Intel's new Evo badge will help you find thin-and-light laptops that definitely don't suck

Intel Evo
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel is finally branding laptops built to meet the stringent requirements of the Project Athena program, a specification for thin-and-light systems that ensures battery life, performance, boot time, and speedy SSD storage. From here on out, laptops that fit the bill will be adorned with the Intel Evo sticker.

Back at the launch of the first wave of Project Athena ultrabooks, which included designs such as the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, Intel felt it didn't need to shout about how these were all built and certified under the Project Athena specification. It eventually U-turned on that decision, choosing to roll out the "Engineered for Mobile Performance" badge, ensuring customers would know whether their new device fulfilled the spec.

With the introduction of Intel Tiger Lake, 11th Gen Intel Core processors, it has thrown all caution to the wind and settled on a brand: Intel Evo. 

Remember that Intel Evo badge that was leaked back in July? It turns out that the first iteration of chips under that umbrella won't be hybrid chips after all. Instead, it will initially entail Intel's new Tiger Lake chips.

The exact branding is Intel Evo, Powered by Core. And for good reason. At the centre of each of these new thin-and-light laptops is a Core processor—anything from a Core i3 1115G4 to the top-of-the-line Core i7 1185G7 fitted with a 96 EU Intel Xe GPU.

What that Evo branding also means is that, besides from just a Tiger Lake chip, any device has also been tested and certified by Intel in one of its labs to meet the following specifications:

  • Consistent responsiveness on battery
  • System wake from sleep in less than one second
  • Nine or more hours of real-world battery life on systems with FHD displays
  • Fast charging with up to 4-hour charge in under 30 minutes on systems with FHD displays

Project Athena is now in its second specification, which means slightly tweaked Key Experience Indicators (KEIs) that laptops have to meet in order to get the stamp of Evo approval.

Intel Evo

(Image credit: Intel)

“11th Gen Intel Core processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics are a major leap forward in real-world processor performance and are the best laptop processors we have built,” Gregory Bryant, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group, says. “From productivity and content creation to entertainment and gaming, when you pick a system powered by 11th Gen Intel Core—especially one of our new Intel Evo co-engineered and verified designs—you know you are getting the best laptop experience possible.”

Your next machine

(Image credit: Future)

Best gaming PC: the top pre-built machines from the pros
Best gaming laptop: perfect notebooks for mobile gaming

It's definitely a smart move on Intel's part to incorporate a clearly defined and visible branding for Project Athena—a lack thereof was one of the biggest detractors from the initial Project Athena launch over concerns customers wouldn't know whether their device hit the specification or not.

Intel says "more than 20 verified designs" under the Evo branding are expected this year, and here's hoping one of them is a new Razer Blade Stealth. Stay tuned for more over the next month—I expect Dell to be one of the first out of the gate with an Intel Evo device.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.