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Intel updates its Evo laptop standard for better video calls and foldable laptops

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It’ll also include hardware with Intel’s latest H-series chips

Intel has announced its third-generation update for its “Intel Evo” certification program at CES 2022, adding new requirements for better video calls for future devices, expanding the certification to include larger and more powerful laptops, and new foldable designs.

The Evo branding (itself an extension of Intel’s original Project Athena program) was introduced in 2020 alongside Intel’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake chips as a simple and easy way for customers to know that they’d be getting a laptop that checked certain basic performance and experiential metrics.

Specifically, in addition to offering one of Intel’s 11th Gen U-series or Y-series chips, Evo-branded laptops had to get over nine hours of “real-world” battery life, wake from sleep in “less than a second,” offer fast charging (for at least four hours of charge in 30 minutes), and offer Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 4 support.

Naturally, with the recently announced 12th Gen Alder Lake chips, Intel is also updating the requirements for Evo approval: new Evo laptops will have to feature Intel’s new 12th Gen chips, of course, but there’s also a new “intelligent collaboration” requirement (in addition to the battery life, fast charging, and other existing specifications) to mandate high-quality videoconferencing experiences. As part of that, the new Intel Evo standard will mandate at least a 1080p webcam (if not better), along with Wi-Fi 6E and AI-based audio enhancement to cut down on background noise.

Additionally, Intel is expanding the kinds of laptops on which it’ll be offering its Evo branding. Laptops with the company’s more powerful H-series chips can now get Evo branding the first time, with a few added requirements on top of the existing Evo rules: namely, they’ll have to use Intel’s upcoming discrete Arc graphics (instead of, say, an Nvidia RTX GPU). Intel says that its goal is providing a great experience for content creators here — given the professional focus of the Evo branding (and the battery requirements), it’s unlikely that gaming PCs will sport the logo.

And in what’s perhaps the most interesting bit addition, Intel is also introducing a third category of Evo certification for foldable laptops. Here, too, device makers will have to adhere to the usual Evo spec list, with the obvious addition of a large, foldable display. The first Evo-approved foldables are set to hit the market in 2022.

Additionally, Intel announced that it’ll be expanding its Project Athena program to desktops, starting with its new wave of 12th Gen Alder Lake chips that the company announced at CES 2022. Unlike the Intel Evo program for laptops, though, Project Athena for desktops will focus on different experiential requirements, prioritizing things like privacy and sustainability.