Alongside Intel's announcement of 11th-gen Tiger Lake chips in September 2020, the company revealed a brand new category of high-end laptops. Known as the Evo Platform, Intel says these premium devices 'are designed to keep up with today's fast-paced lifestyle'.
In addition to great performance, this means eligible laptops must also be extremely lightweight and offer great battery life. Even then, devices must pass Intel's rigorous testing procedures to be considered for selection.
What does a laptop need to be eligible for Intel Evo?
Being an Intel Evo laptop is considered a badge of honour for many manufacturers, and with good reason - it has extremely strict entry requirements.
For starters, it must be powered by Intel's latest Tiger Lake processors, although that will presumably shift to Alder Lake once the 12th-gen chips are released. They combine with the new Xe integrated graphics to provide excellent all-round performance.
That power can't come at the cost of battery life, though. Intel Evo laptops must offer at least nine hours of usage on a single charge. However, this applies to Full HD devices, so may vary on 1440p resolutions and higher.
Intel doesn't specify a required screen resolution, although it's highly unlikely that a premium laptop would come with a resolution less than Full HD. It'll also need extremely thin bezels, but it's not clear if it comes down to a specific screen-to-body ratio.
Despite the power requirements, eligible devices also need to be extremely lightweight. All current devices come in at under 1.5kg, with many significantly lighter. Intel wants Evo devices to be used while travelling or away from home.
Even then, laptops must be able to wake from sleep in less than a second. They must also have Thunderbolt 4 support for fast data transfer, as well as built-in Wi-Fi 6.
Which devices are in the Intel Evo Platform?
Despite the strict requirements, plenty of devices have already made it into the Evo Platform. These include laptops from many of the top laptop manufacturers in the world, including Acer, Lenovo, Dell, Asus and HP.
One thing they usually have in common is a rough price - Intel Evo devices don't come cheap, and often retail for more than £1,000. That makes them reserved for people who are willing to spend that sort of money on a PC. If affordability is your top priority, check out our best budget laptop chart for some great alternatives. They're not Intel Evo certified, but we can definitely recommend them.
Are Intel Evo laptops the best you can buy?
Not necessarily. The Evo Platform only considers devices powered by Intel chips, although AMD has proven to be a worthy competitor. Its current Ryzen 5000 series beats Tiger Lake processors in benchmarks, so may offer superior performance in some use cases.
There's also a new wave of ARM-based processors, which offer truly excellent battery life and may be a better pick for some people. Qualcomm is one of the companies leading the way here, and has partnered with Microsoft to produce a custom chip for two generations of Surface Pro X.
We have to consider Apple, too, whose new M1 chip is making big waves in the processor world. The first crop of Apple Silicon-powered devices include the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini, but expect plenty more in the coming months and years.
For more great options, check out our best laptop chart.
With that in mind, a more accurate description of the Evo Platform is the best premium laptops powered by Intel silicon.