Intel Project Athena 2.0: This is what distinguishes Intel’s new Evo product class

I.In 2011, Intel presented at Asia’s largest IT trade fair, the Computex in Taipei, its ultrabooks. In order to be allowed to use the trademark, which stands for particularly portable and performance-optimized devices, notebooks have to meet a number of special requirements. These include a long battery life or a quick wake-up from standby. On the one hand, the label was a marketing tool for Intel, which established such a catchy name for premium devices with in-house technology. On the other hand, the ultrabook brand is attractive to manufacturers who offer customers such a demonstrably powerful device that receives a seal of approval to a certain extent. After the product line became a little quieter after 2013, Intel announced its new laptop innovation program with “Project Athena” in mid-2019. The first generation of these notebooks is already on the market, but Intel is continuing to work on the equipment and is preparing everything for the second generation – which bears the name Evo. COMPUTER BILD clarifies which requirements the new devices based on this Evo platform have to meet and has already tested Evo notebooks.


Project Athena: These are the requirements

The original Ultrabook guidelines are of course already out of date as of 2019. So Intel came up with new requirements that manufacturers have to meet for the title “Athena”. To put it casually, Athena devices are fast, light and powerful – Intel has summarized the properties in three main categories:

Athena devices have a modernized “Connected Standby” from which they wake up in under a second. So they should always be ready for use when users ask them to. Under this category, Intel also lists a biometric login, i.e. either a fingerprint sensor or facial recognition.

Always Ready:
In order to be always ready, only devices that have sufficient battery life are given Athena status. For Intel, this means 16 or more hours of offline video playback (with a screen brightness of 150 nits) or nine or more hours of endurance for wireless surfing (with 250 nits screen brightness). Intel also takes the charging time into account and requires at least four hours of battery life after 30 minutes of charging when switched off. WLAN with a transmission rate of at least 6 gigabits per second (Gbit / s) also falls under this category.

At Intel, a device that has voice control and supports the interfaces for machine learning “Windows Machine Learning” (WinML) and “OpenVINO AI” is considered adaptable. An Athena device also has to come in a housing with the predicate “Ultra-Slim” including an illuminated keyboard. A 12 to 15 inch diagonal touch screen with pen support and a resolution of at least 1920×1080 pixels rounds off the required properties. Many Athena devices are therefore designed as convertibles, which also cut a good figure as tablets.

The best Chromebooks

What is Intel Evo?

Intel Evo is in a sense the continuation of the Athena project, an Athena 2.0. The new devices have to meet the same specifications – and even more: Evo notebooks have to have Core i5 and i7 processors of the eleventh generation including an integrated Iris-Xe graphics unit, Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6. Intel subjects Evo -Notebooks have also carried out intensive tests to see how the devices perform in daily use. More than 20 devices have been announced for 2020, including the Acer Swift 5, the Asus Zenbook Flip S, the Lenovo Yoga 9i and the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 5G.

Intel Athena: Notebooks put to the test

In addition to the upcoming Evo notebooks, there are already devices that meet the second generation Athena standard and provide users with good service. The only drawback: the devices are usually very expensive. To achieve this, they are packed with powerful technology right down to the last corner of their stylish aluminum housing.

Swift 3 (SF313-52-71Y7)

Customers have to pay 1,100 euros for the new Swift 3 2020 in the tested SF313-52-71Y7 equipment variant. This is undoubtedly a lot of money. But the price is okay. Because the well-made Swift 3 works quickly, has a lot of breath and a good display. Compared to a similarly equipped Surface Laptop 13, it is also a bargain: Microsoft estimates almost 2,200 euros for the Core i7 version with 512 gigabytes of SSD storage!

  • Very high pace of work
  • Great, crisp and true-to-color display

MateBook X Pro (2020)

Chic, fast and really well made, plus a top-class display with extremely high resolution and precise color rendering – the Matebook X Pro cut a really good figure in the test. But it costs at least 1,600 euros, the tested top model (model variant 53011BHB) even 1,900 euros.

  • Very high pace of work
  • Very bright display with a very high resolution
  • A bit noisy under full load

Chromebook Flip C436FA-E10029

The Asus Chromebook Flip C436 convinces with the latest equipment, a relatively large amount of memory and endurance. However, the Asus is also a very expensive Chromebook. Comparably equipped Windows notebooks are available for 250 euros less.

  • A lot of power
  • Lots of memory
  • Operating system restricted
  • Relative expensive

* The cheapest price may now be higher.

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