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CTRL+ALT+Delete: HP’s laptops are Evo-lving and I couldn’t be happier

OPINION: This week HP unveiled a fresh wave of laptops, and while they may not be getting the fanfare usually reserved for a new MacBook, for me they were all exciting, but not for the reason you’d expect.

To catch you up, the firm unveiled the new HP Envy 16-inch, HP Envy 17.3-inch, HP Envy x360 15.6-inch and HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch laptops, all of which are focussed on the creative or productivity market.

To be clear, none of the devices are revolutionary from a design perspective. They don’t feature a second display, like the one seen on Asus ZenBook Pro 14 Duo OLED or custom hinge mechanism seen on the Surface Studio, which lets you fold the screen flat against the keyboard to use it as a makeshift graphics tablet.

These are the same traditional clamshell and 360 hinge convertible designs we’ve seen for many years.

But, despite that, they are exciting and evidence of a growing trend in laptops that I’m all for: the growing adoption of Intel Evo.

Evo is a new standard that’s designed to offer a certain level of quality assurance on laptops that Intel debuted in 2020, replacing the firm’s previous “Ultrabook” branding. The move was important as the standard Intel decided on Ultrabook had become a little outdated and didn’t reflect “the golden” standard it originally set.

This led to the term Ultrabook being used on laptops that often didn’t actually offer the best experience, based on our testing, making the term largely irrelevant, despite its intended use.

You can get a more thorough breakdown of what specific standards laptops need to meet to get the badge in our what is Intel Evo guide, but the most important points are that the device needs to have:

  • 9 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
  • Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
  • Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • USB-C charging

These may not sound huge to non-techies, but we at Trusted Reviews love the standard as it matches many of the criteria we set when we test laptops. In our tests we always expect a laptop designed for productivity or creative work to last a full working day, matching Evo’s 9 hour requirement. WiFi 6 support is also important with the newer standard offering users a variety of benefits including faster data speeds (on compatible networks) and improved multi-device support.

On Thunderbolt 4, trust me when I say using the faster USB port standard is a massive boon if you regularly need to transfer documents or use external SSDs.

And with the final USB-C charging criteria, I can’t emphasize how convenient having one common connection that can be used across all your devices is.

Back in the bad old days the threat of getting off a plane or arriving at work only to find you’d left the proprietary cable you needed at home was real and ever present. I’ll never forget CES 2015, when I did just this and had to manically search every Las Vegas tech shop to see if they had the specific ThinkPad charger I needed…

As a result, while I don’t think HP’s new devices are revolutionary I can’t help but get excited about the fact they’re using Evo and growing a standard that’ll help improve the overall quality of the laptop market.

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