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Evo Chromebooks promise more power for home learners

Benefits of Intel Evo are coming to Chromebook

Chromebooks – the cheap and cheerful laptops popular in the education sector – are about to become a whole lot more cheerful, hopefully without losing the cheap part. During Intel’s CES presentation last night, the company announced that the first Intel Evo certified Chromebooks will be coming in 2021.

For those unfamiliar, Intel Evo is a set of specifications that the company believes makes for a good laptop experience. To be Intel Evo certified, laptops need to be consistently responsive on battery, wake from sleep in less than a second, offer nine or more hours’ of real-world battery life and provide Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity.

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While most of these criteria are already met by the best Chromebooks, Thunderbolt 4 support is a black spot, and that’s something that will be corrected by Intel Evo certified models, starting with the Acer Chromebook that Intel showed off during the virtual press conference.

The inclusion of Thunderbolt ports should help Chromebooks feel genuinely competitive with Windows laptops, as it allows more connectivity to third-party accessories like monitors and fast external hard drives.

While it’s not a requirement of Intel Evo certification, the company also highlighted that its fancy new visual sensing technology will also be coming to Chromebooks. This AI-based chip senses when the user isn’t actually using the computer, and adapts accordingly – dimming the screen if you’re looking away, or locking the laptop if you wander off. This, Intel says, both improves battery life and reduces the risk of sensitive data being stolen when your back is turned.

If you’re in the market for a Chromebook, you shouldn’t have to wait long for new and exciting models to emerge. During the presentation, Intel said that Chromebooks featuring its 11th-generation CPUs should be coming in the first quarter of the year, so watch this space.

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