Buying a laptop with Intel on the inside often boils down to two choices. Do you go with the potent Core i processor like the i5 or i7, or do you save some money (and battery life) and grab the super low powered Core M processor usually reserved for tiny tablets? Core i and Core M, despite both coming from Intel, are very different families of processors and provide very different services to a computer user. So it’s kind of bullshit that Intel, with the release of Kaby Lake, has quietly changed the name of two Core M processors (the m5 and m7) and is now calling them i5 and i7 processors.
One of those Core M processors now labelled Core i. (Image: Intel)
Laptop Mag noticed the nomenclature change and rightfully called it out for being insanely confusing for consumers. Generally when you see that a device is loaded with a i5 processor you know you’ll be able to edit photos, render video and even do some light gaming with ease. Core m processors, like that m5 (now i5), tend to choke when asked to render video, and will handle photo edits much slower than a Core i processor.
So unless you’re looking at the very final letter in the processor’s name you’ll completely miss that you’re buying the significantly slower processor. Bad form Intel. I know you love your Core M products, but maybe try to move them without pulling one over on consumers?
For clarification: Core M processors hide the letter Y in their name and include the i7-7Y75, i5-7y54, and m3-7y30. Core i processors, the ones that will take the best advantage of Kaby Lake’s improvements, feature U somewhere in the name and include the i7-7500U, i5-7200U, and i3-7100U.