15 months after we initially covered the crowd-designed Eve Spectrum video gaming screen, the first pre-production samples have actually started shipping out. This is our first chance to see how the Spectrum, once promoted as the first HDMI 2.1 display to arrive on the market, actually searches in the flesh and performs in-game.
Eve also shipped us a stand, which is offered independently for $99 – in action to the large portion of Eve community members that stated they ‘d be using the screen’s 100 x100 VESA install with their own screen arms. The sum’s not unreasonable, when the likewise specced LG 27 GN950 is $800 with fewer functions, but it is worth factoring in when comparing this monitor versus its rivals which usually do come with stands (unless they’re made by Apple).
We were alerted out of eviction that the Spectrum we got would be some distance from the final retail version, and that’s absolutely the case – our unit’s HDMI 2.1 functionality does not work at all (based on screening with a PS5, Xbox Series X and an RTX 3080 PC) and even on DisplayPort we were limited to 4K 144 Hz with chroma subsampling (specifically, the monitor is presently outputting only 4:2:2 instead of complete 4:4:4). According to Eve CEO Konstantinos Karatsevidis, obviously the Spectrum display screens were working fine at complete RGB utilizing DisplayPort on RTX 30- series graphics cards like the 3080 and 3090, however the Spectrum showed artifacting with other GPUs, thus the chroma subsampling stopgap. With concerns to the HDMI 2.1, obviously the hardware is completely capable but the accreditation procedure is still underway. Given how main HDMI 2.1 has actually been in Eve’s marketing, we ‘d expect these features to be working properly for launch.
The present OSD (on-screen screen) is a mess too: plenty of settings, sure, but what’s here is frequently badly labelled, unstyled and of unclear efficiency. Lots of entries don’t appear to do anything right now, however there are some exciting alternatives if they work in the last job – such as user-defined overdrive and movement blur decrease settings, customisable indication LED colours/effects and picture-in-picture modes.
One of the huge highlights is supposed to be pixel-perfect scaling, although GPU makers like Intel and Nvidia have actually considering that included this to their software application and the feature didn’t seem to decrease blurriness when I tested it with video games like FTL. I also set a desktop resolution of 1280 x800 for a manual test, as this ought to be doubled to 2560 x1600 while leaving black bars on all four sides – but this didn’t happen, recommending the function isn’t working as planned right now. This firmware version is apparently from October last year, and Eve’s CEO insists that their present iteration is far more functional.
What is more last is the hardware side of the equation, and here Eve appear to have done a fine job – possibly as the company does have some experience with commercial design, courtesy of their controversial Eve V two-in-one. There’s no swivel, as you’ll quickly find when you go to plug in your cables of choice, however tilt, 90 degree rotation and height adjustment all work efficiently.
The monitor itself is also structured and great looking, with tiny bezels on three sides and just a slightly thicker frame at the bottom of the screen. Take a look at the back, and you’ll see subtle ventilation holes at the top, 3.5 mm, USB-C and 2 full-size USB ports on the left side and DisplayPort, 2x HDMI 2.1, USB-C and power inputs on the bottom. One of these USB-C ports should support 100 W charging in the final retail system, although this is another feature that isn’t working in our pre-production sample. The joystick on the back of the screen is a little spongey, and it was sometimes challenging to browse around the OSD – although this also might have been down to the early software rather than a hardware stopping working.
So, what does work? I checked the display in a series of video games and utilized it for work for a one-week period after the New Year break, and despite the limitations I was impressed.
For video gaming, the screen showed adequate for competitive titles like Counter-Strike and Valorant, with fast pixel response times courtesy of the ‘Quick IPS’ screen used here – which might even be the very same LG panel we loved in our existing 4K 144 Hz screen recommendation, the LG 27 GN950 The various overdrive settings didn’t appear to make much distinction, though Eve has stated they’re non-final and hopefully should work as intended on the retail units. (Display experts Blurbusters are reportedly providing feedback on the panel, which is an excellent sign.) The rainslick and neon-lit streets of Cyberpunk 2077 looked excellent too, specifically with Alex Battaglia’s optimised RTX settings Of course, you’ll need a strong CPU and GPU combo to hit high frame-rates at 4K, so it’s best to think as this particular Spectrum variation as being versatile – 4K for the web, work and more cinematic games, 144 Hz for fast and twitchy games – rather than expecting you’ll be able to strike 4K and 144 Hz simultaneously in the most penalizing AAA titles. The Spectrum should be FreeSync and G-Sync Compatible in its final form, but at the minute we saw no alternative to make it possible for VRR on our RTX 2080 Super test rig.
The Spectrum’s screen can likewise get bright sufficient (around 650 nits) to make HDR beneficial and colour precision is on point too; certainly the priced quote 98 per cent DCI P3 and 100 per cent sRGB range protection should be well-suited for prosumer colour-sensitive work like image or video modifying. Wide viewing angles also indicate that colour and brightness do not alter drastically if you observe the display from above, below or to the side – excellent if you’re enjoying a motion picture with friends or a coworker is looking at your screen while standing. The seeing angles also make it a good choice for co-op games like Overcooked 2, where you’re unlikely to both be sitting straight in front of the display.
Given that this is an early sample we didn’t break out the full testing kit, but our early impressions are broadly favorable, speaking maybe to the quality of the panel Eve has selected instead of their tuning of the display. Beyond this, a couple of little bugbears did crop up during our screening, including:
- The display screen often blanked out momentarily during full-screen video playback with HDR made it possible for
- Audio passthrough was rather peaceful, needing volume to be set to 100 per cent in Windows and the display OSD to reach a functional volume
- The monitor’s indication LED stayed fully lit at all times, no matter whether the screen is on or off, which was confusing – and there’s no ‘standby’ mode or power saving at all
Even with the Spectrum having actually already been delayed from Q2 2020 to Q4 2020, and then once again to February 2021, it’s tough to picture that the display will be carrying out flawlessly by next month. Even with the confounding factors of COVID and a group making their first screen, that may be a bitter tablet to swallow for pre-order consumers – specifically those that have checked out the remarks from unhappy backers of the earlier Eve V convertible, which tend to pop up on any reference of the business online.
So far then, things haven’t truly altered from that original Spectrum pitch: it’s a very good-looking display with an ambitious feature list … however the Eve team hasn’t yet shown that it’s able to deliver whatever that it guaranteed. Having a real system in hand provides me some confidence that the basics of the monitor will be taken care of and their option of panel is a strong one, however whether that translates into a screen that’s able to exceed options from significant suppliers like LG and Samsung is another story entirely.
Got any concerns? We still have our Spectrum sample for a day or more, so please if there’s something you want evaluated or something specific you want responded to then do let us understand in the comments or via Twitter ( @wsjudd).