Crowdfunded tech products have long been complete garbage and are usually delivered years after their original start date with missing functions, incorrect functionality and without further support. When I heard I was reviewing the crowdfunded Eve V, a cheaper competitor with a better feature set for Microsoft Surface Pro, I expected to find another junk that didn't live up to the hype.
I was completely wrong. For a first generation product, the Eve V is remarkably solid.
It is particularly impressive when you consider that the direct competition – the Surface Pro – is well established in the Windows tablet market and is known as an excellent option. From my experience with the Eve V last week, it's not just a great competitor to the Surface Pro, but a better option in several ways.
Before I get into the basics, let's talk about the basics. You will see that this test frequently refers to the Surface Pro, and for one important reason: the Eve V is very similar in terms of hardware and design. It is a 12.3-inch Windows 10 tablet with a removable magnetic keyboard cover and a stand. It is designed for people who work on the go and want to combine the flexibility of a tablet form factor with the convenience of typing on a physical keyboard.
The main selling point here is that when you think of a Surface Pro, you should consider the Eve V instead. Similar form factor, similar hardware, but at a lower price and with more functions. As you will surely appreciate, this is an enticing suggestion for anyone interested in Surface Pro.
As with the Surface Pro, there are a number of hardware configurations (five to be precise) that are equipped with different processors, memory and storage capacity. The base model, which is retailed for $ 799, has an Intel Core m3-7Y30, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of SSD storage. You can configure the Eve V on a Core i7-7Y75, 16 GB RAM, and a 1 TB SSD, which will give you $ 1,999 back. My test model was one step away from the top with 512 GB instead of 1 TB SSD and a retail price of $ 1,599.
I'll talk a bit more about the hardware and the direct price comparisons with the Surface Pro later in this review, but the Eve V is cheaper across the board for a comparable hardware configuration. This is partly due to a simple factor: each Eve V comes with the removable keyboard and active stylus that are included. With the Surface Pro, these important accessories are expensive extras.
Do you need a quick comparison? The Eve V with a Core i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage costs $ 1,200 including a keyboard and pen. A comparable 2017 Surface Pro costs $ 1,300 plus $ 130 for the Type Cover and $ 100 for the pen. The Eve V is $ 330 cheaper, and this difference only gets bigger with high-end configurations.
Let's talk enough about pricing and discuss the actual design of this tablet. One of the best features of the Surface Pro is its beautiful magnesium body. For hardware start-up companies, design can be one of the most difficult aspects. However, the Eve V does a lot right with its solid, well-built metal unibody to the point where most complaints are more nitpicks than deal-breaking mistakes.
I still think the Surface Pro has outstanding aesthetics that the Eve V can't compete with, but that doesn't mean the Eve V falls too far behind. On the contrary: the metal housing looks great, is extremely solid, has no obvious seams or manufacturing defects and feels wonderful thanks to the matt metal surface.
The Eve V has a premium design and that is exactly what you want to see in a product of this class. If a big player like Dell or Lenovo had released exactly this design, it would also be praised for its premium construction and would go well with its top tier products.
My only small criticism are the angled edges and the curved back, which make the tablet look a bit bloated or chubby. It's still 8.9mm thick, roughly the same mark as the Surface Pro, but the combination of sharp edges and curves doesn't hide the thickness too well. The Eve V is about 130 grams heavier than the Surface Pro (~ 915 g vs. 784 g). A fair difference, but nothing outrageous.
The Eve V wouldn't be a Surface Pro competitor without a proper stand, so it's no surprise that it has an almost identical one. The stand of the Eve V doesn't have the same range of motion as the Surface Pro (135 versus 165 degrees), but it comes close. It has a smooth hinge that can be used to adjust any angle. However, the hinge is strong enough to maintain this position without accidentally sliding to another angle. It's a great stand and feels hard enough to withstand a shock throughout the life of the tablet.
In terms of functions, the Eve V sets the bar significantly higher than the limited (in comparison) Surface Pro. All important aspects of the Surface Pro are included: On both sides there is a full-size USB 3.0 port, a microSD card slot, a headphone jack, a keyboard port and cameras. There are also top quality speakers that are terrible, but they are there.
In addition, the Eve V offers everything you expect from the Surface Pro, but not. There is an additional USB 3.0 Type-A connector for a total of two, which is extremely practical for attaching accessories. It gets better because the Eve V has both a USB 3.1 Type-C port and a Thunderbolt 3 port. Microsoft has refused to add Thunderbolt to the Surface Pro, but you can get it here with full compatibility for DisplayPort and external GPUs. As a result, there is no Mini DisplayPort, but Thunderbolt 3 is far more useful and offers similar display-out connectivity via dongles anyway.
So the Eve V has twice as many USB-A ports, two more USB-C ports and the widely used Thunderbolt. It basically has the I / O of modern laptops, but in a tablet form factor.
There is no magnetic charger for charging via the proprietary connection from Microsoft. The magnetic charger used with the Surface Pro is neat, but many will prefer if the Eve V uses the universal standard USB-C charging through both ports. I definitely prefer the option of using other chargers to power this device (provided they are powerful enough).
The Eve V also supports Windows Hello, but via a fingerprint reader integrated in the power switch and not via face recognition. This is arguably a better solution as you need to press the power button on the Surface Pro to activate Windows Hello face detection. The fingerprint scanner on the Eve V authenticates you while pressing a button and is therefore quicker to use.
The buttons on this tablet are very flat and difficult to press, especially the volume buttons. The on / off switch isn't that important, as you only need to tap it to turn on the device and activate fingerprint unlocking, but I'm less impressed with the feel of the volume buttons.
Keyboard cover, pen and display
One of the best aspects of the Eve V is the included keyboard cover and active stylus, both of which are optional surface accessories. This accessory is essential to completing the overall package – without it you only have a simple tablet, but with them you have a multi-mode device – so it seems a bit outrageous for Microsoft to charge an additional $ 230 for the combination .
The Eve keyboard cover is excellent. It's so much better than the Surface Pro Type Cover, even the Premium Signature Type Cover, that it's ridiculous that Microsoft is charging $ 130 to $ 160 for these accessories alone!
The keyboard cover of the Eve V not only offers an excellent typing experience, but also contains additional functions.
With a thin keyboard cover accessory, I was thrilled with the fantastic tactile feedback on each key. I hate mushy keyboards on laptops, so I was delighted to see that this keyboard cover chose wonderfully clicking keys with such a solid, even response. In combination with an excellent layout, it is a pleasure to type on this keyboard for a longer period of time. It's better than some ultra-portable laptop keyboards I've used in the past year, which is impressive.
While the Eve V and other similar tablets are still quite cumbersome to write on your lap – buying an actual laptop is a superior choice here – the Eve's keyboard cover is so sturdy that it won't bend too much in most typing situations . The disadvantage here is the weight: around 430 grams, which is heavier than the Type Cover. In combination with the tablet itself you will see approximately 1.3 kg (2.86 lbs), which is far in the range of laptops compared to the 1.1 kg loadout of the Surface Pro.
However, the additional weight was put into additional functions. The Eve V keyboard is attached via a magnetic pogo pin array similar to that of Microsoft Surface, with a second set of magnets attached to the front to achieve a certain height. In contrast to the Type Cover, the keyboard of the Eve V also works wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.2. So if you prefer to move the tablet further away or to a different location, you can do so without buying another wireless keyboard. As a Bluetooth accessory, it can also connect to other devices.
Aside from the keys, the keyboard is covered with Alcantara fabric for an excellent feel for the palm rest. This is the same material used for the Premium Surface Signature Type Cover, which is available for retail for $ 160 and feels great. The trackpad uses Gorilla Glass, which feels great. I have no complaints about the trackpad as it offers a fantastic tracking experience with a solid click and enough usable space. more than the type coverage offers.
The keyboard is also equipped with LED backlighting and offers seven possible color options. The backlight is relatively dim, but supports visibility in dark environments. Plus, it's always nice to be able to choose a color of your choice (including white for those who want a neutral look).
The included active pen is very good, but not quite at the level of the latest Surface Pen.
Eve offers 1024 pressure levels, while the Surface Pen supports 4096 and 21 ms latency. The Eve pen's latency is good and it feels like you're drawing or writing directly on the screen. However, the Surface Pen is slightly faster and supports a larger print area. For most people who just want to write, draw, comment, and highlight, the included active pen is a great option that won't disappoint.
The pen is well built and lies comfortably in the hand. There are two buttons on the shaft that offer delete and selection functions (in most apps). As expected, Windows Ink is fully supported and can be magnetically (though fairly weakly) attached to the right side of the tablet. A single AAAA battery, which is included, is required for the function. The Eve tablet is compatible with the Surface Pen if you prefer this design.
The display of the Eve V is a 12.3-inch IGZO LCD touchscreen with a size of 2880 x 1920 Sharp, i.e. the same size and the same aspect ratio of 3: 2 as the display of the Surface Pro, but with a bit higher resolution and pixel density (281 PPI vs. 276 PPI). .
Sharp's IGZO display technology is very good. The viewing angles are excellent, as is the peak brightness, which reaches 400 nits: well above most Windows systems. Eve claims a contrast ratio of 1500: 1, although I achieved 1260: 1 when testing, which is still a fantastic result.
There is a certain backlight, especially at the bottom, which is noticeable when viewing dark images in dark surroundings. As a result, the uniformity is not perfect as the bottom third performs slightly worse than the other halves. Still, the top two-thirds are pretty good from the standpoint of uniformity.
For developers who require color accuracy, each Eve V unit is individually calibrated to the sRGB spectrum, with a white point target D65 (6500K) and target values dE2000 below 1.0. The IGZO display can easily achieve full sRGB coverage and reaches 99.9% in my tests. Therefore, the pictures here are vivid and generally excellent.
Unfortunately, my test device was delivered with an incorrect calibration due to an error in the calibration process, which led to a noticeable shade of red. Actual shipping units intended for retail and crowdfunding supporters do not have this problem. After I pointed this out to Eve, they went back and retested and re-calibrated each unit.
Given that Eve uses a calibration workflow similar to that we do here at Catrachadas, including using SpectraCal's CALMAN software, I'm pretty confident that supporters will actually get a proper calibration that accomplishes their goals. In this case, the Eve V should have one of the most accurate, ready-to-use displays.