Eve Distribution, the brand behind the crowdfunded and crowd-developed Microsoft Surface rival, has moved on to making monitors with specs rivaling some of the best gaming monitors on the market. But the company’s not content vying for PC gamers only -- it wants to carve out a piece of that next-gen console pie too.
Eve currently has three gaming monitor SKUs available for pre-order with varying release dates.
Eve Spectrum Gaming Monitors
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Spectrum QHD 144Hz||Spectrum QHD 240Hz||Spectrum 4K 144Hz|
|Size||27 inches||27 inches||27 inches|
|Max Resolution / Refresh Rate||2560 x 1440 @ 144 Hz, G-Sync Compatible, FreeSync Premium Pro (48 - 144 Hz)||2560 x 1440 @ 240 Hz, G-Sync Compatible, FreeSync Premium Pro (48 - 240 Hz)||3840 x 2160 @ 144 Hz, G-Sync Compatible, FreeSync Premium Pro (48 - 144 Hz)|
|Brightness||450 nits||750 nits||750 nits|
|Native Color Gamut||98% DCI-P3, 100% sRGB||98% DCI-P3, 100% sRGB||98% DCI-P3, 100% sRGB|
|Ports||2x USB-C (100W PD output), 3x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0a, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack||2x USB-C (100W PD output), 3x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.1, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack||2x USB-C (100W PD output), 3x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.1, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack|
|HDR||HDR10, VESA DisplayHDR 400||HDR10, VESA DisplayHDR 600||HDR10, VESA DisplayHDR 600|
|Price (as of writing)||$389||$529||$629|
Today, Eve announced that the Spectrum QHD 240Hz and Spectrum 4K 144Hz will each feature two HDMI 2.1 ports. This allows for up to 4K resolution at a 120 Hz refresh rate, as well as variable refresh rates (all the monitors support FreeSync Premium Pro and are G-Sync Compatible). With this update, Eve is hoping to win over gamers anticipating the next-gen PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X consoles expected to arrive by the end of this holiday season.
Sony has said its PlayStation 5 will support 4K displays at 120 Hz, 8K TVs and variable refresh rates. Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X is expected to support 4K gameplay at 60 frames per second (fps) across all new titles and 8K or 120 fps for select games.
However, the Spectrum QHD 144Hz isn’t getting the HDMI 2.1 treatment. Eve CEO Konstantinos Karatsevidis told Tom’s Hardware that the only scalar on the market that supports HDMI 2.1 currently is designed for 144 Hz 4K or 240 Hz 1440p panels. He said if Eve used the scalar on a 1440p model at a lower 144 Hz refresh rate, it’d increase the monitor’s price so much that it’d cost as much the 1440p 240 Hz version.
“Additionally, HDMI 2.1 wouldn't provide much of a gain to the 144 Hz 1440p model, as HDMI 2.0 supports everything it would need for such resolution/refresh rate,” Karatsevidis said. “The only possible gain HDMI 2.1 would provide for it would be VESA Adaptive-Sync for next-gen consoles, but, again, resolution would be a limiting factor here as next-gen consoles [support] 4K [and] 120 Hz.”
Despite all these advancements, Eve is putting the brakes on release dates for two of its Spectrum monitors. While the Spectrum 4K 144Hz and Spectrum QHD 240Hz are still expected to ship in Q4, Eve has pushed the Spectrum QHD 144Hz’s release date to Q1 2021.
With all the monitors' panels coming from LG, Eve said that the partner, as well as manufacturer Lehui, have “fewer engineering resources to support our project than previously anticipated,” due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Spectrum QHD 144Hz uses the same panel as the LG UltraGear 27GL850-B.
“There is only one supplier right now for the wide color gamut 1ms response time panel which is LG display,” Karatsevidis told Tom’s Hardware. “There could be a possibility to downgrade to a ’lower-end’ manufacturer, but then Spectrum would not be any different from [others on] the market in terms of display, and that is what matters the most in the monitor.”
Eve said its partners told it to prioritize models based on total sales volume. Eve’s 144 Hz 4K gaming monitor has sold the most so far, followed by the 240 Hz QHD model. The delayed monitor, meanwhile, is the cheapest but represents less than one-fifth of total sales, according to Eve.
Pandemic-related delays are nothing new to the tech world this year. For Eve, however, the news is particularly inopportune. The vendor previously dealt with shipment delays lasting years at times with its Eve V open-sourced convertible laptop. For Spectrum, the vendor introduced numerous business operation changes, including eliminating global resellers, in an effort to ensure on-time deliveries.
Karatsevidis noted to anyone concerned about history repeating itself that Spectrum monitor preorder deposits are refundable.
"We have changed the supply chain behind the way we bring our products to market by partnering up with PCH International, and we don’t see [further] delays happening," Karatsevidis added. "Delay for the base model is caused by the exceptional circumstances this pandemic created. There really was no way for us to foresee that."