Eve V First Impressions

Posted on November 20, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 21 Comments

Eve V First Impressions

Billed as the world’s first crowd-sourced PC, the Eve V is an audacious and modern attempt to give the people what they want. And what the people want, apparently, is a low-cost Surface Pro clone.

Is it successful? From a high-level, the answer is a qualified yes. Eve appears to have hit the high points of the Surface Pro, with the same tablet-based 2-in-1 form factor, an integrated kickstand, a high-quality type cover with a full-sized keyboard and glass touchpad, and an active pen.

It even improves on the Microsoft device by including far more port expansion and USB-C charging. The type cover is Bluetooth-based and can be used detached from the tablet, and you can configure the color of the backlighting behind the keys on the fly.

However, the Eve V is considerably heavier than the Surface Pro. And the materials, while pleasant, do not quite rise to the quality level that Microsoft has achieved.

So what really separates this device from Surface Pro? The Eve V is considerably less expensive than an equivalent Surface Pro.

Part of the savings comes from Eve bundling the type cover and active pen with the device. Part of it comes from using less powerful parts: The Eve V can be had with an Intel Core m3 chipset on the low-end, just like the new Surface Pro, but it only utilizes lackluster Y-series parts for other models; you can get a real U-series Core i5 or i7 with Surface Pro.

The Eve V packaging is certainly premium

Let’s do some math before diving deeper into my first impressions of the device.

Like Surface Pro, Eve V starts at $799: That base version features an Intel Core m3 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 128 GB SSD. A comparable Surface Pro would cost about $1060, but would include just 4 GB of RAM: That works out to $799 for the tablet, $100 for Surface Pen, and $160 for a Type Cover.

Eve V (top) and Surface Pro (2017, bottom)

As configured like my review unit, with a dual-core 1.3 GHz Intel Core i7-7Y75 (7th generation) processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB PCIe SSD, a higher-end Eve V will cost about $1600. A comparable Surface Pro costs about $2360. For that additional $760, you get better performance (the Surface Pro includes a 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor with Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640), a higher resolution active pen, a choice of type cover colors and styles, and lower weight. It also includes Windows 10 Pro, not Windows 10 Home like the Eve.

So the savings are real. The question for my coming review is whether the value is real. That is, does Eve V work well enough in the real world? What’s the performance really like? The pen? The keyboard The display? The battery life?

I’ll find out. For now, I can say that it is a solid, substantial device: Both the tablet body and type cover are heavier than what’s available with Surface Pro.

The keyboard itself seems to be nearly identical to that of the Surface Pro Type Cover, and it has a nice, satisfying click. (There’s a cute triangular Eve V logo instead of a V key.) The touchpad is a bit less wide than that of Surface Pro but it looks better proportioned. The type cover utilizes a Pogo-Pin connector and comes detached more easily than with Surface Pro. But again, it can work wirelessly, too, something Microsoft could learn from.

The display looks solid: It is a 12.3-inch LCD display running at 2880 x 1920 with a 3:2 aspect ratio. By comparison, Surface Pro also features a 12.3-inch 3:2 display, but it runs at 2736 x 1824.

The expansion is even more noteworthy. Where Microsoft continues to disappoint with a single USB 3 port, miniDisplayPort for video-out and the USB-based Surface Connect for power and further expansion, Eve V really delivers with two full-sized USB 3 ports, 1 USB-C port, 1 USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3, and a microSDXC card reader. Microsoft, please listen. This is how it’s done.

I’m of two minds when it comes to crowd-sourcing. On the one hand, it’s hard to argue with this kind of community relationship, and it’s nice seeing the company’s biggest fans be involved in this way. But I also have worries about “too many cooks” syndrome, and wonder if the right choices were always made.

That said, it looks like a nice compromise so far. And I’ll keep testing to see whether Microsoft and the many other companies making Surface Pro clones have anything to worry about.

Eve V will be available via flash sale starting December 4. You can find out more here.

 

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Eve V First Impressions”

  1. Waethorn

    "the world’s first crowd-sourced PC"


    #fakemarketing


    It's called a pre-order for the public because the company has no capital, nor can they get real investor funding to pay for prototyping (surprisingly only about $10,000USD) from a Chinese manufacturer, much like everything on Kickstarter. So many of these things end up as a Ponzi scheme. Don't expect this company to exist for long.

    • mike moller

      In reply to Waethorn: ?#fakemarketing?

      #dumbassumption

      just how do you know this? Just maybe they prefer this method of funding which doesn't potentially leave them/their project hostage to a single large investor who is more focussed on his/her exit strategy


  2. Harrymyhre

    Something else I thought of.

    Drivers for these things are so tricky these days.

    What about software updates?

    Who will update the drivers?

    nothing is free.

  3. Waethorn

    Just remember: Kickstarter is the credit union for cash-strapped startups that real investors don't want to touch.

  4. Polycrastinator

    Having both Bluetooth and pogo pins is a nice touch. Initially when you said "Bluetooth" I'd presumed that was the only way to connect, but dual mode is great and I'd like to see that elsewhere. This sounds like a great machine, and with both pen and keyboard bundled the price seems right, despite what the naysayers here are saying.

  5. BigM72

    Paul, the thing I like about this machine is the base model is a viable machine for most people. I would hate to recommend Surface base model because only 4GB RAM.


    128GB SSD (plus microSD expansion), 8GB RAM and Core M processor make this just fine performance wise for people doing Netflix, Office Docs and a bit of web browsing.

  6. moogleassassin

    I've started buying the Dell latitude 5285 for work now. It's like this one in port selection and even has smart card reader and fingerprint on the Base. Also uses full i7 u series chips like surface pro and importantly can be opened up via a few screws to easily replace the ssd, WiFi, battery, motherboard, etc etc. From a business point of view (hell, any point of view) that is a clear winner - plus much cheaper that surface Pro and has Dell's 3 year on site warranty. Last one I ordered cost us about £850 exvat for the 8gb i5 256gb including the keyboard, pen and 3y warranty. They are solid value.


    Interested to see you do a comparison/review to this and the Spro2017


    Cheers



  7. RobertJasiek

    According to Notebookcheck, the USB-C plug is unstable causing data loss. Can you confirm this?

    Furthermore, these aspects prevent me from buying: glare instead of matte display (and I prefer 4:3), pulse width modulation instead of none, ordinary instead of long battery duration, missing battery replacement and missing easy repairability create a great risk for a device from a company whose longeivity nobody can predict.

    The Oops! button is childish. Is this what customers want from an office device? I think: no. Of course, they make the standard mistake of having tiny arrow keys. (They get the size of the left SHIFT key right though.)

    What is the exact weight of the tablet unit?

    @harmjr, there is no fan but passive cooling.

    Of course, this is another proof that Thunderbolt 3 is possible. Shame on Microsoft for not including it in their devices.

  8. digiguy

    I see a big plus but also some big minuses... The big plus is the price. The minus are the weight (over 3 pounds, almost 1.4kg...), the Y processors (in the first tests the i5 and i7 even underperform the m3 as the throttle more...) and the fact that they have no stock (the main reason why it's cheaper, when you order they ask the factory in China to built the tablet but it can take a very long time to receive it...) Also the TB3 does not make sense for eGPU, the tests made by notebookcheck show that the CPUs bottleneck even entry level GPUs... Also the keyboard material tends to collect every bit of dust (I had the same problem with the acer switch alpha 12 and returned it)

  9. jimchamplin

    It's still $799? If it were 4 or 5 hundred bucks for an m3 or Celeron, that would be fine. Why does everything have to be over $700 now?


    Seriously, it's a horrid disappointment that the Surface 3 didn't get a follow up.

  10. ben55124

    Good luck starting at $800 for an unknown brand. No name knockoffs are the domain of $200 or less tablets.

  11. harmjr

    Nice article. This machine looks sleek.

    Questions...

    Fan noise?

    Does it heat up when your really using it?

    How much do you notice the processor speed when compared to say an actual i5?

    Pen have an eraser? Or flip over and eraser capability?

    Could you pare the surface Pen to this machine?

    Where do you keep the pen? Loop?

    Battery life.

    The screen's bezel seems larger then the Surface Pro's. How much larger is the bezel then the Surface Pro?


  12. dave0

    I'm curious about the availability of the product. Also, support is a big factor.


    A follow-up article on performance and durability would be neat.

  13. Frank Gilliam

    Actually the price difference between Eve and MS really isn't that significant as we enter the holiday season. Best Buy currently has the Surface Pro m3 model with keyboard for $629. Throw in another $100 for the surface pen and it's $70 cheaper than Eve's m3 model although the latter does have 4GB more ram and a ton more ports.


    Upcoming Black Friday prices on Microsoft's website also appear to be about the same or a bit cheaper than the roughly equivalent Eve V for most models.


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