Eve Technology Eve V review

Recent production woes make the Eve V a worse buy than it once was

The crowdsourced Eve V surprises with unique features and a big battery.
The crowdsourced Eve V surprises with unique features and a big battery.
The crowdsourced Eve V surprises with unique features and a big battery.

Highs

  • Solid build quality
  • Plenty of ports
  • Excellent display
  • Great battery life
  • A few unique features found nowhere else

Lows

  • Keyboard could be better
  • Performance is held back by a low-power CPU
  • Pen technology is way behind the curve
  • Company's ability to deliver is uncertain

DT Editors' Rating

In February 2015, Eve Technology decided to create the world’s first crowdsourced 2-in-1. The concept? To build a machine based entirely on input from the Eve community. The result is the Eve V, a clear competitor to the Microsoft Surface Pro. It was delayed due to some manufacturing setbacks, but it’s here now. Our Eve V review looks to see if the crowdsourcing concept overcame its hurdles to create a competitive option — while noting that Eve Technology appears to have struggled of late with producing enough Eve V units and dealing with the resulting cancellations and refund requests.

We were provided with one of the very first production units for our review, equipped with a seventh-generation low-power Intel Core i7-7Y75 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD). Pricing for our review model was $1,600, including the detachable keyboard and active pen. The low-end model with a Core m3-7Y30, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD was priced at $800, while the highest-end configuration with a 1TB SSD was $2,000. That put it firmly in premium territory, though it was a bit less expensive than the even more premium Surface Pro.

Eve Technology was going up against major players in the Windows 10 2-in-1 market. Did the crowdsourced Eve V have what it took to compete?

Solid, but not perfect

The Eve V has an aluminum unibody chassis painted a very distinct shade of black, with curved edges that made it comfortable to hold as a tablet. The build quality is great, with a “solid hunk of metal” feel that rivals the Surface Pro. Like Microsoft’s detachable tablet, the Eve V sports a kickstand that opens in back and allows the machine to be lowered to a comfortable angle.

The Eve V’s bezels are slightly larger than those on the Surface Pro, which makes the Eve V just a bit wider and deeper. Regarding the kickstand’s hinge, we thought the Eve V’s worked just as smoothly as Microsoft’s, but it doesn’t open to quite as wide an angle. It’s a step up from the hinge on the less expensive Asus Transformer Pro T304, however.

The Eve V is just a hair thicker than Microsoft’s option at 8.9mm (versus the Surface Pro’s 8.5mm) for just the tablet portion alone. Like the Surface Pro m3 and Core i5 versions, the Eve V is fanless across all its configurations. That means no matter the processor you choose, you’ll enjoy silent operation.

The build quality is great, with a “solid hunk of metal” feel that rivals the Surface Pro.

The design of the detachable keyboard is equally interesting. It’s black to match the tablet, and it uses Alcantara fabric — just like the Surface Pro’s latest keyboard — that provided a soft and comfortable surface. It’s a bit thicker that Microsoft’s version, however, because it includes a battery to support its Bluetooth functionality (more on that below). That makes the tablet and keyboard combination a bit less svelte.

Overall, though, we were impressed with the Eve V’s design and build quality. It’s certainly much closer to the Surface Pro than it is to the Asus Transformer Pro T304. Eve Technology has created a machine that appears to be built just as well as its more established competition.

The Eve community asked for more than the usual ports, and the Eve V delivers. There are two USB-A 3.0 ports, one on each side, to go with one USB-C 3.1 port, and another USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support. There’s also a micro-SD card reader hidden underneath the kickstand, and a 3.5mm audio port.

Eve Technology Eve V review
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Wireless connectivity is provided by 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. All in all that’s very good connectivity for a tablet, particularly compared to the Surface Pro’s single USB-A 3.0 port and mini-DisplayPort connectivity. The Eve V’s support for 40 gigabyte per second (GB/s) Thunderbolt 3 is particularly welcome, and a first for a detachable tablet.

Mediocre keyboard and pen technology that’s behind the times

As mentioned earlier, the Eve V’s detachable keyboard is quite similar in design to the Surface Pro’s latest model, complete with Alcantara fabric. The key mechanism is different, however, with the Eve V’s keys offering similar travel to the $160 Microsoft Signature Type Cover, but a much more abrupt bottoming action that made the keyboard feel a bit stiff. The Asus Transformer Pro’s keyboard also provides a more satisfying typing experience.

There’s excellent connectivity for a tablet, with class-leading Thunderbolt 3 support.

We’ll note some odd key cap decisions, such as the backspace key being labeled “oops!” – seriously — and the “V” key labeled with the Eve V logo. They’re whimsical touches, but otherwise the keyboard is a standard layout, with only the right control key missing.

The keyboard offers two features that set the Eve V apart from its detachable keyboard competition. First, the keyboard not only connects via pogo pins to the bottom of the tablet, but it’s also Bluetooth-enabled. You can use the keyboard separately from the Eve V, and because it supports up to three Bluetooth devices at once, it’s usable with your smartphone and other devices, as well. That’s a rare trait not replicated by other 2-in-1 PCs.

Second, the Eve V’s keyboard offers multi-colored backlighting, with support for seven colors that can be toggled by hitting Fn+V. That’s also a trait no other PC 2-in-1 has. There are two backlight levels, though the brightest level could benefit from some extra oomph. We found the backlight bright enough in very dark environments, but we couldn’t see the lighting at all when there was much ambient light.

Eve Technology Eve V review
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The touchpad is on the small size, but it has a smooth Gorilla Glass surface that provided for good precision, and the buttons were responsive. It’s a Microsoft Precision touchpad, and so supports the usual Windows 10 gestures. We enjoyed using it at least as much as the Surface Pro’s touchpad.

The active pen that’s included with the Eve V is one component that highlights the impact of the machine’s delay. When the tablet was first designed, its 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity and moderate latency was acceptable. Today, tablets like the Surface Pro, and even the Lenovo Yoga 920 convertible 2-in-1, offer 4,096 levels of sensitivity, near-zero latency, and new features like tilt sensors. The Eve V’s pen is serviceable, but its noticeably slower than its peers.

The Eve V offers Windows 10 Hello password-less login support via a fingerprint scanner that sits behind the power button. Waking up and unlocking the tablet was as easy as pushing the power button with a registered finger, and it was reliable and fast during our testing.

A great display that was worth the wait

One reason for the Eve V’s delay was difficulty acquiring an order of high-quality displays. That’s no surprise given the behemoths Eve Technology competes with for component supplies. The company finally managed to secure a Sharp IGZO display, which sounds promising – but it has tough competition. Microsoft’s Surface Pro has one of the best displays we’ve tested.

According to our colorimeter, the Sharp display was a good choice. Brightness was excellent at 403 nits, which is more than enough to overcome bright ambient lighting, and good enough to compete with the Surface Pro’s bright display. Contrast was also excellent, at 1010:1 at full brightness. Microsoft’s system again has the edge with its higher contrast that’s typical for the Surface line, but the Eve V’s score is nothing to laugh at, and superior to most laptops and 2-in-1s we’ve reviewed.

Color support was also above average, with coverage of 74 percent of AdobeRGB and 97 percent of sRGB gamut. Color error came in at 1.27 – a lower score is better, and anything 1.0 or less is considered excellent. Gamma, on the other hand, was just slightly too bright at 2.1. Eve Technology individually calibrates each screen on the production line, and provides a utility to switch to the calibrated results. We tested with the calibration enabled, but there wasn’t much difference in the colorimeter results compared to the non-calibrated settings.

The Eve V’s display also competes strongly against the Surface Pro in sharpness. It’s the same 12.3-inch size and 3:2 aspect ratio, but its resolution is 2,880 x 1,920 (281 PPI) compared to the Surface Pro’s 2,736 x 1,824 (267 PPI). That’s a much higher resolution than the Asus Transformer Pro’s 12.6-inch display, which is 2,160 x 1,440 (206 PPI).

In normal use, we rate the Eve V’s display as roughly equivalent to the Surface Pro’s, which is a very good result. It’s bright, with great contrast and strong color accuracy, all of which make for an enjoyable experience. Eve Technology took its time to secure a quality display, and the delay paid off.

Quad upward-firing speakers sit atop the Eve V’s chassis. They provided plenty of volume and minimal distortion at full volume, but they also lacked punch in the low end, with only passable midrange and highs. They’re okay for the occasional YouTube video or background tune, but you’ll want headphones to watch a movie or listen to music.

Eve Technology Eve V review
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The technology is the audio jack is a bit different than most. Eve Technology paid attention to requests from its community. They built in a dedicated Texas Instruments amplifier that provides a watt of power to drive higher-impedance headphones. We tested the Eve V with a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones and found the output to be clean and detailed, perhaps slightly more so some other notebooks that we had sitting around. The difference was not striking, however.

Performance is held back by the low-power processor

Our review Eve V was equipped with a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7Y75 power-efficient CPU. That’s still the most recent Intel processor of its line, but most new machines are shipping with Intel’s eighth-generation Core processors, which offer a better mix of performance and efficiency.

In our benchmark tests, the Eve V performed in line with other machines using the same CPU. It scored 4,203 in the Geekbench 4 single-core test, and 7,297 in the multi-core test. That compares favorably to the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet with its Core i5-7Y57 processor. Notebooks with eighth-generation CPUs achieve much higher scores. The newest HP Spectre x360 13, for instance, was almost twice as fast in the multi-core test, and the Surface Pro’s 7th-generation U-series CPU was also significantly faster.

We also run machines through a more demanding test, encoding a 420MB video to H.265 using the Handbrake application. In this test, the Eve V took 1,462 seconds, which again is quite competitive with similarly-equipped machines like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet. However, it’s more than twice as slow as notebooks using the newest CPUs. The refreshed version of HP’s extremely thin and light Spectre 13, for example, took only less than half as long and the Surface Pro was relatively close behind.

In actual use, the Eve V was fast enough to perform the productivity tasks typically asked of detachable tablets. If you’re looking for a true notebook replacement, however, then the Eve V will fall short of your performance expectations.

Mixed storage performance, but it’s good enough

Eve Technology chose the Intel 600p PCIe SSD for the Eve V. That’s not the most common option today, when most manufacturers opt for Toshiba and Samsung SSDs, and so we weren’t sure exactly what kind of performance to expect.

In the CrystalDiskMark benchmark, storage results were decidedly mixed. In the read test, the Intel SSD scored 1,100 megabytes per second, which is competitive with our comparison group. In the write test, however, the drive scored a relatively low 561MBps. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet was much faster at both reading and writing data thanks to its Samsung PM961 PCIe SSD. The Surface Pro used the Samsung PM971, which is aimed at saving space and power, and it was still quick a bit faster at writing information.

We don’t want to be too hard on the Eve V, however. While these aren’t the fastest scores for PCIe SSDs, they’re much better than SATA SSDs, like the one used in the Asus Transformer Pro. And in real-world use running productivity applications, you’ll enjoy a tablet that boots quickly and has no slowdowns opening and closing apps. You’ll notice things are a little slower if you work with large files, but otherwise you’ll likely find the Eve V’s storage to be plenty fast enough.

This tablet isn’t built for gaming

The Eve V is saddled with Intel HD 615 integrated graphics, care of its Core i7-7Y75 low-power CPU. Simply put, that doesn’t bode well for gaming.

As we expected, the Eve V scored rather poorly in the 3DMark Fire Strike test, managing a score of only 705. No machines with integrated Intel graphics do much better, and so the Eve V is no better or worse than average here.

We ran a quick test of Civilization IV at Full HD and with medium and ultra graphics turned on. The Eve V managed 10 frames per second (FPS) and 5 FPS respectively, which is right in line with our comparison group. In short, the Eve V is fine for casual Windows 10 games — but don’t rely on it for anything more.

Tablet format plus good battery life equals excellent portability

Eve Technology packed a whopping 48 watt-hours of battery capacity into the Eve V, which is significantly more than most tablets, including the Surface Pro with its 45 watt-hour battery. The use of low-power CPUs gave us high hopes for the Eve V’s battery life.

On our most aggressive battery test, the Basemark browser benchmark, the Eve V lasted an impressive four hours and 27 minutes. That’s one of the longer durations we’ve seen yet from a Windows machine. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga came close at almost four and a half hours, as did the refreshed HP Spectre x360 13. The Surface Pro only made it to a little more than three hours on this test.

On our web macro test that loops through some popular web sites, the Eve V was less impressive but still solid, lasting for seven hours and 21 minutes. That’s longer than the five and a half hours managed by the Surface Pro, but significantly less than some newer machines with eighth-generation Core processors. The latest HP Spectre x360 13, for example, lasted for almost eight and a half hours.

If you want a true notebook replacement, the Eve V will fall short of your performance expectations.

Finally, the Eve V was able to loop an Avengers trailer for 10 hours and 24 minutes. That’s only eight minutes longer than the Surface Pro, but it’s over two hours longer than the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet could manage.

Overall, the Eve V provides good battery life for a tablet. The use of a low-power CPU and a relatively large battery paid dividends in how long the machine can last away from a charger. As far as we could tell, though, the Eve V doesn’t have any kind of fast charging capability. That’s another recent technology that points out the machine’s delay in making it to market.

The good thing is that the Eve V is thin and light enough, and sports good enough battery life, that you’re likely to make it through a full workday without worrying about plugging in.

Our Take

The idea of crowdsourcing a major piece of hardware like a detachable tablet is intriguing, and the Eve V is certainly designed in accordance with its community’s demands. It’s also late, meaning that some design decisions — like the pen technology, the lack of fast charging, and the use of older seventh-generation CPUs — put the Eve V behind the market right out of the gate. Eve Technologies packed some nice components into an alluring and well-built tablet, but it would have been much more attractive more than a year ago.

As we noted at the beginning of the review, Eve Technology appears to be sruggling to produce the Eve V in a timely fashion. Check out the Eve community lately, and you’ll find plenty of concerns about if and when a buyer’s Eve V might ship as well as concerns over refunds for those who’ve cancelled their orders or returned their Eve V.  The Eve V can still be ordered today with an August ship estimate, but we’re unsure at the moment if the company is planning to ship additional units.

Is there a better alternative?       

The Eve V is positioned directly against the Microsoft Surface Pro, and we compared those two extensively throughout this review. The Surface Pro has some advantages in performance, pen technology, and keyboard experience, while the Eve V enjoys better battery life in productivity tasks. The displays, a Surface strength, are roughly equal.

However, the Eve V is also less expensive at $800 for the entry level Core m3, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD model with keyboard and pen, whereas the Surface Pro starts at $800 for a Core m3, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD. The Signature Type Cover costs $160, while the Surface Pen runs $100, making the least expensive Surface Pro configuration total up to $1,060. At the high end, the Eve V is $2,000 for a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD, while the equivalent Surface Pro with keyboard and pen runs $2,960.

If you want to spend a little less money, then the ARM-powered Lenovo Miix 630 is an intriguing option. You’ll definitely save some cash, spending $900 for a configuration with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. You’ll get multi-day battery life, instant-on performance with great standby longevity, and always-connected capabilities. You’ll have to make sure performance is up to snuff, but if your tablet use tends to simple productivity and media consumption, then the Windows on ARM platform could work.

Finally, you could skip the tablet 2-in-1 format altogether and choose the new HP Spectre x360 13 convertible 2-in-1. It provides significantly better performance and battery life along with a better pen and keyboard, and you can get it with an eighth-generation Core i7-8550U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD for $1,250 (on sale for $1,050), which is only less than the Eve V with its seventh-generation Core i5. Add $150 to the HP’s price and you can even get a 13.3-inch 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) display that offers a stunning 331 PPI.

How long will it last?

The Eve V is solidly built, and evokes confidence that it will last as long as you’ll need, so long as you treat it as you would any other premium notebook. It’s equipped with great legacy and future connectivity support. However, its seventh-generation, power-sipping CPU will start to show its age way too soon. Given the uncertainty around the company’s curent operations, though, long-term warranty support can’t be assumed.

Should you buy it?

No The Eve V is everything the company promised, and if you’re looking for a tablet first and don’t need the best performance, then the Eve V might be tempting. It’s not inexpensive, however, and we’re just not confident in the company’s ability to deliver to recommend the Eve V at this time.

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