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Eve Spectrum 4K monitor review: It exists, and it’s mighty good

Eve Spectrum 4K Gaming Monitor Cyberpunk
Eve Spectrum 4K
MSRP $799.00
“Eve Spectrum 4K's excellent design and image quality make it worth the wait.”
Pros
  • Stunning, minimalistic design
  • Excellent IPS panel implementation
  • HDMI 2.1 and 100-watt USB-C
  • Crisp 4K image
  • Highly configurable panel settings
  • Sold without stand to save money
Cons
  • Eve has a sketchy history
  • Underwhelming color performance on our sample

The mythical Eve Spectrum is a monitor you may have heard of. It was a completely crowdfunded display, set to come out well over a year ago. But it never did. This left backers highly disappointed, fearing they had lost their money to a project that would never come to fruition.

But lo and behold, to my surprise, I now have the review unit of the 4K variant in front of me, in the flesh.

The Eve Spectrum 4K is, in essence, everything many gamers could want from a monitor: 4K, IPS, fast at 144Hz, packing HDMI 2.1, DisplayHDR 600, G-Sync/FreeSync, featuring all the panel optimization settings one could dream about in the OSD, a very minimalist design — the list goes on. Its design was designed in collaboration with the community, and tons of gamers were very excited about it.

But is the Eve Spectrum 4K actually good enough to become one of the best gaming monitors? Well, yes — and it just may have been worth the wait.

Jump to: Design | Ports & controls | | Image quality | Gaming on the Eve Spectrum | Our take

Design

The front of the Eve Spectrum 4K with the screen turned off.
Niels Broekhuijsen/Digital Trends

The Eve Spectrum is the most minimalist monitor I have ever seen. By itself, it’s just a 27-inch panel with very thin bezels and a power LED at the bottom. And I say by itself, because the default kit for $799 doesn’t come with a stand — that’ll cost you an additional $99.

That’s something that was requested by the community, and in my eyes, a great move. The enthusiast market has a thing for sticking monitors on wall mounts and monitor arms in the name of tidier, more minimalistic-looking setups, and I’m all for it. Heck, these mounts often cost less than $99 or something in that ballpark, so unless you cannot use an aftermarket VESA mount for whatever reason, I don’t see why you would opt for the Eve Spectrum stand.

The Eve Spectrum’s styling is nothing but clean and classy.

That said, if you do, I am happy to report that the stand is mostly worth its asking price. It’s beautifully machined and painted, feeling like a proper quality piece of kit. My only complaint? It’s so slim, you’re bound to see the cables behind it. That, and at its lowest height, it’s still tall at its lowest elevation with the bottom of the display at just over 3 inches above the desk.

Otherwise, it has a complete range of adjustments that include rotating to portrait. It doesn’t swivel, but that doesn’t really matter. The stand also has a recess under its foot for guiding cables under it, like for your keyboard.

Other than that, there’s very little to the design of the Eve Spectrum monitor. The back end features nothing but the ports and controls with a very clean, rectangular design. There’s no aggressive gamer-centric styling going on here — just clean and classy. I’ve always thought that less is more, and I truly dig the Eve Spectrum’s aesthetic.

Ports & controls

The sideways ports on the back of the Eve Spectrum 4K.
Niels Broekhuijsen/Digital Trends

The Eve Spectrum I’m reviewing is the 4K model. Because this is a 4K high-refresh-rate panel, it’s expected to include HDMI 2.1 — and it’s here: The 4K Eve Spectrum packs one DisplayPort 1.4a input and two HDMI 2.1 connections. This will make it excellent for connecting to your PC and two modern consoles, allowing them to run at full RGB colors without chroma subsampling, and with HDR enabled at 4K and 120Hz.

Additionally, the display also has a USB-C upstream connection that is excellent for docking the monitor with a single-cable connection, providing display input, access to the USB hub, and up to a massive 100 watts of power delivery over USB-C. It uses the DisplayPort protocol, and in the OSD (on-screen display) you can choose to either prioritize for refresh rate to achieve the full 144Hz but with the USB hub running at USB 2.0 speeds or limit the display to 60Hz but reserve USB 3.1 bandwidth for the ports.

Packing HDMI 2.1 and USB-C with 100W of power delivery, the Eve Spectrum has the best connectivity options in the gaming monitor class

The only catch is that there is no Ethernet connector, so it’s not a full hub. But chances are you’ll just use the USB-C docking feature for a secondary laptop next to your desktop anyway.

The USB hub itself has two USB-A and one USB-C port, all running at USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds for up to 10Gbps of bandwidth.

The display is powered by an external brick, though its power cable is on the short end. This means that especially if you want to mount the monitor on an arm and keep the cabling tidy, you’ll want to have a cable gutter under your desk to shove it into, as it won’t reach all the way to the floor without dangling.

The controls and ports on the back of the Eve Spectrum 4K.

Controls for the monitor are present on the rear, comprising of a directional toggle and an on-off button. Pressing the toggle takes you into the display’s OSD, which is one of the most lavishly featured OSDs I’ve come across in a gaming monitor. Of course, you’ll find the usual range of connectivity, system, and color and overdrive settings, but the Eve Spectrum has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

For gamers, Eve includes a cheating crosshair, FPS counter, low-latency mode, adaptive-sync settings, response time settings, and backlight strobing modes. Of course, backlight strobing won’t work with Adaptive-Sync enabled, but that’s to be expected.

Meanwhile, the OSD also includes settings to adjust the power LED’s behavior and colors with full RGB support. If you don’t like the white light, just change it up to match your setup’s colors. Isn’t that neat?

That said, there is one weird thing about the OSD: It’s blurry. This is a 4K monitor, but the OSD isn’t designed to be very pretty nor is it even programmed to the same sharp resolution of the display. But it’s an OSD, and it’s well-featured, so do you really care that it doesn’t look pretty? It’s also a bit slow to adjust values, and I’d prefer to have a brightness adjustment option that doesn’t require me to dig deep into the menu for quick changes. But alas.

Image quality

Testing the Eve Spectrum 4K monitor with a Spyder colorimeter.
Niels Broekhuijsen/Digital Trends

The Eve Spectrum is based on the same panel as LG’s 27GN950, which we reviewed last year and it was indeed very good. This sets the Eve Spectrum off to a good start, and while the specifications aren’t all that different, Eve does throw a factory calibration into the mix claiming a typical Delta-E (color difference from real) of 0.59, with our unit specifically stating a Delta-E of 0.5 in its included report. For reference, any figure under 2.0 is considered good enough for professional editing work, so I was anxious to verify these numbers.

But there’s more to it than just color accuracy. The IPS panel features a 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution for razor-sharp images, has an advertised static contrast ratio of 1000:1 as is expected from IPS panels, and is capable of displaying up to 1.07-billion colors as it’s a 10 bit (8 bit + FRC) panel.

In testing the display’s color performance, I was left disappointed. Brightness and contrast tests were great providing well around 500 nits of brightness at 100% and perfectly achieving the promised 1000:1 contrast ratio, but the panel got nowhere near its promised color performance.

Coverage of the DCI-P3 space was limited to 95% instead of the promised 98%, which is acceptable, but gamma was at 2.3 instead of 2.2, the white point was at 7100K instead of 6500K, but worst of all, the color accuracy reading I got carried a Delta-E of 2.31, which falls outside the acceptable norm for professional color grading and is well off from the promised value of 0.5, as per the included report. Normally, I’d boil this down to differences in test equipment, but with deviations this big, I have trouble believing that said calibration was even carried out.

And let’s be honest: A typical Delta-E across all of its testing of 0.59 is too good to be true anyway. The only monitor I ever achieved that with is Acer’s ConceptD CM2 which isn’t a gaming monitor at all, though LG’s 27GN950 tested awfully close. That said, within just a few moments our Spyder X Elite calibrated the display to acceptable norms, refining the white point, gamma performance, and correcting colors to a Delta-E of 1.46.

Browsing the web on the Eve Spectrum 4K gaming monitor.
Niels Broekhuijsen/Digital Trends

That said, there’s more to it than just synthetic testing, and most gamers probably don’t care quite so much about perfect color performance anyway. When I tested LG’s 27GN950, I found that the panel’s left and right sides rolled off in brightness near the edge, almost making it look like a piece of parchment that was still rolled up at each end. To my surprise, the Eve Spectrum exhibited no such phenomenon, and although it wasn’t bothersome at all in LG’s panel, seeing this same panel evenly illuminated right up to the very edge does look much more premium.

Beyond that, the amount of IPS glow and backlight bleeding from this IPS panel was also minimal – either this unit was cherry-picked to send my way (even if Eve claims not to do that on its site), or Eve has a trick up its sleeve for the monitor’s construction that limits these effects better than LG does. I somehow feel it’s the latter, but don’t take my word on it as I haven’t seen other units. That’s not to say there isn’t any, the bottom left corner exhibits a little more glow, but it’s very acceptable.

Overall, the Eve Spectrum 4K that I reviewed has one of the best IPS panel implementations I’ve come across, but I’m a bit perplexed about why I couldn’t replicate the color performance as tested by Eve. Either way, the performance is more than good enough for most use cases, so I wouldn’t pass on the monitor just because of the test results I had with my sample.

Gaming on the Eve Spectrum

The Eve Spectrum 4K gaming monitor with Cyberpunk running on the screen.
Niels Broekhuijsen/Digital Trends

For gaming performance, the most important factor is the fast refresh rate of 144Hz. By now, 144 Hz has become the norm for gaming monitors to live up to, while at the high end there are monitors that do 360 Hz. Of course, you won’t get that at 4K, where you’re limited to 160 Hz at the highest end via an overclock on LG’s models with this same panel, and although that overclocking option isn’t present on the Eve Spectrum, you can opt for a 240 Hz variant by dropping to a QHD (2560 x 1440) panel. That said, unless you’re into extremely competitive gaming, I can’t really see a case for anything above 144 Hz.

But let’s forget about all that for a second, enable adaptive-sync, enable HDR, and fire up a few games with the graphics sliders all the way up. Here, the Eve Spectrum absolutely shines, quite literally.

In HDR games, the Eve Spectrum 4K shines, quite literally.

I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did, I thought the smaller 27-inch panel would offer a lesser experience than my own 34-inch ultrawide, despite the higher resolution, but boy was I wrong. There’s a huge added value in playing at 4K for immersion, especially with games that have textures with all the resolution required. I played Mass Effect Legendary Edition, Horizon Zero Dawn, and even fired up Cyberpunk 2077, because it would almost be criminal not to. Long story short, the Eve Spectrum provided a level of resolution that was a joy to play on, especially on immersive titles like these that have the texture resolution to back it up. Paired with 600 nits of HDR brightness, I could find myself lost in game worlds for hours.

Of course, when it comes to competitive titles such as Insurgency Sandstorm, the Eve Spectrum 4K is no slouch either, though it’s important to keep in mind that it is a 4K monitor. Whereas I didn’t have an issue playing the aforementioned story-based titles at higher graphical fidelity and relying on Adaptive-sync to keep things smooth, in this competitive online shooter, I did have to lower the graphical settings to get anywhere near the 144Hz refresh rate — so do budget for a beefy graphics card if you’re interested.

Our take

If you’re in the market for a proper 27-inch 4K gaming monitor, the Eve Spectrum is about as proper as it gets. Priced at $799 with another $99 for the stand, it’s competing head-to-head with LG’s finest, offering a few added features, albeit at slightly more risk due to the company’s history.

The Eve Spectrum might be well over a year late to the market, but there’s certainly no shortage of demand, and it is still one of the best, if not the best 4K gaming monitor money can buy. With HDMI 2.1, DisplayHDR600, 98% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space, a great IPS panel implementation, and a mighty tidy design, the Eve Spectrum 4K is a display I can see a lot of gamers itching to get their hands on.

Are there any alternatives?

The best alternative at this time is LG’s 27GP950, which is the successor to the LG 27GN950 that we tested last year. All three of these are essentially identical monitors based on the same panel, except that LG’s new version does have HDMI 2.1. LG’s panel also does 160Hz via an overclock and it comes with RGB, and it costs about the same if you include the stand.

This makes the Eve Spectrum a tough sell, but if you’re into the minimalist design, want the 100-watt power delivery, skip the stand, and want the customizability, the Spectrum 4K may just have the edge. 

How long will it last?

Eve covers the Spectrum with a three-year warranty, including a 14-day DOA period and a pixel policy that states the display may have no bright pixels and up to five dark pixels before replacement is warranted. Outside of that, I see no reason why the Spectrum 4K shouldn’t last a minimum of five years, as any monitor should if taken care of properly care.

Should I buy it?

This is where Eve’s reputation may come into play. The amount of weight you put on the company’s longevity and ability to deliver will undoubtedly turn some off — and that’s fair.

But based on the quality of this brilliant monitor alone, the Eve Spectrum is absolutely worth a purchase.

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