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Technology

Eve V review: crowd-developed 2-in-1 convertible laptop is a world first that gives users what they really want

Eve’s online community wanted extra USB ports, a larger battery and more, and the start-up has delivered. But while the Eve V is a machine that aims to topple the Surface Pro, ironically it is Microsoft’s software holding it back

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 January, 2018, 7:17pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 July, 2018, 7:27pm

The Eve V is the world’s first crowd-developed computing device. It was built by Finnish tech start-up Eve with direct input from its 6,000-strong online community of fans, which began as a WhatsApp chat group of customers who bought the company’s first tablet in 2014. The fans decided the device’s form factor, specs, ports – even the name.

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This is why, for example, the new 2-in-1 convertible laptop doesn’t skimp on USB offerings like Apple and Microsoft. In addition to two USB-C ports that can charge the device and transfer data, there are also two traditional USB-A ports. It’s what the people want, literally.

Design and hardware

The V is directly inspired by the Microsoft Surface Pro and looks just like it. It is a Windows tablet that turns into a laptop when attached to a keyboard that doubles as a tablet screen cover.

Despite Eve being relatively inexperienced in the Shenzhen manufacturing game, the device is well-built, with a brightly lit, 12.3-inch, 2880 x 1920 display panel from Sharp. It also has a very sturdy keyboard that offers 1.3 millimetres of key travel distance, which is identical to the Surface Pro and way more than the iPad Pro’s similar keyboard cover.

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With the cover attached the V is a bit heavy at 1.36kg, but Eve co-founder Konstantinos Karatsevidis says that was a conscious decision made by the community because fans wanted a larger battery (48 Wh) and an individually powered keyboard which can connect to other devices such as a smartphone.

The review unit is the top-of-the-line variant that runs on Intel’s i7 processor with 16GB of RAM. Cheaper editions use either the i5 or m3 chipset with 8GB of RAM.

There are whimsical touches in line with the company’s community-driven start-up nature: a backspace key that has been renamed “Oops!”, Eve’s logo hidden on the back of the tablet under the kickstand hinge, and the names of over a thousand people – early community members – inside the V’s packaging box.

Software and features

The V runs a clean version of Windows 10 with no additional software whatsoever. It does support Windows Hello via its physical fingerprint reader (embedded into the power button on the side of the tablet) and works as advertised.

Performance and battery life

The V is a very capable device in all but one aspect.

Its CPU is powerful enough to handle every aspect of my work, from video editing on PowerDirector to word processing on Chrome with half a dozen tabs open. Having more ports allows me to, say, use a mouse along with my USB stick for transferring data, all without needing an additional dongle.

I also used it as a media player and enjoyed the high resolution and balanced colours. The speakers are a bit weak, but the Bluetooth connection to my wireless headphones was strong and stable. At a max brightness of 442 nits it’s the brightest display on the market, beating even the Surface Pro’s 396 nits. And even though it’s not really meant for gaming, it ran Overwatch at 30fps with only slight framerate drops.

Where the V falls short is as a tablet. The fault isn’t Eve’s, but Microsoft’s. Windows 10 is just not good software for finger input. Even in tablet mode, icons and buttons are far too small, and basic tablet operations such as changing display orientation results in noticeable lag.

There is also a stylus that comes with the device. It has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity which is good, but not better than the Apple Pencil or Microsoft’s Surface Pen. You’ll be able to sign or annotate documents fine – but you won’t be able to draw on the V seamlessly like you could on the iPad Pro.

Earlier I mentioned that the V sports a larger than usual battery. The device does indeed have excellent battery life, averaging about 10 hours on a single charge.

Conclusion

Priced at US$799 for the lowest configuration (m3 processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage) and going up to US$1,599 for the i7/16GB RAM/512GB storage version, the Eve V isn’t exactly cheap. It is, though, quite a bit cheaper than the Surface Pro, especially when you consider that Microsoft charges extra for the keyboard and stylus while Eve includes those two accessories.

The problem with buying from a small, little-known company is a relative lack of after-sales support, and to the average user, it’s still safer to go with Microsoft.

But if you’re a tech enthusiast and you want to be part of a devoted community (currently they’re group-thinking accessories for the V), the Eve V is worth considering.

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Key specs

Dimensions: 296mm x 205mm x 8.9mm

Weight: 0.85kg (without keyboard), 1.3kg (with keyboard)

Display: 12.3-inch 2880 x 1920 LCD panel

Battery: 48 Wh

OS version reviewed: Windows 10

Processor: Intel Core m3/i5/i7

Cameras: 2-megapixel front; 5-megapixel rear

Memory: 128GB/256GB/512GB

Colours: Black

Prices: US$799 to US$1,599