Hardware Overview and Pricing vs. Surface Pro
There are five basic hardware tiers to the Eve V, and I’m going to discuss each one in turn here with comparisons to the current-generation Surface Pro. There are some interesting things to note with every option.
The base model costs $799, and packs an Intel Core m3-7Y30 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Unlike the Surface Pro base model, the Eve V base model is actually worth buying for some people, because it packs 8GB of RAM instead of a restrictive 4GB at the same price. When factoring in the additional cost of the Type Cover and Surface Pen – accessories that are included with the Eve V in a similar form – the Eve V ends up $230 cheaper with more RAM.
At $1,199, the Eve V gets bumped up to a Core i5-7Y54 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The equivalent model is the $1,299 Surface Pro, so we’re already $100 cheaper. This blows out to a $330 difference when the accessories are factored in.
The second Core i5-7Y54 model costs $1,499, and for this you get an increase to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. There’s no equivalent Surface Pro model, as Microsoft’s Core i5 systems top out at $1,299 while 16GB of RAM starts in the $2,199 Core i7 model. I think this Eve V model is very attractive, as it packs a lot of storage and RAM with a capable processor at a decent price.
For those that want a bit more power, you can spend $1,599 (or $100 more) to bump the previous configuration up to a Core i7-7Y75. This is the model I reviewed. The equivalent Surface Pro costs $2,199, so we’re looking at a $600 difference, or $830 with accessories factored in. This is an enormous price differential, and presents the best value for a lot of buyers. Again, a very attractive Eve V offering.
And if you want to bump the aforementioned Core i7 model up to 1TB of storage, that’ll set you back $1,999. Again, a huge price difference compared to the Surface Pro, which costs $2,699 in this configuration. In other words, a $700 price difference or $930 with accessories. It’s hard to justify the Surface Pro at this price.
The one thing I didn’t mention throughout this comparison is the difference in processor. While the base model Eve V uses the same Y-series Kaby Lake model as the Surface Pro, the upper tier models do not. In fact there is a significant performance difference, as the Eve V sticks with Y-series parts for their Core i5 and Core i7 models, while the Surface Pro jumps over to U-series with the Core i5-7300U and Core i7-7660U.
Y-series parts have a 4.5W TDP, while U-series pushes up to 15W, so for the most part Y-series SKUs consume less power on average. At the same time, they are slower, so there is a trade-off here. Undoubtedly in some cases users will prefer the more powerful CPUs in the Surface Pro for potentially reduced battery life, particularly with the Core i7 models as the upper-tier Surface Pros contain Iris Plus 640 graphics.
When I asked Eve why they didn’t opt for U-series parts, they explained that they asked their community whether they’d prefer the superior battery life of Y-series or the superior performance of U-series. The community opted for Y-series, so this choice is what their backers and customers wanted. Personally I would have opted for U-series for the performance, especially as both chips have the same OEM price, but I can understand the decision making process here.
This has worked out nicely for Eve in the end anyway, as the more powerful Surface Pro models are also more expensive, sometimes considerably so.
Outside of the processor, memory and storage, every Eve V model contains the same hardware. There’s an Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 8265 chip providing Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 LE and Miracast. Eve also boasts about their use of a TI TPA6133 audio amplifier for their headphone jack, which does produce great audio. Every unit has a 48 Wh battery, 3 Wh larger than the Surface Pro.