Better Than the Surface Pro? Yes, it is.
The Eve V is a lesson to all crowdfunded hardware startups on not just how to approach things correctly, but also how to take on an incumbent giant and produce a better product. Simply put, the Eve V is better than the Surface Pro, and that’s quite remarkable.
This tablet is packed with features, and most of them are things people often request Microsoft to add to the Surface Pro line. The big addition is Thunderbolt 3 instead of Mini DisplayPort, which allows connectivity to devices like external GPUs, while also providing fast USB connectivity and display outputs. I also really appreciate the inclusion of a second USB-A port; one on the Surface Pro is too little, but two is great, especially when you consider there’s also two USB-C ports.
The included keyboard cover is outstanding. It provides an excellent typing experience thanks to tactile feedback as good as the best laptop keyboards, plus it’s covered with premium Alcantara fabric, just like the expensive Surface Signature Type Cover. The trackpad is excellent as well, the keyboard is backlit, and best of all supports Bluetooth connectivity.
The Eve V is a lesson to all crowdfunded hardware startups on not just how to approach things correctly, but also how to take on an incumbent giant and produce a better product.
Actually I lied, the best part isn’t Bluetooth, it’s the fact Eve includes the keyboard cover in the price of the tablet. Microsoft charges an extra $130 for what is an essential accessory. The active pen is also included, so you save another $100, though it’s not quite as good as the Surface Pen in terms of pressure sensitivity and response times.
The build quality of the tablet surprised me. The Eve V uses a solid metal body and a strong, supportive kickstand. There are few seams, and everything is aligned neatly. It’s a bit chunkier than the Surface Pro from a visual standpoint, and it does come in a few hundred grams heavier with the keyboard cover included.
You won’t be disappointed with the display either, especially as Eve factory calibrates every single model to the sRGB gamut with a dE2000 average less than 1.0. The Sharp IGZO panel is high resolution, bright, produces decent contrast and excellent viewing angles.
The main downside to the Eve V is the performance of the upper-tier models. Eve opted for Intel’s Y-series Kaby Lake CPUs rather than the faster, higher-TDP U-series models, as a response to community feedback that preferred longer battery life.
While a CPU like the Core i7-7Y75 is fine for lighter workloads (though still slower than U-series SKUs), it falls significantly behind in heavy workloads like video rendering and 3D gaming. Users that want the best possible performing device in this form factor will want to go with the Surface Pro series, though that comes at an extra expense as well.
Other aspects of the hardware are pretty positive. Battery life is good, which potentially validates the choice to use a lower TDP CPU. The included NVMe PCIe SSD is quite fast, and you get solid features like Wi-Fi ac with 2x2 MIMO and a fingerprint sensor that supports Windows Hello.
It’s also important to realize just how much cheaper the Eve V is compared to the Surface Pro. While the upper-tier Surface Pros are more powerful, they’re also $300 to $900 more expensive for an otherwise equivalent configuration. Some of this price is down to Microsoft’s choice not to include the keyboard and stylus, but for most models the Eve V package is cheaper than the standalone Surface Pro package.
Some of the most attractive Eve V models are significantly cheaper, go here in case you missed our detailed breakdown.
However, you should be warned about a few early adopter issues. I did experience some minor software bugs and hitches – such as brief system hangs and rare unresponsive patches – though I suspect continued support will iron out these problems. With that said, it’s hard to know exactly what level of support the Eve V will receive down the line, because it’s an entirely new device from an entirely new company. Who knows what customer support will look like either.
Availability is a bit up in the air as well. The review documentation I received suggested a limited number will be available at launch (beyond the units allocated for backers), but Eve did not want to clarify how many will actually go on sale. I suspect this device will be in high demand. As of writing, the Eve website indicates a "flash sale" is set to start in 14 days (December 4) and that the last batch was sold in 3 hours.
If you can find one for sale, the Eve V won’t disappoint. In almost every way it provides a superior experience to the Surface Pro, at a consistently lower price. I’m impressed, and those who crowdfunded this device without seeing final hardware will be very happy with their investment.
Pros: Includes features the Surface Pro doesn’t have, like Thunderbolt 3 and extra USB ports. Outstanding keyboard cover that’s included in the price. Active pen also included. Great factory calibrated display. Solid, fanless, metal design. Much cheaper than the Surface Pro.
Cons: Upper-tier models provide less performance than the Surface Pro. A few early software bugs. Customer service and support are unknowns at this stage.