Last week we finally showed off our design for the new V, and it seems like you guys liked it! This week we’ll delve deeper into how this design came to be and what lurks underneath its sleek appearance.
A look inside
An eye-melting display
If there’s one feature of our first V that received a lot of compliments, it’s the screen. So obviously we couldn’t equip our new V with just any panel. We’re happy to have found a display that surpasses our first-generation device in brightness, contrast, color gamut, and more!
Like before, we are using a Sharp IPS panel that uses a film of indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) transistors. Since these let through more light than the more common amorphous silicon (a-Si) transistors, they can produce a brighter image at a lower power draw.
We’ve also heard your requests for a larger screen, adding over 15% of extra display surface with our new 13.4-inch panel. It’s now 16:10, which means that compared to our first-gen V, less screen is lost to black bars when watching widescreen video content. Compared to ‘standard’ 16:9 displays, meanwhile, it offers 11% of extra width when using the device in portrait mode. Or 11% of extra height when using it in landscape mode. It’s your choice!
Finally, we’ve increased the resolution. Our flagship panel sports a 4K Ultra-HD resolution. Plus that 11% extra, for a whopping 9 216 000 pixels. However, an important lesson we learned from the first-gen V was that it’s hard to hit entry-level prices if your entry-level device has an expensive premium display panel in it. So this time around, we are also offering a second panel: All of the vibrant colors and performance we’ve mentioned so far, but at a more affordable Full-HD resolution.
King of ports
We called our first V, the ‘king of ports,’ for having the best ports selection of any device in its class. But does ‘the best ports selection’ still mean the same thing, four years later? When we first surveyed our community, it looked like just updating our ports to the latest spec would have done the trick. But when we asked you to choose between more kinds of ports or a sleeker device, thin bezels won out by a surprising margin!
Well over half of you were willing to trade in USB Type-A ports for up to 25% thinner bezels. Our design team delivered, and the removal of these larger ports has resulted in side bezels that are over 37% thinner. Combined with the larger screen, our new V looks much more sleek and modern than its predecessor!
The need to actively cool our Tiger Lake chip means we have to dedicate space in our device for a fan, as well as a shroud around it to guide the airflow. Because of this, the motherboard doesn’t spread from one side of the device to the other; instead, the ports and buttons on the device’s left edge are part of a smaller ‘daughter’ board. Connecting this secondary circuit board to the motherboard with a cable allows the features on that side of the device to function, but it is also a limiting factor in terms of bandwidth. This is why the USB port and card reader that reside on this side of the new V cannot support Thunderbolt or PCIe speeds.
We have looked into many options, such as having the circuit board continue around the fan shroud (the dotted outline is shown below for illustration purposes). However, this narrow ‘bridge’ would be a weak point during manufacturing, greatly increasing the risk of damage and reduced yields.
Though we also looked into offering a full-size SD card reader —the dotted outline on the illustration above shows the size of a full-sized card— the required electronics around the card would take up space that we simply don’t have available in our compact device. The depth and thickness of the full-sized SD card reader would reintroduce the issues that we had just dissolved by moving away from USB Type-A ports.
|Eve V (2020)|
|monitor size||13.4" (diagonal)|
|native resolution||1920 x 1200 WUXGA / 3480 x 2400 WQUXGA|
|panel technology||IGZO IPS TFT LCD|
|HDR||HDR10 Media Profile
VESA DisplayHDR400 certified
|color gamut||90% DCI-P3
|contrast ratio||1500 : 1 typical|
|pen-enabled||Wacom AES 2.0 support with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition|
|operating system||Windows 10 / Windows 10 Pro|
|processor||Intel 11th generation Core ‘Tiger Lake’ processor|
|wireless||WiFi 6 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax) dual-band Wi-Fi|
|ports||(1x) USB Type-C (USB 3.0)|
|(2x) USB Type-C (USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt)|
|(1x) 3.5mm minijack|
|(1x) micro-SD card reader|
|speakers||2x high/mid frequency
2x low frequency
|microphones||noise-canceling dual microphone array|
|Windows Hello fingerprint reader in power button|
|Windows Hello front-facing camera|
|Anodized aluminum housing|
|Integrated kickstand (stepless adjustment up to 170°)|
|Product is still in development, specifications may be subject to change and will be changed or added as new information becomes available.|
Most popular questions
Can all Type-C ports be used to charge the new V?
All USB Type-C ports on the V support the USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) standard. Because of this, it does not matter which of the ports is used to charge the device, and you can plug in your adapter from whichever side is most convenient.
Will the new keyboard be durable than the first-gen V Keyboard?
We have a long list of improvement points based on feedback from first-gen users and data from our support team, which we will use to improve the industrial design. On top of that, we have changed manufacturing partners for the keyboard and are now working with an industry-leading ODM to ensure the new keyboard’s durability and reliability.
Does the new V have rounded screen corners?
Despite reviewing many potential displays from several suppliers, no display panels with rounded corners are available to us.
Does the new V feature a digital bezel?
Ports and other components around the display panel leave the V with inactive bezels. Though it would be possible to disable part of the display panel to create active bezels, it would ultimately leave the new V with a smaller usable screen.
What are the limitations for external displays on the new V?
Displays can be connected to the new V through USB Type-C. The exact protocols supported and specifications such as maximum resolution or refresh rate for these external panels are yet to be determined and dependent on the chosen CPU platform.
Is the Thunderbolt technology in the new V secure?
Some security concerns have been raised about Thunderbolt technology. Our Tiger Lake CPU has protections in place to guard your device against a number of threats, including ones based around the Thunderbolt port. Even so, any device can be compromised if it ends up in the wrong hands, so it is always a good idea to keep an eye on your electronics, especially ones that contain sensitive data.
How does the new V charge?
The V charges through its USB Type-C ports using the USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) standard. The exact charging specifications will be locked down during the prototype phases.
Is the new V 5G compatible?
The new V is not compatible with 5G; no compatible modules are available to us to enable 5G support. We are looking to enable LTE on select models.
Why were Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs chosen to power the new V?
As much as we equally love both the blue and the red team, there was no fitting AMD solution with readily available engineering support accessible for us when we locked down the CPU. You can read more about the choice in this topic.
Is the new V suitable for real-time audio production?
The first-gen V seemed to have excellent low-latency performance. But as it houses different components, we cannot guarantee this for the new V, which is still in development.
What is the expected battery life of the new V?
We aim to reduce the energy consumption of our components as much as possible and are looking to include as big a battery as the available space allows. We will provide estimates of the battery life once we have correctly functioning prototypes to test.
What is the quality of the cameras on the new V?
We aim to provide higher-quality cameras than our first-gen device. For the rear-facing camera, our primary focus is on providing a good experience when scanning documents. For the front-facing camera, we are aware that image quality is crucial to fit your stay-at-home needs during the ongoing pandemic and are sourcing a camera that includes an infrared (IR) sensor to enable facial recognition through Windows Hello.
Can the new V be used as a display for another device?
Though the hardware does not support using the V as a monitor by plugging it into another device, it may be possible to borrow its screen using software screen projection or streaming. We expect support for Miracast and are still looking into the specifics.
How will the fan in the new V operate?
Though we understand the need for a fan to ensure the proper performance of our Tiger Lake CPU, we are also aware that silent performance was a popular feature of our fanless first-gen device. We intend to plot a fan curve that provides adequate cooling when required but turns the fan off completely during low-power use.
We are looking into the possibility of manually turning off the fan completely (a so-called ‘zero-fan mode’); however, it is important to recognize that such a feature may limit the maximum performance for users who choose to use it.
Are the SIM card and micro-SD card hot-swappable?
Though either can be added, removed, or replaced whilst the device is in use (‘hot-swappable’), it is important to keep in mind that the SIM card and micro-SD card share a tray, so removing one will also remove the other. It is recommended to ensure the SD card is not being read from or written to and that you are not reliant on your LTE connection whenever you remove the SIM/SD tray.
What kind of storage does the new V use?
The new V uses an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD for high-speed storage. Though we kept user-serviceability in mind throughout the design process, the SSD is hard to reach without specialized tools. This means that we do not recommend trying to replace it, but in case of emergency, you should be able to remove your storage drive to get to your data.
Is the new V user-serviceable?
As much as we would like the new V to offer easy accessibility of its internals, device thickness and structural rigidity became an issue when we explored various ways to open up the device safely. Gluing the new V was ultimately left as our only viable choice.
Does the new V support any form of (reverse) wireless charging?
The aluminum housing of the new V does not allow for wireless charging.
How thick will the bezels of the new V be?
The V has edge-to-edge cover glass, bounded only by a thin aluminum frame to protect it from edge impacts. This combined ‘bezel’ measures approximately 11mm left and right, and 13.4mm on the top and bottom.
Is the new V vulnerable to bending (as seen with, for instance, iPad Pro)?
The internals’ accessibility is a particular challenge in designing the new V, as this often requires carefully fitting together separate housing components. Many design directions have already been tried but abandoned for resulting in too flimsy a device, as we take great care to build a sturdy and durable product.
Will the active cooling of the new V be vulnerable to dust?
The air intake and exhaust (as well as the speaker holes) will have mesh filters in place to protect against the ingress of dust and other debris. We are aware that this will not completely negate the build-up of dust, but it should help your device stay clean and cool.
What materials make up the new V’s exterior?
The housing is primarily made of aluminum alloy, with a high-grade plastic insert along the top to allow for wireless connectivity. To top it all off, we’re currently working with Corning to make sure our edge-to-edge cover glass is as durable as possible.
What materials will be used to build the keyboard?
As the new V Keyboard is still being designed, no exact materials have been decided on. But it looks like we will use a soft material like ultrasuede, framed in a hard material like plastic. More details will be made available soon!
What materials will be used for the keycaps?
The keycaps will be plastic; exact details will narrow down to the specific module used with our keyboard suppliers.
How do the keys and palm rest feel on touch (i.e., warm or cold)?
As the keys and wrist rest of the keyboard does not contain components that heat up during use, you can expect the palm rest to be at or around room temperature. The exact surface finishes are still undecided.
Does Alcantara wear over time?
We have not yet decided on either material or finish, but consider using Alcantara and other ultrasuede materials. Experience with the first-generation V and other products shows that Alcantara is a resilient and durable material, provided it is cared for properly.
Can the keyboard of the new V be lifted at an angle?
The keyboard can be lifted in the same fashion as the first-generation V Keyboard or Surface Pro. Once we have our designs finalized, we can start taking measurements, such as the maximum angle.
Can end users remap the key functions?
No such function is present on a hardware level, though third-party software solutions on the market can enable remapping on just about any keyboard.
Are we keeping unique legends like the flipped pyramid V and Oops! keys?
We have not made any final decisions yet. We are quite fond of our subtle V logo, but we are also aware that there has been pushback against the Oops’ quirkiness!
Is the new V Keyboard compatible with the first-gen V?
We want to include backward compatibility with the first-gen V wherever we can. However, one crucial improvement involves adding guide notches around the pogo-pin connector. It will improve the user experience and protect both the tablet & the keyboard portions of the device; the original V does not support these guide notches, making compatibility unlikely.
Is the new V Keyboard compatible with any Surface devices?
The new V Keyboard will not be compatible with the Surface line of devices.
Will the keyboard support wireless use?
Unlike the first-gen keyboard, the new V Keyboard will not house a battery and Bluetooth transceiver. This means that it can be lighter and thinner, but also that it needs to be attached to the V in order to use it.
Can the V Pen be stored in or on the new V?
We are still looking into ways to store the V Pen with the V. The magnetic attachment as implemented in the first-gen device was not well-received, so whatever we settle on, it will be something different than before.
Will a USB-C to USB-A adapter be included with the new V?
We had not considered this yet, but given the updated design lacks USB Type-A ports, we understand that this would be a welcome addition for some users. We will look into it and get back to you!
Will there be an Eve eGPU accessory for the new V?
It is not something we are currently working on. But by following the Thunderbolt spec, the new V should be compatible with any third-party Thunderbolt eGPU enclosure.
Logistics and Timelines
Where will I be able to buy the new V?
The main point of sales will be our own web store. That said, we will also look into sales partners such as Amazon as we have done for the first-gen V, and are reaching out to physical retailers around the world to carry our products.
In what configurations will I be able to get the new V?
We are still collecting some information that will help us decide on the different models. Though we have a number of components that differ throughout our line-up, we can only offer so many different models due to logistic reasons. At a later date, we will come up with some configurations that make sense to us and run them by our community.
What is the price of the new V?
We have decided on a pricing model where the price increases dynamically based on sales. This has a number of benefits: we keep manufacturers and investors happy with high initial volumes, give our team peace of mind about the demand for our product, provide additional revenue later on to cover marketing, distribution, support, and reward our community of crowd-developers and early adopters with the best possible pricing. You were here first, and you deserve the best deal!
We don’t want to be perceived as a discount house making ‘cheaper products.’ In fact, we feel our crowd-developed products are better than our competitors, using premium materials and packing all the extra features you want that improve the user experience. We always look to offer the best experience and the best value, not necessarily the lowest price. Once we have locked down our model configurations and start taking reservations, we’ll also announce the prices.
Do you plan to offer a student discount for the new V?
We try to offer the best possible price for all customers. On the one hand, that means we can’t make things cheaper for students. On the other hand, that means we haven’t made our products more expensive for everyone else!
Will I be able to reserve the new V like Spectrum?
We are still working out some details but expect to offer reservations for the new V later this year.
Got more questions?
Please post them here, and we will try our best to answer!