Some of you have wondered why the V has been getting all the attention lately. It’s a fair question, especially as Q4 is nearing, and you are all looking forward to getting your Spectrum. Today I am excited to share a long-awaited Spectrum update with you!
Spectrum has been in a very engineering-heavy phase: For the most part, it’s engineers staring at circuit board schematics, and tooling designers making tooling models. COVID has made producing Spectrum content even more challenging as there is currently no way for our team members to enter China.
One thing that came up during this phase, and that will have been immediately apparent to anyone looking at these new images, is that the ‘port box’ on the back of the monitor has grown. This is a result of switching to newer scalers, first to allow for the high-resolution, high-refresh-rate combination of our higher-end models, and then again to allow for HDMI 2.1. The electrical engineers needed more room to make sure these newer chips were implemented without affecting temperatures or performance.
We have our first functional prototypes of Spectrum, rocking the final hardware and design. Not only do they look like Spectrum, they are equipped with the right panel, scaler, and other hardware.
These units have been built using so-called ‘soft tooling’. Though these tools have a lifespan of only fifty or so units manufactured, they are cheaper and easier to create. This allows for change and iteration as we test and check our sample monitors carefully. The main purpose of these early units, and what our team is currently working on, is to evaluate their industrial design as well as color, material, and finish (CMF). We need to confirm things such as gaps, tolerances, sharpness of edges, and color uniformity between different materials and parts. After the final details are confirmed, we will produce ‘hard tooling’, which is almost the same as the soft tooling but has a lifespan of thousands of units, allowing for mass-production.
Meanwhile, engineers are continuously expanding and improving the firmware that drives the various components inside the monitor. The functionality of these early prototypes is limited, but each firmware update unlocks more of Spectrum’s potential!
In the coming weeks, we will continue to test these prototypes, and expect to receive more advanced prototypes based on our findings and feedback. This takes time, but the most important task at hand is to make sure every single flaw is ironed out, and every bug is caught.
Among other things, we are also going to:
- make sure that all ports and connections work as specified.
- developing the monitor’s firmware and initial OSD.
- send units out for all appropriate testing and certification, such as HDMI, HDR, FreeSync, etc.
- develop standard operation procedures (SOPs), a sort of assembly manual for factory workers.
- develop a quality standard for final quality control, which will dictate tolerances like those for pixel defects, light leaks, and other defects.
- test packaging for durability and safe shipping.
With prototypes that look as they should and contain the final hardware, some may wonder what’s keeping us from shipping out these monitors yet. Let’s start by reiterating that from now until shipping this Q4, the most important thing is to make sure each Spectrum we ship is of exceptional quality. Nothing is worse than a stellar product being spoiled by little annoying daily occurring imperfections, or even complete product recalls due to scaler issues like the Odyssey G9 and G7 lineup.
Product reviews are also an oft-heard request. We have actually shipped one prototype unit already for an early preview (hope you’ll see a video review soon!), and more will follow in September as more and better prototypes become available with more mature firmware. We do think it’s essential that we ship the same product to you that we ship to your favorite journalists, after all, that’s the only way you can get an honest opinion about the product you purchase. Because of this, the final reviews won’t appear until much closer to shipping when we can ship Spectrum to reviewers with the same hardware, firmware, and packaging our customers will receive.
Coming up next will be a topic with initial test results, updated measurements, and an up-to-date edition of our FAQ. So please reply with your thoughts and comments about our prototypes, and stay tuned for more on Spectrum!