Two minute review
You’ve somehow managed to grab one of the best graphics cards out there, like the Nvidia RTX 3080, or one of the new consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X. But they’re only half the picture when it comes to next-gen gaming visuals – and the Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz monitor (model number ES07D03) is ready to complete the package. The monitor, featuring a crowd-sourced design, is quite simply one of the best gaming displays on the market.
As its name suggests, it’s rocking a 4K (3840×2160) resolution, maxing out at a 144Hz refresh rate across its 27-inch, IPS LCD panel. With incredibly low latency (5ms to 1ms in overdrive) and solid HDR10 performance (hitting well north of 500 nits), it’s a real beauty to look at.
But what really sets it apart is its selection of ports. Not only do you get DisplayPort 1.4, complete with Nvidia G-Sync and AMD Freesync Premium Pro smooth motion support, but also a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports – perfect for hitting the 120Hz / 4K resolution heights of modern console gaming. That’s in addition to a USB-C port offering a SuperSpeed+ (USB 3.1 Gen 2, up to 10Gbps) upstream connection to your computer and 100W charging output for keeping (most) devices both fully juiced and outputting video to the screen, as well as an additional 15W USB-C port, 2x USB Type-A (3.1), USB Type-B (3.1) and a 3.5mm audio jack for speakers or headphones.
All this is packaged within an understated design that lets it sit comfortably in a home office as well as a gaming den, without shouting “I’M A GAMER, SEE?” at everyone that looks at it. Skinny bezels make the screen do all the talking, with a slim, sold-separately metal stand keeping to that minimal aesthetic (while also letting those that prefer a VESA mount save a bit of money). That stand also offers a good degree of tilt, and can rotate to a vertical orientation, too.
It has a few niggles that keep it from perfection – the screen tends to be a little reflective despite a matte coating finish, and the auto-source switching option doesn’t always get it right.
But these are minor points. For the fully-equipped gamer, the Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz is an essential part of your arsenal.
Price and availability
The Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz monitor started life as a crowd-funded monitor, so while it is technically available right now, at the time of writing it is on backorder until August 2021. It’s worth the wait though, and its pricing is fair.
You can pick up the Eve Spectrum 4K for just $799 / €799 (around £580 / AU$1090). However, that doesn’t include the monitor’s stand, which is sold separately for $99 / €99 (around £70 / AU$135). However you look at it, that’s pretty good value – if you’re already equipped with a monitor stand, you’re saving yourself a chunk of change by skipping on the stand, while the complete $898 price is on a par with the LG Ultragear 27GP950 – the 4K premium gaming monitor that Eve’s model is closest to in terms of features.
It’s not a cheap item then, but it’s also as good as things get at this price.
The Eve Spectrum 4K monitor doesn’t look like any other gaming-oriented monitor out there – and that’s a good thing. Where the competition is all gaudy RGB lighting and aggressive Deceptacon-looking stands, the Eve 4K is perfectly minimal by comparison.
With thin bezels around its 27-inch display, it features just a color-adjustable LED light on its lower center front to indicate power, and not much more. There’s a logo on the back of the stand, and that’s about it in terms of branding. The gunmetal grey stand has a thin neck and a wide foot (perfect for stowing away a keyboard), and that’s about it. For those that want an incredibly capable monitor that won’t look out of place in a smart office environment too, the Eve Spectrum has you covered.
There are no speakers on the monitor, and just a power button and four-way menu joystick on the rear for tweaking menu settings in terms of physical controls, and that’s your lot. As for the stand, it can rotate to a vertical orientation, tilt from 23 to -7 degrees and has a range of 122mm height adjustment. It can’t swivel though, and leaves about 7cm of clearance off a desk even at its lowest elevation. Clipping and removing the monitor from the stand is a piece of cake though, with a latch to easily slide the display from its moorings.
It’s the port selection that really sets the Eve Spectrum 4K apart though. As well as a DisplayPort 1.4a input, you’ve got a pair of HDMI 2.1 connections – the ports needed to hit the 4K / 120Hz highs of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, complete with the full RGB color palette without chroma subsampling, and with HDR too. There’s also a USB-C upstream connection, delivering a mammoth 100w power delivery along with video, while also keeping a built-in USB hub running (which features a 15W USB-C port and two USB-A 3.1 ports). The on screen menu lets you choose whether to prioritize refresh rate for the monitor (144Hz) over USB-C, dropping the USB hub to USB 2.0 speeds, or keep the monitor at a modest 60Hz over USB-C, while accessing faster USB 3.1 bandwidth speeds from the hub. It’s great to have that flexibility, depending on your needs.
These ports can also be used to manually update the firmware of the monitor from a thumb drive as Eve releases more features and updates. For reference, our review was conducted on the base, straight-out-of-the-box firmware version 101. We had a few minor issues with the auto-port switching functionality failing to recognize a change in power states, but it was nothing deal-breaking.
If there’s one shortcoming from a design point of view, it's with the power brick. Though it’s small and unobtrusive enough, its power cable is rather short, meaning you’re going to have to leave it on your desk beside the monitor, or face seeing it dangle to the ground.
The Eve Spectrum 4K monitor looks and plays like a dream, and the fun starts with its fully-featured OSD menu.
As well as the usual connectivity options, color tweaks and overdrive settings, the OSD has toggles for a crosshair overlay for first-person shooters, low-latency settings, adaptive sync settings (which are on by default for G-Sync and FreeSync fans), response time settings and backlight strobing options, as well as a frame rate counter. Response time overdrive settings have three presets – off, normal and high. You’ll get some color shift in exchange for that responsiveness at the highest setting, but you also have access to a user-defined setting, which has 63 steps of intensity to cycle through, letting you easily find a balance that suits your needs. You can also use the menu to tweak the monitor’s LED colors, tweaking it to a hue to match your taste for its on and standby modes.
Onto image quality and this is the same panel as the LG Ultragear 27GP950, slightly tweaked by Eve for its take on calibration. Both are 98% DCI-P3 and 100% SRGB rated, with the Eve Spectrum 4K boasting a 1000:1 contrast ratio to go along with its 10 bit (8 bit +FRC) panel, making the Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz just as good for picture and video editors as the LG Ultragear alternative, if not quite a reference grade. Each monitor comes with details of the factory calibration in the box, too, and while there was a little backlight bleed (particularly to the left hand side of our test unit) it wasn’t hugely offensive, nor was the fact that the screen was a little more reflective than we’d expect from a matte coating.
HDR 600 certified, and easily hitting upwards of 500 nits at full brightness, it’s not as punchy as a top-end HDR TV, but is still well worth activating HDR modes to benefit from additional shadow detail in darker scenes.
It’s when gaming that the Eve Spectrum 4K really comes alive however. That 4K resolution, paired with a fast 144Hz refresh rate was just stunning in motion. You’ll need a whopper of a graphics card to comfortably feed a 4K resolution at high refresh rates, but seeing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on my PC at 4K resolution and frame rates north of 100fps could bring a tear to the eye.
Even more impressive was hooking up an Xbox Series X console to the monitor’s HDMI 2.1 ports, and taking full advantage of the newest consoles’ 4K / 120Hz settings. Revisiting the criminally overlooked Mad Max game (which now runs at 120fps with HDR and a 4K upscale on Xbox Series X) was like playing a whole new title, such was the smoothness on show for the apocalyptic wasteland. And while the cinematic nature of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is better suited to the 4K / 60fps Performance Mode setting on Xbox Series X, dropping down to the 1440p resolution for 120fps smoothness added a fluidity to the gunplay that was long missing from the franchise’s early days.
For the gamer that has both a top-end PC and modern gaming console, it’s really hard to find fault with Eve Spectrum 4K. While its HDR could pop a little brighter, this is one display to rule over all your gaming devices, the hub around which your work and playtime come together. It’s a dream.
Something to note…
The Eve Spectrum 4K, as previously stated, started life not only as a crowd-sourced monitor in terms of design ideas, but a crowd-funded project, too. With two other monitors in the range (a 1440p / 144Hz model, and a 1440p / 240Hz version), it’s this 4K model that’s first to make it to backers, with the other models facing a delay. New orders for the Eve Spectrum line, at the time of writing, are estimated to ship in October 2021.
This wouldn’t normally be a matter of note, but Eve’s previous crowd-funding campaigns, including one for a 2-in-1 laptop device, were marred by unfulfilled orders and lengthy refund waits. Everything points to Eve’s approach this time around being much more stable and reliable, but for the sake of transparency, make sure you do your research before splashing the cash – in terms of the hardware on offer here, it’s superb and well worth considering.
Should I buy the Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz (ES07D03) monitor?
Buy it if…
You’re the lucky owner of a high-end GPU and new games console: The Eve Spectrum brings out the best from the visuals of the latest games consoles and PC graphics hardware, making it the perfect choice for multiplatform gamers.
You want a chic-looking gaming monitor:
The Eve Spectrum 4K has all the bells and whistles of a gaming monitor, without the cheesy aggressive design that lots of gaming monitors tend to have.
You need a monitor for work as well as play:
With superb color accuracy and a plethora of ports, the Eve Spectrum 4K will be at home in an office and for content creators, as well as the gaming dens of the next-gen player.
Don't buy it if…
You don’t have a top-end graphics card or new games console:
Without a high-end GPU, a PS5 or Xbox Series X, you’re not going to get the most out of what the Eve Spectrum 4K has to offer – though it is well future-proofed if you’re looking to upgrade your gaming rigs in the near future.
You’re a super-competitive first-person shooter fan:
The 144Hz refresh rate is silky smooth for the majority of players, but competitive gamers might prefer a lower resolution screen with a higher 240Hz refresh rate.
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