A thousand strangers teamed up to make this amazing $1,500 alternative to the Microsoft Surface Pro

Caroline Cakebread/Business Insider

Meet the Eve V (pronounced “Eve Vee”) – a combination laptop/tablet hybrid, powered by Windows 10. It looks very much like Microsoft’s excellent Surface Pro.

But there’s something a little different about the Eve V, which comes out of an Intel-backed Finnish startup.

Every aspect of the Eve V, from the design to the processor to the keyboard cover material, was decided with full and complete input from Eve’s community of fans. Over a thousand people contributed their feedback to how the Eve V should be built, resulting in a device that – theoretically – meets the exacting needs of the most demanding users.

Even Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella asked for an Eve V to play around with, after the Eve crowdfunding campaign caught his eye.

I’ve been using the Eve V for a week, and I can say this: The Eve community should be proud. While there are a few spots where the wisdom of the crowd didn’t quite come through, the Eve V is an outstanding first effort, with lots to recommend it, even when compared against Microsoft’s own Surface Pro.

Here’s the skinny on Eve V’s crowdsourced computer:


The Eve V is a tablet/laptop two-in-one, running Windows 10. In principle, it’s a lot like the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Caroline Cakebread/Business Insider

That means you can yank the keyboard off, and use it like a big ol’ tablet. It even comes with a stylus for taking notes.

Caroline Cakebread/Business Insider

Here’s the Eve V…

Eve

…and here’s the Surface Pro. Same idea.

Microsoft

The Eve V is being sold in batches to superfans. Eve says that by making small batches sold directly to customers they don’t have to keep inventory on hand, which means savings they can pass on to customers.

Eve

The Eve V is offered in various configurations, from $US799 all the way up to a tip-top of the line $US1999 model. And it comes with a stylus and the keyboard – accessories that will cost you an additional $US99 and $US159, respectively, with the Surface Pro.


What makes the Eve V so special? Well, Eve, the startup that makes the Eve V, thought that the Surface Pro was great, but could maybe not high-end enough for real power users.

EveThe Eve team, based in Helsinki.

So Eve built up a community of true believers — anybody who contributed to the Eve V crowdfunding campaign got a vote on everything from the size of the device, to which processor it uses, to the material of the keyboard cover.

Matt Weinberger/Business InsiderEve’s official motto.

Previously, Eve CEO Konstantinos Karatsevidis told Business Insider that the “V” refers to the device’s original codename, “Pyramid Flipper” – as in, turning the usual top-down model of hardware development on its head.


And what they came up with is a really thoughtful device that improves on the Surface Pro in some really interesting ways.

Caroline Cakebread/Business Insider

A good example, pictured here: The included keyboard cover is also a Bluetooth device, so you can detach it from the Eve V and keep working. The Surface Pro’s keyboard comes separately for $US159, and only works when attached to the device.

Another nice perk is that the power button is also a fingerprint reader, so you can unlock the Eve V as you turn it on or wake it up from sleep.

The speakers are pretty good, the design is nice, and it’s a stock-standard version of Windows 10 without any Eve-specific software. The crowd came through with a nice, fresh product, overall.


Earlier in the Eve V’s development, Karatsevidis told Business Insider that the company originally thought people wanted a super-thin, super-light computer. Not so: It turned out the people really wanted more ports and better battery life, even if it meant a chunkier computer than the Surface Pro.

Caroline Cakebread/Business Insider

On the subject of battery life, I have to report that the Eve V got only about 4 hours on a charge.

However, Karatsevidis assures me that my experience is uncommon. And other reviewers of the Eve V have gotten anywhere from 8 to 10 hours. Plus, Eve promises that software updates are coming to the Eve V that will improve the battery life further.

Even giving Eve the benefit of the doubt here, though, it highlights an issue that would-be Eve V buyers should be aware of.

The company is new and untested, and there might be some kinks to work out as it gets off the ground. And as a startup, Eve’s customer support game might not be as strong as that of a more established company like Microsoft or Apple.


And boy, does the Eve V have ports. It has two USB-C ports, which can be used to charge it up. It also sports two regular-issue USB ports, a Micro SD card reader, and, yes, a headphone jack.

Eve

The Surface Pro, for comparison, sports one USB port, the proprietary Surface Connect port for charging, a mini-DisplayPort, the MicroSD card reader, and the headphone jack. In that sense, the Eve V is more forward-looking — it even supports the rising Thunderbolt 3 standard for external 4K displays.


There are some fun little touches, too. Instead of a “Backspace” key, the Eve V says “Oops.” And by pushing the Windows key and the V together, you can actually change the colour of the backlighting on the keys.

Caroline Cakebread/Business Insider

Generally speaking, the Eve V is a joy to use. It’s fast and responsive, and not bad to look at, either. It doesn’t have enough horsepower for serious gaming, but it’s great for the power user on the go. The screen is nice, too — it’s brighter with better colours than the Surface Pro.

Caroline Cakebread/Business Insider

The stylus works well, too, if you like using your tablet for sketching or taking notes.


That said, there are some places where the wisdom of the crowd fails. Most noticeably, the mouse trackpad on the keyboard cover is only ok, and way worse than that of the Surface Pro.

Caroline Cakebread/Business Insider

Still, for the power user, or someone looking for something a little bit different, I do recommend the Eve V. Good luck getting one, though: Eve is selling it in batches, and the last batch sold out in only three hours.

Screenshot/Matt Weinberger

If you want to get on the waiting list, here’s the link.

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