We have with us at the moment the World’s first crowd-developed monitor, the recently launched Eve Spectrum 4K (full model name ES07D03). It has gone from concept to delivery over the last 2.5 years and has finally been shipped now to some buyers. We will talk about how this screen was produced and developed in a moment, but it represents somewhat of a wish-list of specs and features for many people without venturing in to the super high-end and expensive part of the market. The screen is 27″ in size and offers a 3840 x 2160 “4K” resolution. This is combined with a 144Hz high refresh rate, and supported by adaptive-sync for variable refresh rates from both NVIDIA and AMD systems. It’s been certified under the NVIDIA ‘G-sync Compatible’ and AMD ‘FreeSync Premium Pro’ schemes as well, giving assurances around VRR performance and capability. Additionally for gamers it has a reported 1ms G2G response time and includes a blur reduction backlight mode too, and has had its overdrive and backlight strobing tuned by Blur Busters.
The Spectrum 4K is based on a Nano IPS panel offering a wide colour gamut with 98% DCI-P3 coverage and the all-round the benefits of IPS technology in general. There has been a focus on producing something that isn’t just for gaming, and can also be used in professional and work situations. You won’t find loads of “gamer” aesthetics, RGB lighting and fancy designs here. It is a more modest but sleek design. The screen is also capable of some mid-tier HDR performance and carries the VESA DisplayHDR 600 certification, including some moderate edge-lit local dimming capability and a peak brightness of 750 nits according to the spec.
Perhaps of most interest and focus has been the port selection, with HDMI 2.1 featuring to help make the screen ready for the latest generation of PS5 and Xbox Series X games consoles. There is also USB type-C included which offers DP Alt mode for video, along with 100W power delivery for single cable connectivity from suitable laptops etc. We should not that the screen does not come by default with a stand, but we have this with us for testing as part of the review.
|Disclaimer: We should say here that we are not in a position to vouch for Eve as a manufacturer or supplier or not, and that is not the aim of this review. It’s fair to say that the company has not been without its problems and controversies over the years, including with production of this screen. Whether that’s long delays with shipments, problems with returns and refunds or even vote manipulation to try and get exposure at places like rtings.com.|
We have had people asking us to review this screen for a long time now, dating back to Dec 2020 in fact when early prototypes were being sent to some press outlets. Our stance has been that we would not review the screen until we were comfortable that the final retail product was at least being shipped to buyers and that the screen would not end up being vapourware. Eve contacted us recently and we felt like production was at a stage where we could test the screen and provide useful analysis to those who were considering the display. We were offered a sample that was already being circulated in the UK press, or a fresh new sample straight off the production run. We opted for the latter, despite that taking longer to reach us to try and get the fairest representation of a real retail unit. This was unopened and new.
In this review we are interested here on evaluating the screen, its performance and capabilities and putting it through our usual extensive range of testing. We will provide our view on whether the monitor is good or not, and how it performs, but we will leave you, the reader, to consider your purchase and Eve as a brand. If you want further information from owners and users we would encourage you to check out the Eve community and also the Eve section on Reddit for lots more information.
The Development and Release Journey
It’s worth looking back at the journey from concept to delivery here, as it’s not been without its challenges and problems.
It all started back in Feb 2019 when Eve polled their community on what to create, and a desktop monitor received over 2000 votes. It’s an interesting concept, as the specs, features and design were all discussed and debated with a community of apparently “more than 10,000 gamers, designers, codes and tech enthusiasts” – this presumably represents the size of the Eve online community as opposed to how many people actually chipped in, but it gave people a chance to fire off a wish list of things they wanted from a new monitor. Elsewhere on their product page they talk about 4053 contributors so perhaps that is closer to the number who provided some level of input.
Further discussion followed during 2019 before the design, naming, headline spec, planned launch date and pricing was announced in January 2020. At the time the planned launch date was Q4 2020. Eve put together a process whereby early orders would be taken at a lower price than the final launch retail price, rewarding early adopters, allowing them to forecast demand for production, and at the same time creating capital to actually produce the screen.
After improving the design by moving to a borderless panel option, and importantly adding HDMI 2.1 to the spec, by August 2020 there was a first prototype internally at Eve. Initial prototypes were shared with some areas of the press in December 2020 for early impressions. Of course this meant they had missed their original expected launch date of Q4 2020 although we should note that COVID will have caused delays here too. It then took another 5 months, during which time things like the OSD menu, warranty, and box art were finalised and then mass production started in June 2021 with the first units were finally shipped to customers starting 29th June 2021. If you want further information from buyers who have received their screens, or are reporting delays or issues with shipments, we would definitely encourage you to check out the Eve section on Reddit for lots more information. The Eve community forum is also a useful place if you want to look back (start at the bottom of the page) at the journey over the last couple of years.
Specifications and Features
One call-out here is that there are no cables provided with the screen other than the power brick and cable. This is presumably to help keep costs down but keep this in mind as normally you’d expect to find a DisplayPort, USB A to B, USB type-C and maybe even an ultra high speed HDMI 2.1 cable with modern displays like this.
We also wanted to comment here on the well thought out and designed packaging for both the monitor and the stand. They are compact, nicely put together and professional. Eve have done a nice job there.
It was good to see Eve provide a user updatable firmware feature for the Spectrum 4K to account for any future bug fixes or improvements that might be made. We updated to the latest v104 firmware by the way before testing.
Design and Ergonomics
The Spectrum 4K comes in a fairly modest and sleek design which is actually quite a nice break from some of the gamer aesthetics you see in the monitor market. It has a 4-side “borderless” design with a thin ~1.5mm black plastic edge around all sides of the screen. There is an additional thin ~3.5mm black panel border before the image starts on the sides and top, and a thicker black panel border of ~8.5mm along the bottom edge. This gives it a very thin border on the sides which makes it a very viable option for multi-screen setups if you want. There are no logos or labels visible from the front of the screen due to these thin edges, but a power LED light is visible on the bottom edge in the centre of the screen. You can customise the colour of this power LED along with whether it is static, pulses or flashes from in the OSD menu, or turn it off if you’d rather.
The rear of the screen is also very minimalist. No sign of any gamer RGB lighting here. The monitor is encased in a matte black plastic with a smooth finish. There is an OSD control joystick and small power button located in the centre of the screen at the bottom but that’s it. The stand connects in to the middle of the screen with a quick release mechanism, or can be excluded to reveal VESA 100 x 100mm mounting support.
Eve do not provide a stand by default with the screen, instead opting for an approach where you can save money (~$100 USD) if you don’t need it. This might be useful for people who want to VESA mount the screen anyway, saving them a bit of money, but for the majority of people it might be an added, unexpected expense. The stand itself is a sleek and minimalist design to mirror the screen itself. It has a thin but very sturdy metal arm along with a metal base. There is a useful cable tidy hole in the upper section of the stand, although with the arm itself being very thin it is hard to hide the cables properly. The stand provides a very sturdy and stable base for the screen though and feels premium in its build.
|Function||Range||Smoothness||Ease of Use|
The stand provides a good range of adjustments with tilt, height and rotate offered. There is no side to side swivel though which is a shame. Tilt offers smooth movement, but is quite stiff to operate. Height is a bit easier, providing a wide adjustment range of 130mm. At the lowest setting the bottom edge of the screen is 100mm from the surface of the desk, and at maximum extension it is 230mm. The rotate adjustment is a bit bumpy to move, but easy enough if you want to use that feature and switch in to portrait mode.
The OSD menu is controlled via a single joystick controller on the back of the screen. It has a decent range of options and settings to adjust. Navigation is quick and easy, although sometimes selecting and changing an option feels a little unintuitive with the way you use the joystick. The software itself was also quite low resolution considering the high 4K resolution of the panel.
Panel and Backlighting
|Panel Manufacturer||LG.Display||Backlighting Type||KSF LED|
|Panel Technology||Nano IPS||Colour space||Wide gamut|
|Panel Part||LM270WR8-SSA1||sRGB coverage||100% quoted|
|Screen Coating||Light anti-glare||DCI-P3||98% quoted|
|Colour Palette||1.07 billion||Adobe RGB coverage||Not listed|
|Colour depth||8-bit + FRC||Flicker free verified|
It should be noted that the 10-bit colour depth is available even at 4K 144Hz thanks to the inclusion of Display Stream Compression (DSC) on the DP 1.4 connection, and also over HDMI 2.1 thanks to the increased bandwidth of that interface. For DP 1.4, DSC is lossless visually which means that unlike older 4K 144Hz models you don’t need to sacrifice colour depth or chroma levels to reach the maximum refresh rate. You need a compatible DSC graphics card though of course. The main take-home here is that you don’t need to drop to 8-bit colour depth which is great if your content or game is HDR and supports 10-bit. More importantly you don’t need to drop from 4:4:4 full RGB chroma here, which does cause some visual loss in clarity but was a necessary step in earlier generation of 4K 144Hz displays before DSC was adopted.
Brightness and Contrast
This section tests the full range of luminance (the brightness of the screen) possible from the backlight, while changing the monitors brightness setting in the OSD menu. This allows us to measure the maximum and minimum adjustment ranges, as well as identify the recommended setting to reach a target of 120 cd/m2 for comfortable day to day use in normal lighting conditions. Some users have specific requirements for a very bright display, while others like a much darker display for night time viewing or in low ambient light conditions. At each brightness level we also measure the contrast ratio produced by the screen when comparing a small white sample vs. a black sample (not unrealistic full screen white vs. full screen black tests). The contrast ratio should remain stable across the adjustment range so we also check that.
Graphics card settings were left at default with no ICC profile or calibration active. Tests were made using an X-rite i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter paired with the Calman Ultimate software for very high levels of accuracy.
The upper brightness capability of the screen in SDR mode was 434 cd/m2, just slightly lower than the spec of 450 cd/m2. There was a reasonable adjustment range available, with the minimum luminance measured at 73 cd/m2. This might not be quite dark enough for some users working in very low ambient light conditions, we would have liked a little bit more adjustment at this bottom end but it is probably fine for most. A brightness setting of 13 in the OSD menu is needed to return you a luminance as close to 120 cd/m2 as possible at default settings. Backlight dimming is achieved with a flicker free backlight (no need for PWM) which should avoid eye strain and headaches that PWM screens often cause.
The average contrast ratio of the screen at default settings was measured at 1049:1 out of the box which was good, but not excellent, for a modern IPS-type panel, and slightly above the quoted 1000:1 specification. This was pleasing though as we have seen some low contrast ratios from LG.Display Nano IPS panels in the past on some other displays.
Default Performance and Setup
The Spectrum 4K comes factory calibrated in its default mode and a useful calibration report is included in the box. Little touches like printing this on card instead of paper, and providing some explanations to what all the sections mean were nice to see. A copy of our calibration report is provided above for reference which suggests the screen has been calibrated to the DCI-P3 colour space, a white point of 6500k, a dE of 0.52 (for our sample) and a gamma curve of 2.2. We measured the screen ourselves out of the box as well:
The default setup was good overall. There was some deviation in the gamma curve, particularly in light shades and it was a bit too high at 2.31 average. This leads to some washing out of bright grey details in practice. Thankfully the colour temp and white point were both good, with only a small 2 – 3% deviance from the targets. They were slightly too warm, with white point for instance at 6333k but the image looked fine in real use with well balanced greys and whites visually. Overall greyscale accuracy was good with a dE of only 1.6.
Brightness was high even at the default 50% level, measured at 258 cd/m2, and that will need to be toned down for comfortable use really. The IPS panel produced a decent 1088:1 contrast ratio for this technology, a relief as we’ve seen some lower results around 800:1 from other LG.Display Nano IPS panels in the past.
The monitor actually has two colour gamut modes in the OSD, the default is DCI-P3 which represents a “wide gamut” mode, and the other is “standard gamut” sRGB (measured in a moment). You can see from the two CIE diagrams on the left hand side above that the colour space of the native screen mode extends quite a long way beyond the sRGB reference space, that being the space used for SDR content and a lot of general, normal content. This is particularly extended in red and green shades, leading to a spec of 122.7% relative coverage. If we consider just the strict sRGB space then the screen is capable of covering 99.7% of that reference which is very good. In the native gamut mode it leads to some over-saturation of red and green shades when working with SDR (sRGB) content as normal with wide gamut screens. The colour accuracy graph in the top right compares the produced colours against what they should be within the sRGB reference space. This leads to some moderate to high errors since the two colour spaces don’t match up, again that’s very normal for a wide gamut display.
If we look at the lower section though above we have compared the monitors gamut and produced colours against the defined wide gamut DCI-P3 colour space. You can see that there is a very good mapping of the monitors gamut relative to DCI-P3, covering 97.5% of the area and not really having any over-coverage at all. That means when we measure the colour accuracy of DCI-P3 colours we have largely very good results with low dE 1 – 2. The only colour showing a higher error in this sample set is pure red, and that’s because the backlight can’t quite cover the full red area of DCI-P3 (hence that missing 2.5% in the coverage calculation). But overall, if you are working specifically in the DCI-P3 colour space then the gamut coverage is very good, and colour accuracy is excellent.
DCI-P3 is a slightly “odd” colour space as it’s become synonymous with HDR, although HDR content is actually mastered and targeted at the much wider Rec.2020 colour space. DCI-P3 is a smaller portion of Rec.2020, and for instance you can see above in the table that this screen can cover 97.5% DCI-P3, but only 71.2% of Rec.2020. The term DCI-P3 has become a colour space associated with HDR though in marketing, allowing manufacturers to talk in high % figures for how much of this reference space the screen can display and really just signifying that it’s a wide gamut backlight, offering a wider gamut than SDR / sRGB, and working towards Rec.2020. It is is a common colour space for cinema content creation but that’s fairly niche and not likely to be colour space people specifically need to work with. Still, if you need to work with a strict DCI-P3 colour space, this screen does that very well.
Perhaps the more common wide gamut colour space people may want to work with would be Adobe RGB, commonly used for professional and photo work. This display can cover a reasonable 92.9% of Adobe RGB but it cannot fully cover that colour space which is a limitation of the panel/backlight used. You can see from the CIE diagram on the left that the monitor cannot cover all the green shades properly, and also over-extends in red shades. This results in higher dE errors with Adobe RGB colours as shown on the graph above. It means that the screen is not really very well suited to professional photo work in the Adobe RGB space. Profiling the screen with a calibration tool can help in some regards, but cannot overcome the under-coverage in green shades.
sRGB Emulation Mode
Eve also provide an sRGB emulation mode in the OSD menu which thankfully works very well overall and will be useful to those wanting to work with standard SDR content, or avoid the over-saturation of the native wide gamut mode for certain uses. The gamma has been calibrated to the slightly different sRGB gamma curve as opposed to 2.2 which is fine, although it is a bit high again in lighter grey shades. The colour temp and RGB balance in the middle section is excellent, resulting in a reliable 6527k average colour temp, and this should be very consistent across all grey shades. The white point is ever so slightly warm but only by 1% and of no issue in practice. Resulting greyscale accuracy was excellent with an average 0.8 dE.
Contrast ratio remained strong at 1063:1 so didn’t take any hit which was good news. Thankfully unlike many sRGB emulation modes in the monitor market, you do still have access to the brightness control and also to gamma if you want. That’s great news as it means we can tone down the overly bright default 50% setting, and still make use of the sRGB emulation and improved colour accuracy for SDR/sRGB content. We should note that there is no access to any colour temp or RGB controls in this sRGB preset, but unless you really wanted to move away from the recommended 6500k / D65, you don’t need them.
The mapping of the native gamut back to sRGB in this mode is excellent, resulting in the same 99.7% absolute coverage we had before, and only a minor over-coverage to 100.4% relative. This meant that when displaying sRGB colours we had a much more accurate image, and in fact the accuracy was excellent with an average dE of only 0.7. Eve have done a really nice job of factory calibrating this mode although oddly this isn’t mentioned or included in the calibration report, which is focused on the default DCI-P3 mode instead.
We carried out a calibration of the monitors OSD menu along with a software profiling of the screen using our calibration device and software. The OSD adjustments should help you reach a better white point and colour temperature balance close to 6500k, and a brightness close to 120 nits. If there is a gamma setting in the menu we may have changed this as well to reach the optimal display settings but this is recorded in the table below. These OSD changes ensure that the screen is set to its optimal settings before the profiling takes place.
With the screen set in its native gamut mode however, you need the ability to profile the screen using a calibration device and software in order to take the screen’s native wide gamut and “map” it back to the sRGB colour space as we have done here. This profile can be used by colour-aware applications (e.g. Photoshop) to accurately map the wide gamut colours back to the common sRGB colour space and that is what results in the improved colour accuracy for sRGB colours. Also in this profiling process the gamma and greyscale are further corrected. We have only calibrated here based on sRGB, you would need your own calibration device if you want to profile relative to other colour spaces like Adobe RGB.
Gamma had now been nicely corrected to 2.21 average with only some minor variation in the darkest and lightest shades that proved hard to correct. RGB balance was good and we measured an average greyscale colour temp of 6465k and a white point of 6595k which was very good, just slightly too cool. This resulted in a very low greyscale error as well, with dE average of 0.7, and a higher error in those lightest grey shades where gamma was hard to fully correct. The contrast ratio remained close to the out of the box setup, taking a small hit down to 1010:1.
Validation of the created profile was very good overall. We had left the screen in its native full wide gamut mode as you can see from the CIE diagram on the left, where the colour space of the screen extended a fair way beyond the sRGB reference, especially in red and green shades. A reminder of the colour gamut coverage for common reference spaces is included below that again. The ICC profile was created relative to sRGB and when validating that profile against sRGB colours we had an excellent accuracy in most areas with a dE average of only 0.7. The created profile can be used in colour aware applications to correctly map the wide gamut colour space to sRGB for accurate SDR work and offer very good overall accuracy.
You can use our settings and try our calibrated ICC profile if you wish, which are available in our ICC profile database. Keep in mind that results will vary from one screen to another and from one computer / graphics card to another.
The comparisons made in this section try to give you a better view of how each screen performs, particularly out of the box which is what is going to matter to most consumers. We have divided the table up by panel technology as well to make it easier to compare similar models. When comparing the default factory settings for each monitor it is important to take into account several measurement areas – gamma, white point and colour accuracy. There’s no point having a low dE colour accuracy figure if the gamma curve is way off for instance. A good factory calibration requires all 3 to be well set up. We have deliberately not included luminance in this comparison since this is normally far too high by default on every screen. However, that is very easily controlled through the brightness setting (on most screens) and should not impact the other areas being measured anyway. It is easy enough to obtain a suitable luminance for your working conditions and individual preferences, but a reliable factory setup in gamma, white point and colour accuracy is important and some (gamma especially) are not as easy to change accurately without a calibration tool.
From these comparisons we can also compare the calibrated colour accuracy, black depth and contrast ratio. After a calibration the gamma, white point and luminance should all be at their desired targets.
Viewing angles of the screen were very good as you would expect from an IPS-type panel. There were some small contrast shifts as you moved to a wider viewing position but they were minimal here. The screen offered the wide viewing angles of IPS technology and was free from the restrictive fields of view of TN Film panels, especially in the vertical plane. It was also free of the off-centre contrast shift you see from VA panels and a lot of the quite obvious gamma and colour tone shift you see from some of the modern VA panel type offerings.
On a black image there is a characteristic pale glow introduced to the image when viewed from a wide angle, commonly referred to as “IPS glow”. This type of glow is common on most modern IPS-type panels and can be distracting to some users. If you view dark content from a normal head-on viewing position, you may see this glow as your eyes look towards the edges of the screen. The level of glow on this panel was mostly white in colour, and it was pretty typical for this technology.
This type of glow is common on most modern IPS-type panels and can be distracting to some users. If you view dark content from a normal head-on viewing position, you may see this glow as your eyes look towards the edges of the screen depending on your viewing position. It will also be more noticeable in darker ambient light conditions and if you’re viewing a lot of dark content. Some people may find this problematic if they are playing a lot of darker games or watching darker movies. In normal day to day uses you couldn’t really notice this unless you were viewing darker content. If you move your viewing position back, which is probably likely for movies and games keep in mind, the effect reduces as you do not have such an extreme angle from your eye position to the screen edges.
We wanted to test here how uniform the brightness was across the screen, as well as identify any leakage from the backlight in dark lighting conditions. Measurements of the luminance were taken at 35 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements for luminance were taken using BasICColor’s calibration software package, combined with an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter with a central point on the screen calibrated to 120 cd/m2. The below uniformity diagram shows the difference, as a percentage, between the measurement recorded at each point on the screen, as compared with the central reference point.
It is worth noting that panel uniformity can vary from one screen to another, and can depend on manufacturing lines, screen transport and other local factors. This is only a guide of the uniformity of the sample screen we have for review.
Luminance uniformity of the screen was excellent on our sample, with 10% of the screen within a 10% deviance of the centrally calibrated area which was very pleasing. The left hand area was a tad darker than the upper right hand area, dropping down to 111 cd/m2 in the most extreme example (-8% deviance) on the left, and raising up to 126 cd/m2 on the right (+5%). This shouldn’t represent any issues in usage. A very good result here on our sample.
We also tested the screen with an all black image and in a darkened room and a camera was used to capture the result. The corners showed some clouding where the backlight shone through a little more, but with the naked eye this was quite hard to spot. It was not a problem in any normal uses.
Note: if you want to test your own screen for backlight bleed and uniformity problems at any point you need to ensure you have suitable testing conditions. Set the monitor to a sensible day to day brightness level, preferably as close to 120 cd/m2 as you can get it (our tests are once the screen is calibrated to this luminance). Don’t just take a photo at the default brightness which is almost always far too high and not a realistic usage condition. You need to take the photo from about 1.5 – 2m back to avoid capturing viewing angle characteristics, especially on IPS-type panels where off-angle glow can come in to play easily. Photos should be taken in a darkened room at a shutter speed which captures what you see reliably and doesn’t over-expose the image. A shutter speed of 1/8 second will probably be suitable for this.
General and Office Applications
The Spectrum 4K features a 3840 x 2160 Ultra HD resolution (“4K”), all packed in to a 27″ sized screen. The higher resolution is not about providing more screen real-estate here and we need to move away from thinking about resolution in that manner nowadays in many cases. The wide range of 2560 x 1440 resolution panels in the 27″ sector are about as high a resolution as you want to go, without making fonts and icons too small natively. That provides a pretty comfortable option to work with day to day.
Here, with the resolution being so much higher it is about providing a sharper and crisper image, while still operating with a similar desktop area and same font size to the 1440p models. It is providing a higher pixel density (Pixels Per Inch, PPI) to improve the degree of definition to the image. You need to us operating system scaling to handle this properly. If you try and run the screen without any scaling at 3840 x 2160 the 0.156mm pixel pitch makes everything far too small and tiny. In our view you need a screen of about 40″ in size to use an Ultra HD or 4K resolution effectively and comfortably without OS scaling. On this 27″ model, if you increase the scaling to 150%, you actually end up with the same workspace area as 2560 x 1440, but at a much higher PPI pixel density – and therefore a sharper image. Have a read of Eizo’s very useful article for some more information on the whole matter. For those wanting a high pixel density for CAD, design, photo work etc, this is a really good option. The image was very sharp and crisp and text was very clear. It is a little debatable whether you will gain much benefit from the higher PPI on a screen this size compared with a 2560 x 1440 standard model, but some may notice picture quality and sharpness improvements.
Keep in mind that not all Operating Systems and applications handle scaling the same. More recent versions of Windows since 8.1 tend to handle it all better, and recent versions of Mac OS are pretty solid as well. Some applications and games don’t handle scaling correctly and so you can end up with some things with very minute text and fonts and some things which don’t scale completely in every place. Keep this in mind if you’re selecting any super high resolution display as it could be an important factor. You need to ensure you have the necessary operating system and applications to handle scaling effectively for your needs. It does make life a bit more complicated than if you just ran at a native resolution, which is where the more common 2560 x 1440 res fits in to the 27″ display space.
The light AG coating of the panel is fine, and much better than the grainy and dirty appearance of older IPS panel AG coatings. The wide viewing angles provided by this panel technology on both horizontal and vertical planes, helps minimize on-screen colour shift when viewed from different angles.
The out of the box setup was decent overall with a good colour temp, white point and contrast ratio. Gamma was a bit high overall leading to some loss of light grey shade detail but nothing major really. The native colour gamut of the backlight is not really wide enough to cover Adobe RGB particularly well (~93% absolute coverage) and so it’s not ideal for use in professional or photo work as a result. You’d probably want to find a display with an even wider gamut, or a professional grade screen even with dedicated Adobe RGB modes and calibration if this is your key usage. There was however a very good sRGB emulation mode available on this screen with a great factory setup. It offered very good clamping of the colour space, excellent colour temp, maintained the default decent IPS contrast ratio and had excellent sRGB colour accuracy as well. Thankfully Eve have allowed you access to the OSD menu adjustment for brightness and it makes it usable for most people. There is no access to the colour controls though, but the default setup is very good here so most people probably won’t need to worry about that.
The brightness range of the screen was pretty good, with the ability to offer a luminance between 434 and 73 cd/m2 which gives you good flexibility including in darker room and low ambient light conditions. A setting of 13 in the OSD brightness control should return you a luminance close to 120 cd/m2 out of the box. The brightness regulation is controlled via a flicker free backlight, without the need for Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), and so those who suffer from eye fatigue or headaches associated with flickering backlights need not worry.
There are no low blue light modes or settings available from this monitor, so you would have to manually change the colour temp setting or define your own possibly warmer saved preset for lots of text work or late night usage if you want to minimise blue light. The spectral output is shown above for reference at a calibrated 6500k white point, and the blue peak is at a typical 453 nm for those who are interested so this screen is not part of the recent push for “Eyesafe” certification.
USB type-C and other connectivity
For simple, single cable connectivity from laptops the Spectrum 4K also includes a modern USB type-C connection, with DP Alt mode for video, 10Gbps data transfer and a decent 100W power delivery. There is also an additional USB type-C connection for data only (10Gbps transfer, 15W power delivery) along with 2x USB 3.1 ports. The additional USB-C data port and 2x USB 3.1 ports are located on the left hand edge of the section on the back of the screen instead of the bottom edge, making them a bit easier to get to for quick access. A headphone jack is also located here which is handy. For video there is also a DisplayPort 1.4 (with DSC) and 2x HDMI 2.1 connections for video from PC’s and other devices on the back of the screen on the underneath section.
We should note here that the screen does not come with a stand by default, you have to pay an additional $100 for that, otherwise you will need to use the VESA 100mm support to arm- or wall-mount the screen. The stand is nice and sturdy and well built, offering a good range of movement, except side to side swivel which is unfortunately not supported. There are no additional office extras here like ambient light sensors, card readers etc.
HDR (High Dynamic Range)
|HDR Capability Summary|
|VESA Display HDR Certification level = HDR 600|
|Certified to the HDR 600 standard which requires local dimming to be used (edge lit here with 16 dimming zones), along with wide colour gamut with >90% DCI-P3 (98% DCI-P3 quoted) and 10-bit colour depth support. Also requires a peak HDR brightness of 600 nits+, the manufacturer quoting 750 nits here.|
|HDR Technical Capabilities|
|Local dimming||Yes, edge lit|
|High number of local dimming zones||16 zones|
|Increased peak brightness||692 cd/m2|
|Increased dynamic range (contrast) max whole screen||17,300:1|
|Increased “local” HDR contrast ratio max between adjacent areas||1330:1|
|Wide colour gamut >90% DCI-P3||97.9% relative|
|10-bit colour depth support||8-bit + FRC|
The screen is certified to the mid-tier VESA DisplayHDR 600 level meaning it needs to have some kind of backlight local dimming to improve the dynamic range, and a peak brightness of 600 nits or higher. As well as some limited local dimming capabilities the screen also supports a wide colour gamut (97.9% DCI-P3 relative coverage measured) and 10-bit colour depth to offer the colour enhancements associated with HDR content.
We tested the screen in HDR content and with a range of tests used to identify the dimming behaviour and brightness. The local dimming is of course still very limited here, with only 16 vertical zones available, and so you do get large areas that light up as content changes. As the zones are large, you don’t get the blooms around smaller bright areas as such, instead you have much larger regions that light up and that impacts contrast noticeably. There is very little improvement in the “local contrast” between adjacent bright and dark areas sadly as a result of this limited local dimming capability. Across the whole screen where you can dim some more distant sections then there is the potential to raise the overall contrast ratio, and we measured up to around 17,300:1 maximum. However, with the backlight dimming being limited, it’s not really capable of picking out bright highlights or details very well sadly. The peak brightness was good at 692 nits, being higher than the HDR 600 necessitates, but lower than the specified 750 nits.
It’s a fairly mediocre overall HDR experience as you get from most desktop monitors to be honest, especially in the IPS space where the technology doesn’t really lend itself well to HDR due to low native panel contrast ratio, and issues like IPS glow from angles. There are some decent colour enhancements offered which is good, and the screen is capable of a decent peak brightness too. But as with most desktop monitors, the backlight local dimming is what holds it back and it will never compete with higher end FALD / Mini LED backlights or of course OLED panels in this regard.
|Panel Technology||Nano IPS|
|Quoted G2G Response Time||5ms G2G (typical)|
1ms G2G (overdrive)
|Quoted MPRT Response Time||Not quoted|
|Variable Overdrive supported|
|Overdrive Control Available Via OSD Setting|
|Overdrive OSD Settings||Off, Normal, High, User Defined|
The screen uses overdrive technology to boost pixel transitions across grey to grey changes as with nearly all modern displays. The part being used is an LG.Display LM270WR8-SSA1 Nano IPS technology panel. Have a read about response time in our specs section if you need additional information about this measurement. Our thanks to NVIDIA for hooking us up with an RTX 3090 for all our testing.
One other feature Eve promote is the support for pixel perfect integer scaling which handles the scaling of lower resolutions back to the panels native 3840 x 2160. If you input a 1080p resolution for instance, that is exactly 2×2 smaller than the native 4K resolution, and so that can be scaled very nicely on this screen. We tested this feature and 1080p inputs did look pretty sharp, although you of course lose lots of sharpness and detail relative to a 4K input. 1440p also looked very good to be honest, despite it being a non-integer number with a 1.5×1.5 scaling.
The 4K resolution will provide a high level of detail and clarity for gaming, but do keep in mind the large additional stress that puts on your graphics card and system, especially trying to reach high refresh rates up to 144Hz. You will need a decent system to cope with that.
|NVIDIA RTX30 Series Check Pricing and Buy – Affiliate Links|
Overdrive Modes and Response Times
The Spectrum 4K has 3 standard overdrive modes in the OSD menu, as well as a “user defined” mode that we will talk about in a moment. First of all we tested each mode at the maximum 144Hz refresh rate, and combined this with a range of visual tests to identify which the optimal setting was. You can see from the tables above that the middle ‘normal’ mode was optimal at 144Hz. This produced good G2G response times with a 4.7ms average measured. There was a bit of overshoot measured but nothing that was particularly obvious in motion testing thankfully. This mode provides a decent improvement in response times and perceived motion clarity compared with the ‘Off’ setting. If you push up to the maximum “strong” mode then the G2G figures are improved a bit (down to 3.5ms G2G now) but it comes at the cost of some very noticeable and distracting overshoot. There are too many pale halos on moving content so this mode should be avoided.
There is also a “user defined” setting available in the OSD menu which has been “tuned by Blur Busters”. This basically allows you to control and tweak the overdrive impulse on the screen, with settings of 1 to 63 available. This gives you some additional flexibility if you want to fine-tune things, although we didn’t find it offered much real benefit over the ‘normal’ mode in most settings and when you start to consider VRR and other refresh rates.
|(at native resolution)||Refresh Rate|
|Maximum Refresh Rate DisplayPort||144Hz|
|Maximum Refresh Rate HDMI||144Hz|
|VRR range||48 – 144Hz|
There’s various things you need to consider when it comes to response times and gaming, particularly on a display with high refresh rate support. Gaming screens invariably give you a control for the overdrive impulse in the OSD menu which can help you tweak things, but response time performance and overshoot levels can vary depending on the active refresh rate. This behaviour is often different depending on whether the screen is a traditional Native G-sync screens (with hardware module) or whether it’s an adaptive-sync screen, and not all screens behave in the same way. We always try to test each variable in our reviews but the key considerations you need to make are:
- Performance at 60Hz – this is important if you want to use an external games console (or other device like a Blu-ray player etc) which typically run at 60Hz. Response time performance may well be different than at the higher refresh rates supported, and you may need a different overdrive setting for optimal experience.
- Performance during VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) – bearing in mind that the refresh rate will fluctuate anywhere from 1Hz up to the maximum supported by the screen (e.g. 1 – 144Hz on a 144Hz display). It’s important to understand if the response times and overshoot will vary as the refresh rate changes. There may be a need to switch between different overdrive settings in some cases, depending on your usually attained frame rate/refresh rate output and graphics card capability. This can sometimes become fiddly if your refresh rates fluctuate a lot, especially between different games, so it’s always easier if you can leave a display on a single overdrive setting which is suited to the whole range. Some screens also feature “variable overdrive” which helps control the response times and overshoot depending on the active refresh rate. This is particularly apparent with traditional Native G-sync module screens.
- Performance at fixed refresh rates including maximum – this is important for those who have a powerful enough system to consistently output a frame rate to meet the max refresh rate capability of the screen. They may want to run at max refresh rate without VRR active, or even is VRR is active they may know they will be consistently at the upper end of the range. Many gaming screens show their optimal response time performance at the maximum refresh rate. Knowing the performance at high fixed refresh rates may also be applicable if you want to use any added blur reduction backlight which typically operate at a fixed refresh rate.
- Whether the response times can keep up with the frame rate – you will also want to consider whether the response times of the panel can consistently keep up with the frame rate. For instance a 144Hz screen sends a new frame to the display every 6.94ms, so the pixel response times need to ideally be consistently and reliably under this threshold. If they are too slow, it can lead to added smearing and blurring of the image in practice and sometimes make the higher refresh rates unusable in real life. We consider this in our analysis.
Having settled on the ‘normal’ mode as the optimal setting, we then measured the response times across a range of refresh rates. You can see that the G2G figure remains pretty consistent across the refresh rate range at around 4.5 – 4.7ms G2G. As a result, the overshoot does unfortunately creep up as the refresh rate lowers. This is very common on adaptive-sync screens and means that as you get in to the lower end of the VRR range, or for fixed 60Hz inputs, the overshoot becomes far more noticeable. Some gaming screens get around this by adding “variable overdrive”, usually something reserved for those with NVIDIA’s G-sync hardware module. That technology would basically slow down the response times as the refresh rate lowers in order to control the overshoot. That technology is not used here though on the Spectrum 4K as far as we could tell, despite Eve listing it in their spec table.
What this does mean is that you do not unfortunately have a “single overdrive setting experience” on this screen, and like many adaptive-sync screens you need to consider what your active refresh rate is during gaming in order to optimise the overdrive setting. This is a pain, and something we talked about recently that we wanted to see less of in the gaming monitor market. Unfortunately it is still very common from most adaptive-sync screens.
For refresh rates of >100Hz the ‘Normal’ mode is optimal, providing improved response times and motion clarity compared with the ‘Off’ mode, and never really showing much overshoot in real use and visual tests. If your frame rate in VRR situations is consistently >100fps then stick with this mode.
On the other hand if you’re operating more commonly in the <100Hz range for PC gaming VRR, or using fixed 60Hz inputs like games consoles or Blu-ray players then you would be better switching down to the ‘Off’ overdrive mode. This has slower response times (still not bad at 6.8ms G2G average) but eliminates all the overshoot completely.
Maybe you can find a mode in the “user defined” setting that is a little lower than “normal” mode, so is not quite as fast at the top end, but a bit better for overshoot in the lower end. The availability of that option gives you nice flexibility to tweak things, and maybe you can find the perfect balance for your regular refresh rate / frame rate. You won’t find any setting that is optimal across the full range though, but if you need something in between “off” and “normal”, this control gives you that flexibility.
Variable Refresh Rates
|(at native resolution)||VRR capabilities and Certification|
|AMD FreeSync certified and level|
FreeSync Premium Pro
|Native NVIDIA G-sync module|
|NVIDIA ‘G-sync Compatible’ certified|
|HDMI-org VRR (consoles via HDMI 2.1)|
The Spectrum 4K can support variable refresh rates from both AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-sync systems via adaptive-sync. It has been certified under the NVIDIA ‘G-sync Compatible’ and AMD ‘FreeSync Premium Pro’ schemes giving reassurance around the quality of the VRR performance. The support for G-sync and FreeSync will be very useful given the significant system demands of running a screen at such a high 4K resolution and at high refresh rate up to 144Hz. It was of course very good to see it included here.
Detailed Response Times
|Optimal Refresh Rate||144Hz|
|Single Overdrive Setting Experience|
|Optimal Overdrive Setting (for above)||Normal|
|Optimal Overdrive Setting for 60Hz||Off|
|Optimal Overdrive Setting for VRR||>100Hz = Normal|
<100Hz = Off
We also measured the response times of the screen using our updated and more accurate method. This provides measurements that are even more representative of real life experience, helping identify areas of strength and weakness. It’s a more thorough method for taking response time and overshoot measurements that should provide a great view of what you can expect from any given screen.
The response time performance at the maximum 144Hz refresh rate was very good in the ‘normal’ overdrive mode. We had a 4.6ms G2G figure here and very little overshoot captured, now with this more accurate gamma corrected method. You can see the panel is a bit slower for the changes from light to dark shades (bottom left hand part of the first table) but not by anything that causes any major problems, other than perhaps a little lighter smearing in some situations. You can mess around with the user defined overdrive mode if you want to tweak this even more, but to be honest we found the normal mode very good overall, and simpler to stick to especially for VRR situations. As we said earlier you unfortunately do not have a single overdrive mode experience on this screen, really needing to drop from the ‘normal’ to the ‘off’ mode if your frame rate drops below 100Hz in VRR situations, or if you’re using a fixed 60Hz input. That’s an annoyance really, and is common on many adaptive-sync screens.
We have also captured the perceived motion clarity using a pursuit camera setup to show how the moving image looks in practice. These were all taken at the maximum 144Hz refresh rate in the optimal ‘normal’ overdrive mode, on different coloured backgrounds.
Further recommended reading
Refresh Rate Compliance
In this section for our reviews we look at the response time behaviour across the range of supported refresh rates and consider whether they are sufficient to keep up with the frame rate demands of the screen. The grey line on the graph shows the refresh rate threshold, that being the average G2G response time that the panel needs to be able to achieve to keep up properly with the refresh rate and frame rate. For instance at a 60Hz refresh rate the response times need to be consistently and reliably under 16.67ms, while at 144Hz refresh rate the response times ideally need to be under 6.94ms to keep up with the frame rate demands. If they are not then this can lead to some additional smearing and blurring on moving content as the pixels can’t keep up. For these tests we will plot the average G2G figure at a range of measured refresh rates, while operating at the optimal overdrive control.
The table to the right then explains whether that overdrive control needs to be adjusted by the user depending on the refresh rate (not ideal), or whether adaptive overdrive is utilised to keep things simple. Ideally you’d want to be able to stick with a single mode for all refresh rates especially when you consider how these will vary during VRR. We also include a measurement of the % of the overall response time measurements that were within the refresh rate, as well as a slightly more lenient measurement of how many were within the refresh rate window within a 1ms leeway.
The response time behaviour of the Spectrum 4K was good overall, although unfortunately it could not offer a single overdrive setting experience which is common for adaptive-sync (FreeSync) screens. As the screen lacks any variable overdrive, we saw consistent response times across all refresh rates at around 4.6ms G2G (after gamma correction of the measurements) in the ‘normal’ mode. Overshoot was good at the maximum refresh rate, but reached moderately high levels as the refresh rate lowers. At around 100Hz it started to become too noticeable, and for anything below that we recommend changing the overdrive mode to ‘off’. At the maximum 144Hz refresh rate 87% of the transitions were within the refresh rate window, 90% if you allow a small additional 1ms leeway. This was very good and means the screen can keep up well with the refresh rate, avoiding any additional smearing that might appear if it couldn’t.
Console Gaming and HDMI 2.1
|Native panel resolution||3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD “4K”)|
|Maximum resolution and refresh rate supported||4K @ 120Hz|
|PlayStation 5 support||4K 120Hz at 4:2:2 chroma (console limit)|
|Xbox Series X support||4K 120Hz at 4:4:4 chroma|
|Virtual 4K support||Not required|
|HDMI connection version||2.1|
|HDMI connection bandwidth||48Gbps|
|HDMI-org VRR (over HDMI 2.1)|
|Adaptive-sync (FreeSync) over HDMI|
|Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)|
|Display aspect ratio controls||1:1 mapping, Pixel perfect integer,|
Maintain aspect ratio, stretch to fill
|High speed HDMI 2.1 cable provided|
One of the biggest items on the wish list for many people when this screen was in development was the inclusion of HDMI 2.1. This was actually added later to the spec in May 2020, after the initial feature scoping phase had been going on since Feb 2019. At that time HDMI 2.1 was available in the TV market, but had yet to appear on any commercially available graphics cards, which did not appear until September 2020. It was also at a time before the latest generation of games consoles was released, with both the Xbox Series X|S and PS5 appearing in November 2020. It was also at a time before any desktop monitor had this connection included too.
So back in May 2020 the inclusion of HDMI 2.1 was a fairly forward-thinking and unique feature that set the screen apart from others in the market. However, there have been many delays to the launch of the Spectrum 4K monitor and it’s only now finally being shipped to buyers since the summer of 2021. We have the PC graphics card and games console support now to make the most of it which is great, and we are certainly pleased to see it included in the Eve Spectrum 4K, but it has lost its feeling of being a “special” feature due to all the delays, as there are several monitors already released which include HDMI 2.1, and loads more announced and coming soon.
Anyway, why is HDMI 2.1 important? From a PC perspective HDMI 2.1 isn’t really necessary. The most modern graphics cards including the NVIDIA RTX 30 series feature HDMI 2.1 output, but it’s not really needed here necessarily. Those cards will also include DisplayPort 1.4 and that is just as capable of delivering the necessary bandwidth for 4K at 144Hz, 10-bit and RGB chroma as long as DSC is used, which it is on this screen. DSC is becoming pretty standard now on monitors wherever it might be needed. There are also older generation graphics cards before HDMI 2.1 appeared that still have DP 1.4 with DSC, and so we expect for PC connections and PC gaming, that will still be the primary connection. Some might argue that HDMI 2.1 provides more bandwidth than DP 1.4 and so in theory you don’t need to even rely on DSC. That is true for HDMI 2.1 as a standard, but with DSC being lossless from a visual point of view, there is no visual or other benefit in using HDMI 2.1 from your PC compared with DP 1.4 with DSC. With two ports being provided, you can of course use one for your PC if you want, and another for a games console.
So while it is not really of much benefit for PC connectivity, it is regarded as very useful for modern PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X games consoles. HDMI 2.1 with its full 48Gbps bandwidth capacity can in theory support 4K 120Hz with 10-bit colour and 4:4:4 chroma, along with features that come as part of that interface standard like HDMI-VRR (Variable Refresh Rates) and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). Those are all capabilities of the HDMI 2.1 standard. We need to consider here though which features are available on this screen, how it works, and what value those bring.
HDMI 2.1 ports are full 48Gbps capable and do not need to use DSC
First of all we should cover the fact that the HDMI 2.1 ports used here offer the full 48Gbps support of the spec. We had seen on the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U recently (the first screen we’d tested with HDMI 2.1) and also the AOC AGON Pro AG324UX that the ports were actually limited to 24 Gbps and needed DSC to support 4K 120Hz properly. That didn’t really matter for PC’s, but it did cause some sacrifices for consoles in a few areas as we covered in those reviews.
PlayStation 5 supports its max 4K 120Hz at 4:2:2 Chroma
(a limitation of the console, not the monitor)
PS5 has a maximum HDMI 2.1 output capability of 32Gbps and so that translates back to a maximum 4K 120Hz 4:2:2 chroma, no matter what the display. That’s a limitation of the console, not the monitor. Chroma sub-sampling is noticeable in PC desktop use but becomes pretty hard to see in gaming, which is of course pretty much all you’d be doing from a console anyway. You can see our section about chroma sub-sampling from our older review of Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ for more information about what it is, and the image impacts it has. On that screen, 4:2:2 sub-sampling was needed for PC usage over DisplayPort as well to get to the maximum 144Hz refresh rate. It is not a major sacrifice in practice for dynamic content like games. Thankfully because the Spectrum 4K allows for the full 48Gbps bandwidth on the monitor, and so you’re only limited by the consoles output here. There is no need to sacrifice the chroma any more than the PS5 dictates, whereas on the Gigabyte FI32U we had to drop a step further to 4:2:0 because of the way HDMI was being used there at only 24Gbps.
Xbox Series X supports full 4K 120Hz at 4:4:4 chroma
The Xbox on the other hand can support the full capability and is also not limited in any way by the monitor.
One thing to keep in mind in all this is that even being able to use 4K at 120Hz from a console is going to be a massive challenge with game support right now, as if you want to use 4K resolution you pretty much have to use 60Hz anyway. 4K at 60Hz is supported with full chroma on both consoles by the way.
So with 4K explained above that leaves us with 1440p and 1080p options. The support for these outputs might vary by console, with PS5 being a bit more limited than Xbox One X, but both resolutions are supported by the Spectrum 4K at 60Hz and 120Hz fine. To get 120Hz in console games you’re normally going to have to drop to the lower resolutions anyway.
VRR support for Xbox Series X thanks to HDMI 2.1, but not PS5 as it’s not available yet from Sony
Variable refresh rates (VRR) are supported from Xbox X from both the HDMI-VRR (courtesy of HDMI 2.1) and from adaptive-sync over HDMI. VRR is not currently supported for PS5 consoles as Sony have not yet enabled this at all, even though it should be capable of it from HDMI 2.1. If and when Sony add VRR support, that will likely only work over HDMI 2.1 and so it’s certainly useful to see it included and supported here, ready for that.
Note by the way that there is no need to use ALLM here which is a feature supported over HDMI 2.1 and mainly for TV’s to switch to their lower input lag Game mode. Since this is a monitor, and all modes on this model carry the same low lag, it’s not needed or used.
No HDMI 2.1 cable included, but Pixel Perfect Integer Scaling featured
Keep in mind that Eve do not provide any videos cables with the screen to keep costs down, and so unfortunately there is no HDMI 2.1 ultra-high speed cable included here. You will need to factor that additional cost in if you want to connect any HDMI 2.1 device, although many come with their own cable anyway so it’s hopefully not a major problem.
One other feature Eve promote is the support for pixel perfect integer scaling which handles the scaling of lower resolutions back to the panels native 3840 x 2160. If you input a 1080p resolution for instance, that is exactly 2×2 smaller than the native 4K resolution, and so that can be scaled very nicely on this screen. We tested this feature and 1080p inputs did look pretty sharp, although you of course lose lots of sharpness and detail relative to a 4K input. 1440p also looked very good to be honest, despite it being a non-integer number with a 1.5×1.5 scaling.
Blur Reduction Mode
|Motion Blur Reduction Mode|
|Motion Blur Reduction Backlight|
|Motion Blur Reduction modes||Short, medium, long pulse width modes|
or ‘User defined’ mode
|Refresh rates supported||144, 120, 100, 60Hz|
|Blur reduction available with G-sync/FreeSync VRR|
|Strobe length control||Pulse Width setting, 1 – 25|
|Strobe timing control||Pulse Phase setting, 1 – 100|
|Brightness capability (SDR, max refresh rate supported)|
|Motion blur OFF – Max brightness||434 cd/m2|
|Motion blur ON – Max brightness||228 cd/m2|
The strobing blur reduction backlight mode is only available once you have disabled adaptive-sync (G-sync/FreeSync) from within the OSD menu, it cannot be used at the same time as VRR like some modern competing screens allow (e.g. Asus ELMB-sync and Gigabyte Aim Stabilizer-Sync offerings) which is a shame. Once that’s disabled there is an option available then for ‘Backlight strobing’ within the ‘performance’ section of the menu. It is a bit annoying to have to go through multiple steps to access this feature by turning off adaptive-sync first, and when you disable it having to re-enable adaptive-sync again. Eve tell us that they are working on a future update to support strobing + VRR at the same time, which should be available via a firmware update at some point.
This mode has actually been tested and “tuned by Blur Busters” which is a nice touch, showing Eve’s focus on optimising performance and working with the experts in this area to create the best possible blur reduction from the given technology. This type of screen with a KSF LED backlight has some limitations when it comes to blur reduction which we’ve talked about in some other reviews of these kind of displays, and so has not been officially “certified by Blur Busters” but it has been optimised as best they can.
The blur reduction mode is available at fixed refresh rates of 144, 120, 100 and even 60Hz. This last option is rarely offered by manufacturers, so it was nice to see it included here with true 60Hz strobing synced with the refresh rate. Note that this does produce some visible flicker though in practice so not everyone will want to use it at that level.
With the backlight strobing enabled, the overdrive mode becomes locked, but again that’s been tweaked as part of the tuning to get the best performance. Thankfully there is no major overshoot problems or anything like that in this mode. Eve provide 3 preset modes labelled as “short pulse width”, “medium pulse width” and “long pulse width”. These basically control the length of the strobe, with the shorter pulse widths being a little sharper and clearer for image clarity, but at the expense of brightness. The screen is only 44 cd/m2 in the short pulse width mode which is probably too dark for most users, unless you’re gaming at night and in the dark. The medium mode is about 139 cd/m 2 which is a more common and comfortable brightness level, while the long pulse width mode is 232 cd/m 2 which gives you some decent flexibility for brighter conditions too. Note that the screen’s normal brightness control is locked when backlight strobing is enabled.
We took some more pursuit camera photos in the ‘medium pulse width’ mode. You can see that the motion clarity was good here overall, especially in the middle region with minimal strobe cross talk ghosting visible. There was a bit more visible in the lower areas of the screen but overall we were impressed by the improved motion clarity in this mode. It worked well. The timing of the strobe is fixed for all 3 of these preset strobing modes by the way.
Finer tuning via the ‘User Defined’ mode
If you want to tweak the strobing behaviour even more, Eve provide access to a ‘user defined’ mode. In here you will find settings to alter the pulse width (controlling clarity a little, but mostly impacting screen brightness), and the pulse phase (impacting where the screen is most clear). There is a slide from 1 – 25 for pulse width, and a slider from 1 – 100 for pulse phase. So you have a very high level of control over the strobe behaviour. If you wanted to change the behaviour so that the bottom region of the screen was the clearest for instance, you could do that here. The default setting is likely to be fine for most users though, focusing on keeping the middle area clearest.
Additional Gaming Features
- Aspect Ratio Control – the screen offers a decent range of controls here with 1:1 pixel mapping, ‘pixel perfect integer’ (helping scale up but keeping to an integer with scaling), ‘maintain aspect ratio’ (fill as much of the screen as possible, maintaining the aspect ratio but ignore whether the scaling is integer based) or ‘stretch to fill’ (the whole screen, ignoring the aspect ratio of the source).
- Preset Modes – There are 3 customisable user preset modes so you can easily set one up for gaming if you want it to be different to your general usage.
- Others – There is a frame rate counter option, and also a crosshair
Read our detailed article about input lag and the various measurement techniques which are used to evaluate this aspect of a display. The screens tested are split into two measurements which are based on our overall display lag tests and half the average G2G response time, as measured by our oscilloscope. The response time element, part of the lag you can see, is split from the overall display lag and shown on the graph as the green bar. From there, the signal processing (red bar) can be provided as a good estimation of the lag you would feel from the display. We also classify each display as follows:
- Class 1) Less than 8.33ms – the equivalent to 1 frame lag of a display at 120Hz refresh rate – should be fine for gamers, even at high levels
- Class 2) A lag of 8.33 – 16.66ms – the equivalent of one to two frames at a 120Hz refresh rate – moderate lag but should be fine for many gamers. Caution advised for serious gaming
- Class 3) A lag of more than 16.66ms – the equivalent of more than 2 frames at a refresh rate of 120Hz – Some noticeable lag in daily usage, not suitable for high end gaming
The total lag measured was a very impressive 2.35ms. The pixel response times account for basically all of that at ~2.30ms, and so we can say that there appears to be ~0.05ms of signal processing lag on this screen which is excellent. A very good result from this display and making it suitable for fast and competitive gaming.
Movies and Video
The following summarises the screens performance for videos and movie viewing:
|Category||Display Specs / Measurements||Comments|
|Size||27″||Fairly normal for a desktop monitor nowadays and a lot smaller than TV’s|
|Aspect Ratio||16:9||Well suited to most common 16:9 aspect content and input devices|
|Resolution||3840 x 2160||Can support Ultra HD “4K” and 1080p content natively|
|HDCP||Yes v2.2||Suitable for encrypted content including the latest v2.2|
|Connectivity||1x DisplayPort 1.4|
2x HDMI 2.1
1x USB type-C (DP Alt mode)
|Useful additional 2x HDMI input for external Blu-ray players or games consoles. This is the latest HDMI 2.1 for next gen games consoles as well, see our section earlier on about that|
|Cables||None||In an effort to keep costs down as much as possible, no video cables are provided unfortunately|
|Ergonomics||Tilt, height, rotate|
|If you purchase the additional stand it is strong and sturdy and provides pretty good adjustments overall. Tilt and height are useful, but we miss swivel a bit for moving viewing and using the screen from different viewing positions.|
|Coating||Light Anti-glare||Provides clear image with no graininess, but avoids unwanted reflections of full glossy solutions|
|Brightness range||73 – 434 cd/m2 (SDR)|
692 cd/m2 (peak HDR)
|Pretty good adjustment range offered including a high max brightness (SDR) and reasonable darkened room adjustment range. Backlight dimming is free from PWM and flicker free. HDR discussed in the earlier section in more detail but a decent boost to peak brightness offered here with the mid HDR 600 tier.|
|Contrast||1010:1 after calibration||Decent enough contrast ratio for an IPS technology panel close to spec and better than some other Nano IPS panels we’ve tested before, although still not anywhere near as high as you can get from VA panels of course.|
|Preset modes||None||There are no specific preset modes for movie viewing in the menu but there are 3 customisable user modes which you can easily set up to your liking|
|Response times||4.6ms G2G with no real overshoot in ‘normal’ overdrive mode (144Hz). 8.1ms G2G with no overshoot for 60Hz inputs in ‘off’ mode||You will want to switch overdrive ‘off’ for fixed 60Hz inputs to eliminate the pale overshoot in the ‘normal’ mode seen at lower refresh rates. Response times perfectly fine for movie viewing.|
|Viewing angles||Very good||Thanks to the IPS panel technology, suitable for viewing from a wide range of positions. Typical pale IPS glow on dark content may become problematic from some wider angles|
|Backlight bleed||No major bleed||No major backlight bleed and nothing along the edges. Some clouding in the upper corners may be noticeable on a lot of dark content in a dark room. Will vary from sample to sample|
|Audio||Headphone output||There is a headphone jack provided for audio pass through but no integrated speakers on this display|
|Aspect Ratio Controls||Stretch, aspect, 1:1 and pixel perfect integer scaling options||The native 16:9 aspect ratio is very common for external Blu-ray players or DVD players so unlikely to need any others. Good range of modes here if needed|
|PiP / PbP||Neither available||n/a|
|HDR support||See earlier section||see earlier section for detailed analysis|
|Overall Recommended Settings|
|Refresh Rate (Graphics card)||144Hz|
|Overdrive Setting||>100Hz = Normal|
<100Hz = Off
|Preset mode||DCI-P3 or sRGB mode depending on usage|
|Colour Temp setting||User Defined (or leave at default 6504k mode)|
|RGB values||254, 254, 255 (user defined mode only)|
It’s fair to say that the Eve Spectrum 4K monitor has not been without its fair share of controversy, delays and buyer concerns; but from a performance and capability point of view we were impressed. The combination of the 4K resolution and high refresh rate remains a popular choice and gives you a nice choice for high resolution gaming, as well as more general or professional work. We should keep in mind that there are now a wide range of 32″ sized screens on the market with 4K 144Hz, so this 27″ sized screen isn’t as special as it once was, and some people prefer that larger screen size. Still, there’s a market for those who want a smaller screen, but with a super clear and crisp image and this sits nicely there.
Thankfully the screen includes adaptive-sync for VRR from both NVIDIA and AMD systems, which is definitely needed to help your system handle 4K and 144Hz. The NVIDIA ‘G-sync Compatible’ certification provides a nice reassurance around performance. The panel delivers good response times overall, with the only real issue being the lack of variable overdrive and the need to change your setting depending on your refresh rate/frame rate. That’s always a pain. Eve have done a nice job with the blur reduction mode, thanks in large part we’re sure to the work done by Blur Busters to support the development. On that note, we did feel like Eve had done a nice job in providing some well thought out elements that provided a boost to the premium feel of the screen – the nice box design, the detailed calibration report printed on card not paper, user updatable firmware support, going to the effort to provide user control for overdrive and this “tuned by Blur Busters” option for the blur reduction mode.
The inclusion of HDMI 2.1 ports was of course very welcome, and this makes the support for modern consoles very good. It’s a shame the screen took so long to get to market, as while this was once seen as a new and exciting feature, Eve have missed their chance to promote this as a USP now that there are lots of other screens with this option. That delay to market has hurt Eve overall a bit we think, with some of the wish-list features and options that were very exciting a few years ago, now not being all that special.
Away from gaming the screen had a decent factory calibration and setup for work in either the DCI-P3 or sRGB colour space. The sRGB mode was particularly well set up with great out of the box accuracy overall. The screen lacks the colour space coverage to make it practical for Adobe RGB work though in the professional and photo editing space. The contrast ratio was solid for an IPS panel but nothing special, but the image quality was great overall thanks to this panel technology. We liked the modest but sturdy design, the decent stand (if you buy that as an extra) and the inclusion of USB type-C for simple connectivity.
You can currently order the Spectrum 4K direct from Eve where it is priced at $799 USD. Keep in mind there is an additional $99 USD charge for the stand if you need it as well. There’s also no cables provided in the box other than the power pack, so keep that in mind. This puts it at the same total RRP as the competing LG 27GP950 by the way. The current shipping estimate is currently listed as January 2022 although there may be delays from when it ships to when it arrives with you, depending on your location and shipping method. The screen is available from a few other retailers in France, Poland, Asia and the Middle East, but not in key regions like the US or UK yet. There are apparently plans to make the screen available via other “major retailers” as well at some point which would likely give some additional reassurance and comfort around delivery, support, returns etc for many people.
The performance and presentation of the Spectrum 4K was very good overall and while no longer unique, the feature set and capabilities of the screen are also very impressive. If you’re tempted to purchase this screen, you don’t need to be worried about its performance.
|4K 144Hz combination backed by adaptive-sync VRR. Good gaming performance including very customisable decent blur reduction mode||Lacking a full “single overdrive mode” experience as with most adaptive-sync screens|
|Well thought out feature set including HDMI 2.1 and USB type-C||Feels a bit late to the party despite decent features|
|Good factory calibration especially for the sRGB mode||Missing the feeling of “comfort” you might get from a more established brand and route to purchase|
- Further reading – if you’re after a different gaming screen you should also check out our TFTCentral Recommendations List for Gaming Monitors
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