Hands on with the first HDMI 2.1 gaming monitor, the Eve Spectrum

15 months after we first covered the crowd-designed Eve Spectrum gaming monitor, the first pre-production samples have begun shipping out. This is our first opportunity to see how the Spectrum, once touted as the first HDMI 2.1 monitor to arrive on the market, actually looks in the flesh and performs in-game.

Our sample is the $689 4K 144Hz version, the ‘flagship’ of a lineup that also includes more affordable 1440p 165Hz ($439) and 1440p 240Hz ($589) options, all based around 27-inch IPS panels. Eve also shipped us a stand, which is sold separately for $99 – in response to the large percentage of Eve community members that said they’d be using the monitor’s 100×100 VESA mount with their own monitor arms. That brings the retail price to $788 in total. The sum’s not unreasonable, when the similarly specced LG 27GN950 is $800 with fewer features, but it is worth factoring in when comparing this monitor against its competitors which invariably do come with stands (unless they’re made by Apple).

We were warned out of the gate that the Spectrum we received would be some distance from the final retail version, and that’s definitely the case – our unit’s HDMI 2.1 functionality doesn’t work at all (based on testing with a PS5, Xbox Series X and an RTX 3080 PC) and even on DisplayPort we were limited to 4K 144Hz with chroma subsampling (specifically, the monitor is currently outputting only 4:2:2 rather than full 4:4:4). According to Eve CEO Konstantinos Karatsevidis, apparently the Spectrum displays were working fine at full RGB using DisplayPort on RTX 30-series graphics cards like the 3080 and 3090, but the Spectrum exhibited artifacting with other GPUs, hence the chroma subsampling stopgap. With regards to the HDMI 2.1, apparently the hardware is fully capable but the certification process is still underway. Given how central HDMI 2.1 has been in Eve’s marketing, we’d expect these features to be working properly for launch.

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