Initial design directions for our new 2-in-1

Hello community!

As you all probably know the new V project is on :sunglasses:

A new approach to design

Over the past few weeks, we have been cooking up some new design directions behind the scenes for the second-gen V. Just like in the Spectrum design process, we will share them with you and collect all possible feedback to make a great new product.

For this project we will handle the industrial design in-house and develop the product directly with our manufacturing partners. This has not been an easy decision, but we believe that doing this will allow us to have a quicker feedback loop and a more agile process.

Today we are discussing initial design directions, or product stories, for the new V. We are posting different approaches and different possible solutions. Everyone has a vision for how we want the next product to be. Think of this step as determining which direction most resembles our future vision. From there we can work our way to the little details.

Design directions

We’ve tried to keep design directions very different to explore all of the possiblities. I would call this a shotgun approach…

For each design direction, you will be presented with:

1) The core idea

This is about the essence of this product. “Why” does this product exists, and what is the reason this product comes to the market? Think of it as the phrase you would use when recommending this product to a friend:

“I recommend it, this is the ____________________________ out there.”

  • Only 2-in-1 that got it right
  • Best productivity tool

This is not just an important point of discussion for internal alignment or marketing reasons. It is key because it will support all design decisions and inform any compromises that will come our way during the development.

2) Moodboard

The goal of the mood board is to create a general framework of the visual ingredients that we will use to develop the product. Mood boards don’t have to show a 2-in-1 computer, but they can show a detail, a material, a surface texture or just suggest a feeling.

3) User ⬌ device interaction

From community discussions and surveys we hear that the fluidity between tablet and stationary work is a key area where the 2-in-1 category leaves room for improvement.
Because of this, we want to underline this aspect and discuss several solutions that can help in switching from tablet to laptop mode.

Time to choose the best design direction for our new device!

Now to the actual content! We have developed five different design directions for the new V. Now we need your feedback!

Please note that all of the concepts assume the same specs and kickstand. So please don’t choose a concept only because it seems to have more ports in the picture shown :wink: We’ll ask some questions along the way about how you use your 2-in-1 device. If you don’t have one yet, feel free to answer these questions based on how you think you would use it!

POWERHOUSE

The core message for this direction is to think of the next V as an incredibly powerful machine. This direction is inspired by high-performance products. Similar form and design language to the current V.

  • Ultimate power :muscle:
  • Great for work and media consumption
  • Nice and smooth piece of tech
  • Best friend for this concept: eGPU


Q1 Would you be interested in a Thunderbolt eGPU as an option?

  • Yes
  • Maybe
  • No

0 voters

Q2 How important are built-in speakers to you?

  • Speakers are very important, even at the cost of other specs
  • Speakers are important, but shouldn’t get in the way of other specs
  • Speakers are no more or less important than other features
  • Speakers are unimportant to me, save money where you can

0 voters

Q3 Where would you like the speakers to be placed?

  • Speakers facing toward the user (gives the best audio experience)
  • Speakers facing up or sideways (are nice and out of the way)
  • Speakers in the keyboard (make for a smaller tablet portion of the device)
  • Speakers should be elsewhere (leave a comment!)

0 voters

ONE + ONE

The idea behind this direction is to create the smoothest connection between the device and the keyboard. To see these two products as separate items that work smoothly independently or together.
Great way to digest content and media in any place, from a sofa to a desk.

  • Most fluid interaction between tablet mode and work station
  • Kickstand with a folio keyboard
  • Visual contrast between the parts
  • Keyboard can be easily stored away
  • Best friend for this concept: sleeve with integrated features


Q4 Our 2-in-1 can be both a tablet or a laptop. How do you use your 2-in-1?

  • I almost always use my 2-in-1 as a tablet
  • I usually use my 2-in-1 as a tablet, but sometimes as a laptop
  • I use my 2-in-1 in either mode, about 50-50
  • I usually use my 2-in-1 as a laptop, but sometimes as a tablet
  • I almost always use my 2-in-1 as a laptop

0 voters

Q5 What do you do with your keyboard when using your 2-in-1 as a tablet?

  • I always keep the keyboard attached so I always have the option of switching to laptop mode
  • I usually keep the keyboard attached, but sometimes remove it
  • I do one or the other depending on the situation, about 50-50
  • I usually remove the keyboard, but sometimes keep it attached
  • I always remove the keyboard when I’m not using it to save weight

0 voters

WORKHORSE

The core of this direction: it is the best tool to get work done, anywhere. 2-in-1s are devices that target the most versatile and productive users, the idea is to take this to the next level :wink:

  • A beautiful tool to get work done
  • Most secure connection between device and keyboard
  • Does not have to be metal…
  • Functional and solid
  • Physical switches and well-defined functions
  • Best friend for this concept: a next-level power bank.


Q6 How do you feel about physical switches?

  • I want to feel my controls. The more physical and tactile, the better!
  • Simple push buttons work best and keep the design clean
  • The fewer buttons the better, I’ll do as much as I can through software

0 voters

Q7 How do you feel about alternative volume adjustment controls?

  • A wheel is the best way to adjust volume
  • A slider is the best way to adjust volume
  • Separate up and down push buttons are the best way to adjust volume
  • Software controls are the best way to adjust volume
  • I don’t care how, as long as I can adjust volume

0 voters

Q8 How do you feel about protecting your 2-in-1 device?

  • The device should be rugged and sturdy enough out-of-the-box to protect itself, even if that adds size or weight
  • The device should be fairly well-protected, but it shouldn’t add too much bulk
  • The device should be as sleek and portable as possible, I’ll add protection myself when I need it

0 voters

Q9 How often do you use your 2-in-1 device outdoors?

  • I (almost) always use my device outside
  • I usually use my device outside
  • I sometimes use my device outside, sometimes use it inside, it’s about 50-50
  • I usually use my device inside
  • I (almost) always use my device inside

0 voters

Q10 How do you feel about the use of high-performance plastic as a material?

  • As long as the plastic is of high quality, and looks and feels the part, it’s a good choice for a primary material
  • High-performance plastic can be used for some parts, but for a true premium look and feel metal needs to be the primary material
  • Metal is always better than even high-quality plastic, only metal should be used for the housing

0 voters

BOOSTED KEYBOARD

The core idea behind this direction is to slim down the device and migrate weight and features into the keyboard to facilitate the use of the device in “pure” tablet mode.

  • More weight on the keyboard and less on the device compared to current V
  • Hard keyboard, with limited or no usage of textile-like material
  • Clear distinction between tablet mode and “working-on-a-desk-mode”
  • The device is as light as it gets
  • Best friend for this concept: the pen of your dreams


Q11 How do you feel about keyboard with a sturdy mechanical hinge?

  • It should be the default or only option, the Surface Pro-style soft hinge is useless to me
  • I would be interested in seeing this option as an alternative to the standard keyboard
  • I don’t think it’s worth the added size and weight of the keyboard.

0 voters

Q12 How do you feel about moving features from the tablet portion of the device to the keyboard?

  • All features should be in the tablet portion, so that they are available with or without the keyboard
  • It’s okay to move ports or a portion of the battery capacity to the keyboard if it results in a lighter tablet portion
  • As long as the device has all its features with the keyboard attached I don’t mind losing features in tablet mode

0 voters

Q13 How important is having a kickstand to you?

  • It’s a must-have, I don’t want a device without a kickstand
  • I like the kickstand, but am open to different solutions
  • I don’t like the kickstand, and would like to see a different solution
  • Kickstands are horrible and no device should have them, ever

0 voters

BETTER UP

The core of this direction is to make the device more accessible while being very durable. Simple lines and volumes present a utilitarian design in which each function is clear. Heat dissipation? You know where it is! :wink:

  • Accessible construction
  • Easy to get repaired
  • Heat dissipation is a real thing
  • Sturdy and rigid
  • Plastic or metal
  • Best friend for this concept: a modular system of accessories


Q14 What do you think is the best way to dissipate heat from the device?

  • An external heatsink will best transfer heat to the surrounding air, even if it may look or feel unusual
  • A patterned heatsink on the outside of the device can make for a cool functional and visual feature
  • A mostly unrestricted vent lets heat escape the device easily
  • A hidden vent lets heat escape from the device but keeps the design sleek
  • No vents or heatsinks are needed, cooling shouldn’t affect the way the device looks or feels
  • I have a different creative idea on how to handle heat, I’ll leave a comment

0 voters

Q15 How important is for you to be able to access the device’s internals?

  • I don’t care about opening up my device, I just want to use it
  • I want to be able to access anything I could fix or upgrade with off-the-shelf parts and a screwdriver
  • I want to be able to access as many components as possible
  • If I can’t open it up and tinker with it, I don’t care for the product

0 voters

Five directions to choose from

Those are our five directions, and the questions that came to the design team along the way. Now it’s time to choose!

Q16 What are your favorite design directions (max 3)?

  • I like Powerhouse
  • I like One + One
  • I like Workhorse
  • I like Boosted keyboard
  • I like Better up

0 voters

Q17 What are your least favorite design directions (max 3)?

  • I don’t like Powerhouse
  • I don’t like One + One
  • I don’t like Workhorse
  • I don’t like Boosted keyboard
  • I don’t like Better up

0 voters

Q18 Let us know your thoughts!

The polls in this survey will help give us an indication of how people feel about some of the things we were wondering about. But as always, the most important thing is that you share your thoughts. What came to mind as you were browsing the design directions? Did any design idea particularly speak you you? Did we miss something obvious? Do you have the ultimate tweak that will make one of the designs perfect? Let us know by leaving a reply!

15 Likes

I would personally prefer a 2 in 1 like the HP Spectre x360 for example, with a fixed keyboard and a touchscreen that has 360 rotation. I used to have a 2 in 1 with a detachable screen but since all the weight was on the screen it was hard to balance it on my lap.

I would prefer it if we used metal everywhere when possible but I know that might not be the best choice, so like I said with Spectrum, using plastic is fine as long as it’s high-quality plastic and you give it a nice finish, preferably brushed metal. I love the design of laptops like the MacBook Pro and the Razer Blade, which use a lot of metal and have a very sturdy design. I don’t really care how you dissipate heat as long as it doesn’t look ugly and it doesn’t interfere with the user experience.

For port selection: I think the approach Eve has been taking is great, it should have many different types of ports so we don’t need to carry adapters. I would like to have at least two USB A ports, an HDMI port, and several Thunderbolt ports with charging capabilities.

I would like the new device to be very powerful but sleek, thin and light. It would be great to have an integrated GPU, even if it’s just something like an MX 250, or even Intel Iris if space makes adding a full GPU difficult.

I need my laptop to give me at least 10 hours of battery. And I want an amazing screen with high resolution and beautiful colors. I would love a high refresh rate if possible, at least 90Hz but higher is better. It would need a great touchscreen with an amazing pen, if possible with pressure sensitivity.

6 Likes

It would be great to have something like Macs - that you can use 2 thunderbolt bandwidth by 1 thunderbolt, as you know thunderbolt does not have enough bandwidth for 6k display. Problem is that 40 Gbps is not enough for many GPU’s also.

3 Likes

The “Boosted Keyboard” concept seems cool but there are some problems I see with it. First of all, if you have a GPU in the keyboard it would need a separate form of heat dissipation, and a very high bandwidth connection. Many people use laptops in tablet mode for drawing or graphic design and that would really use the GPU so it wouldn’t be good to remove the GPU for that.

I think at most we could fit a battery and some ports on the keyboard side which would still be good, but maybe also sell a keyboard only option for the users that care more about weight.

5 Likes

I only voted against Powerhouse because you have to choose 2 designs you don’t like and I didn’t see any aspect of Powerhouse that couldn’t be acheived in one of the other designs. I’m all about a 2in1 that has more power!
EDIT: After a friendly reminder I realized that you can vote for just one design that you don’t like.

One+One is really the only design that doesn’t speak to me.

4 Likes

I think a device that is supported by a metal keyboard would allow for much more versatility as a laptop/tablet hybrid than a soft keyboard cover. I created a concept design that can be found on the forum under Development > What’s Next > Eve V 2.0 Concept Design. I’d like to have upward firing speakers on the keyboard to improve audio quality, whether they are bluetooth or connected physically. Also, perhaps single zone LED lighting on the keys like on the Razer Blade would be an upgrade from the one on the original keyboard cover. The idea of putting more ports on the keyboard is a good idea, as it could double as a dock. I thought that in terms of ports, it’d be good to have 3 or 4 USB A ports and have 2 USB C Thunderbolt 3 ports. In my concept design, it was basically an Eve V with smaller bezels with a Brydge-like keyboard with magnetic hinges, a physical pogo pin connection, upward firing speakers, and a larger trackpad.

My favorite directions are the Boosted Keyboard, the Powerhouse, and the Workhorse.

2 Likes

I really like the Surface Book, Surface Pro, and the Asus ROG tablet are good motivations for how a 2 in 1 should be. They offer the flexibility of having a keyboard attached or not. Specs of the Asus ROG tablet on a Surface Book for the cost of a Pro would be the dream.

3 Likes

A hybrid between workhorse and better up would be the ideal version for me. Honestly, I just need the battery to be serviceable since lithium batteries will go kaplut in the long term.

Reducing the kickstand width is smart since I don’t want my charging cable to dangle in the air while the tablet is up. The rounded corners on the shortened width kickstand is giving me a pause aesthetically for some reason. My only concern is ergonomically, would it be harder to open the kickstand from the side? Would I have to open it from the bottom from then on?

I am intrigued of the idea of the back vent for thermal benefits. The vents should be in an aesthetically pleasing pattern though. Apple has made the vents on the back of their new pro display look (subjectively) decent so same concept applies to the new 2-in-1 (Obviously with a different pattern)?

Not a materials engineer but what if the 2-in-1 was mostly made of magnesium (for weight savings) but had a steel or titanium band on the sides for rigidity? Cooling then can be taken care of with vents in the back.

The new Intel mobile processors supposedly have more oomph graphically so I don’t think I need an integrated GPU. We can off handle that to an external GPU enclosure.

And because it’s 2020, we of course have to talk about the bezels. Honestly, I want a middle ground between the new iPad Pro’s and the Surface Pro X. I haven’t found any difficulty using and holding the tablets with slim bezels. But again, this is only hoping.

3 Likes

I’m not a fan of the 2-in-1 factor, but I do see the appeal to it.
For me the 2-in-1 is all about quick usage. Need to look something up? Grab it. Need to scrable a note? Grab it. Need to do some quick finalization on video, image or text document? Grab it.

It won’t replace my main setup, but I could still use it as a note taking device (especially with the pen!) and it could also become a dedicated sketch device. But i probably won’t really use the keyboard that often. Even though i really prefer an actual keyboard over the touch keyboard (especially the one by windows)

2 Likes

I really like the idea to move some parts to the Keyboard.

Of course this shouldn’t affect working with only the tablet to badly (ie. essential parts are missing) :slight_smile:

4 Likes

If they went with a Surface Book style hinge/keyboard design, they could easily address this sort of “issue” with it being reversible. Want the dGPU even as a tablet? Just flip the screen around and fold it flat.

3 Likes

I have several 2 in 1’s and each has their own strengths and weaknesses in my opinion. The Surface book 2 was the best performance two in one (with best battery life) but it is very bulky and that hinge is an issue when I put it in a bag/case.

Love the HP specter line, price but thin and powerful enough to get mid-level work done (enough to compile small projects and simple image manip). Not something I would do lots of video editing or intensive CPU work on.

Surface Pro series has been limited by port selection and availability. Their “hubs” are of almost zero use, bulky, and also limited by poor port selection.

The google pixel book was a great 2 in 1…but it was a chrome book. Converts to tablet mode quickly, runs tons of great software…but none of the software I want to run. Android apps get the job done on the go but I always find myself taking a chrome book AND something else with my on business trips.

Ipad Pro 12.9 - GOAT! But it runs a slightly increased version of iOS and still limits productivity to the apple eco-system. The battery life is great and LTE connection is a boon…if at all possible please consider a WAN connection.

Regardless of what you all come up with I will buy it…so far your products have not been a disappointment and I have recommend the V to a few lite users. Looking forward to the next one!

8 Likes

I would like to see the idea of a SIM card or E-sim. This helps when I’m showing clients houses and also when I’m updating a listing on location that may not have wifi. I know a easy solution is just to use my phone but this would help me to eliminate my iPad with cellular and just use the eve 2-in-1 all together where I can sign and send contracts on the go

8 Likes

I like elements of most of them, probably One + One seemed my least favourite as it seemed a more casual product rather than excelling as a laptop alternative. This latter point is what would really make it a possibility or not for me and that is whether it could seriously replace a reasonably specified laptop. It must have a decent hinge though and not just a kick stand otherwise you won’t achieve a comfortable angle for laptop use. The kickstand needs to have plenty of adjustable points to it as using it on public transport can mean you have very little distance between yourself and a back of seat tray and you need to be able to tilt the screen back sufficiently on its stand. I would forgo most buttons in favour of software controls to follow the idea of Android devices being used in either orientation so the onscreen controls make sense to the orientation it’s being held. I’d be happy to loose speakers as long as it had latest bluetooth and perhaps a 3.5mm jack in the tablet half. USB C with charging and video output.

Maybe some sort of clam shell type case that houses both tablet and keyboard, provides some ruggedness, a small air gap between the screen and the keyboard when closed and the tablet can be released and lifted out of the top half of the case. Basically like a laptop but with a removable screen section.

3 Likes

I really wish that it could be something like a Chromebook alternative.

I really like the Idea of a fresh and updated 2 in 1 Version, for feature list:

  • GPS with alle current kind of variants
  • keep it fixable
  • splash resistant ( I like to use the device on a Sailboat, that means it must not be possible to submerge the device without a proper case, but some droplets should not damage the device.

Best Regards
Sven

3 Likes

That would be cool, not something I personally would buy but I’m sure there’s a market for it.

I’d like to know how much is open for change, like can it be a large redesign or are we staying as close as possible to the original design?

In terms of form factor and overall use case:

Specs and features will be discussed at length in future topics.

In terms of design… POWERHOUSE is a lot like the existing V, but the other design directions differ. So the next step in design will be based on feedback here. Do people want a large redesign, or do they want to stay as close as possible to the original?

2 Likes

My ideal device would be passively cooled when in tablet mode, where all fans are turned off and the CPU is throttled accordingly. This way no power is wasted on unnecessary active fans and no noise is produced.

I’m glad that the “heat sink on the outside” option is very popular in the poll. The plastic housing of normal devices is an engineering crime: Plastic isolates heat, which leads to increased need for ventilation, which leads to more power being consumed to actively cool the device instead of using that power to make my device faster, or better yet, prolong battery life.

Personally I’ve always used my devices in tablet mode (especially the tablets :wink: ) for long periods before recharging. I don’t care how powerful the device is when I’m on the way. So if you could add the config option to automatically switch it to a passively cooled profile in tablet mode, It would definitely put this device on my radar as my next “workhorse” device.

5 Likes

If it could dual boot to either that would be a nice feature.