It’s been roughly a week from our last R&D update and we’ve been making good-paced progress steadily throughout the past weeks.
Here’s what’s going on:
Eve V Aluminum Chassis
We want every detail of the V to be as perfect as possible for you, that’s why
we’ve been spending some time fine tuning the small details also in the housing, such as the finish and the coloring options. We’ve been going through a lot of prototypes and iteration rounds and now we are almost there!
Great design is different from good by the fact that every small detail has been considered. These details are invisible but all combined, work together to create a seamless experience. That’s why we sometimes can’t really explain why we like a certain design - we just feel it.
POV from a chassis meeting. To the right a prototype of the V being charged, to its right an adjusted anodizing color sample, with a lighter color.
Here’s are a couple of the latest details we’ve been scrutinizing;
1) The injection molded plastic parts
The antenna piece and the rear camera’s ring weren’t able to tolerate the anodizing chemicals used previously, so we had to adjust the manufacturing technique for the plastic to keep the color. The problem was that the chemicals caused the plastic to pale in color and make it look uneven. Glad that’s fixed
We got the latest samples on Friday and I’m going to have a concall about it with Jessica (Project Pyramid Flipper’s Industrial Designer Sr.)
I’m personally happy with how the plastic ended up as it is now indistinguishable from the golden sample we signed with Jessica during our January trip.
The injection molded parts in the V’s aluminum chassis
2) Adjusted fillets and corners
Some corners were a bit too sharp for our taste and especially the sharp edges around the front bezel were something I personally disliked - it sort of drilled to my hand when I was using the V as tablet only. The adjusted angles still look sharp and provide welcomed character to the design but small adjustments have been made to provide comfort of use.
Apart from the front bezel, adjustments were specifically behind the kickstand
3) Improved the polishing behind the kickstand
The aluminum behind the kickstand was not polishing properly, creating to solve this problem, our supplier had to purchase new equipment to address the issue. This issue is also resolved.
Previous versions of the kickstand’s inside were suffering from uneven polishing
- Adjusting the fingerprint reader
While prototying, we ran onto a mechanical design challenge: our fingerprint reader consist of so many layers - each with its own manufacturing tolerance - that after all the layers, parts and pieces are put together, we ended up with a super low yield rate in the assembly of our power button / fingerprint combo.
Image below represents an average outcome of assembly:
The buttons are not color matched and non-final in this prototype
Surely we’d not want to have a beautiful design ruined by ugly buttons facing different directions?
To solve this problem, we’re pivoting to a design where the fingerprint reader / power button will be even with the frame. The button is now aimed at being pressed inside the chassis.
Here’s a CAD proto on it.
The fingerprint button will be even with the housing, while the volume buttons stick out as they did originally.
To confirm the user experience (how easy is the button to locate, tactility and comfort of pressing it) I requested a mechanically functional prototype to be constructed immediately. I expect it to be finished by next Friday.
Luckily the buttons are one of the easiest things in the project. We don’t currently expect any delays because of this.
Debugging the units
Our debugging has delayed primarily because of the wait for the final state prototypes. This delay was mainly caused by our issues to procure touch panels. Our touch panel supplier had a tremendous yield rate issue, where for each touch panel they produced, there would be more than one defected one, which rendered us unable to construct prototypes, including the ones we intended to ship to the community.
The touch panel issue has since been resolved!
There are a lot of things in the V itself we are now doing, including:
- Stress tests
We run the V at high loads for long periods of time, monitor the CPU Core temperatures, chassis and battery temperatures and watch for any unwelcome problems in the internals.
- Aging tests
We strain certain components (e.g. speakers) for very long periods of time and check whether the unit performs still well after the test, or whether improvements are needed somewhere.
- User experience tests
We’re doing a lot of tests and using V in various scenarios to see that the units perform to your high expectations, last week, for example we found that the pen would not attach magnetically reliably enough, so we’ve tuned the magnet strength on the right side of the V. A call was also made not to add any magnets to the pen itself, so we’d ensure maximum performance undisturbed by interfering magnetic fields.
And much much more. At the moment over 80 devices are being tested by labs and experts all over the world to ensure you guys will only get the finest quality available.
The V’s chassis’ magnets have been now adjusted for reliable attachment with the V Pen.
New heat dissipation system
We improved the existing heat dissipation system and worked on the TDP settings to get astonishing results.
Early tests indicated that running the CPU at 7W for more than an hour, resulted in a aluminum temperature peaking at 46C! Most devices get that warm even with much lower TDP (thermal design package) design.
Remember that new XPS 2-in-1 from dell? Well, If everything goes well, we might have the world’s first detachable, able to completely passively cool 7W thermal package. This means a lot performance wise, as the processor normally would limit the power usage at 4.5W. If we’re able to clear the heat, we’ll able to run consistently at 55% more electrical power, which means higher processor performance for each unit.
The heatsink of the V
The reason for this big news was that during last trip in January, we told our motherboard vendor to experiment with copper heatsinks instead of aluminum, in addition to that we decided to add some very expensive heat pipes to each and every V. The heat pipe will take the heat from the sink and spread it even further around, utilizing our aluminum chassis which is by itself a great heat dissipation plate - but only if the heat gets effectively transferred on it.
Prototype heat pipes.
We’ve been improving the keyboard gradually, prototyping new improvements each week. At the moment we’re still improving the build quality and pushing upgrades to the functionality of the keyboard.
At the moment, we are already super happy with the keyboard looks, especially the gorilla glass track pad. It feels amazing. @iKirin actually told me over a call the other day that the trackpad feels like its taken from an old macbook (you know when their pads still clicked) and slapped on the V keyboard.
Two versions of the same keyboard, while finish of the keys was being compared
Current undergoing improvements include:
- Increasing Bluetooth frequency for greater reliability and lesser latency
- Precision TouchPad Gesture recognition is being improved
- FN-lock successfully implemented
- Improving the paint quality of the keys
- We’re implementing Alt+F4 combo working despite / without the FN-lock
- WiFi key was implemented
- Final layout was locked
Final US layout of the V Wireless keyboard
I was shipped a sample with the improvements today, but have been unable to receive the parcel yet. Intention is to get it tomorrow and review the recent improvements.
If we’re not fully happy, we still have time for 1 more prototype before we push the go button. All the mission criticals though are good already
The V Pen & Windows 10 Creators Edition
The V Pen has successfully completed professional laboratory tuning by a Taiwanse partner, so we’re confident you’ll be likin’ those new Windows Ink features! I don’t know about u guys, but at least I felt like I might start drawing again after testing the features
The V Pen Prototypes going out for the first batch of prototype reviewers
Note: these are not with final color.
Meanwhile, The community told us that they expected the pen to be well color matched to the device, so while we didn’t have time to start color matching it to be exactly the same color (that would have taken weeks if not months), we pivoted in the coloring options going all black. Black will color match the dark chassis of the V very well
Its gonna look something like this: (pardon the pic quality)
We btw confirm that we will ship the V with the latest Windows 10 Version available at production time and with the Creators Edition preinstalled, loaded and ready to rock!
That’s that for this update! We will keep you posted!
AND as always, do not hesitate heading below to share & write your comments & thoughts
Small Bonus Update:
The charging cable is quite long.
@Konstantinos using the V for a little evening entertainment. This he can do because the keyboard is wireless