Our China team is back in Suzhou. I don’t miss a chance to capture new Spectrum moments; therefore, here I bring you a report about the more beautiful and functional Spectrum prototypes we reviewed.
More functional joysticks
The original joystick’s shape and finish had three problems: they come loose too easily, the click feedback is weak, and they slip from your finger. We paired Spectrum with joysticks from products that have successfully tackled these issues and have a similar joystick control board, so we can fit the sticks properly and try the feel of different real-life solutions.
Our new joystick cap design had us explore in three critical directions:
- Reduced size
- More concave surface
- Added texture
Based on our experience with the examples installed on Spectrum, smaller-sized joysticks are easier to maneuver, as they keep your fingertip centered on the action. Especially when it comes to directional clicks (aka. up, down, left, right), they allow one to click to one direction multiple times quickly and receive rich click feedback. Testing with differently shaped surfaces, the slightly concaved one is the most optimal shape of all, as we had expected from our earlier prototype feedback – it offers the best grip and the most comfortable curve for our finger. The added texture disperses the pressure caused by the solid cap material to make it pleasant to touch.
We also tried 3D printed mock-ups of our new joystick design. They cover all three directions we are studying. A noticeable change to the assembly process is that the joystick is now inserted before installing the rear frame because of an anti-fall shape. Those with a relatively large cap require more force to poke their head through the rear frame; other than that, the assembly process is smooth, and the mock-ups fit tightly. They make a considerable step up in precision compared to our initial design. Overall, the ideal mock-up is the one with a slightly concaved surface and texture, which corresponds with our previous finding.
We are still looking into improving our existing concept:
- Experiment with customized texture patterns.
- Find out the wobbly issue’s root cause.
- Test the mock-ups’ navigation within the OSD.
- Explore whether we can make the stick shorter to enhance its responsiveness further.
Remember when we talked about many of the improvements we had with the fourth generation of Spectrum tooling and several imperfections we were looking to optimize? Now that color, material, finish, and tolerances are straightened out, our team is presented with the best-looking Spectrum prototypes to date.
The stand’s joint gap was a bit larger than we wanted
The tolerance has been carefully tightened to achieve a sleek appearance.
The stand popped up at the joint
We found that the cause was too much paint was applied onto the joint tongue, which made it thicker than ideal, causing the stand to pop up. We experimented with less paint and successfully made the stand fit; however, the tongue’s paint gets scratched if the stand is disassembled. Therefore, we ultimately settled on not painting the tongue, which will remain hidden after user assembly. We make sure to paint the tiny little bit of metal exposed by the gap so that the stand appears perfect after being set up.
The gap between the stand’s tilt part and top cover was larger-than-ideal
The length of the tilt part has been extended to minimize the gap.
The stand’s top cover was not level with the aluminum housing’s top
Related tolerance has been adjusted to even out their tops.
The metal subframe’s black paint was scratched easily
We have changed its painting method to resist scratching.
New (top) and original (bottom)
Stand’s plastic parts did not match in color
We realized that because our stand manufacturing partner uses plastic parts from different iterations to assemble our current samples, the paint on those parts differs from each other. In mass production, all stand’s plastic parts will be from the latest iteration so that they all match in color.
The stand’s mounting hooks were too sharp
These hooks have been slightly shortened and polished for a more rounded top, which reduces the risk of scratching the monitor’s paint and makes it easier to insert, as there won’t be hard edges these hooks can catch on.
There were molding marks at the top of the stand’s base
These marks are no longer present in the latest samples after the mold’s residual pressure is spread evenly.
Ejection marks were apparent at the bottom of the stand
These are now much shallower and can neither be seen nor felt after the anti-slip pads are applied.
Sharp partition lines could be found on the monitor corners
This is because the tooling used has a right angle on each corner. It requires significant changes to make it rounded, which is not a viable option. However, we’ve tweaked the tooling to make sure these lines cannot be felt to acquire smooth corners.
The rear cover’s edges were a bit sharper than we liked
Because Spectrum is not supposed to be handled frequently, we ultimately decided that the current edge sharpness is acceptable. They are not actually sharp, just not round enough to carry the monitor around for extended periods.
We hadn’t yet locked down the paint
We considered paints from two different suppliers, where each of the two options was exceptional in one category. We’ve fine-tuned their formula and eventually decided on moving forward with the paint that is smooth to touch and without a yellow tone.
LED was bluish
You can see from third-party development samples hands-on that the LED color has been corrected since then.
Adjusting the monitor position met too much resistance
This particular area of improvement has gone through two iterations. We made two variants for the first batch, one with slightly increased force, the other with significantly reduced force. We tried and ultimately agreed on a middle ground between the two. Now the stand is easy to adjust while still offering sturdy feedback from the right resistance.
The stand’s quick-release did not have a good-sounding click
The sound feedback is determined by the tension of springs found on the quick-release. We have carefully tweaked the tension to achieve pleasant sound feedback. The audible click is a good indicator that the stand is on firmly and proves that the two halves of the connection mated correctly.
We are looking into addressing a few remaining small details such as the ventilation hole position, power button’s levelness with the rear frame, and whether to keep the Eve logo sticker on the rear frame. Expect us to bring more news in the future!
Protective bag folding direction?
Spectrum needs a protective bag to prevent it from being scratched inside its packaging and to reduce the chance of damage if the package is accidentally dropped. The factory’s default option is an expanded polypropylene (EPE) bag. We looked into four different materials, mostly non-woven fabrics, and ultimately settled down on one of them with a paper-like, slightly slippery feeling inside and a somewhat rough, durable feeling outside. Sourcing a better material for the protection bag originated from our senior creator @Neti (Thank you!).
When it comes to how this bag wraps around Spectrum, our designer @Joni came up with an open-back solution – a cut on the bag that allows it to easily split without damage to enable the stand to be mounted without taking the monitor out of the box. Since the bag needs to be slightly larger than the monitor to cover it entirely and offer some wiggle room for wrapping it on the assembly line, this oversized part at the bags’ opening needs to be folded either forward or backward when putting it in the box. The benefit of folding the extra part forward is that the user can easily split the bag and mount the stand; good for usability but doesn’t look as clean. Folding it backward has the exact opposite advantage of looking good; however, the user needs to lift the monitor from the bag’s opening and pull out the folded parts first before taking advantage of this open-back solution.
Is it better for the monitor’s protection bag’s oversized part to be folded forward or backward?
- Forward, for usability.
- Backward, for look.
Of course, we continue to stay on top of the development on all fronts. We expect to receive various testing and inspection reports of the latest Spectrum prototypes that have improved firmware on board and passed the mature factory command. Such that we can have a good idea of the additional functions unlocked and verified to work. In addition to that, we will obtain more information about Spectrum’s quality control (QC) standards and methodology, which our quality team will review to ensure Spectrum ticks all the necessary boxes.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the update. Talk to you in the comments!