Over the past few weeks, we’ve been busy creating one design from your favorite concepts while also considering manufacturability and mechanical engineering. In this post we can’t yet show you the final renders or product pictures, but we can give you an idea of the direction we are going with.
Before we dive in…
If you’re new to our crowd-developed monitor Project: Spectrum or if you just need a quick recap of what we’ve been up to so far, have a look at this summary of everything to do with the project so far . If you want to keep up to date with future steps, be sure to subscribe to our crowd-development newsletter!
From 5 to 1
The feedback from our design concept topic has been very important for us because we were able to clarify the product direction and narrow down a large number of possible options! From the previous post it was clear that two concepts were in the lead: Bloxy and Blade! And with a few more questions from the designers answered, we got a clear idea of how to handle ports, controls, and other features.
But we also know that voting is not everything and we had to really dig deeper in the comments in order to understand why certain features or design solutions were preferred over others. These are our thoughts…
The Bloxy concept was popular for its practical, functional approach and unpretentious, long-lasting and function-driven design and the easily accessible ports. Some negative comments consider the look too generic, comparing it to wide-spread Dell monitors. The separate control buttons were also not popular.
The Blade concept was praised for its interesting, distinctive and modern aesthetic, both of the monitor and of the stand. The slim bezel construction makes it look almost bezel-less giving it a premium feel. The centered back joystick was considered easy to find and use, and the subtle logo placement felt discreet. The negative comments in general focused on the hard-to reach ports, feeling that a functional approach had been abandoned to achieve a more pleasing look.
The other concepts
The other concepts were not nearly as popular, but each still received some feedback that we can learn from. The look of the actual ring-shaped hinge of the Ring concept was praised for being recognizable and distinctive, and the quote printed on it is a unique element. The Float design’s side port placement was considered very easy and quick to access. The Stationary concept was liked by fans of wireless charging and cable management, as these added useful functionality to the stand.
New Spectrum concept
After many discussions and summaries, a combination of Bloxy and Blade seemed the natural direction to take. In our previous post we’d mentioned a concept we’d discarded early, we felt that this one melded the two in such a way that the end result was too generic and lost the very features that made Bloxy and Blade so distinct. But we’ve been working on the other concept, and it’s finally time to show some of it to you!
We really want to focus on getting the basics right, and as we work out mechanical design and component sourcing the design may still change. So for now we’ll stick to illustrations, and we’ll save the high quality render fireworks for later.
Parts & Features
We believe most people will easily understand what is what, but it is always satisfying to make this kind of illustrations
Though we’ve already confirmed what ports will be available, now we can finally see our ports for Spectrum. The order of the bottom ports may change during product development and testing, the side ports will be in the order as shown. We are aware that in the current iteration of this design some cables may get in the way when using the joystick, we are still working on a solution.
We think the best compromise is a combination of three distinct buttons: A joystick for menu operation, a concave-shaped input switch button underneath that, and a power button with integrated indicator light on the bottom edge of the monitor. We are still trying to source a joystick that slides instead of tilts (like on the Nintendo 3DS), as it will take up less space and shouldn’t affect the user experience.
Ergonomics and adjustment were often mentioned in the comments, and we feel the Spectrum stand should be up to the task. We are constantly bombarding suppliers to get the best components so that we can offer a product that can hold its own in the market.
Cable management is also brought up a lot, and our current design features a simple through-hole solution for banding together cables. For people who want to have a keyboard or mouse plugged in permanently, the design currently offers a in the bottom of the stand that guides cables to the front. Our idea is to have the back of the channel narrower to keep the cables grouped behind the stand, and in the illustration below you can see the green cable as an example of a keyboard or mouse using this channel.
Feature update, late November
Since Spectrum is currently in the industrial design stage, we have few spec updates – we’ll make up for that later when we move on to mechanical- and electronic design. As we already revealed just now, pivot is now confirmed for the stand so rotating to portrait mode is possible. We can now also confirm that we will not have edge-to-edge cover glass, as we cannot get the panel coated the right way to make that work. Instead the panel will have a low-haze, anti-glare coating.
Click here to see the full updated spec- and feature request lists.
(recently confirmed or changed items have been underlined)
|Panel technology||IPS TFT LCD|
|Native resolution||2560 x 1440 Quad-HD|
|Aspect ratio||16 : 9|
|Local backlight dimming||No|
|Contrast ratio||1000 : 1 – 1300 : 1 typical|
|Displayable colors||1.07 billion|
|Color gamut||98% DCI-P3|
|Color depth||10-bit (8-bit + A-FRC)|
|Surface treatment||Low-haze, 20% anti-glare|
|Response time||1 ms|
|Refresh rate||48Hz – 144Hz native
48Hz – 165Hz overclocked
|(1x) HDMI||HDMI 2.0a video input|
|(2x) DisplayPort||DisplayPort 1.4 video input
DisplayPort 1.4 video output for daisy-chaining
|(2x) USB Type-C||HDMI (1.4b) Alternate Mode video input
HDMI (1.4b) Alternate Mode video output for daisy-chaining
DisplayPort (1.4) Alternate Mode video input
DisplayPort (1.4) Alternate Mode video output for daisy-chaining
USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gbps) downstream
USB 3.1 upstream connection to computer
1x USB PowerDelivery up to 20V / 5A (100W)
1x power output up to 5V / 3A (15W)
|(2x) USB Type-A||USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gbps) downstream
power output up to 5V / 2A (10W)
|(1x) USB Type-B||USB 3.1 upstream connection to computer|
|(1x) 3.5mm minijack||headphone / speaker output from video input source|
|HDR||HDR10 Media Profile
VESA DisplayHDR400 certified
|Adaptive sync||G-SYNC Compatible certified (48Hz – 165Hz)
FreeSync 2 certified (48Hz – 165Hz)
|Simultaneous active inputs||Picture-in-picture mode
Quad split-screen mode
|Pixel-perfect upscaling||Integer-ratio upscaling by pixel duplication for low-resolution input signals|
|Emulated sRGB mode||Mapped to DCI-P3 for optimal color accuracy of sRGB content|
|Variable overdrive||Yes (multiple profiles)|
|Buttons||1x Power button
1x Pre-set button (default function: switch between active inputs)
1x 4-Way joystick (OSD menu controls)
Controls are centered on the bottom edge and back of monitor
|Status lights||1x Power indicator light (solid white when on, pulsing white when stand-by) ¹|
|OSD adjustments ²||Global dimming (on / off)
Select USB hub source (USB-B / USB-C)
|Wall-mount||VESA Mounting Interface Standard compatible|
|Vertical tilt ³||Yes (8° down, 24° up)|
|Horizontal swivel ³||No|
|Pivot ³||Yes (90° landscape to portrait rotation)|
|Height adjust ³||Yes (130mm)|
|Stand removable ³||Yes (with quick-release button)|
|Power supply||External power adapter|
Product is still in development, specifications may be subject to change. | ¹ RGB option still being explored | ² Other OSD features still to be announced | ³ Stand sold separately
(recently confirmed or changed items have been underlined)
|HDMI 2.1 / DisplayPort 2.0 support||No||We’re ‘limited’ to HDMI 2.0a and DisplayPort 1.4, but those are more than sufficient to drive this display and all its supported features. No current or future functionality will be lost because of this.|
|Edge-to-edge cover glass||No*||Though we really wanted to offer edge-to-edge cover glass, we were not able to get the display panel coating required to enable this option. As such, we’ll have a non-glossy panel with a low-haze anti-glare coating.|
|Stand rotation adjustment||Yes||The stand we’re developing for Spectrum will support pivot as well as tilt and height adjust.|
|Open-source firmware||Yes*||Still checking with manufacturer about the exact options available|
|Backlight strobing that works in combination with variable overdrive||Yes|
|Backlight strobing that works in combination with variable refresh rate||Yes||We will have an implementation similar to ASUS ELMB technology|
|Multiple variable overdrive profiles||Yes|
|Support for storing a 3D LUT calibration profile in firmware||Yes*||It is possible, but requires flashing the firmware with the updated profile. Like other firmware features, exact details are still being checked with manufacturer.|
|Ask assistance from respected specialists like TFTcentral for default tuning||Yes*||Dependent on them being on board, of course. We have been in contact with journalists and influencers specialized in monitor performance and some have expressed interest in working with us to make sure Spectrum looks its best.|
How can you help?
At this stage we are working with the manufacturer and suppliers to determine the design’s feasibility, and how certain solutions can actually be implemented. But at the same time we need your input to make sure we are going the right way. Please share your thoughts on the current design direction, and what you think are points for improvement!