At a launch event in the Stade de France on Thursday, Philips announced a brand new gaming brand, Evnia, with a full lineup of monitors, keyboards, mice and headsets. The name comes from the Greek Εύ and νοια and reportedly translates as ‘smart thinking’, and plays into an overall wholesome and inclusive vibe with a focus on ‘reinventing the rules’ of PC peripherals. Ironically, this kind of credo is fairly endemic amongst gaming brands, but Philips has at least made some plays to differentiate themselves, designing products with refreshing off-white/grey colourways, partially built with recycled materials and fronted by Kenyan fighting games pro QueenArrow.
As well as offering a bit of a different look to your standard black-and-red gaming gear, the keyboards, mice and headsets announced also held up well in the brief testing session we were afforded, particularly the keyboards that offered some interesting features on top of solid fundamentals. These units were still pre-production models, but there’s enough of interest here to mention ahead of their planned release date early next year.
First up, the SPK8708 full-size mechanical keyboard. Like other high-tier Evnia peripherals, the SPK8708 is a fully wireless model that supports both 2.4GHz and Bluetooth, with the former offering lower latency and the latter broader compatibility and longer battery life. Like Philips TVs, it comes with Ambilight branded lighting that spills out behind and around the keyboard, complementing the LEDs behind each keycap. A volume wheel in the upper right corner seemed to have an integrated display inside, which could offer some interesting options along the same lines as the DF-favourite SteelSeries Apex Pro – although it didn’t seem to be operational in the unit we had access to.
Otherwise, the white keyboard has a fleck-pattern wrist rest, presumably made with recycled materials, which magnetically attaches. Inside, there are Cherry MX RGB switches, available in Red, Blue, Brown or Black varieties with varying levels of tactility and noise, and a 4000mAh battery that should provide days if not weeks of battery life. An intriguing start, no doubt.
The same combination of solid essentials and a few new ideas describes the mouse we tested (SPK9708), which offers a bright white colourway complete with flecked modern-looking sides and an intriguing ribbed chassis with marked out lines running down its centre. To my hands, it was quite a heavy mouse, but one that packs in a 20,000 DPI sensor for smooth tracking, as well as mechanical mouse buttons, which felt solid, and dual connectivity over both a bundled receiver and Bluetooth. Again, expect to find RGB here with both a main strip down the centre of the mouse, and an Ambiglow style underglow effect, too.
Arguably the most exciting looking product was the more premium headset in the range, the Evnia 7000 series headset (TAG7208). This provides a white plastic frame alongside a fabric, almost suede material for the earcups, which I found to offer some great passive noise isolaton and dampening, not least in an event space filled with hundreds of press people, as well as also being wonderfully comfortable.
I didn’t get a chance to test the audio of the headset, but I was told by others attending that it was quite distorted at times, but that was perhaps the way they’d be tuned to deal with incessant chatter and music from a nearby jazz band. It hopefully won’t be the case that the 50mm drivers inside the headset offer that with wider testing. The multimedia controls offered somewhat okay tactility, although the volume wheel had no resistance whatsoever, which didn’t feel the best admittedly, but of course, these were samples.
With the mid-range 5000-series peripherals, there is some discrepancies compared to the top end Evnia products, as you’d perhaps expect. They’re wired instead of wireless and black instead of white, silver or grey, therefore looking a bit more ordinary than their higher-tier equivalents. Not too much information was given on the feature sets of the 5000 Series peripherals in the presentation, but what we do know is that Philips has stated it be using its own switches for their keyboard (SPK8508), though the samples were kitted out with a slew of MX offerings. When asked, they wouldn’t reveal who they’d partnered with to make their switches, but the representatives around at the event assured me that they were being custom made specifically for Evnia, as opposed to being an off-the-shelf job. Otherwise, the keyboard looks to be a similar story to the more expensive one above – solid build quality, alongside a flecked wrist rest, and RGB lighting to boot.
The mouse (SPK9508) itself continues on with the black plastic and flecked fabric sides, which make it pretty comfortable to hold, although like its more expensive brother, proved to be quite heavy in hand. Inside, there’s a 16,000 DPI sensor, which is still pretty solid, as well as configurable RGB lighting in the same places as before. To go with the mouse and keyboard, there is also a spillproof mousepad (SPL7508) for you to place your peripherals on, which also comes with an RGB underglow effect, if you want it.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two lines sits with the headsets, though. The 5000 series headset (TAG5208) completely changes tack with its headband, which offers a strange rubberised support, as opposed to a bungee style system as favoured on the 8000 series. Apart from this, it’s much the same story, with suede earcups that are comfortable and offer solid isolation, as as well as 50mm drivers and support for DTS X 2.0 surround sound, and a sprinkling of RGB lighting.
All of these peripherals are configurable with Philips’ all in one software solution, Philips Precision Center, which will allow you to configure RGB lighting and program inputs in the same way as other manufacturers’ offerings. Intriguingly, you can also save the profiles to the cloud, and re-download them elsewhere – which sounds useful for LAN cafe use, except you may have difficulties installing a new software package on someone else’s machine. No information on the pricing for these 5000 and 7000/8000 series products, which is a shame, but what we do know is that they’ll be arriving in June 2023, while the monitors will be around in December 2022 to January 2023.
With no solid info on pricing as yet it’s hard to give a firm judgment on the Evnia peripheral lineup, but first impressions suggest they should offer reasonable fundamentals, with an offbeat appareance and a few interesting tricks that could make them worth picking up over more mainstream offerings – but we’ll reserve final judgement until we’ve tested production models ourselves.