I’m surprised by the change to the stark black and white/silver color scheme in the latest photos shared over in the “Update: uConsole shipping related” thread, compared to the gray-on-gray shown for the pre-order product images. I thought it might be an issue with the contrast or lighting in the new photos, but the keyboard looks about the same color as the trackball in the original images, and it’s definitely black relative to the trackball in the new ones. I think the original gray hardware looked cooler, and for a niche device like this, the aesthetics are a big part of what the Clockwork team sold.
I know the metal the case is constructed from and the keyboard layout have both changed, and I noticed the fasteners holding the case together are no longer flush-mounted when I pulled the photos for this post. Anybody else spot any other new design changes? I’m pleased we’re getting close to products actually shipping, but I’m disappointed I don’t really have a sense of what to expect when the device finally arrives anymore. :-/
This isn’t unusual. Computer generated product renders tend to look different from real devices built using actual materials. Especially with metal, it’s hard to know what the actual finish will be and how it will look in different lighting conditions. With renders you don’t need to worry about practical concerns with materials and structural stability.
The thing that did surprise me, when you pointed it out, is that the fasteners aren’t flush with the case. That’s a shame. I think that does look better in the render, so I’m wondering if there’s a structural reason why they went with larger fasteners (edit: or, optimistically, if they used a different fastener on their test units).
I don’t like the buttonheads either. My guess would be that countersinking the holes was an extra / challenging extra manufacturing step.
The good thing is that we can easily change the screws and low-profile non-countersunk screws do exist.
The concept image is rendered in 3D software, not a photograph of real material. The highlights in the renders are also dim while the shadows are light, compared to the high contrast photo of the unit being tested.
I’m not sure that you could get a photograph to match the tone of the render without heavy manipulation, if the keyboard is black instead of grey.
I also don’t think it’s unreasonable that there were changes from how it looked on a computer screen to the machined and assembled unit.
I’m pretty sure even the silver one is painted now, where it would have been a raw aluminum finish previously, now it’s more like the Surface, which also uses a similar (or identical?) alloy and has a silver finish. I was super super bummed when they announced the change, it went from being one of the most unique devices on the market to being sort of like any other. Everyone paints. Raw anodized CNC aluminum would be a very premium chassis for an enthusiast device like this, oh well.
Let’s set aside the color tone of the silver metal and whether the product images are photographs or renders. Acknowledging there have been design changes, it seems a bit sketchy to still be selling preorders for a product that does not match the appearance in its advertisements. I remain excited for my order (CM4, no 4G, October) to arrive; I just hope the Clockworkpi team updates the site with the final design too.
I also want to underline this wasn’t a crowdfunding campaign. I don’t expect changes on a product sold as a preorder. It might set better expectations with customers to structure future product releases as crowdfunding so they carry the “specs, appearance, and delivery date subject to change during development” types of disclaimers.
Jayzus Christ on a pogo stick folks, what is the problem?..
“Oh noes… the actual device in unaltered, un-retouched photos in some Joes bedroom doesn’t look RGB/CMYK identical to the imaginary, not real, renders I saw once, back in the day !!! Quick write a tedious whine about it”.
IT DOESN’T MATTER so long as the fit, finish and functionality are as promised.
If it was up to me, every whiner in that vein would get one, hard anodized in hot pink and lime green with a note saying “Oops”
Hey man, are you doing ok? That’s a big reaction for a mild criticism you don’t have a stake in.
I think computer products like this are super cool, and I’m a big fan of the self-assembly approach Clockwork has. It’d be neat if this kind of thing was more mainstream and attracted even more people to support a wider variety of offerings.
You should be aware, when you are buying any product, whether you are looking at a concept image or a photograph. Even Apple uses glossy rendered images in their marketing material.
Computer generated images always look different from photographs. Unavoidably. A digital mockup can’t be the same as a final unit. It doesn’t have to exist in physical space, where metals have to be cast and molded and photographed in non-ideally lit rooms.
If that is a dealbreaker for you, and that is a reasonable dealbreaker to have, don’t buy anything until you see video reviews or pictures of the unit in someone’s hands. If you feel misled, there’s presumably still time to cancel your order and request a refund.