Dough monitors unboxed - delays, refunds, and reputation revealed

dough monitors unboxed a dough monitor with red background

dough monitors unboxed a dough monitor with red background

Dough asks many good questions. Why not make gaming monitor stands optional to avoid e-waste? Why aren’t PC displays glossy like their TV counterparts? And why can’t we have super fast screens without paying an arm and a leg? When it delivers, Spectrum monitors are quite impressive for the price, but six years after the Eve V tablet controversy, the brand’s reputation is still shaky with product delays.

With preorders for the 32-inch Spectrum Black OLED now live, the question on everyone’s lips is whether Dough monitors are a scam. After all, the brand doesn’t have the best track record and public sentiment surrounding its policies hasn’t improved much since Eve changed its name to Dough last year.

Engadget’s report offers the best recap up until 2021, but for the uninitiated, it all began with the Eve V tablet. Starting off as an Indiegogo success in 2016 that beat its goal by 1,887%, several issues behind the scenes prevented many of the 4,200-plus backers from receiving their devices.

Tuukka Korhonen, managing director of Eve Distribution Ltd and CEO of Dough, claimed that “approximately 300” people requested a refund at the time of the report, worth at least $240,000 USD, $25,000 of which Engadget verified first-hand. Fingers pointed blame at Fortress Tech Distribution, a licensing and shipping partner that may have had deeper connections to Eve via shareholders, which "ran into issues with the supply chain." Despite telling the publication that "these are not refunds that we owe," Korhonen claimed that the brand would make things right using Eve’s profits, should the company ever be profitable.

r/EveV subreddit moderator Kirk Miller independently tracked 138 customers that requested a refund. By August 2023, he is one of just five of these people to confirm they have received their money back. 69 people have been outright denied repayment, and the rest haven’t updated their case in the years since. Dough says that it still plans to fix the issue, but it’s currently unable to.

"Unfortunately, while we are currently working to get all of the pending cases with customers solved, the status for the V cases remains the same," Dough explained to us when we broached the issue. "As we've mentioned in our official communications before, we do intend to help those affected users, but it is not something we can do at the moment. As our business moves forward, we hope to be able to help them too, once all the issues with our [Spectrum] customers are resolved."

A Dough Spectrum Black OLED monitor with Miles Morales' Spider-Man logo on the front
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Credit: Dough

Spectrum monitors

Aside from the V 2021, a follow-up to the infamous tablet that’s yet to be released, Eve turned its attention towards gaming monitors. Known as the Spectrum line, these displays are also created using community input, with regular polls to determine features. The brand shifted to using a preorder system with a discount for early adopters rather than crowdfunding and continues to use this practice today as Dough.

No monitor in Dough’s portfolio has ever been released on time. The original Spectrum 4K 144Hz, now known as the Spectrum One, was available for preorder on January 27, 2020, and meant to release by the end of the year, but it only became publicly available in November 2022. Similarly, the first of two QHD models announced at the same time overshot their targeted release by nearly three years, with 280Hz variants finally shipping in waves as of August 2023. There is no sign of the second QHD monitor, as the 144Hz version is seemingly no longer in development.

Dough then followed up its Spectrum One with a glossy option, announcing it on March 20, 2022, with a June release date. This didn’t make it to market until eight months later in February 2023. Dough co-founder and CEO Konstantinos Karatsevidis tells us that "there should be no outstanding Spectrum One orders" as of August 14, 2023, but at least one customer of the glossy model tells us that they’ve even seen a price drop on the display they ordered without receiving their monitor.

Delays became so rampant that RTINGS, a publication famed for always sourcing its own review samples, cancelled its preorder of the QHD 280Hz model due to all the uncertainty, requested a refund, and refused to cover it henceforth. This pattern regularly leaves Dough in the dust of its competitors, who release similarly specced screens from six months to a year before the company reaches the market. What was supposed to be the world’s first HDMI 2.1 gaming monitor ended up losing to Asus by half a year.

The first 27-inch OLED Spectrum Black suffered the same fate as its predecessors, breezing past its July release date with a new target of October 2023. Karatsevidis believes that the first step in redeeming the company’s name is to "ship the Spectrum Black 32-inch on time and make sure that when reviews go live, the product is available in retail."

A person opening an empty, brown wallet
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Credit: Chronomarchie, Pixabay


It’s not been any easier for those wanting to back out of the waiting game, either. Several early Spectrum customers have told Stealth Optional that it’s simple enough to cancel an order, but the refund process is just as gruelling as the unreliable release dates. Met with the standard requirement of waiting up to 20 business days for repayment, some told us that they’re still waiting for their money back several months later.

Karatsevidis explains that the problem lies with its original payment processor, Asiabill, who "did not have the option to refund orders over 180 days." With such lengthy delays to the products, tickets from older purchases have likely expired, meaning that Dough has to verify each transaction itself before refunding those affected under the old system via a bank or wire transfer instead.

Dough's head of marketing, Javier Leal, tells Sean Hollister at The Verge that it still has around 2% of Spectrum monitors to refund before the company can crack on with its Eve V goodwill measures, which should happen "very soon." The brand has since moved to a new payment processor that’s more flexible, supposedly leaving newer customers unaffected. Dough encourages those still waiting for a refund from Spectrum orders to fill out this form that’ll hopefully speed up the process.

Teething issues from the early days of a start-up are understandable, but none of the affected customers we've spoken to are familiar with the root cause or potential solutions available to them. There’s plenty Dough can do to communicate more effectively, such as pinning a public service announcement to the top of r/doughcommunity and, the latter of which the brand no longer moderates. It could circulate a weekly message in the company newsletter, which many customers say they're still receiving. And most importantly, it could work with publications such as Stealth Optional, The Verge, and others to push positive messages that the brand wants to help.

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Credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay


Unfortunately, we’ve heard from several people that comments considered negative were regularly deleted in the former first-party forum, and the practice continues in the active subreddit. This is intentional, according to Karatsevidis, who says that the "team privately reaches out to help them" once a comment is removed.

"We don't allow most support posts on our community as the community users have no way to assist with order issues, and there's a high risk that customers may share personal information when looking for help on these topics," Karatsevidis explains. "The appropriate way to get support is on our website through the contact form. Certain topics where hearing from others' experiences can be helpful are allowed in our community."

Those who've had comments deleted say that they feel censored, claiming that support is often unresponsive via official channels. We've verified this by scouring several emails from people that have reached out, where the lack of responses not only prevents some from receiving their refund but others from getting device aftercare when something goes wrong. Bricked monitors and broken ports are par for the course, as no piece of tech is invulnerable, but support tapering off into silence without a resolution leaves people with an expensive paperweight.

"I have been waiting for my refund for over 3 months now, and I know there are others who haven't received their money back in over a year," one customer tells us. "It's been 15 days since this initial contact," says another. "Your monitor no longer works, your support is super slow, if it's even happening. Super frustrated."

If customer support was more reliable, there would be less of a need to chase public forums for answers. Now, with the tough spot that Dough is in, allowing people to share negative experiences publicly might be its only solution to hold the brand more accountable and instil faith with regular replies that it’s actually listening.

A Dough Spectrum One gaming monitor against a pink background
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Credit: Dough

Looking to the future

As a reviewer of the Spectrum One, I can confidently say that Dough makes excellent products at affordable prices. Still, it's difficult to recommend a company with ongoing communication and customer support issues, and it doesn't look like display delays will change any time soon.

"Our customers and internet observers following our developments have completely different interpretations of delays," Karatsevidis tells us. "If you check the crowd-development history of the Spectrum One, for example, you can see there were a few clear situations in which real customers that pre-ordered Spectrum One wanted new features like HDMI 2.1, even if it meant waiting a few more months for the end product. The same applies to the majority of customers wanting to receive products without unpleasant glitches and bugs. I think reviews from customers and media alike do prove that the product was ready when shipped. So, even with the new Spectrum Black 32-inch project, if we see the product still has some bugs or the majority of customers would want to add a new feature potentially affecting the timeline we will do it!"

Changing the goalposts mid-production is rarely a good idea in development and results in feature creep. At best, all customers have to wait an undetermined period of time regardless of whether they agreed to the extra features in the first place. These people may then see other Dough products announced, discounts on the original product they purchased without a price match, and competitors release readily available devices of the same spec while they wait. At worst, something can end up in development hell, eating up a monstrous portion of the budget until it's cancelled, and nobody receives anything at all.

If Dough wants to stick with its crowd development, it needs to be stricter with its cutoff period for adding features. It also needs to be more explicit that timelines are subject to change until the full release and give a reasonable window so that customers know what they're agreeing to. Many customers might think twice if something becomes a two-year wait rather than a couple of months tacked on top.

For now, it's best to consider the early bird discounts in the same way as crowdfunding: there's no guarantee if or when you'll get the item but you will get it cheaper should it land on your doorstep. Otherwise, you might be better off hanging fire until they fully release. Dough claims it has a reasonably good supply chain with 48-hour shipping in some destinations if you buy first-party, and more cautious customers will eventually be able to turn to third-party retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Microcenter, where the buying experience is more refined.

Finally, we can't forget about the Eve V situation. While there might be no legal requirement to refund the customers affected, there’s a moral obligation. If the Spectrum Black 32-inch is as successful as Karatsevidis claims, with the first 200 pieces "sold out in 15 minutes," then it should be well on track to building enough profit to pay people back.

Special thanks to Kirk Miller for diligent research on the r/EveV forum and working with us on timelines. If you're an unhappy customer that's yet to receive their device or a refund, contact Damien Mason (, Lewis White (, and Sean Hollister ( at The Verge, who is also putting Dough under the magnifying glass.

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