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HP Envy 27 All-in-One review: Pretty and practical

If the Surface Studio's price tag is out of reach, HPS's Envy All-in-One might be a more reasonable option.

The Surface Studio (opens in new tab) is a gorgeous device, but it's expensive. You can save a lot of money without sacrificing many features by going with another All-in-One device like the HP Envy 27. Starting at about $1,200, it's a great-looking computer that's able to handle both work and entertainment.

Should you buy the HP Envy 27 All-in-One? That's what we're here to find out.

HP Envy 27

HP Envy 27 All-in-One Specifications

CategorySpecs
OSWindows 10 Home or Pro
Processor6th-Gen Intel Core i5 6400T or i7 6700T Quad Core
Display27-inch IPS QHD (2560x1440) Touch Display
Technicolor Color Certified
MemoryUp to 16 GB DDR4
StorageUp to 256 GB SSD + 2 TB HDD
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M (4 GB)
Ports1 x USB 3.1 port (USB-C)
4 x USB 3.0 port
HDMI Out & HDMI In
Headphone/microphone combo
Ethernet port

HP Envy 27 Hardware

The HP Envy 27's design looks very clean and elegant. The slim display is balanced on a thin metal stand, connected to the base where all the PC components reside. This design by HP is different from most All-in-One devices that are usually top-heavy. The build quality is solid too. There are no loose parts or rattling when moving the device.

The 27-inch display has a 9.5mm bezel on the top and sides, and 11.1mm on the bottom. While it's not technically edge-to-edge, the small bezel helps keep a minimal footprint.

The HP Envy 27 has an IPS display with QHD (2560 x 1440) resolution. It's not as sharp as higher-end UHD (3840 by 2160) displays, but many people won't notice the difference. The viewing angles are great, and I didn't see any color shifting when tilting the display.

The stand only allows you to tilt the monitor up or down, so you'll also need to move the base if you need to swivel the display left or right. I was also disappointed that you can't adjust the height of the screen.

HP Envy 27

Another issue I found is that Envy's display is highly reflective. It's fine when browsing the web or using apps with light backgrounds, but the reflections are noticeable when watching movies or using Adobe Creative apps which have darker backgrounds.

On a positive note, the display is highly responsive to touch. I didn't have any issues with tapping, scrolling or pinching to zoom. There's also a webcam available for video calls and Windows Hello authentication. It pops up from the top of the monitor, so it keeps the top bezel to a minimum. You can also hide the webcam when you're not using it by pushing it down.

There are no buttons or ports on the display itself. They're all located on the base. The right side has the 3-in-1 media card reader, headphone/microphone combo, and USB 3.1 Type-C port. The back includes four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 out, HDMI 2.0 in, Ethernet jack, power port, and Kensington lock. The addition of HDMI input is interesting because it lets you use the Envy's display for another device like a laptop. If your laptop has an HDMI 2.0 port, you'll be able to take advantage of the Envy 27's native resolution (2560x1440) at 60Hz.

HP Envy 27

The HP Envy 27 All-in-One also includes a wireless keyboard and mouse. The keyboard has an excellent build quality and with sufficient key travel. While there's no backlighting available, there are light indicators for the Num Lock and Caps Lock keys. I don't have anything to complain about the keyboard other than the size of the Up and Down arrow keys. I wish HP made more space to include full sizes for these buttons. There's a micro-USB port to charge the keyboard when it runs out of battery.

HP Envy 27

I'm not a fan of the included wireless mouse. The plastic material feels cheap, and I found it uncomfortable to hold. If you don't like it either, there are plenty of other options like the Logitech MX Performance (opens in new tab).

HP Envy 27

The HP Envy 27 has four front-facing speakers located on the base. They are angled up at 45-degrees, so they're firing off sound in the general direction of your ears instead of across the desk at your keyboard. And they sound amazing! They're loud, clear, and very capable of bass-heavy music. While you can use the keyboard to adjust the volume, HP also includes a touch-enabled dial on top of the base. Swipe clockwise to increase the volume or swipe the other way to lower the volume. You can also pause by tapping the dial or skip songs by swiping right.

HP Envy 27

Even though I'm happy with the default sound settings, you can customize the audio using the built-in HP Audio Switch app. There are presets for Music, Movie, and Voice.

HP Envy 27 Software

Windows 10 Home is included, and there are a lot of pre-installed software including McAfee LiveSafe, Office 2016, Cyberlink, and more. I uninstalled LiveSafe immediately, since I'd rather use the built-in Windows Defender. There are also several apps from HP, including HP Support Assistant, which makes it easy to find and install BIOS and firmware updates directly from HP.

HP Envy 27

The HP Envy 27 performs well with everyday tasks. Switching between multiple apps isn't a problem, and they open quickly thanks to the Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM. Using Adobe Creative apps like Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere Pro is surprisingly smooth too.

The only problem I found is a strange one. The display intermittently turns black whenever I watch a Netflix video in full screen, despite having the latest graphic drivers. It's annoying, and the only workaround is to maximize the app window instead of watching the video in full screen.

You can certainly do some gaming on the HP Envy 27 with the NVIDIA GTX 950 graphics card, but keep your expectations low. If you want to play decent frame rates, most of the recent games like Gears of War 4 and Battlefield 1 need to be set in low settings.

HP Envy 27

Gears of War 4 plays at 45 frames per second on 1080p at low settings and Battlefield 1 plays at 60 frames per second on 1080p at low settings. If you're looking for numbers, the HP Envy 27 got a multi-core score of 13,225 on Geekbench 4 and 3,417 on the 3DMark Fire Strike Benchmark. Since HP's not marketing this as a gaming PC, these results shouldn't be surprising.

HP Envy 27 Bottom Line

I don't have much to complain about the HP Envy 27. It's a great all-in-one that delivers what's expected from it. The simple, yet elegant, design also means it'll look good on your desk. And you can also use it as a standalone monitor for other devices by using the HDMI port.

For the starting price of $1,129, The HP Envy 27 All-in-One is the more practical choice if you want a Surface Studio, but know you won't be using it as a professional graphics artist.

Pros:

  • Elegant design
  • Can be used as external display
  • Excellent speakers
  • Includes Windows Hello

Cons:

  • No UHD option for display
  • No option for higher-end video cards
  • Included mouse feels cheap
  • Small Up and Down arrow keys

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

49 Comments
  • Looks like a nice computer, but I feel it's a different product category. Sure it's an all in one design, but the Surface is designed for creation and art. The ability to move the display and draw on it is probably the number one selling point for it.
  • but, it's also almost 1/3 of the price... This is a nice step up for the old "all in one" computers. It could be used for Art based stuff. Most people look who are thinking about getting the Surface should take a peak at this one first, Almost the same look but, for different needs.
  • Not to mention that HP has superior SSD and HDD to those of Surface Studio!
  • My honest opinion, unless you plan to use the Surface Pen there is ZERO reason to buy a surface studio. Because like this HP you can get a similar experience far cheaper. But if you plan to use that pen, than the HP isn't a choice.
  • Sure there's a reason... If you want a "all in one" that looks really awesome, and that has really good graphics performance. The surface studio is the only "all in one" with the graphic performance for video editing and gaming. This HP has a Graphics card but just a moderate performance.
  • I honestly didn't realize the difference is graphics, but I still feel you're spending way too much for what the surface studio offers if you're not interested in the pen. But every one is entitled to their own opinion.
  • A lot of people mention the Pen as being the reason to go for the Studio, but it's not just about that. One of the major differences is that the Studio can lie to an almost flat angle on the desk, whereas almost all the AIO's, including this one, have a very limited tilt range. Like Dell with the XPS 27, HP have gone for the music enhancement option as a selling point.  If you can lie the screen to an almost flat angle as a designer or artist would that's a huge advantage, even for people like us who only want it to do a lot of photo editing. Nobody has released anything like The Surface Studio.  We like the minimalist design and was really excited about this for our business as we don't really want to go to the expense of buying a Studio, but unfortunately this has exactly the same tilt limitations and therefore joins the "just another AIO" club in that respect. The top model is also very expensive in the UK, £1999 (or $2430 at today's exchange rate) so it's back to the Surface Studio when it finally arrives in the UK.  The only other option that comes anywhere close to the Studio that I have found is an Acer T272HUD, a 27" UHD touchscreen monitor for around £600. It doesn't have Pen support but connected to a laptop it's a damn sight cheaper than buying something like this. 
  • After seeing the Surface Studio in person, there is certainly a reason to buy one if you can afford it: that screen is absolutely beautiful. My Surface Pen use on a Pro 4 is limited to notes and simple sketches, yet I'd own the Surface Studio for the screen alone even with the higher price if not for two important features I needed that the HP Envy provided: the USB C port and the HDMI In port.
  • The way the monitor is attached to the base it would have been easy to make it more movable, even to the point of lowering it like a drawing table as on the Surface Studio and it wouldn't have added too much to the price, remember the iMac with its monitor at the top of a moving arm. Also why no UHD resolution option on a 27" monitor? With all computer components in the base, it could have been made to have exchangeable monitor easily for future upgrade or replacement of broken parts without sending the whole thing back for repair. Nice design but with some flaws, like what's the point of a wireless keyboard and mouse for desktop computers. I would immediately buy a set of wired ones.
  • Yes, that would be nice to have just an arm with a Vesa mount for users to pick and choose whatever monitor they like.   Why a wireless keyboard and mouse?  Because those who are looking for an all-in-one computer such as this is probably looking to reduce clutter.  Having wires run all over your desktop kind of defeats the purpose.  You can always add the wired varients later on if you like.
  • If you like the tidy, minimalist look then wireless componenets are a must. I do agree that the screen could be more adaptable. If only somebody would come up with one that can drop almost flat to the table like the Studio I'm sure they would have a hit on their hands. The lack of that option is the dealbreaker for us on an otherwise fabulous machine. 
  • So good to see options like this that fit the budget. If the Surface Studio is top of the line, this slots in somewhere beneath... and I like it. Nice looking system too.
  • 1200 dollars for a 27 inch monitor plus computer ?? You've gone on to the bad place WC !! Awsome 32 inch TVs cost about 200, and a pretty good computer box for about 100. What are u even on about ??
  • Unless your looking at low end computers....You dont have a clue on what computers and GOOD monitors go for... Remember you DO get what you pay for...
  • A "good" computer box for $100.. Um, ya.
    You're ridiculous. The NVidia card can't even be purchased for under $150.
  • Link to a good computer for 100 please
  • Absolute BS. The TV would be lower resolution and lack touch. And at that price the tower would be Atom based with 2Gb and no ability to game or do productivity. The whole set up would likely take up more space on the desk. I've seen you post this same FUD on multiple articles, if your happy with low end trash hardware with less functionality so be it, good for you!
  • So a 1080p budget tv and an empty computer chassis is comparable to this device? You have no clue, do you?
  • Umm, what are you smoking?
    In all seriousness, if you can get me a similar specced PC at $100, I'll pay you double the price.
  • Whatever!  Good is subjective!  You might be able to buy a PC for $100.00, but it will be far from "good" in the eyes of even moderate PC users.  A TV is no comparison to this monitor, so don't even go there! Just because you can plug a PC into a TV doesn't mean they were ever meant to work together as a long term solution!  The Surface is incredible, but expensive, this is a good middle of the road option, but I agree with others here. No POWER graphics card option, no UHD, no better SSD offerings?     Upon further investigation, you can get versions/models of the HP with Nvidia Graphics and a 1TB ssd along with 32GB of RAM.  Amazon shows several to choose from.
  • Looks very nice with very good specs. I ordered a Envy 15T i7 16gb/256gb about 6 months ago and love it. It was around $900 so another couple hundred for an equally nice AIO seems to be be fare. I am sure there are coupon codes to be had to bring it down closer to $1000.
  • No Pen.  It is not all about the display that makes the Surface Studio, its the ability to use the pen, like you would a pencil on paper. 
  • It doesn't look like the display can tilt far enough to make it comfortable for writing like the Surface Studio.
  • No it cannot and I do not believe that was the use case they were going for.  It's a very capable, stylish AIO.
  • I really wish you made a video on this Mark :'( I've been dying to see how it looks in a video from all angles, how it feels, how the tilt feels. It is a let down you can't adjust the height of the screen tho. That's a pretty big flaw IMO. But all that if you could show in a nice little video I'd very much appreciate it! I've been very conflicted between getting this or an HP spectre x360 since im mostly home anyways, having a laptop isn't necessary but an external display and keyboard would do fight with me as well so I dont know hahaha.
  • If someone would only make one with an option for a 32" screen.
  • I don't know why people keep calling it pretty. To me this has the dull look of an old VCR or DVD player with a TV monitor sticking out of it. Not into squared designs :-( 
  • Thanks for this review Mark. I bought the Envy 27 from the Microsoft Store ealier this month and posted ny initial thoughts on your forums. Buying from Microsoft meant that I got a higher end HHD and none of HP's software choices. I agree with your assesments. There is reflection on the screen, but that can be ameliorated by changes in position or room lighting. I know that is not always easy to do, but worked for me. A far greater aggrevation to me is the lack of height adjustment for the monitor. The WIndows Hello compatible camera is so quick, that it usually authenticates me before the screen even comes on when waking. I rarely see my lock screen anymore. The Bang & Olufsen speakers are nicely done and produce a nice loud sound. I was pleased a full equalizer is provided because I needed to boost the bass some for my taste. Two key selling points for the Envy 27 for me were the presence of the USB C port, which is easily reached on the right side, and the HDMI In port. I've plugged my Xbox One S into that port and use the Envy monitor for gaming that way. HDMI input is selected from a small but easily reached button next to the HDMI ports. I've had some of the black screen drop outs you mentioned, but that has ended after updating the nVidia driver that came with the computer. It is important to note there is a rather large power brick for the computer, but it attaches to the PC with a generous 5 foot long cord. And as for that mouse, there really isn't anything positive to say for it. It is still in the box it came in.
  • someoneinwa, Does it have a subwoofer output like my old touchsmart 520 had? I want a 27" touchscreen and If I can plug in my subwoofer and use the included speakers like I did with my old touchsmart this is top runner for me!
  • There is a standard audio out/mic in jack. Do subwoofers connect via standard audio cables? A 2.1 set I had on a PC years ago had a propritary connection between the speakers.
  • Thanks, will check again for the nvidia driver updates. But yes, the speakers are awesome!!
  • I've been happy for a few years now with the similar Lenovo ideacentre
  • If the screen folded down and it accepted pen input I'd probably already have bought it. As much as I hate to admit it to myself, Surface Studio is out of my price range and probably will be for a long while - thankfully something like this isn't, but it still needs to do the thing I need it to do. ;) Fingers crossed this time next year we've got a smorgasbord of Surface Studio "inspired" designs from OEMS the world over at a more varied set of price points! For those just looking for a regular AIO though, this thing is gorgeous and puts the iMac to shame (Though it is a shame there isn't a 4K screen option for those who care about that - as a display piece it's worth it).
  • Just bought this recently and love it.  Swapped out the keyboard and mouse for the Surface keyboard and mouse.  Being able to use the screen for my laptop is also a huge plus.  The design is stellar and Mark is right about the sound.....awesome.
  • bushybro, Does your laptop have touch? and can you use the touch interface of the monitor with your laptop if connected right?
  • Also using the Surface keyboard. Not a fan of the surface mouse (I need more than 2 buttons), but definitely better than the mouse this HP Envy came with.
  • I wish my department would order some of these, or Surface Studio. Tired of the Dell AIO's we have.
  • The design is sleek but it still looks like a monitor attached to a mini desktop. It doesn't really fit the category of all in one for me.
  • I like it. Keeps the display portion small and PC section separate.
  • I'll buy this one
  • Ordered the top of the line variant for my Mom after her retirement kicked in which I guess should hold for her remaining lifetime. Had a chance to have a closer look at it at a MS Store during our NYC trip - Certainly beautiful but it can't hold a candle against the Surface Studio.
    Though that isn't a problem as the Surface Studio would have been wasted at her enthusiasm towards technology so no regrets going with this one =)
  • I was just on HP's Canada website, the pavilion 27" touch all in one is a better deal with more ram, an SSD instead of hard drive, and more surface studio esque' styling. the envy 27 is 1999 with 12gb ram, 1 TB 7200rpm drive and the pavilion 27" is 1599 with 16gb ram and a 1 TB SSD. add to that the nicer styling of the pavilion and you have an amazing all in one!
  • Styling is a subjective issue of course, but I personally think the design of this blows the Pavilion out of the water.  Yet another AIO with a non-adjustable screen height though, which is a deal breaker for me. 
  • I can't say I'm not attracted. I'd flip the keyboard and mouse for the one I use now and I'd be ensconced.
  • There is actually a 4K option in the UK but it's expensive - £2000, or around $2400. I have now weighed up the pricing properly and the price of the base model is shocking too, £1500 which, when converted, makes it at least $650 more expensive than the US equivalent. That's over 37% higher. I was still considering it but not at that sort of price difference. We're used to getting ripped off in the UK compared to US prices but that's appalling. You can actually buy the 34" curved screen version in the US for less than the price of the UK 27" one with the same specs. I'm guessing HP are gambling on the fact that there isn't too much competition here for a premium 27" AIO with touchscreen. 
  • Hello gents. I am considering buying this computer. However, my experience with AIOs is that the cooling fan tend to be noisy, which is a deal breaker for me. Could actual users share their experience regarding the fan noise? Thanks in advance, R.
  • This comment is only because I forgot to check "Follow replies" in the previous one... Sorry about that.
  • This article should be updated to indicate that a 4K display option is now available. I just ordered one. Reasonable, too. It's only $200 to upgrade.
  • Depends what you consider to be reasonable. We went for a Dell Inspiron 7000 (24-7459 to be exact) which is 24" but remarkably similar in style to both this and the Surface Studio, folds down like the Studio, in fact goes completely horizontal albeit sat on top the base and stand rather than flat on the desk. But for an i7-6700 core, 16GB ram, 32GB SSD + 2TB HD, LED backlit IPS touchscreen, I think we got a bargain at £929 (around $1170 at today's rates), especially compared to the price of the HP. It is only an FHD screen and not QHD, and I'll be honest, having been spoilt by the screens on the Surface models it does feel like a step backwards and I would have preferred a QHD screen but for less than half the price of the HP it's a steal in comparison, and 24" is plenty big enough.  To be honest I think Dell are missing a trick because if they added pen support and a QHD screen it would be a real contender to the Surface Studio for around half the price. It sounds really good too.