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 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 All-in-One Specifications
|OS||Windows 10 Home or Pro|
|Processor||6th-Gen Intel Core i5 6400T or i7 6700T Quad Core|
|Display||27-inch IPS QHD (2560x1440) Touch Display
Technicolor Color Certified
|Memory||Up to 16 GB DDR4|
|Storage||Up to 256 GB SSD + 2 TB HDD|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M (4 GB)|
|Ports||1 x USB 3.1 port (USB-C)
4 x USB 3.0 port
HDMI Out & HDMI In
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Elegant design
- Can be used as external display
- Excellent speakers
- Includes Windows Hello
- No UHD option for display
- No option for higher-end video cards
- Included mouse feels cheap
- Small Up and Down arrow keys