The 2017 edition of the HP Envy 34 Curved All-in-One (AIO) is radically different from last year’s model. Although the 2016 design was clean and interesting, this year’s version takes things to the next level with design choices that are both pragmatic and aesthetic. The complete computer (with monitor) weighs 24 Lbs and has dimensions of about 18.5 × 32 x 8 inches. We took this premium computer for a spin, and here’s the full review.
Configuration as tested
In the 2017 HP Envy 34 Curved AiO design, the main emphasis was put on a few key points:
- Thin bezels. This is something that has been in extreme demand by users on every kind of monitors, and AiO PCs are no exception. With 10mm bezels, the new Envy 34 looks much better than last year’s.
- Higher entertainment quality: this is mainly due to two things, namely Display Quality (more below) and Sound Quality. Because the base hosts both the computer and the sound system, the internal volume available to the speakers is potentially higher. More space means “moving more air,” which translates into better sound quality.
- Better design in general: I find the new design to be much classier. While last year’s model could be seen as a very nice computer, the new one uses better-looking materials and feels more “premium.”
HP achieves all those points with ease, and the final product is the most attractive AiO PC in this large-display category. From the front, the computer looks very neat with no visible ports and the large screen provides a very immersive visual experience. The hidden ports are visually a good thing, but I would love to have a couple of USB ports to the side… I had to add an external USB 3.0 HUB to make things more convenient when using USB keys.
The speaker design is low-key. It is not hidden at all, but it is not overly obvious when you just glance at the PC. On the top-right of the chassis, you will find a touch-based volume control interface. Immediately after using it, we could say that it is a really nice feature. It is responsive, very easy to each and visually subtle.
On the opposite upper side of the chassis, there is a wireless charging pad. It is Qi (pronounced “Chi”) compatible and will work with most phones, although you will have to check for the specs of your particular handset if you want to be sure. It is also convenient to just drop your phone there for charging anytime you get back to your desk. Phones like the Galaxy S8 or the U.S LG G6 have compatible integrated wireless charging, so no other accessories are required.
The audio quality of the HP Envy 34 AiO is extraordinary. When you sit in front of it, the sound volume and “body” is simply better than any other AiO we have heard. If you like to listen to music in your office/room, the audio quality cannot be overlooked. If you already have external speakers, then it might not be as important.
“THE AUDIO QUALITY OF THE HP ENVY 34 AIO IS EXTRAORDINARY”For gaming, this makes a big difference as well. The sound is a very large part of any entertainment experience, whether it is games or movies/videos. Moreover, that is even truer if your content requires deep bass sound, like music clips, or music files. HP’s new design has enough additional internal space to accommodate passive radiators, a speaker design technique that allows the reproduction of deeper bass sounds.
Quality Mouse + Keyboard
Inside the box, you will find a keyboard and mouse. While the mouse quality is not really exceptional, I found the keyboard to be very nicely built. It has a metal chassis, and feels completely solid (won’t bend, twist). I think that many OEMs have been criticized in the past for including low-quality input devices, but the quality of this set is rather high. The keyboard has a compact, laptop-style layout with small arrow keys that may annoy some users (or not). That is up to you decide but wanted to point this out so you can plan. People working with numbers might want a numeric pad.
With a 34-inch diagonal and a resolution of 3440×1440, the HP Envy 34 AiO has a very good display to work on. At first, one may be skeptical about how the curve helps, but I find that the curvature does add some comfort because of the extreme width of the monitor.
“THE HP ENVY 34 AIO HAS A VERY GOOD DISPLAY”You can/should try for yourself, but as long-time users of multi-monitor setups at Ubergizmo, we have always turned the monitors located on the sides to see better. Many users like the curve design because it also looks cool. So if functionality and aesthetics are augmented, why not?
The elongated form factor makes it really easy to split-screen (using Window+Left/Right). Apps/Games that support the larger view are more immersive and nice. Think about how FPS or car racing games look with a wider format. Finally, some applications like video editing and anything that could use extra horizontal space will be that much better.
On the market, there are displays with higher pixel density (in PPI). With an external display you would lose the benefits of a neat-looking AiO, and integrating such a screen would make the computer even more expensive than it already is (~$ 1980 as it is here). In fact, it is very difficult to find a 34” monitor of comparable size and aspect-ratio with a higher pixel density. The LG Electronics UM95 34UM95 costs $ 810, while smaller and narrower 27” LG Ultrafine 5K (5120×2880) costs ~$ 1300.
The colors are good-looking and certified by Technicolor, but unless you are a graphics professional, you will not notice. If you are a picky graphics professional, there are other, better, more expensive options as standalone displays. However, I think that freelancers in most graphics-related jobs such as web design, mobile, light CAD, etc… will be happy with this one.
There is not a touch-screen option. Some AiO designs have integrated one with success, and sometimes it is really nice. Since this is not a “family” computer with “kiddy play” in mind, I do not think that is an issue.
At the top of the display, there is a pop-up webcam which is nice from both a design and a privacy standpoint. Since webcams can be potentially hacked remotely or turned on by accident, being able to physically block the lens is valuable. The camera is actually not turned OFF but simply obstructed. Although it is not possible to “see” anything, the camera’s microphone my still be able to record audio.
The camera is also compatible with Windows Hello, which means that you can set the computer up to recognize your face (in 3D) to log into windows. There are many benefits, including the convenience of a quick login despite using an otherwise very strong password.
With an Intel Core i7-7700T CPU, 16GB of RAM, a Radeon RX460 GPU (4GB of VRAM) and a
256GB NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD (2TB optional), the HP Envy 34 is well equipped to handle a wide variety of computing activities. All of these parts are “desktop” components, not slower and more power-conscious laptop versions.
From a productivity (office/2D-design) and multimedia standpoint, the performance is very good and more than enough. Even 4K gaming PCs do not score a lot better on those benchmarks (PCMark 8 Home/Work/Creative). If you do not play the latest games, it would be a bit of a waste to spend more.
This computer is however not designed as Gaming PC, but it is somewhat gaming-capable. The Core i7-7700T is a good CPU, but the AMD Radeon RX460 GPU should be considered as an entry-level graphics chip (GPU).
To give you an idea, it is equivalent to a gaming PC from ~4 years ago. By today’s gaming standard, the gaming capability would rank in the bottom 25% according to 3DMark, a gaming benchmark. You can play games, but don’t expect to have the highest frame rate or special effects, especially at the full-resolution available.
There are not a lot of AiO computers with gaming capabilities, but the Digital Storm Aura is an AiO “Gaming PC” that vaguely resembles the Envy 34 from a screen-size perspective, but it is big and heavy. The Lenovo AiO Y910 27-inch would be the other option for gamers, but it has a flat 27” screen. In short, the HP Envy 34 AiO may not be the best gaming machine, but there isn’t really anything like it that can do much better.
The HP Envy 34 AiO computer is an outstanding computer design that will please design-conscious users who are looking far beyond a “utilitarian computer.” This is a machine that simply looks good on your desk, even when it is off. It has a terrific sound system and a very agreeable and very comfortable screen to get things done, or just having a good time on the computer.
Although one can conceptually get more performance for the money, the benchmarks show clearly that unless you play the latest games or do graphics-intensive workloads (GPU video compression…), adding performance would not help that much for many users. In the end, the HP Envy 34 AiO 2017 edition is an amazing balance between design, productivity, and multimedia performance.
Overall product rating: 9/10