Very few computers make a statement just by sitting on top of your desk. HP’s latest update of the Envy 34 all-in-one is one of them.
A major revamp of the previous generation of the Envy 34, this latest iteration rearranges the components by detaching the CPU from the back of the screen and putting it instead in a sturdy base. From that base, a single post rises to support the screen. All of the PC’s innards can be found in this discreet foundation, including a beefy and loud Bang & Olufsen speaker bar with four drivers (and two passive radiators) that fire sound waves right at your head.
HP Envy 34 Curved All-in-One (2017)
A breathtaking display of technology and design that’s as impressive whether it’s on or off. Great performance. Unparalleled display in the all-in-one space.
Will challenge most desks’ available space. Weird little mouse and Podunk keyboard included.
Naturally there are plenty of guts in this box, too: A 2.9GHz Core i7, 16 gigs of RAM, dual storage drives including a 256 gigabyte SSD and a terabyte hard drive, and an AMD Radeon RX 460 graphics card. All of these are desktop components, not mobile parts repurposed into a desktop case. The back and right side of the base are festooned with ports, including a USB-C port, four standard USB ports, Ethernet, an SD card slot, and HDMI in and out (which means you can use the Envy as a monitor for your Xbox if the mood strikes you). Power is supplied through a separate port—and a monstrous brick attached to it.
On top of the base, you’ll find two additional features: a handy touch-sensitive volume wheel and a Qi-compatible wireless charging hotspot for your phone.
The screen of course is the star: 34 inches curved to wrap around your head. The idea, says HP, is that every horizontal point of the screen should be equidistant from your eyes, and the new Envy 34 has a tighter radius than HP’s previous curved all-in-one, in recognition that users are sitting closer than expected to the display. Featuring a resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels, Technicolor-certified color reproduction, and eye-searing brightness, it’s a real joy to behold. It’s almost too much.
None of that would matter if the Envy wasn’t a dazzling performer, and the good news is that it is. It shattered records on general performance benchmarks and turned in top-flight (though not bleeding-edge) gaming and graphics numbers as well. It takes some time to adapt to the curved screen, but once you do it becomes amazingly immersive—particularly if you have a video source that is actually making use of all those pixels.
The only fault I can find with the device: I’m not really enamored with the throwaway mouse and keyboard that HP bundles with the machine. Why not just knock $ 30 off the price—at $ 1,999, surprisingly reasonable for what you get—and I’ll bring my own?
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