HP Envy 27 AIO (late 2016) review: An all-in-one for when looks are everything

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The Good The 2016 update of the HP Envy AIO 27 has a really pleasing and simple design, it's easy to use and its B&O sound system is better than your average built-in sound.

The Bad The bundled keyboard and mouse aren't that great, and some people might find the display a little too washed out.

The Bottom Line A pretty good value wrapped in a classy, well-designed box, the HP Envy AIO 27 will fill your need for a solid everyday PC that you won't need to hide.

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8.2 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7

If you're looking for an all-in-one for watching high-quality movies, photo editing or gaming, look away -- look away quickly. But if you want a general-purpose, elegantly designed and reasonably priced Windows 10 AIO that also happens to deliver satisfactory performance and above-average built-in sound quality, then the late 2016 update to the HP Envy AIO 27 is a good bet.

Though not as striking as the more recently announced model with a 34-inch curved display, the less showy 27-inch model makes the statement, "Nothin' to see here; move along" for people who like their tech to be as invisible as possible.

Prices for touchscreen models start at $1,299 for a 6th-generation Core i5-6400T (dual-core) with integrated graphics and a 1TB hard drive (supplemented with a 128GB solid-state drive) and top off at just under $2,000 for an IPS display (a non-antiglare version) 7th-generation Core i7-7700T (quad-core), Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M and 2TB hard drive plus 256GB SSD. Our test configuration isn't available via HP, but is offered via the Microsoft Store as a Signature Edition PC, which means only Microsoft junkware and trialware and no one else's. (HP's closest option has more storage.) There are only two models available on HP UK's site, for £1,499 and £1,999, and the current model doesn't seem to be available yet in Australia.

The performance of our test configuration didn't really stand out, but any of the configurations should give you your money's worth as long as you're not a hard-core gamer or think you'll be VR'ing in the near future.

HP Envy All-in-One 27 (late 2016)

Price as reviewed $1,399
Display size/resolution 27-inch 2,560x1,440 touchscreen
PC CPU 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-6700T
PC memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz
Graphics 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M
Storage 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.2
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

Aural aura

This isn't HP's first rodeo with Bang & Olufsen -- they've been partners for almost three years -- but with four front-firing speakers, this is the most ambitious design to date.

And the built-in sound is certainly better than most all-in-ones -- the far more expensive Dell XPS 27 is a notable exception -- and it's louder. But it doesn't have much bass, so if you've got persnickity ears or like to feel it when you launch a grenade, you should consider alternatives, as there's no audio input and the only output is the headphone jack, which doubles as a mic input.

I'm not exceptionally impressed with the display, either, though it's responsive enough as a touchscreen and not heinously reflective. Will you notice everything I nitpick about? Probably not unless you compare it side by side with a better one or if you're as sensitive about monitors as I am. If you are, it might be worth springing for the configuration with the upgraded display.

Despite having a Technicolor-certified mode (which seems to mean that it displays colors as accurately as possible, but doesn't guarantee that it can display all the colors you might need), the monitor covers just the sRGB color space. That's fine for HD video streaming, shopping and other general-purpose uses, but not for HDR video, photo editing or other tasks that require a larger color space. (Note: It uses switchable graphics, so it's quite possible that the color issues are fault of the integrated graphics, but there's no way to force it to use the discrete GPU.)

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