Because this base is bigger, HP includes two passive radiators for enhanced bass. As a result, music sounds far more balanced and resonant than the Envy 27 AIO and better than most of the all-in-one integrated speakers out there. Plus there's sufficient frequency range that you can actually hear differences among the presets.
Note that in some respects, B&O is the Leica of audio. In this case, I mean they share the same don't-futz-with-it philosophy. The default settings are for a flat frequency profile (i.e.: nothing's boosted or suppressed), which may not be to everyone's taste; I know it's not mine. That's why the presets are important.
Like its sister system, there's also a cool touch of audio control on the right side of the base. When used with Microsoft's own Groove Music or other media apps, the control supports tap-to-pause and swiping forward and backward through tracks. It doesn't seem to work with any services that play through web browsers, however.
I like HP's design choices: It moved all the guts from the display section to the base, with an SD card slot, USB-C charging port and headphone jack easily accessible on the right side plus four USB-A ports, HDMI in and out and Ethernet connections on the back. The jack on the right side can be somewhat awkward, since the headphone cord occasionally intrudes on your mousing territory, at least if you're right-handed.
HP's retractable webcam also appears here. It not only preserves the thin-bezel aesthetic of the monitor, you can also rest assured that no one's watching you when the camera is put away. You do need to tilt the monitor back a bit to center yourself in the image, at least if you're an average-height woman, but the system's perfectly workable in that position.
I'm still not a fan of HP's Envy wireless mouse and keyboard for anything more than blending into the system design. The mouse feels a bit awkwardly weighted, the buttons are too hard to press and the keyboard keys have very little travel.
The Envy Curved AIO may have a fast-forward design, but its operating speed is less remarkable. It should handle most day-to-day tasks without problems, and starts up quickly. Though I doubt a speed freak would find it satisfactory, it's gaming performance should be fine for less demanding players.
Grading on the curved
Whatever issues I might have with the curved display, I have to admit it raises an already graceful looking all-in-one to a new level of elegance. But the Envy Curved AIO 34 has the brains to back it up, too.
|Dell XPS 27 (2016)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-6700; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB AMD Radeon R9 M470X; 512GB SSD|
|HP Envy AIO 27 (late 2016)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-6700T; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M; 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD|
|HP Envy Curved AIO 34 (2017)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700T; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 4GB AMD Radeon RX460; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD|
|Microsoft Surface Studio||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-6820HQ, 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz, 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M; 2TB HDD + 128GB SSD|
|Origin PC Omni||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); (oc) 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz, 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080; 2TB HDD + 500GB SSD|