HP Envy 27 review - IPS panel with built-in speakers branded by Beats Audio

Super stylish and an angled audio platform delivers Beats Audio, though the display quality isn’t as good as others.

If you want something just as stylish as your MacBook Air to sit on a desk at home then cast your eyes upon the HP Envy 27, a 27in IPS panel with built-in speakers branded by Beats Audio.

With the slimmest of bezels, a smooth, sculpted back, audio front panel and a knack of seeming to hover above the solid metal stand, this could the monitor of your dreams.

The consequence of such a slender rear is an less-pretty external power supply. On the back are interfaces for D- Sub VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort. Audio can come in through either HDMI or DisplayPort connections, and note that on the Mac you will need to tell it to send the audio to that monitor. Alternatively there are audio jacks for input and output. The sound is pretty good despite the Beats Audio tag, with treble tones being particularly crisp, but there’s little bass and obviously won’t be replacing any hi-fi unit.

Also worth noting is that the screen is glossy and reflective, so picks up distracting reflections. As befits something that looks so good, the monitor controls are touch-sensitive on the bottom strip, but they are invisible until touched, when they illuminate.

Unlike some of the other 27in monitors here, the maximum resolution for the Envy 27 is only a full-HD 1920 x 1080 which does make the display look soft in comparison.

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Checking the colour gamut coverage, sRGB reached 97%, Adobe RGB at 76% and NTSC at a lowly 71%. Brightness consistency was mostly satisfactory except for the right side which was much brighter – up to 16.3% difference at 100% brightness setting. Checking the screen on pure black there was clear light leak on that side too. Colour consistency across the display was fairly even, apart from the bottom centre third where it varied by Delta-E 4.4 at 100% Brightness. It wasn’t the worst in colour accuracy, but not great either. Here greens were off by Delta-E 5.78 with an overall average of 2.62. The rated brightness for the Envy is 300 cd/m2 but this fell short in our tests at 287 cd/m2 although it should still work in brightly lit rooms. The measured contrast though was better at 750:1 at 100% Brightness.

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