Review: HP Envy 27 IPS Display With Beats Audio

Accurate colours, shame about the response time

Our score: 4/5
Reviewed: September 16, 2013 11:30 AM
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Published: September 16, 2013 11:30 AM
By Alexandre Botella
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
The Envy 27 is a high-end 27" Full HD IPS LED-backlit monitor from HP that boasts Beats Audio technology to bring an added boost to its built-in speakers and headphones socket. This promises top-end sound quality using the same kind of audio processing wizardry that has helped make Beats headphones so popular.

Design & Build3/5


From the front, the Envy 27 is an attractive-looking monitor. The screen has an entirely glossy finish which extends right up to the edges of the front face, covering the 5 mm black border around the screen's sides and top edge. When switched off, it's like one big desktop mirror.

Monitor Review: HP Envy 27 - speakers and buttons


The speakers are located in a strip just under the front of the screen. Below that, there's a row of buttons for access to the internal menu and for switching on the Beats Audio function for enhanced sound quality (see below).

Monitor Review: HP Envy 27 - from the back

This monitor is somewhat less refined around the back, finished in the usual bog-standard black plastic. The Envy 27 is mounted on a decent-quality aluminium stand. This has a tilt function but it's not height-adjustable. You can't flip the screen round into portrait mode either.

Monitor Review: HP Envy 27 - connections
Envy 27 prise casque tranche 340



Video connections include VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort entries. There's an audio line in that can be used to input sound to the monitor's speakers with a source connected over VGA, as well as a headphones socket (on the right-hand edge) and an optical output (S/PDIF). There's even a mini-jack output for hooking up a subwoofer, which is definitely not something we see every day in a monitor. 

Colours & Contrast5/5



Monitor Review: HP Envy 27 - colour tempColour temperature over grey scale
Monitor Review: HP Envy 27 - gammaGamma
Monitor Review: HP Envy 27 - Delta E colour fidelityDelta E - colour fidelity

The Envy 27 displays colours perfectly accurately with its factory settings. We measured the average Delta E at 2.4—note that a score of 3 or less is required for colours to be considered "accurate". Contrast is high, measured at 1050:1 no matter what the screen brightness setting, and viewing angles are wide. It's therefore suitable for demanding users looking for high levels of onscreen image fidelity, such as photographers and graphic designers. The only real blip is a gamma that's a little wide of the mark over dark greys.

In spite of its high-end position, the Envy 27 sticks with run-of-the-mill Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels). There's no sign of the kind of higher resolutions we've been seeing in monitors like the 2560 x 1440-pixel ViewSonic VP2770-LED, which has 77% more pixels to its screen. That can be a real plus for editing images from a digital camera—a 12-Megapixel compact like the Fuji X20 takes pictures with 4000 x 3000 pixels, and a 20-Megapixel snapper like the Canon EOS 70D shoots with 5472 x 3648 pixels! Certain imaging professionals won't have to think twice about which monitor to pick. 

Responsiveness2/5


The average input lag of 9.5 ms is low enough to be insignificant when playing multiplayer games. You therefore won't be at a disadvantage when gaming on the Envy 27. 

Responsiveness
Monitor Review: HP Envy 27 - response time
White
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Black
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Average

This graph shows the ghosting time, measured in ms, which measures the time it takes this monitor to remove the previous frame entirely .
The lower the ghosting time, the more fluid moving images will appear
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Screen responsiveness is nowhere near as impressive as image quality. We measured the screen ghosting time (our in-house response-time test) at 18 ms on average, which will be too slow for FPS gamers. There's an option in the onscreen menu that promises to boost the response time, but this in turn creates a reverse ghosting effect, with opposite-coloured ghost images trailing behind moving objects. We therefore recommend that you leave it switched off. A monitor such as the Asus VG278H will be a much better choice for gamers.
4/5 HP Envy 27 DigitalVersus 2013-09-16 12:30:00

Pros

  • Accurate colour rendering straight out of the box (Delta E = 2.4)
  • IPS screen
  • High contrast (1050:1)
  • Power use is relatively low (30 watts at 200 cd/m²)
  • Beats Audio mode improves sound quality over the headphones out

Cons

  • Not responsive enough for gamers (average ghosting time = 18 ms)
  • Fixed stand (the screen can only be tilted a little)
  • Beats Audio mode doesn't improve the built-in speakers enough

Conclusion

With accurate colour reproduction, a Full HD IPS screen and high contrast, the HP Envy 27 lines itself up alongside the ViewSonic vx2770smh-LED. That said, it's a bit pricier than ViewSonic's model. OK, so you get Beats Audio technology, but this isn't quite as impressive as we would have hoped.

OUR SCORE 4/5
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