When we reviewed the HP Envy 27 back in 2013, we were wowed by its sleek aesthetics and powerful Beats Audio system. The latest Envy 27 is also pleasing to the eye, but that’s where the similarities end. This time around, the monitor omits the speakers altogether. Still, the 27-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel delivers a stunning Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) picture, and you also get a USB-C port.
Design and Features
Micro-thin bezels and a thin, 1.5-inch, matte-black cabinet give the Envy 27 a minimalist look. The 10-pound cabinet is supported by a black, rectangular stand with a short, chrome mounting arm that lets you tilt the panel 30 degrees, but lacks height, swivel, and pivot adjustments. All of the I/O ports are around back, facing outward. They include two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort, and one USB-C port. Missing are the more common USB 3.0 ports used to connect to storage devices, mobile devices, and input devices. Also around back, on the lower-right side, are four function buttons used to access the settings menus, as well as a power button.
The 27-inch IPS panel has a maximum resolution of 3,860 by 2,160, a peak brightness of 350 cd/m2, a 1,300:1 contrast ratio, and a 14-millisecond pixel response. Settings include Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpness, and there are four Color Temperature settings made up of Warm, Neutral, Cool, and Custom RGB, as well as eight Viewing Modes comprised of Low Blue Light, Night, Reading, HP Enhance +, Gaming/FreeSync, Movie, Photo, and Custom. There are also five Response Time levels that you can use to help reduce motion artifacts, and four Black Stretch levels to help improve shadow detail. Missing are the advanced six-axis color adjustments that you get with BenQ SW2700PT and the Acer BE270U.
HP’s one-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight for the Envy 27 is rather stingy compared with the three-year plan that you get from most other monitor manufacturers. Included in the box are DisplayPort and HDMI cables, a USB-C cable, a VESA mounting plate, and a resource CD containing drivers and a user guide.
The Envy 27’s out-of-the-box color accuracy was a bit off. On the chromaticity chart below, my color measurements are represented by the colored dots, and the ideal CIE color coordinates are represented by the boxes. As you can see, red and blue colors are fairly close to their ideal coordinates, while green is completely outside of its box. Fortunately, the heavy greens did not create any tinting errors or result in oversaturated colors in testing. In fact, colors appeared rich and uniform in my test images and while displaying scenes from Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy on Blu-ray.
The IPS panel aced the DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test, correctly showing every shade of gray from dark to light, and providing excellent shadow and highlight detail in my test images. Viewing-angle performance was also quite good in testing; there was no color shifting or dimming when viewed from an extreme top, side, or bottom angle.
Despite having support for AMD’s FreeSync anti-tearing technology, the Envy 27 isn’t positioned as a gaming monitor. This is a good thing, as its performance in our Crysis 3 (PC) and Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Sony PlayStation 4) was less than stellar. The panel’s slow 14-millisecond pixel response presented a fair amount of motion blur in our tests, and switching to the fastest Response Time setting had very little effect. The display’s input lag of 41.1 milliseconds, as measured using a Leo Bodnar Video Signal Lag Tester, was quite long, especially when compared with our fastest monitor, the BenQ SW2700PT (9.5 milliseconds).
The Envy 27 consumed 37 watts of power when set to its Neutral Color Temperature mode, which is similar to a Standard preset (it doesn’t offer an ECO power-saving mode). The ViewSonic XG2700-4K consumed 35 watts while set to Standard mode, but it has a couple of power-saving modes; it used 27 watts in Optimize mode and 18 watts in Conserve mode. The LG 27UD88-W used 27 watts in sRGB mode (it does not offer an ECO mode either).
If you want a good-looking large-screen UHD monitor without having to drop a bundle, the HP Envy 27 is a solid choice. It delivered excellent image detail in our tests, and offers wide viewing angles, but its color accuracy could be better. While not positioned as a gaming monitor, it does support AMD’s FreeSync technology, but its overall gaming performance will likely disappoint serious gamers. And, while it’s nice to have a USB-C port, a couple of USB 3.0 ports would be welcome.
If you can live with a WQHD (2,560-by-1,440) resolution, the BenQ SW2700PT is our Editors’ Choice for midrange, large-screen monitors. It delivers superior color accuracy and solid grayscale performance, is loaded with features, and offers extensive image settings, though at a price that’s $150 more than the Envy 27. If UHD games are your thing, check out our top pick for large-screen gaming monitors, the ViewSonic XG2700-4K. It offers excellent color and gaming performance, and plenty of features.