HP Envy 34 (2022) Review
The HP Envy 34 offers superb display quality, content creation power and connectivity in a good-looking package and it’s the best creative all-in-one you can buy right now – but proper PCs and displays are even better, and faster rivals will likely emerge later in 2023.
- A stunning 5K widescreen
- Sleek, sturdy and versatile design
- Reasonable content creation performance levels
- Loads of connectivity
- CPU and GPU can’t compete with other chips
- Screen doesn’t quite nail the Adobe RGB gamut
- Occasionally loud
- UKRRP: £2399
- USARRP: $2069
- EuropeRRP: €2799
- A fantastic 34in displayThe screen is the Envy’s star feature, and it’s no surprise – the 34in widescreen has the space and quality for virtually any creative task, and the 21:9 aspect ratio makes multi-tasking simple too.
- A good-looking and versatile exterior designThe aluminium chassis looks great, but that’s not all – it’s got more ports than any rival all-in-one offers, it has height adjustment, and it even supports wireless charging and some internal component upgrades.
- Solid components that don’t break recordsWhile there’s no denying that the Core i7 processors and GeForce graphics cards on offer here are capable creative parts, they’ve already been eclipsed by other CPUs and GPUs – and 2023 will likely bring even faster contenders to the fore.
An all-in-one PC like the HP Envy 34 is ideal if you want a sleek, good-looking computer without the headache of cramming a tower into a tight space – or just having to stick an ugly tower on your desk.
There are reasons to consider the HP Envy 34 beyond space-saving and aesthetics. The widescreen display delivers more space for creative workloads, and the riog comes with a keyboard, mouse and webcam, so you don’t have to worry about peripherals.
You’ll have to shell out a fair amount of cash for this versatile desktop, though – the specification I’ve reviewed costs $2069 in the US, £2399 in the UK and €2799 in Europe, so it’s not cheap.
Still, if you want a creative all-in-one you don’t have many options right now. Apple has already killed off the 27in iMac – though rumours are rife about a new model in 2023 – and the existing 24in model is small and slow. The Microsoft Surface Studio 2+ is a competing option, but prices start at a mighty $4499 / £4699 / €5589.
There’s a clear gap in the market, then, and the HP Envy 34 could easily seize a spot on our 2023 best desktop PC chart.
- Loads of ports and sockets, and even has height and tilt adjustment
- Build quality is impressive, and you’re able to upgrade the PC with better memory and storage
- The included webcam, keyboard and mouse are all impressive
The HP Envy 34 certainly looks good enough to compete with rivals. At the front it’s got tiny bezels and a sleek chassis made from recycled aluminium, and the rear is a gently curved slab of metal with a shining logo and hidden air vents.
It’s practical, too. On the stand – and so easy to reach – you’ll find two full-size USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C connector alongside a 3-in-1 card reader.
Around the back there are two Thunderbolt 4 ports, four full-size USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, an HDMI port and a Gigabit Ethernet socket. No iMac offers this connectivity, and Microsoft’s Surface Studio+ doesn’t offer these features either.
It’s worth mentioning the speakers too, as the pair of 2W Bang & Olufsen units produce punchy, clear sound with loads of detail. This gear is ideal for background music with a bit of quality – you’ll only want something better if you’re working in audio apps.
Build quality is superb, and you even get 60mm of height adjustment and 25 degrees of tilt. It’s not quite the Surface’s pivoting stand, but it’s more than most all-in-ones offer.
The HP impresses on the inside, too. Its Gigabit Ethernet connection sits alongside dual-band Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, and the base panel includes a 15W wireless charger. And unusually for an all-in-one you can even make internal upgrades – a magnetic panel on the rear pops away to reveal two M.2 SSD slots and four memory sockets.
The webcam is another impressive bit of kit. The 16mp lens supplies colourful and pin-sharp imagery, and it’s a magnetic unit that snaps to the Envy’s edges. It works with Windows Hello, and it’s got a privacy shutter.
The wireless keyboard and mouse are sleek and comfortable – easily good enough for busy days. The chiclet keyboard is closer to a laptop typing unit than a mechanical desktop beast, but that won’t be an issue for most users. And, unlike Apple’s default Magic Keyboard, you get a numberpad here.
- The 34-in display has the width, resolution and quality for virtually any creative task
- The panel can’t quite handle the Adobe RGB gamut
- Smart software makes it easy to manage the display
The HP Envy 34’s key feature is undoubtedly the 34-in display. Its 21:9 aspect ratio and 5120 x 2160 resolution deliver a vast amount of crisp on-screen space – perfect if you want to zoom in on photos, stretch out horizontal timelines or use multiple apps simultaneously.
It’s got an anti-reflective coating too, which improves functionality, and the peak brightness of 531 nits is monstrous – I had to turn it down to avoid hurting my eyes.
That brightness figure combines with a black point of 0.44 nits for a contrast ratio of 1207:1, and that figure improved to 1242:1 after I dropped the brightness to a more manageable 50% level. That’s a solid result for any IPS display and means you get decent depth and nuance throughout. The solid gamma average of 2.15 also means subtle changes in darker shades are rendered well.
The average Delta E of 1.67 means you won’t have any accuracy issues, and the colour temperature of 6,629K is great. The maximum brightness deviation of 7% is a superb figure for any widescreen, and means that this panel has excellent consistency.
The panel produces 99.8% of the sRGB space with a huge 138.9% volume level – no wonder everything looks so bold. Its 96.7% and 98.4% figures in the DCI-P3 space are both excellent. The panel’s only weak point comes in the Adobe RGB gamut, where it produced a middling 83% of the space at 95.7% volume.
This screen has the quality to handle virtually any creative task. If you’re tackling pro-level photo or video work then it won’t bat an eyelid, and it’s well-placed for HDR media creation. That Adobe RGB figure is the only weak point, but it’s not a disaster – you’ll get better coverage from a professional monitor, but the Envy can still handle Adobe design workloads in a pinch.
It’s easy to manage, too. The HP Display Control allows for switching between sRGB, Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 modes, and the display can automatically switch colour spaces when certain apps are loaded.
The only way you’ll improve on this screen is by investing in a professional display. You’ll lose out on size and width, though, and you won’t get much change from $1000 / £1000 / €1000.
- The i7-11700, i7-12700 and RTX 3060 are fast enough for creative workloads
- Thermal considerations mean that the CPU doesn’t achieve its full speeds
- Apple’s upcoming desktop processors will almost certainly be far faster
The HP Envy 34 may have a fantastic screen, but all-in-one machines often fall behind when it comes to components – and that’s not changed here.
The HP I’ve reviewed uses an Intel Core i7-11700 processor with eight Hyper-Threaded cores that peak at 4.9GHz, but that chip is already a couple of generations behind the curve. And while HP has updated the Envy’s latest models with the i7-12700, that Alder Lake chip has already been replaced.
Elsewhere, the HP Envy 34 has 16GB of DDR5 memory and a 1TB SSD with solid read and write speeds of 6,809MB/s and 4,617MB/s. Graphics power comes from an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, but it’s the mobile version with 6GB of memory and a 70W TDP – not the desktop equivalent, which has either 8GB or 12GB of memory and a 170W peak.
The Envy’s internals are a bit underwhelming. In the Geekbench single- and multi-core benchmarks the i7-11700 scored 1610 and 7779, and the i7-12700 scores about 1800 and 9400 in those tests. That’s hardly convincing, though – newer Intel desktop and mobile chips are faster, and even the Apple MacBook Air’s M2 processor scored 1928 and 8968.
The HP looks weaker when you consider what’s coming. The M2 Pro chip inside the MacBook Pro (2023) is considerably faster, and that chip is expected to be used for future iMac desktops.
|HP Envy 34||Apple iMac (2021)||MacBook Pro (2023)|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-11700||Apple M1||Apple M2 Pro|
|Single-core Geekbench 5||1610||1719||1957|
|Multi-core Geekbench 5||7779||7527||14,634|
The Envy’s Intel CPUs still have the clout to tackle any photo-editing workload and most video-editing tasks. It’ll scythe through browser tabs too. But neither chip can get close to what Apple may offer later in 2023.
HP’s rig also makes thermal compromises. In its default Balanced mode the Envy is admirably quiet, but its multi-core speed of 2.8GHz falls short of the CPU’s all-core peak of 4.4GHz, and its single-core pace of 4.6GHz doesn’t quite match the spec sheet. Switch to Performance mode and the noise level increases – it’s as loud as the average gaming tower – but those CPU speeds only increased to 2.9GHz and 4.7GHz.
Those revised speeds saw the HP’s Geekbench results jump to 1,683 and 8,613, so it’s hardly transformative.
You’ll get loads more power from a conventional desktop, too. But, just like buying a dedicated pro monitor, this is another area where you may spend more cash – rigs with the i7-13700K tend to cost at least $1700 / £1700 / €1800, and that’s before a screen and peripherals.
The mobile GPU is limited, too. It’ll aid creative apps that use GPU acceleration, but the only games it’ll play at native resolution are casual titles and eSports games – its Rainbow Six Siege average of 78fps is reasonable, but it could only manage 33fps in Borderlands 3 at medium settings. Combine this with the 60Hz refresh rate and you’ll find that this PC just isn’t suitable for serious gaming.
If you do want some more gaming or creative muscle in the Envy then it’s possible to configure the rig with an RTX 3080 in certain markets, but it’s expensive; £3799 in the UK and €4199 in Europe. Conventional desktops generally offer better value when it comes to graphics power, especially now GPUs like the RTX 4080 have launched.
Ultimately, the Envy’s components are a compromise. The internals are fast enough for creative work without matching proper desktops or Apple’s forthcoming hardware, and the screen is excellent – but dedicated displays are even better.
But that’s no surprise given that HP has crammed all of this hardware into a slim all-in-one that costs less than the combined price of a proper tower and professional display. So while you’ll find better displays and components elsewhere, the HP has a stunning screen and enough power to get the job done – and it slips into a market gap vacated by Apple and Microsoft. If you want a high-quality creative system and can’t wait to see what else 2023 brings, the HP Envy 34 is the one to buy.
Should you buy it?
You’d love an all-in-one to handle almost every creative task:
The display will tackle almost any content creation workload, the components are good enough for those tasks too, and the HP has an enviable selection of ports and sockets – and the price is almost reasonable, too.
You need maximum power or Adobe RGB perfection:
Newer and faster components are easy to find, especially if you pay a bit more for a proper PC, and professional displays also go beyond the Envy’s panel in terms of Adobe RGB ability.
The HP Envy 34 has a fantastic display, an impressively versatile exterior and enough power to handle creative tasks, but you’ll find better components and screen quality elsewhere – especially if you’re happy spending a bit more.
How we test
Every PC we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key aspects including build quality, performance, and accessibility.
These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real-world checks, such as how well it runs an AAA game.
We used it as our main PC for at least a week.
We tested the screen using a colorimeter and real-world use.
We tested the performance via both benchmark tests and real-world use.
The HP Envy 34 is perfectly capable of playing games at medium to low graphics settings. Although the 60Hz refresh rate of the screen isn’t high enough to satisfy the eSports crowd.