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HP Envy 34c Monitor Review

HP’s new 34-inch curved Envy 34c sports a high-contrast SVA panel and DTS-tuned speakers; features that set it apart from the competition. Today we check out its performance in our benchmark suite.

Packaging, Physical Layout And Accessories

The Envy34c is a premium product and it’s packaged accordingly. Our sample arrived double-boxed with the contents protected by rubbery foam, not the typical kind that crumbles. The carton looks capable of taking some abuse and still delivering the monitor to your doorstep undamaged.

The accessories are in their own cardboard box inside the carton which saves you from rummaging around to find everything. And quite a few cables are included. There’s a large power brick along with DisplayPort, two HDMI cables (one has an MHL connector) and USB 3.0. A CD containing the user manual rounds out the bundle.

Product 360

The Envy 34c costs no more than any other 34-inch curved display but it does offer a little more style and better audio from its six-watt DTS-tuned speakers. They flank the screen’s sides which widens the package a few inches but their forward-firing configuration and large size place their sound quality well above typical monitor speakers. Capable of decent volume they also have good frequency response and a nice level of transparency.

In the photo you can see that the screen’s anti-glare coating is somewhere between a mirror and a matte finish. It enables a very clear and detailed image with no trace of grain but it will pick up reflections from the brightest lights.

The stand is a lovely piece of cast aluminum with a finely-textured finish. It’s quite solid and deep enough to keep the screen from tipping. Only a tilt adjustment of -2 to 25 degrees is provided, there are no height or swivel functions. Assemble it by snapping into the panel’s bottom edge, no tools are required. If you’re looking for the OSD controls, reach around the bottom right corner and you’ll find three buttons there. Or you can use the slick remote pictured below.

This is only the second monitor we’ve ever reviewed that includes a remote. Its keys are small membranes with symbols molded onto them. Controls include a power toggle, OSD navigation and an input selector. When the OSD is not on-screen the plus and minus keys adjust volume.

One feature that is very well though-out is the OSD sizing. When you open it with the remote, it’s large and easy to read from further back. When you activate with the panel buttons, it’s smaller and easier to read up close.

From the side you can see the panel tapers down to a fairly thin edge. The Envy 34c isn’t any thicker than a non-curved screen but it does have a bulge at the bottom. HP includes a special bracket that goes in place of the stand if you need a 100mm VESA mount. It’s also made from cast aluminum and is very sturdy.

The back is made from a single piece of white plastic that creates a fairly unique styling cue. Here you can see the control buttons which click firmly and provide good feedback. The stand attaches at the bottom which means the tilt fulcrum is also lowered. Just push and pull the top of the screen to find your preferred position.

Like other curved displays the inputs face backwards. It’s not an issue on the desktop but if you wall-mount, take care to use connectors that don’t stick out too far. There are two HDMI 1.4 inputs, one of which supports MHL with an included cable. You also get a single DisplayPort version 1.2. The USB hub is 3.0 with one upstream and two downstream ports.

  • vic20
    I was considering a 40" 4K TV for my PC, but this may be a better option. Looks slick.
    Reply
  • vic20
    Looks really a really slick display. Will be on my short list for sure.
    Reply
  • HideOut
    I'd like a 2K version of one of these things. Speakers not needed. I have a DTS 5.1 in the office already. But my GPU isn't going to drive a 4k well. Even 2K will be hard but its cheaper to upgrade to a 2K capable card.
    Reply
  • monsta
    still waiting for ASUS to release theirs!
    Reply
  • Shankovich
    Guys for this price, if you're not going to go above 60 Hz, as I see this is a more a workstation thing, 10-bit colour at least ;-;
    Reply
  • cknobman
    This is not worth a penny more than $500.
    Reply
  • picture_perfect
    I'd like a 2K version of one of these things. my GPU isn't going to drive a 4k well.

    Yea. It's less than 4K but it's still too much. Lower frame rates are innately blurry on LCD, which makes spending money on quick pixel response times pointless. Also throw those low input lag numbers out the window when frame rendering takes this long. And of course enjoy some low frame rate jitters (with or without G-sync). I would spend another grand on dual gtx980s to get this monitor working like expected...well no, actually I wouldn't.
    Reply
  • zthomas
    I agree this is a work monitor.. and not yet a gaming option..
    Reply
  • MetzMan007
    Free Sync, Almost makes me want to switch from Nvidia to ATI. Very Good looking screen, Almost Sexy in its own way.
    Reply
  • Merry_Blind
    I'd really like to see a VA panel designed for gaming, with lowest input lag and response time possible. To me it's the technology that looks the best between it, TN, and IPS, but it seems to be the worst in terms of speed... which isn't good for gaming.
    Reply