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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.

Brightness And Contrast

To read about our monitor tests in-depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.

Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

Including the Envy 34c we’ve reviewed five curved screens to-date: BenQ’s XR3501, Acer’s XR341CK, Dell’s U3415W and LG’s 34UC97. To bring the group to six we’ve included the Philips BDM4065UC which is also based on VA technology.

Out of the box, we could only get around 280cd/m2 peak brightness which is well below HP’s spec of 350. By changing the color mode to Native and the Quick View to Custom, we upped that figure to 292.6519cd/m2. You get extra output but whites look a little green and there’s no way to fix the color errors. The Envy 34c offers enough light for just about any application.

This is the fun part of measuring VA panels: the awesome black levels. Philips will probably hold the record for a while but HP is the best of the rest at .1272cd/m2.

Here’s why we love VA monitors. The contrast is far above that of IPS or TN displays. It has a significant impact on image quality making the picture far more 3D-like. Colors look more saturated and vivid as well. The Envy 34c is one great-looking screen.

Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level

The minimum output level is a tad low but useable at 40.7512cd/m2. Please refer to our brightness settings on the previous page to find your preferred level.

The Dell moves into second place by virtue of its super-dim minimum backlight. Its contrast isn’t any higher than other IPS screens.

The Envy 34c’s contrast drops 18 percent as you lower the backlight. Since the ratio is so high you won’t notice a major shift in image depth but it’s not as consistent as the other monitors here.

After Calibration to 200cd/m2

Calibration preserves the excellent black level at a super-low .1015cd/m2. It can’t really get much better unless you put that jumbo Philips on your desk.

The Envy 34c posts the second-best calibrated contrast we’ve ever recorded. If this doesn’t convince you to consider a VA panel for your next monitor, we don’t know what will.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

ANSI contrast measures only a scant seven-percent below the calibrated on/off number. There’s little doubt that HP is using a quality panel part here. This test result means real-world content will have a lot more depth and dimension than what you’ll see on an IPS or TN screen. All we need now are more product choices.

Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.