HP Envy 32 All-in-One Overview: A True iMac Killer?

"HP wants to kill the iMac with the HP Envy 32 All-in-One."

  • Luxurious design

  • Desktop class processor

  • Powerful RTX graphics

  • Many mobile synergies

  • Can get hot and loud

  • No Core i9 option

All-in-one never started. They keep your desk clean, but if it's not the iMac you're talking about, they're pretty niche.

However, with the latest all-in-one system, HP wants to take on Apple's best. The new Envy 32 All-in-One offers an answer to all functions of the iMac, be it the super bright HDR600 4K display, the party-ready speakers or the impressive performance. But can HP's recent attempt really steal the king of the all-in-one?

A cozy design

When I first pulled the HP Envy 32-All-in-One out of the box, I got chills. Even the iconic iMac looks simple in comparison.

Luxury is the name of the game here, though it's a different setting than the sculptural wire base and aluminum stand of the Dell Inspiron 27 7790. The Envy uses more natural surfaces like leather, wood, and fabric to get a warmer look that should work well fit a home office or bedroom. It is extremely cozy.

On the front of this PC there is a striking speaker grille with an acoustic fabric layer. This is then on the right side with a real leather label with the Bang & Olufsen logo. The metal base is finished with a dark ash woodgrain finish. When I look at everything together, I've never seen a PC that felt so great.

While the front of the computer is chic, the back only means business. It has a glossy HP logo and a plastic surface as well as the metal stand. The sharp edges and angles do not quite fit the front and look inspired by the game aesthetics.

Most of the ports are located there. Due to the placement of the large soundbar, they are uncomfortably high when viewed from behind. This makes it a bit difficult to reach if you're looking for a USB port.

The mix of ports includes USB-C, a Thunderbolt 3 port, two USB-A ports, an HDMI input, an HDMI output and an Ethernet socket. That's more than what you get with the Inspiron 27 7790 from Dell.

It is then complemented by a USB-A connector on the lower right panel and a full-size SD card reader on the lower left panel. I really appreciate these side ports on the HP. Nothing is more frustrating than looking for an SD card slot on the back.

The HDMI input and Thunderbolt 3 are excellent additions. You can chain displays next to the Envy, which is not possible with the Inspiron 27 7790. You can even choose to use Envy as a TV or choose a large display while the Windows system itself is off. I did that because I was able to connect my Nintendo Switch, much like we could with the Inspiron 27 7790.

Oh, and there's also a 5-megapixel Windows Hello webcam, so you can only log in to your PC with your face.

Party spokesman

As I continued to build the Envy 32-All-in-One, I noticed the huge speaker grille. It's one of the most obvious things about the PC that sets it apart from the iMac – but it also serves a good cause. HP claims this is one of the loudest all-in-one devices on the market. If you place it against the speakers on the back of the iMac or against the smaller soundbar of the Dell Inspiron 27 7790, there are many reasons for this.

First there are two tweeters, two passive radiators and two middle drivers behind the speaker grille. In the middle there is also a woofer for better bass. But that's a description. I was still wondering how loud these speakers can get.

I opened a YouTube video and watched a clip of a Formula 1 race. The experience was breathtaking. With a volume of only 12%, I felt the bass in my desk as the cars raced along the route. I could even follow the sound of the engines and cars turning around the corner. I had never felt so immersed in front of a PC.

I see little reason for you to purchase a standalone speaker system when you buy this PC.

But that was not all. HP has also added a new Advanced Audio Stream feature to the Envy 32 All-in-One. Unlike last year's Envy, this improved feature lets you stream music from your phone to your PC even when your PC is turned off. I tried it and streamed some songs from my phone. It was loud and lively, and I hardly see any reason for you to purchase a standalone speaker system when you buy this PC.

With this in mind, I also see this as a good solution for content creators for whom the high-end iMac plays a role. Would you like to show a video that you made to an important customer? Just turn on the Envy's speakers and blow them away.

When 4K hits 5K

Apple has proven that it always masters the display with an all-in-one device. Its 5K iMac cannot be surpassed in terms of pure pixel density. But HP has something to say about it. This Envy has an even sharper 31.5-inch 4K display, higher contrast and higher brightness than an iMac. It seems to steal the content creators that run for Apple's products.

While the 3,840 × 2,160 resolution is lower than the 5,120 × 2,800 resolution of a 5K iMac, there are some areas where this all-in-one device outperforms Apple.

First, there is the size of the display. The maximum from Apple is 27 inches, the Envy at 31.5 inches. Next is the brightness. When we checked it, we achieved a peak brightness of around 507 nits on the iMac. The Envy IPS LCD panel now has 600 nits, according to our colorimeter. Finally there is the contrast ratio. While the 27-inch iMac has a contrast ratio of 900, the HP Envy beats it with an insanely high level of 6,000: 1.

Envy is probably a photographer's best friend

On paper, this gives the Envy a 32% larger display area, 20% more brightness and a 5 times better contrast to the iMac. HP also claims that this is the first HDR 600 PC on the market. This also means that the Envy is probably a photographer's best friend due to this high contrast. It even manages to surpass Microsoft's Surface Studio 2, which at 1,140 held the record for the highest contrast ratio overall.

Then there is the design aesthetics of the Envy. While the iMac is surrounded by a chunky frame, the HP Envy maintains thin frames and has a 94% screen-to-body ratio. The screen also has a special anti-reflective coating that prevents glare from sunlight and light in a bright room.

Unfortunately, it is not a touchscreen. This is a deliberate design that HP developed because HP believes it will also increase the price and not make the system HDR 600 compliant.

RTX graphics make their debut

One of the biggest contributors to the iMac's success was its performance. Processors of the desktop class are executed, which extend up to the 8-core Core i9. Most Windows all-in-one devices use weaker laptop parts, both in terms of processors and graphics. This includes both Dell Inspiron and Surface Studio 2.

Our test device has a 62-watt Intel CPU, which you can find on high-performance gaming desktops. It is equipped with the 9th generation Intel Core i7-9700 processor, which has 8 cores. This is also paired with 32 GB of storage and a 1 TB Intel Optane SSD. There is no Core i9 option where you lose the higher thread count and clock speed. If you want the absolute fastest all-in-one content creation device, the iMac is still the best choice.

With all the raw performance of a desktop CPU, I'm sure this is a great PC for content creators and even gamers.

Still, envy is not a sucker. Our geekbench tests have improved his way. Although Geekbench is only a simulated test, the Envy managed to achieve a single-core score of 5,808 and a multi-core score of 29,124. Thanks to the faster Core i9 option, this single-core score lies behind the iMac 5K 6.324 and 33.024.

In a more demanding test where we encoded a 4K video, this processor still held up well. The encoding was completed in 101 seconds, which is very close to the 98 seconds reported when testing the 5K iMac. This is a good sign of performance in a number of content creation applications, including: B. the video editing in Premiere.

While the desktop processor of the Envy 32 All-in-One was a nice surprise, HP has more power in stock. This all-in-one device offers an option for up to RTX 2080 graphics. This is a premiere for all-in-one devices. It also makes the Envy a great gaming PC and smashes all of the lower performing AMD cards in the Mac.

However, there is a catch. These are mobile graphics cards as opposed to full desktop cards, and our device was equipped with a weaker RTX 2060. But this system was also impressive. We tested games like Fortnite and Civilization VI. In Fortnite, the HP shifted 27 frames per second in 4K Epic settings. At lower 1080p settings, the Envy was on average super soft 148 frames per second. This destroys the frame rates that we have on the 5K iMac.

This is not a slot machine, but it can be if you really want to

In terms of Civilization VI, the HP pulled out frames of around 166 at medium settings in 1080p and at Ultra 100 frames. You should stay away from 4K for most games, but in something like Forza Motorsport 7, the game can easily hold up to 60 frames per second at 4K with maximum settings.

This is not a purely slot machine, but it definitely has problems. Just be prepared to listen to the fans as the system gets hot quickly, especially along the top bezels. That's the price you pay for so much performance, but it's nothing new to gamers.

Our opinion

The Envy 32 All-in-One is a great Windows version of the iMac. Fans of the iMac may not be dissuaded from it, but with its luxurious design, superb speakers, and vibrant 4K display, it is certainly a serious competitor. The power inside makes it so much

Are there alternatives?

You can actually buy an Apple 5K iMac, although it is considerably more expensive and less graphically powerful. This may still be a better choice for raw content creation.

The Surface Studio 2 has outdated Intel CPUs and is an interesting option with its foldable design and touchscreen. However, the lack of electricity is a problem – as is the excessive price.

A cheaper option would also be the Dell Inspiron 27 7790 with a similar HDMI input and a sleek, modern design but weaker laptop-class processors.

How long it will take?

The HP Envy 32 All-in-One should last quite a while. The 4K screen resolution, processing quality, port selection and processing performance are up to date and should be maintained within four or five years.

Should you buy it

Yes. If you need a premium Windows PC that can help you create content and games, this is the best all-in-one device you can buy.

Follow our live blog for more CES news and announcements.

Editor's recommendations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *