Top positive review
8 of 8 people found this helpful
Mostly very happy -a keeper, indeed
on May 10, 2013
I am very pleased with my new Envy 27: it looks and sounds great. I am upgrading from a 19" 720 display in a 2006 HP Touchsmart. I paid $408, which was $9 more than HP was charging on the day I checked last month -the Amazon account convenience and delivery-reliability was worth it. I am using a display port-to-display port connection and I didn't detect any difference when I tried a VGA connection using a DVI-I to VGA adaptor which came with my computer. The convenience of using a DP cable that also carried sound (as does HDMI) was preferred, but I will be experimenting when I have some time and am open to another reviewer's preference for VGA.
I like the Envy 27's thin, clean, sleek design, which I expected; and the built-in, beats-enhanced speakers, which are better than I expected. Although the built-in speakers were an important feature in my buying decision, I was a little skeptical -or biased- because Beats headphones have not worked for me at all. Well, here the enhancement makes these built-ins sound great -and loud, for built-in speakers. Truly: and I am an audio snob, or worst. My plan was to get a set of Audio Engine externals to go with my new CPU and new display, but I am holding off now because the quality and volume I am getting just merit reconsidering another $200 expense. I am listening to Wycliffe Gordon as I compose this, and the sounds reproduced are wonderful, and particularly, not base-enhanced or otherwise artificial, as I especially suspected. And this is only 192kb music from a couple of albums I just downloaded last night through my Xbox Pass. What I wonder is who actually manufactured these speakers. Regardless, make sure you locate the beats-enhancement control at the left-end of the touchpad controls (see below) to get the volume and quality differences. The small beats symbol will light up a nicely-subtle red when the beats feature is engaged, and it's helpful to monitor that you haven't turned off the enhancement inadvertently.
The basic limitation of the Envy 27 is that it has very limited -or is it none?- tilt, up-down, rotation, etc. adjustments. But, I knew about this before I ordered, and had opted for this monitor regardless. I do find a couple of other limitations with the monitor: One, the hardware controls are very limited. The "touchpad" controls at the very base of the unit definitely work well enough, but they are not convenient or easy. It took me a while to locate and get comfortable with them the first day. Since then, though, and given that they don't require access -for my needs- other than volume control, most of the time, I now appreciate the clean-design advantage of not having anything more accessible and visible. I have a Bluetooth keyboard with muting and volume controls that work with my sound card, and that works fine for me. My only recommendation to HP would be to drop the HP, Envy 27, and even the more-subtle beatsaudio branding, to make the design even cleaner/sleeker.
The other limitation is that the unit is quite light, and although the build quality is satisfactory, it does shake when I bang my desk with a knee or otherwise. I would take special care if there were little ones around. As it is, an occasional shaking is satisfactory, and probably just unusual for me because this is my first modern and separate display, and my first 27" one. The lightness does make it relatively easy to rotate the unit as needed despite the lack of a rotation mechanism. On the other hand, the plastic "pads" on the bottom do not facilitate such movement on my solid wood desk. My other recommendation to HP is that felt or other better padding would be a great improvement to next-year's model. If anyone has found a nice/seamless accessory or other rotation facilitator, I'd welcome a comment, and thanks. On balance, I am very happy with this purchase and would grade it an excellent buy. As I re-read this review prior to posting, I suppose the "limitations" are more acknowledgements, since I actually appreciate that I don't have to touch or reach for the monitor to adjust the volume, given the Envy 27's lightness; and that the lightness makes it easy to rotate the entire unit. Every purchase, indeed every choice in life, involves compromising, and this is proving to be a very nice compromise.