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HP Envy 32 AiO review

A cheaper iMac for Windows users

Editor's Choice
(Image: © Laptop Mag)

Our Verdict

HP's Envy 32 AiO, a beautiful, powerful and feature-filled Windows 10 all-in-one, is an excellent alternative to the iMac.

For

  • Attractive, modern design
  • Fast performance and RTX graphics
  • Bright, sharp 32-inch 4K display
  • Booming speakers with BT function
  • Decent keyboard/mouse included

Against

  • Can't adjust height, swivel
  • No Core i9 option
  • Missing a touch-screen option

For many people, the world of all-in-ones is populated by the iMac, the Surface Studio and everything else. Launched at CES 2020, HP's Envy 32 needs to be added to the discussion. Anyone who wants a powerful all-in-one that can run demanding programs and even play games should put the Envy 32 toward the top of their list. 

The Envy 32 combines a stylish chassis with powerful components, including RTX graphics, and tons of useful features, including the ability to turn the all-in-one into a Bluetooth speaker. Tack on a stunning 4K display, and the HP Envy 32 AiO is an excellent tool for creators, even though there are no touch-screen or Core i9 CPU options.

HP Envy 32 AiO price and availability 

The Envy 32 AiO is available today at major retailers with a starting price of $1,499. 

The base model comes with a Core i5-9400 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and a GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM. If you want more storage, pay up an extra $200, which will get you a 256GB SSD paired with a 1TB HDD. 

You can configure the Envy 32 to your liking. Most people will part with the extra $200 to go from a Core i5-9400 to a Core i7-9700 CPU. Another $180 will boost your RAM from 16GB to 32GB. 

The Envy 32 review model we received packs an Intel Core i7-9850H CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD with 32GB of Intel Optane storage and an RTX 2060 with 6GB of VRAM. 

From there, you can add a 2TB, 5400-rpm HDD and go all the way up to an RTX 2080 GPU (8GB of VRAM) for $3,094.

HP Envy 32 AiO design

Made out of wood, resin and fabric, the Envy 32 is one of the most elegant all-in-one PCs around. As such, the Envy 32 will blend into a posh mid-century-furnished living room or be the centerpiece of any other space.

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The Envy 32 was the center of attention in our office when I set the computer up on my desk. Of course, the wide 32-inch display is what drew people in, but they were equally impressed with the trendy aesthetic. 

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Below the 32-inch panel is a gray fabric panel, underneath which reside Bang & Olufsen-tuned speakers. I go into detail about how those speakers sound below, but I'll preface that section with this: They are really, really good.

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Under those speakers is a low-profile wooden base with a built-in Qi charger for powering your smartphone or other peripherals. The back of the all-in-one consists of a resin that feels less cheap than regular plastic. 

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Just above the display is a pop-up camera that you can hide by pushing it down so it's flush with the top bezel. This protects you from snooping eyes when you're not on a video call. 

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The Envy 32 AiO isn't the most flexible device, but it will tilt from minus 5 to 25 degrees. The screen doesn't swivel, and you can't adjust its height, so you might need a height-adjustable chair to get the best viewing angles. 

At 30 pounds, the Envy 32 is one hefty PC, but remember, this is a stationary machine designed to stay on your desk.

HP Envy 32 AiO ports

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The Envy 32 has all the ports you'll need for connecting peripherals and external drives.

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On the back of the Envy 32 are an HDMI in/out input, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB 3.1 Type-A inputs and a USB Type-C input.

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On the right edge are an easily accessible USB 3.1 Type-A port and a headphone/mic jack.

HP Envy 32 AiO display

The Envy 32's 31.5-inch, 4K IPS anti-reflection display is sharp and colorful. Given its massive size, the Envy 32 offers a TV-like viewing experience when you're streaming your favorite movies and shows. 

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When I watched a trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Rey's lightsaber glowed a vibrant cyan hue as it struck against Kylo Ren's scarlet trident. Those colors became even more saturated when I switched the display mode to Vibrant. I could see the most minute details in static scenes, like the rivets on a grounded spacecraft. 

Those details were a bit blurry in dynamic scenes, probably because of the monitor's 60-Hz refresh rate, which is lower than the 144 Hz you find on gaming monitors. Also, while saturated, colors didn't pop off the Envy 32's display like they would on a glossy panel, although I love how the panel blocked reflections. I noticed minimal glare on the screen despite testing it directly under harsh fluorescent office lights. 

On the standard display mode, the Envy 32 covers 104% of the sRGB color gamut, which is a good result but lower than expected out of a 4K display. HP claims that the Envy 32 covers 98% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, but we notched only 74.3%. 

With an HDR 600 rating, the display is rated at 600 nits of brightness. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the screen to reach that ambitious rating even after tinkering with the settings. With HDR turned on, the Envy 32 reached 486 nits of average brightness across the display, which is very luminous, if short of the advertised 600 nits.

We've reached out to HP to see if we need to enable certain settings to get the most out of the display. Regardless, these results are impressive. 

There are seven preset display modes — Standard, Movie, Gaming, Vivid, Warm, Cool and Native — that drastically change the color temperature of the Envy 32's screen.

HP Envy 32 AiO performance

Packing an Intel Core i7-9700 CPU and 32GB of RAM, the Envy 32 provided outstanding performance in our real-world and synthetic benchmark testing. 

I've been using the Envy 32 AiO for the last few weeks and haven't noticed any sluggishness, even when I'm lazy about closing Google Chrome tabs. There wasn't a hint of lag when I loaded three dozen Chrome tabs and played four 4K videos simultaneously in the background. The Envy 32 then loaded a Carabao Cup match between Manchester City and Manchester United on ESPN's streaming site without batting an eye. 

Impressive benchmark scores quantify the fast performance I experienced while using the Envy 32. The all-in-one scored an impressive 29,499 on the Geekbench 4.3 overall-performance test. 

The Envy 32 then took just 7 minutes and 42 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution. That's about half the time it takes most premium laptops to complete that same task. 

The 1TB NVMe PCIe Intel SSD inside the Envy 32 AiO is also speedy, if somewhat unremarkable. The storage drive converted 4.97GB of multimedia files in 10 seconds, for a rate of 508.9 megabytes per second.

HP Envy 32 AiO gaming

I was surprised to discover that the Envy 32 can be equipped with up to a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU. That effectively turns the Envy 32 into a full-on gaming rig.

Our specific unit was equipped with a GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, which proved capable enough to play modern games at high graphics settings. 

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The Envy 32 clocked a blistering 239 frames per second on the Dirt 3 (1080p) benchmark test, topping our 30-fps playability threshold many times over. You can comfortably play the racing game in 4K resolution (137 fps). 

Even more demanding games, including Far Cry New Dawn (78 fps), Hitman 2 (78 fps) and Metro Exodus (39 fps), played smoothly at 1080p resolution on the Envy 32. Rise of the Tomb Raider (40 fps at 1080p, 12 fps at 4K) and Middle-earth: Shadow of War (67 fps at 1080p, 26 fps at 4K) were playable at lower resolutions, but 4K gaming proved too much for the Envy 32. 

HP Envy 32 AiO keyboard and mouse

Like most all-in-ones, the Envy 32 ships with a keyboard and mouse, the former being the much more interesting of the two. 

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The chiclet-style keyboard connects to the PC wirelessly and features two additional Bluetooth channels. This lets you connect the keyboard to other devices, like smartphones or tablets, and use it to type. You can easily switch between devices with the press of a key. You can prop up your phone or tablet on a lip on the back of the keyboard. 

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Strip away those special features, and the keyboard is decent. While key travel is quite shallow, they have a snappiness to them that let me type quickly and with few errors. I punched out 114 words per minute with an accuracy of 92% on the 10FastFingers.com typing test. That is faster but less accurate than my 109-wpm, 95% accuracy averages. 

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The wireless mouse is basic in comparison to the keyboard. Its low-profile and subtle curve makes it easy to hold, and the sensor is responsive enough for basic tasks.

HP Envy 32 AiO audio

It's time to sell your Bluetooth speaker. I listened to several songs across various genres on the  Envy 32, and it nailed each one. 

The Envy 32's seven front-firing speakers and subwoofers produced some of the best audio I've heard out of an all-in-one. Respected high-end audio brand Bang & Olufsen deserves some of the credit, having custom-tuned these speakers. The results are outstanding; I could feel the twang of the electric guitar in Metallica's "Battery," and the drums thumped with the energy of a heartbeat after a long run.

The hushed vocals in From Indian Lakes' "Your Heartbeat Against Mine" were crisp and detailed when I listened to the track at our Laptop Mag holiday party. Within a few minutes of blasting tunes, I had a big crowd of people gathered around my desk who were so impressed by the speakers that they were making song requests. 

HP knows how good these speakers are, so it added a feature that turns the Envy 32 AiO into a stand-alone Bluetooth speaker you can play from your smartphone or tablet. It works even when the all-in-one is turned off.

Webcam

The 5MP IR pop-up camera above the Envy 32's display produces poor photos and videos. A selfie I snapped in our dimly lit office was covered in visual voice on the all-in-one's massive display. For what it's worth, colors looked decent as my T-shirt was the proper shade of sky blue. Still, I'd invest in an external webcam if you frequently teleconference or video-call friends. 

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That said, the camera isn't completely useless. I ditched my password after the IR lens instantly logged me in to the Envy 32 via Windows Hello. Speaking of security, you can push the camera into the system when you're done using it, so you can stop worrying about creepy people spying on you.

Software

I wish HP would bundle its software into a single app. Until then, HP owners will need to sift through no fewer than half a dozen programs, some of which they will never use. 

Among the more useful apps is HP Support Assistant, which gives you quick access to all the latest software and driver updates. HP JumpStart walks new users through setting up their all-in-one. HP Event Utility, which gives you a rundown of system specs, and HP Privacy Settings, a one-page app, don't need their own entry in the Start menu. 

Other Windows 10 Home bloatware takes up space on the Envy 32's hard drive, including Farm Heroes Saga and McAfee Personal Security.

Bottom line

Windows 10 users who are envious of the iMac should seriously consider the Envy 32 all-in-one. It has a larger display than competing AiO PCs and its powerful components, including the optional RTX 2080 GPU, can go toe to toe with the best of them. 

Add to that tons of extra features, like wireless Qi charging, Bluetooth pairing to the Envy 32's excellent speakers and a pop-up IR camera. All that functionality comes in a device whose modern design will make it the statement piece of your home furniture. That said, few PCs wear the jack-of-all-trades label as well as the Envy 32.  

However, if you're a designer or an artist who needs a touch screen for stylus support, then the Envy 32 all-in-one isn't for you. And without the option for a Core i9 CPU, the most demanding power users might want to look elsewhere. 

But for everyone else, the Envy 32 is an excellent all-in-one that excels as a PC, a TV and even a Bluetooth speaker.