Mirroring the overall contraction of the desktop PC market, all-in-one models with integrated screens trailed off in popularity for many years. But now, the proliferation of work-from-home setups has brought them roaring back. HP is one of the few PC manufacturers left that consistently debuts new AIO designs, and its HP Envy 34 (starts at $1,999.99; $2,709.99 as tested) is one of the best that’s ever graced its stable. A dream for creative professionals—and still a solid system for everyone else—it’s got a 34-inch 5K display, a movable camera, and snappy performance. Like-priced traditional desktops can offer more power (particularly on the GPU front), but for what’s included here, the Envy 34 is a fair value and easily cops our Editors’ Choice recommendation for high-end Windows AIO PCs.
An Envy-Inducing Design
The design on this AIO is straightforward, but sometimes simplicity is best. The Envy 34 looks sharp and understated, letting its massive screen grab most of the attention. The stand is clean and minimal, a modest base attached to a plain column. There isn’t a lot to say about the design here, other than that it will blend into virtually any office or home-office environment. It’s also a bit cleaner all around than the smaller but similar HP Envy 32 we reviewed two years ago.
That huge display is, of course, the draw. The 34-inch panel will catch the eyes of business and creative professionals alike: It’s laid out in a 21:9 aspect ratio and sports a razor-sharp 5K resolution (5,210 by 2,160 pixels). It’s as nice as its specs suggest, too, with brightness rated at 500 nits and strong picture quality.
That resolution puts it on the level of the 27-inch Apple iMac, and the display is ready for the same type of work you’d associate with Cupertino’s famous all-in-one. There’s plenty of room for long video edit timelines, photo matching, and big spreadsheets. HP’s included Palette software—a toolkit that includes solutions for photo searching, phone connectivity, and wireless sharing—also helps ease your workflow. The display removes the need for two monitors, and of course makes the purchase even easier by wrapping it all together.
The other standout design feature, besides the display, is the camera. We’ll get to its picture quality in a moment, but visually it’s hard to miss. HP opted for a separate USB webcam design, unlike many of the pop-up or laptop-style embedded webcams that most AIOs use.
All is not as it appears, though. There is another reason for this design beyond a larger-sensor device resulting in better quality: The camera is magnetically detachable, allowing you to move it to any edge of the system to capture your best angle. You can even point it downward at your desk, to show materials or objects to those on the other end of the video call. Not everyone would have a use for this, surely, but versatility for niche pro users is always a plus.
Dell showed us a prototype similar to this idea at CES 2022, though that smaller camera can attach to the display directly, where it could block some of your view. And let’s not forget the somewhat controversial introduction of Apple’s webcam notch in the new MacBook Pro. HP’s camera should prove less controversial, since it clings magnetically to the borders of the screen, and won’t get in the way while providing some of the same versatility.
The other good news is that the camera quality is above average, too. This is a full HD camera with a 16MP sensor, higher than you’ll typically see in a PC, and it shows in the picture. Video is especially crisp, much closer to the nicer USB webcams available to plug into a traditional desktop than the quality of most laptop or other AIO webcams. I personally use the Razer Kiyo at home, and the Envy’s shooter is as good quality if not better, minus the ring light.
I tested HP’s cam in low light, too, because many home-office setups are not exactly ideally lit. Naturally, the video feed wasn’t quite as sharp as in normal lighting, but the camera compensated well, and kept me brightened and clear enough for my dimmer environment.
Any professional will also be concerned about the connectivity options, and the Envy 34 delivers on this front. You get more ports than many AIOs offer, mostly built into the back of the monitor. There you’ll find four USB 3.0 ports, two USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, an HDMI connection, and an Ethernet jack.
It’s a little difficult to reach all the way around this PC’s large panel to get to these ports, but they’re not your only option. The right-hand side of the stand holds two more USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C connection, and an SD card slot. This array doesn’t include everything you’ll need, but it’s a nice quick-access location for some commonly used connections. The system also comes with a basic Bluetooth mouse and keyboard—nothing special, but better than making you buy new ones if you don’t already own a wireless set.
Inside the Envy 34: The Component Rundown
Our model isn’t loaded out to the max, but it’s still very capably equipped. The Envy 34 starts at $1,999.99, while our configuration is priced at $2,709.99 on HP’s website. It includes an Intel Core i7-11700 processor, 32GB of memory, a GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, and a 1TB SSD. Our unit also includes a $70 bump-up to Windows 11 Pro rather than Home.
It’s important to note that the GPU is the laptop version of the 3060—there is of course not enough room for a full-size desktop graphics card in this design. As far as configuration options, our Core i7/RTX 3060 unit is more or less HP’s middle-tier model: You can jump to a Core i9 processor and the RTX 3080 laptop GPU, or down to a Core i5 and a GTX 1650.
The same goes for storage and memory capacity. If you change your mind about the purchased configuration later on, you can also easily upgrade the memory and storage (by removing the back panel) to a maximum of 128GB and 2TB, respectively. As you can see above, you get straightforward access under the panel to two SO-DIMM DDR4 slots, and a pair of M.2 SSD slots.
Testing the Envy 34: Cores Where It Counts
We put our Envy 34 AIO configuration to the test with our usual suite of benchmark tests, and compared them to relevant rival desktops. You can see the names and specs of competitors in the following table…
AIO releases are fairly few and far between, and we’ve somewhat recently updated our benchmark suite. Between those factors, we don’t have much in the way of results for recent AIOs, so some of the competitors here are similarly equipped and/or similarly priced non-AIO desktops of various sizes.
It’s important to keep in mind that the price of an AIO includes a display, some unique design needs, and usually some extra features, so a lower portion of the cost goes directly toward performance than traditional towers. The all-inclusive design alone may be worth it for some shoppers, which is why you’re looking at that type of system in the first place! Just keep that in mind when viewing benchmark results.
To that end, the NZXT H1 Mini Plus is a few hundred dollars less than the Envy 34 but features similar parts, representing a compact PC tower. On the flip side, the HP Z2 G8 Tower is a professional system, configured here to be more expensive than the Envy 34, but in the process giving an idea of what a pro-grade system can do when emphasizing power. There’s also the small-but-mighty Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (‘Beast Canyon’), a shoebox-size desktop PC (with a full-size GPU) that can do a bit of everything.
One Windows AIO we just tested is the Acer Aspire C27, which is a 27-inch mainstream model that comes in around $1,300. (It uses a laptop-style mobile Core i7 CPU, though, versus the desktop-strength Core i7-11700 in the Envy 34.) And another AIO is present in the form of the 24-inch Apple iMac. Yes, Apple’s 27-inch iMac model is a closer size comparison, but our review configuration came in at $4,499, and the 24-inch model is much closer to the Envy at $2,028. It also features Apple’s M1 chip, which is much more relevant for Apple products going forward. Just note that the iMac can’t run some of the Windows-based tests, so it’s absent from a few of the charts below.
The main benchmark of UL’s PCMark 10 simulates a variety of real-world productivity and content-creation workflows to measure overall performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheeting, web browsing, and videoconferencing. We also run PCMark 10’s Full System Drive test to assess the load time and throughput of a desktop’s storage.
Three benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads, to rate a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 uses that company’s Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (lower times are better).
Our final productivity test is workstation maker Puget Systems’ PugetBench for Photoshop, which uses the Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe’s image editor to rate a PC’s performance for content creation and multimedia applications. It’s an automated extension that executes a variety of general and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks ranging from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image to applying masks, gradient fills, and filters.
The Envy 34 isn’t the quickest system on any of these benchmarks, usually finishing toward the back of the pack. That’s to be expected for the reasons explained above, but some of the score margins are bigger than others. The many-threaded processors in the HP and NUC 11 are monsters on Cinebench and Geekbench, and our AIO does trade blows with the (less expensive, compact) NZXT build. It edges out the M1 iMac, too, and dominates the Acer C27. Overall, the results show a plenty competent professional PC.
For pure data crunchers, media editors, animators, and other professionals who need raw horsepower, one of the traditional desktop systems (or a dedicated workstation) is a better bet on the performance front. All-in-ones bring seamless design, big built-in displays, and nice extras like the camera, which may be enough for most professionals, but the design makes them difficult to put toe-to-toe with well-outfitted tower PCs.
If you’re in that second camp and would love the display, design, and need only above-average processing, the performance chops shown here are more than enough. Let’s check in on the graphics performance, too.
We test Windows PCs’ graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark: Night Raid (more modest, suitable for PCs with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs). Unfortunately, Time Spy wouldn’t complete its run on the Envy 34 (a conflict with the test, not any deficiency), so we only have Night Raid results for it, but I left Time Spy results in the chart below anyway, for context on the other systems.
Without first comparing to the other desktops, the Envy’s mobile-class RTX 3060 can put out solid 3D performance for moderate workloads and some midrange gaming. That’s what we’ve come to expect from this GPU, and it usually provides a good value when seen in gaming laptops. Though not one of the high-end RTX GPUs, nor a professional Quadro card, it’s a far cry above integrated graphics seen in budget PCs.
Compared with the others in this group, the performance gap is much more pronounced than on the productivity tests, and that’s not surprising considering the mobile RTX 3060. As good as laptop GPUs have become, there’s no outrunning thermodynamics, and the chip simply can’t compete with the foot-long graphics cards used in most full-size desktop towers.
A Fast and Elegant AIO Option
The HP Envy 34 AIO does exactly what it sets out to do, and does it well. Yes, on a pure dollar-to-performance basis, a standard tower with high-end parts will be superior. But that’s not why you buy an AIO. Creative professionals in particular can make great use of a plug-and-go system with a big, brilliant screen, plenty of useful connectivity, and generally fast performance. And multiwindow multitaskers will go bug-eyed with delight at this model’s available side-to-side screen real estate.
We haven’t seen very many innovative new AIOs out there of late, so by delivering excellence in the screen, where it matters most, and making the camera and CPU as robust as possible, the HP Envy 34 is even more appealing. It’s our new top pick for high-end all-in-one desktop PCs.