HP 27xi Review

HP’s latest Pavilion 27xi monitor would look great on any executive’s desk. It’s thin, elegant, and takes up surprisingly little tabletop space for a 27-inch display.
HP’s latest Pavilion 27xi monitor would look great on any executive’s desk. It’s thin, elegant, and takes up surprisingly little tabletop space for a 27-inch display.
HP’s latest Pavilion 27xi monitor would look great on any executive’s desk. It’s thin, elegant, and takes up surprisingly little tabletop space for a 27-inch display.

Highs

  • Very good image quality
  • Accurate color rendition
  • Sharp looking chassis

Lows

  • Limited stand adjustment
  • No VESA mounts on back; can't be mounted on an ergonomic stand
  • No DisplayPort

Thin is in. From Ultrabooks to phones to all-in-one PCs, the thinner the better. If manufacturers make it thin and sexy looking, customers will flock straight to these svelte products, right? Of course, if all products are sleek and gorgeous, actual performance starts to matter.

HP’s Pavilion 27xi monitor is definitely taking cue from its thin PC counterparts. The 27-inch IPS display measures just 0.6 inches thick at its thinnest point, but does being this thin come with any repercussions?

We were attracted to the bezel-less 27xi from the start. It’s definitely easy on the eyes and will look good sitting on your desk, but let’s see if thin actually is in with this monitor.

Design

HP’s latest Pavilion 27xi monitor would look great on any executive’s desk. It’s thin, elegant, and – albeit extremely glossy – takes up surprisingly little tabletop space for a 27-inch display. Should said executive have a window behind her desk, however, the glare on the glossy surface would be nearly blinding. Display makers really need to give up on the glossy panels.

Once you get past the glossy surface, there’s a lot to like under the hood. The design esthetic mirrors the thinness of the monitor. The bezel surrounding the sides and top is narrow and unobtrusive. The lower bezel extends further down, housing the touch-sensitive controls, which remain unlit and unobtrusive until you brush a finger past them. The rear of the system is pleasingly functional. HP makes no attempt to hide connectors in cable-contorting and thumb-smashing ways. Making connections with the 27xi is about as easy as it gets.

hp 27xi stand macro

The monitor rests on an attractive, brushed metal stand. All interfaces are easily accessible in the rear of the display, avoiding the need for awkwardly bent cables. As for its ports, the HP Pavilion 27xi has one VGA port, one DVI connector, and one HDMI 1.4.

The stand itself tilts but does not rotate, and it lacks any height adjustment. Given the lack of a VESA monitor mount, you can’t just add a different stand, either. So, you’re stuck with the HP-supplied stand.

The thinness of the Pavilion 27xi doesn’t come free; the monitor uses an external power brick, and the sleek panel lacks space for a built-in power supply. Thus, the problem: the cable connecting the power brick to the monitor isn’t long enough to reach the floor on most desks. So, you either need to park an unsightly power brick on your desk, or dangle it in mid-air, stressing the connectors.

Features and Specs

At roughly 15.5 pounds, the 27xi is also pretty light for a 27-incher. However, resolution is an uninspired 1920 x 1080 pixels. Yes, HDTVs have taken over the world, but more pixel density on a desktop display would be welcome. The 27xi’s panel uses IPS technology, which offers excellent viewing angles and reasonably good color fidelity. HP rates both horizontal and vertical viewing angles at 178 degrees. We saw no significant color or contrast when viewing from 45 degrees on the horizontal, but we did see slight shifts on the vertical.

The rated response time is 7ms, which is impressive for an IPS display. Smearing or motion artifacting due to slow response times was decidedly absent in HD video content or during gameplay, so that 7ms response time seems realistic.

hp 27xi display macro

HP rates the overall contrast at 1000:1 (non-dynamic), but we found that number to be a little optimistic. When we measured the contrast ratio, it was actually around 640:1.

Interface

The 27xi offers a full suite of picture controls. You can change color settings, including setting specific color temperatures, adjust aspect ratio (but only when you’re not at maximum display resolution), change gamma settings, and more. You can enable controls by brushing your finger over the blank area of the lower bezel adjacent to the power button. When you do this, touch-sensitive controls light up. As with similar controls on other displays, the sensitivity is a little wonky, and you may accidentally select the wrong control.

hp 27xi power macro 2

Quick set adjustments for photo, games, and video are available, but these tend to be overly coarse. We prefer to minimize sharpness adjustment and leave dynamic contrast off, but your tastes may differ.

Performance

Once calibrated, photo and video content looked good. Video playback quality was excellent, as the display easily kept up with the frame rate. There was almost no visible smearing or other artifacts during HD video playback. The display calibrated most accurately when the gamma was set to “high” in the on-screen display, but it was still a little below the D6500 color temperature preset.

At its brightest setting, the 27xi is just shy of 250 nits, which is enough to be too bright in most home offices but will be appreciated it in brightly-lit commercial spaces. At 50 percent brightness, overall contrast ratio measured at actual 580:1 – so blacks aren’t deep blacks. You may lose some detail with dark video content, but most video will look fine.

hp 27xi logo macro

At 76 percent of Adobe RGB (97 percent of SRGB), the color gamut is adequate. The 27xi will be fine for casual photographers, but serious hobbyists or professional photographers may want to look elsewhere. The monitor has a slight hotspot towards the upper center, but it’s only noticeable when viewing very dark content. Overall, brightness uniformity was pretty good.

There seemed to be little muddiness or lack of detail in brighter images and video, and colors looked fairly accurate. A minor blue push seemed evident (but only if you were looking closely).

Most users will find the Pavilion 27xi to be easy on the eyes, accurate for most uses, and impressively responsive for an IPS panel. If you’re worried that IPS panels might be too slow for higher frame rate video or gaming, the 27xi’s performance should put your fears to rest.

Conclusion

HP’s Pavilion 27xi is an affordable 27-inch, full HD display. It looks good sitting on your desk, and image quality on the panel itself will please all but the most demanding users. With no height adjustment on the stand and the lack of VESA mounting capability, the ergonomics are lacking a bit. But, at right around $300 (it has a list price of $340, but we’ve seen it marked down by HP to $300 for at least a month now), it’s also affordable. That’s a modest price for a good-looking IPS display, even if you do need to set it on a book to get the right height.

Highs

  • Very good image quality
  • Accurate color rendition
  • Sharp looking chassis

Cons

  • Limited stand adjustment
  • No VESA mounts on back; can’t be mounted on an ergonomic stand
  • No DisplayPort
Product Review

5 generations later, Microsoft's Surface Pro is still the best 2-in-1 out there

At first glance, the 2017 Surface Pro looks like an incremental update to the Surface Pro 4, which was already our favorite detachable tablet. But does the newest version earn its own place at the top of the 2-in-1 heap?
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs. BlackBerry Key2: Productivity powerhouse punch-out

If you're after a top-notch business companion and productivity is paramount, then Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 and BlackBerry's Key2 are devices you're going to want to take a closer look at. We put them head to head to see which is best.
Emerging Tech

Bright idea: Keep your gadgets juiced up with these stellar solar chargers

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.
Product Review

Flexible and fast, HP's Spectre x360 is the 2-in-1 for every occasion

HP’s late-2017 refresh of the Spectre x360 13 convertible 2-in-1 leverages Intel’s eighth-generation CPUs for significantly improved performance and battery life. The thin and light frame is also tweaked, and looks better than ever.
Computing

Apple preps production of updated MacBook Air for a 2018 launch

To reach its rumored launch timeline of later this year for its low-cost notebook, Apple is expected to begin production of its updated MacBook Air soon. The sub-$1,000 laptop could launch as early as September or October.
Smart Home

White-hat Chinese hackers turn Alexa into a spy, briefly

A team of Chinese researchers revealed this week that they were able to use a cracked Amazon Echo to exploit a series of Alexa interface flaws to take control over an unteuched Echo running on the same network.
Computing

Researchers hack John McAfee’s ‘unhackable’ Bitfi cryptocurrency wallet

Researchers have successfully hacked John McAfee's Bitfi cryptocurrency wallet. Researchers show that the device can be hacked, as they have gained access to the device's private keys and passphrase despite McAfee's security promotion.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

What's the best laptop? We've reviewed a lot of them -- and this is our answer

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. The laptops we've chosen for our best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while…
Computing

Pricing and lack of content are still barriers against the adoption of VR

A recent survey questioned 595 VR and AR professionals about business growth in the consumer and enterprise markets. Only 24 percent report strong sales in the enterprise while 18 percent show strong sales in the consumer market.
Computing

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…
Emerging Tech

The world’s first practical quantum computer has cash and a timeline

The dream of building a practical quantum computer could be closer than ever, thanks to a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation to seven universities around the United States.
Computing

Nvidia teases new GeForce RTX 2080 launch at Gamescom next week

Gamers will have something exciting to look forward to next week when Gamescom starts. Nvidia posted a teaser video to YouTube containing hints that it could use the venue to announce the new GeForce RTX 2080 graphics chip.
Computing

Nvidia introduces its eighth-generation ‘Turing’ design, but not in gaming cards

Nvidia revealed its new graphics chip design called “Turing” during SIGGRAPH 2018. Rumored to be the foundation of Nvidia’s next family of GeForce cards, the company instead showcased Turing in Quadro RTX-branded cards for pros.