The HP Pavilion 27xi is a sleek, affordable 27-inch monitor that easily meets simple monitor needs. That is, movie-watching, gaming, and general Web browsing as well as productivity. It's a no-frills monitor that includes the holy trinity of connections and satisfying picture customization options.
While the Pavilion 27xi delivers great performance for a $340 monitor, it's not the monitor to use if you have precision color-critical needs. There are a few more expensive 27-inchers better suited to those tasks. However, for those with simple needs, the 27xi doesn't disappoint.
Bearing more than a passing resemblance to Apple's 27-inch Thunderbolt Display, the HP Pavilion 27xi is aesthetically striking at first glance. The 27-inch monitor features a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution and an incredibly glossy IPS-based (in-plane switching) screen. The monitor's chassis acts as its outer skeleton with the screen panel encased inside and as cool and sleek as the 27xi looks, upon touching it, there's no doubt that it's made primarily of plastic. The bezel measures 0.5 inch, while the width of the chassis checks in at 24.5 inches. At its thinnest the panel's depth measures 0.6 inch; an incredibly thin value given the screen size.
The monitor features a 20-degree back tilt, but no pivot or screen height adjustment. There's also no swivel, but the panel slides around so easily, that the lack of one isn't of any great concern. The foot stand is 7.8 inches wide and 7.6 inches deep, but the display does wobble quite a bit when knocked from the sides. The connections face back and include HDMI, DVI, and VGA. The monitor also feels incredibly light for its size, weighing 11.5 pounds.
Anyone familiar with HP's OSD (onscreen display) design, won't find many surprises here. Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpness are present. Also included are six presets: Enhance+, Movie, Gaming, Text, Photo, and Custom. Three color temperature options are included: Warm, Cool, and Standard (somewhere in between warm and cool). RGB color controls are also included, allowing for the fine-tuning of red, green, and blue.
The OSD array is located in the lower right corner and consists of five horizontally aligned buttons. Each button is represented by a white LED that turns off when not in use. The far left button activates the menu, followed to the right by the auto-adjust (usable only in VGA), Quick View/Minus, Source/Plus, and Enter buttons with the power button at the far right. Navigating the OSD takes some getting used to. I wouldn't call the interface clunky; it's just not as intuitive as it could be. The power button sits directly to the right, and when powered on a turquoise power light glows in the lower right bezel.
Edge-to-edge or edge-to-bezel?
AT CES 2013, HP told me that an edge-to-edge display was one of the many features of the Pavilion 27xi, but apparently, edge-to-edge doesn't mean what I think it means. At least not as I define it. In my head edge-to-edge simply means no visible bezel. Or at least, the minimalist of bezels and the 27xi clearly features a bezel. It's a thin bezel to be sure, but there's no denying that its screen doesn't quite stretch to the chassis's edge.
|Design and feature highlights|
|Connectivity:||HDMI, DVI, VGA|
|Ergonomic options:||25-degree back tilt|
|VESA wall-mount support:||No|
|Included video cables:||DVI, VGA|
|Number of presets:||5|
|Picture options:||Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness|
|Color controls:||RGB and 3 color temperature options|
I tested the HP Pavilion 27xi through its DVI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC with the included DVI cable. The display posted a composite score of 98 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests.
DisplayMate: The Pavilion 27xi displayed light gray up to level 254. Level 255 is considered white, and every level between it and 1 is a variation of gray. The 27xi's performance here indicates that the display will likely not be prone to washing out light colors. As for dark gray, the 27xi displayed down to level 2 while still maintaining a very deep black, indicating that the display is capable of a very low black level.
The monitor excelled in nearly all of our color-scaling tests, which evaluate how smoothly it displays different shades of various colors. The 27xi yielded very few color abnormalities in these tests.
Text: Black text on white looked clear, without any obvious color tint problems. Fonts were clearly visible down to a 6.8 size.
Movies: I tested the HP 27xi using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." The Movie preset looks too grainy, especially when close to the screen, which, if you're using the 27xi as a monitor, you will likely be when watching movies. It does look better the farther away you are from the screen, and its colors are definitely more accurate and less saturated than the other presets. Curiously, although a bit softer, I found the Text preset best suited for movies at close range, especially since it allows you to alter the color.