HP Omni 27 all-in-one review
Thanks to HP Australia for providing us with the HP Omni 27
The HP Omni 27 is HP’s latest and greatest line of all-in-one PC’s. As in the name, it features a large 27-inch LCD screen with the speaker built into it, and is actually one of the better looking all-in-one’s currently on the market. As with their laptops, HP have also gone ahead and implemented Beats Audio technology to improve the sound while you’re watching movies or listening to music. Furthermore, as with their other lineups, HP also give users the option to purchase from a variety of different setups and specs so that different people can get the PC that suits their needs. Unlike their other computers, the HP Omni 27 is a non-touch based computer which is a shame because such a large screen deserves a touch screen at the very least. The lower end Omni 27 retails for $1,999 from HP, but local stores are selling them for lower prices.
So how does the HP Omni 27 compare in our review? Keep on reading to find out!
For our review unit we got a brand spanking new HP Omnia 27-1010a, which is actually the lowest Omni 27 model you can get. The specs on the lower end model won’t quite be blowing anyone away, but they’re intended for those who aren’t looking for a power packed computer anyways. An i5-2400S Sandy Bridge processor (2.5GHz) keeps the computer chugging through most of your tasks, and it’s actually pretty efficient as well at most of the tasks. Furthermore, there’s 8GB of RAM inside, a 1TB Harddrive, a blu-ray drive for all your multimedia needs, a tv tuner, a 6 in 1 card reader, as well as 2 x USB 3.0 readers and 4 x USB 2.0 slots. Then there’s the video card – an AMD Radeon HD 6450A with 1GB. This might unfortunately be the downfall to this computer, as it’s one of the poorest graphics cards I’ve ever head the pleasure of using. 1GB of graphics might seem enough to the average user who just wants to use the Omni 27 for their emails and watching movies and listening to music (or even two of them at once), but anything more than that and the Graphics Card isn’t going to come through for anyone, but we’ll get more into that in our performance section. Unfortunately, you’re not going to get any HDMI in or out ports, no VGA or even DVD-D slots in this particular model, but certain higher up models do have HDMI inputs.
In terms of the hardware, the Omni 27 actually looks very pretty. The 27-inch monitor is where all the internals are held, and the screen is connected to a beautiful looking base. The base is also the support structure of this model, as it’s quite heavy weighting in at 13.45 kilograms. The base is an aluminium base, with a brushed metal finish to it, giving it a very expensive look to it. It’s also very solid, meaning you’ll never be worried that the display might topple over due to it’s weight. The main speakers are also on the bottom of the screen, giving the entire display a much larger feel than you would expect. The weight and the feel give it a solid look to it however, and we were impressed with the build quality.
The Omni 27 also comes with two extra peripherals – a HP Keyboard as well as a HP Mouse (and a HP Remote if you are a frequent remote user). The Mouse is a standard cheap, but decent in house mouse from HP and for the most part it does the job well. It’s wireless, just like the Keyboard, and it uses two AA batteries to keep running, similar to the keyboard again. The only qualms I had with the mouse was the rather low sensitivity. The Build quality of the keyboard however is completely different to the mouse, in a good way. The Keyboard is a very solid feeling keyboard, which has been designed with high quality plastic which makes it heavier than you would expect. Keystrokes are nice and quiet, but the most annoying thing about this keyboard is how they have changed certain keys (such as the Enter key) and changed the shape, along with a few other keys. This is frustrating because of the fact the keyboard is smaller than normal desktop keyboards, and so you can often find yourself pressing the wrong key due to the size adaptation curve. After a while though, you do get used to it but even with 4 weeks of experience with this keyboard, I still find myself making the wrong key stroke, something I’ve never had before on other keyboards, whether they be desktop or laptop keyboards. Nevertheless, it’s still a pleasure to type on a solid feeling keyboard.
The display is a tricky one, but only because of the resolution, sitting at a nifty 1920 x 1080. This means you’re getting 1080p quality on your screen, great for video playback, especially Blu-ray movies in all their glory. 1080p is nothing to sneeze at, however when you compare it’s two closest screen competitors – The iMac 27-inch and the Dell XPS One 27, both of those feature 2560 x 1440 resolutions, putting the HP Omni 27 to shame. As an average user, I would say the 1080p screen looks great with the Omni 27, but once you’ve tried out higher resolutions, you know that HP have let the ball drop on this one. However, since this desktop is aimed at the casual everyday user, we’ll ignore that fact at first to give our impression on the current screen.
The screen is actually pretty nice, it’s vivid and Blu-ray movies look great on the screen. It’s like your own mini theatre on your table, and you won’t go wrong with especially if you’re looking for a comfortable all-in-one desktop pc. However apart from Blu-ray movies, the screen seems a little dull for our liking, and just browsing the internet or playing low-end games was a rather ‘dull’ affair (pun intended). Normally, I have to turn down the brightness on certain screens, but on the Omnia 27 I was desperately looking for a way to increase the light and brightness on the screen. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible past the max brightness level so we were left with a dull screen for the rest of the time. Now try not to confuse this with a terrible screen, but the screen certainly has some short comings and HP could really try to put more effort into the screen.
It’s only saving grace is the fact that it features a massive 27-inch screen which is great for watching movies on, and is a good substitute as a tv (with it’s tv input port), though it is rather heavy to move around so people shouldn’t consider this as a portable machine by any means. Watching movies on a 27-inch screen finally opened my eyes to large monitors and I’m currently writing this on a 27-inch model. It’s hard to go back to something smaller, so be warned.
The performance on this machine is quite good, from watching videos to browsing the net. This is, until you decide to try a game on it or edit videos. This would be mainly due to the rather poor end graphics card they used – An AMD Radeon HD 6450A with 1GB of memory. Now normally, 1GB is generally a decent amount but not on this video card. At the time, my laptop was more powerful than the HP Omni 27 thanks to their graphic cards. Low end games like Dota 2 would lag on the max settings and benchmark tests like 3DMark11 recorder the lowest scores for the graphics card I have ever seen in my life. The graphics card was also unable to handle Video editing programs such as Power Director 10, and the graphics card crashed multiple times while we tried to edit videos for our YouTube page.
Basically, if you’re looking at doing anything memory or graphically demanding, you’re looking at the wrong $2,000 machine. After being used to some high end laptops and desktops – using the Omni 27 was a slap in the face by reality. We struggled to get any videos edited and we gave up in the end. However, that’s just our Tech Geek opinions, and not everyone wants to game or do some video editing on this machine. In fact, we figure most people will be getting it as an entertainment station so we’ll also take a look at that side of things.
Performance on movies is generally quick and the sound quality is quite good for built in speakers. Beats is still a gimmick as it’s just a layer on top of the usual Windows Sound settings in order to improve things such as Bass and Treble. True it’s slightly more difficult to adjust these settings on the normal Windows interface, but we didn’t see too much of a difference when we manually tried to adjust settings.
Overall, the performance left a LOT to be desired, for such a premium costing machine and we can only hope that HP get their act together in the performance department. Similar costing machines easily out-do the Omni-27 in performance and they probably also come with a better graphics card. The good thing to take away here is that HP can only go up in the performance section.
The speakers are one of the best parts of this machine, because they sounds really good for inbuilt speakers. And they can get really loud in a small room which is why we presume the Omni 27 has been focused on as a Media and Entertainment computer. The Treble and Base is decent, not enough to compete with stand alone Logitech Speakers such as the Z906, but good enough to make you feel like you’re close to the action. This is especially true when watching quality 1080p Blu-ray movies and the speakers blasting out some quality action. We’re sure the addition of the Beats Audio makes a slight difference here, but most of the work is obviously being done by the Windows System with the addition of Speakers.
At the end of the day, listening to music on this is a fairly decent proposition and we enjoyed having this machine for the sole reason of music and movies. The volume levels were decent as well, loud enough for my sister to tell me to turn it down from her room, but not loud enough to get my neighbours to call the cops. Think of it as being in the middle region there.