The current push toward 4k has left many PC gamers with a difficult decision. Should you go for a higher 4k resolution and sacrifice frame rates, or accept a lower resolution and enjoy higher frame rates. The Omen 27 bets on the frame rates over resolution argument and offers up a 1440P LED panel with an impressive 165hz refresh rate.

The Specs

  •  Native Resolution: 2560×1440
  • Max Refresh rate: 165hz (with factory overclock enabled)
  • Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 static, 10,000,000:1 dynamic
  • 1 ms response time at max level (adjustable through menu)
  • Inputs: 1 HDMI; 1 DisplayPort™ 1.2
  • Display Tilt and Swivel: Tilt -5 to +23°
  • Width: 24.16″ 
  • Depth: 10.73″ with stand 7.51″ without 
  • Height: 21.07″ with stand 14.71 without

The Good

The HP Omen 27″ monitor has a lot going for it. The 165hz refresh rate is truly impressive to see in action and is even better on Nvidia cards thanks the inclusion of G-Sync. A 1ms response time eliminates noticeable artifacting. The 1440P resolution is clear and crisp.

The monitor also features an accent LED that can be set to screen matching, solid color, color cycling or turned off altogether. The light shines down onto the stand and illuminates the Omen logo etched there, or, as in my case, whatever you place under it. While it may not be a must have feature, the light is a nice touch.

My space invader friend enjoys the spotlight

The overall style of the monitor is smooth and sleek with a very thin bezel around the screen except on the bottom, where the bezel extends down, I assume to allow for the back mounted buttons. The finish is a matte black  excepting the logos on the base and back of the panel which are glossy black and metallic maroon respectively. The stand is adjustable allowing for tilting and raising and looks simple but good.

The displayport 1.2 connector is a nice inclusion, and allows for the 165hz refresh rate. The HDMI input is also nice for using the display with a PS4 or XBox1. There are also 2 USB 3.0 ports on the I/O panel which are fed by an included USB 3.) cable, effectively adding a single USB 3.0 to your PC, since an existing port will need to be used for the connection.

Gaming is what the display was made for and it delivers the goods. Need for Speed was smooth and crisp and did not stutter at all even at the highest refresh rate. The Witcher 3 performed just as well all maxed out. Final Fantasy XV offered no problems either. Youtube, Netflix and HD BluRay playback are buttery as well with bright colors and sharp edges.

 

The Bad

The biggest problem I have with the HP Omen 27 is backlight bleed. The backlight bleed is real on this monitor with any dark areas looking washed out and grey instead of black. I was able to get the problem under control by adjusting settings in the Nvidia control panel software but I also need to reapply the fix every time I restart the PC. The fix is also only better, not prefect and the bleed is still there.

On the left is the Omen, on the right is the Auria eq276wn.

The dynamic contrast ratio is far from perfect as well and is made useless because of the need to compensate for the backlight bleed. Without compensating the 10,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio is great and works as advertised. However, again, the effect while adjusting for backlight bleed is less than optimal.

Adjusting anything on the monitor requires use of a pretty standard OSD (on screen display) that is controlled by the buttons that are located on the bottom of the monitor on the back. Considering the amount of adjusting it took to get the monitor looking acceptable the placement of the buttons is a nightmare. You can reach in from the side but that requires the monitor to be placed far away from anything, like another monitor, making it useless for those with multi-monitor set ups. Going in from the bottom requires a twisting of the wrist and is very uncomfortable.

 

Final Thoughts

For $800 there are much better options out there. Samsung has a 31.5″ monitor that is 1440P, 1ms response time, 144hz and it has QLED and HDR for the same price. What is disappointing is that the Omen is supposed to be the best HP offers for gamers. They came close too, but the price point is too high and the backlight bleed is just too bad. They are focusing on the 165hz refresh rate but there are very few gamers with systems capable of hitting that mark at 2K.

If you are in the market for a 2k monitor with a fast refresh rate and have $800 in the budget you would be better off looking at other options with newer features.

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