Technology

HP hits the Omen reset with a new logo, new gaming desktops, and a 27-inch IPS monitor

Sure, HP’s launching two new Omen gaming desktops with updated designs. Yes, it’s also updating its current-generation components and releasing its first IPS gaming monitor. But what about that new Omen logo? Omen is the company’s mainstream gaming line. It targets grownups with jobs who play traditional games, don’t necessarily identify as Gamers and aren’t cost-conscious. HP’s done tons of demographic research, but that’s what it boils down to. And the original logo just didn’t seem to match that profile.

Given the shifts we’re seeing in gaming — who’s playing, what gear they’re buying and how much they’re spending — it makes sense that HP would want to dial back on the aggressive logo it inherited when it bought VoodooPC and its Omen line in late 2006. We’ve yet to see how the new version will look on the company’s high-end products such as the Omen X. HP’s toned down the angry red and it no longer looks like an angry raccoon, but I think it’s gone too far in the other direction. The new logo’s lost all sense of gaming or even play. And “Omen” doesn’t gel with the logo’s bright, happy gradient colors. (It will have different colors and treatments, but they all look similarly bland to me.

Then again, that’s easy for me to say since it wasn’t my job to design it.

That’s the logo dealt with. On to the new products. The most notable is the Omen 27i monitor, HP’s first gaming monitor to use an in-plane switching panel instead of twisted nematic. It’s slated to ship today for $500 at Best Buy. International prices aren’t available, but that’s about £400 or AU$775.

IPS delivers a broader color range and better viewing angles, but TN traditionally has faster pixel refresh. This means it can attain faster frame refresh rates (like 360Hz) and suffer from less blurring during fast action, as well as provide higher contrast. But IPS has been steadily improving, so IPS monitors have become more popular for gaming as gaming needs have become more diverse. HP’s just really, um, late to the game on this.

But at least it’s done some interesting things with its debut model. HP jumped over 1080p straight to 1440p, using LG’sNano IPS panel — it seems to be the same one as in the LG Ultragear 27GL850-B. Nano IPS uses a different method than traditional LCDs for filtering light wavelengths to produce a relatively wide color gamut (98% P3) with fast pixel-response time (1ms in overdrive) at a reasonably fast refresh rate (165Hz in the case of the HP). It doesn’t solve IPS’ low contrast problem, though, and isn’t that bright (350 nits).

It does look kind of elegant for a gaming display, though, with a smart design for the back connectors and stand. Connections include HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.0, plus two USB-A connections and a headphone jack. As someone who’s constantly plugging and unplugging cables into monitors, I like the design of the 27i’s connections. They’re on either side of the diamond section, where (in theory) they should be easier to reach. And thanks to the illumination, they’ll likely be easier to see than the typical recessed connections.

The Omen 25L and Omen 30L gaming desktops replace the Omen Obelisk with a streamlined aesthetic and better thermal efficiency. It improves venting, sits higher off the ground and opens up some space between the power supply and graphics card for better airflow. The optional glass side door for the 25L is larger, and the 30L has a thermal compartment in the front (that’s why it’s bigger) with a glass panel so you can see the pretty fan colors.

They also incorporate updated components, topping out at an Intel Core i9-10900K or AMD Ryzen 9 3900. The Ryzen 9 3900 is a low-power version of the 3900X designed for OEMs like HP — 65 watts vs. 105 watts — so it’s slightly slower. That power ceiling is possibly why HP lists the AMD model as not overclockable. (Although there will be a Ryzen 7 3700X model as well.) Other components include Wi-Fi 6, Nvidia GeForce GTX or RTX graphics up to a 2080 Ti, and maxima of 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD.

The Omen 25L starts at $900 (for a Ryzen 5, GTX 1660 Super and 8 GB RAM), while the 30L starts at $1,200. Both ship May 5.

HP’s also updated its Command Center software. The most interesting changes are for streaming to another system: Its Game Stream has been rebranded Remote Play, and will allow you to play on a system or mobile device that’s not on the same network. You’ll also have the option to host on a Pavilion Gaming system.

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