HP Omen X 27 Assessment: The Quickest 1440p Gaming Monitor

This is the first HP gaming monitor we have ever tested, and it is a special monitor with a completely new specification and milestone that has recently come onto the market. The HP Omen X 27 is a standard 1440p display (2560 x 1440), but for the first time it increases the refresh rate to 240 Hz. We have had 240 Hz on 1080p monitors for some time, but 1440p has so far not been able to climb the super high refresh podium with these modern panels.

For many of you, it's no surprise that a TN panel is required for 1440p at 240 Hz. Nowadays we see some 1080p 240Hz panels with IPS and VA, but when 1080p 240Hz is upgraded to better technology, TN reaches 240 Hz at higher resolutions. This is a comeback for TN at 1440p as the vast majority of 1440p gaming monitors have been released with either IPS or VA panels up to 165 Hz in recent years.

Other important specifications of the HP Omen include the flat 27-inch screen size, the response time of 1 ms, the support for adaptive synchronization with FreeSync 2 HDR (no VESA DisplayHDR specification) and a recommended retail price of $ 650. We've seen it as low as $ 500, but this $ 650 MSRP suggests this is a premium product.

The most striking thing when you take the HP Omen X 27 out of the box is its unique design. Most monitor manufacturers stick to the simple metal stand with a column that is functional and looks good most of the time. However, HP has opted for its own aesthetics, which include a thin rectangular pillar connected to a heavy square metal base. Personally, I think that's great.

Everything about the construction exudes premium quality. The stand is made entirely of metal, the seams at the transition from one thing to another are tight and well built, and the back part with its triangular pattern looks fantastic, even if it's made entirely of plastic. In terms of materials, this is definitely one of the best built monitors I've ever seen.

While the design is excellent, there has been some loss of functionality. One of them is the adjustability of the stand: you get a nice height adjustment and the usual inclination, but due to the rectangular connection to the display there are no swiveling or swiveling options. So you cannot use the monitor in portrait mode.

The ports are also limited. You'll get a two-port USB hub and an easily accessible headphone jack, but there's only one DisplayPort and one HDMI input. This is enough for a single PC and a single console connection, but many other monitors these days have three or four connections, which we would also have liked to see here.

The other problem concerns the controls on the screen. Not only do we have a fairly chunky bottom bezel – the side bezels are fine – we also don't have a direction switch or buttons along the bottom edge. Instead, the OSD buttons are actually on the back. To control them, you have to fumble and reach around the bottom bezel to find them. It is not a great control system and I have often done the wrong thing.

The HP OSD itself is good, the menu is straightforward, and contains decent player features like cheat crosshairs, refresh rate indicators, and controls for the single ambient lighting LED at the bottom. A backlight strobe function may not be available, although it may not be necessary with such a high refresh rate.

When we speak of the refresh rate, we are talking about the combination of 1440p and 240Hz. We get adaptive sync so it works with AMD and Nvidia GPUs as well as low frame rate compensation as you'd expect from a modern gaming monitor. The big leap, however, goes from a maximum refresh rate of 165 Hz to 240 Hz, as we saw earlier with 1440p monitors.

If you think you can run modern AAA games at over 165 FPS in 2019, even with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti … think again. While the 2080 Ti is undoubtedly a high-end GPU, you can see the most demanding titles between 100 and 140 FPS with ultra settings at 1440p. This way you can get the most out of a 1440p 144Hz display most of the time, but a 240 Hz display isn't worth it. So, if you're a player playing titles like Borderlands 3 and Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, upgrading to 240 Hz only makes sense when we have next generation GPUs.

Where 240Hz makes sense at 1440p is in competition games. 1080p 240Hz has been the gold standard for some time, but at 1440p, you can often still run these titles at extremely high frame rates while taking advantage of the additional spatial information of the higher resolution. I find it easier to spot enemies at 1440p versus 1080p, especially on a 27-inch monitor, and especially when they're distant enemies. Similar to competitive players, often low settings, but ultra-draw distances are recommended: it is not so important to see high-quality shadows, but to easily recognize enemies in the distance.

If you have a high-end rig – we're talking RTX 2080 Ti and Core i9-9900K – you can often play games like Rainbow Six Siege, Fortnite at medium settings, Overwatch, Rocket League … these kinds of titles at or over 200 FPS at 1440p. Here, a 240 Hz monitor offers improved clarity and smoothness over 144 Hz. Although the difference is slight, the more I have used 240 Hz in recent years, the more it feels in these games that the upgrade over 144 Hz . For every fast movement, more Hz is better.

Aside from future security, a 1440p 240Hz monitor is really only found in the field of super high-end gaming rigs. If you don't have a fast gaming CPU like the 8700K or 9900K from Intel paired with a top-end GPU like the RTX 2080 Super or preferably the RTX 2080 Ti, 1440p 240Hz is probably not for you at least 2019. Hopefully in a few years the requirements will drop a bit like at 1080p 240Hz, but for now it's a high-end thing.

performance

Response times / overdrive modes

How does the HP Omen X 27 work at 1440p and 240Hz? As you'd probably expect from a TN panel, it does pretty well in response times. Four overdrive modes are available, but the first two – Level 1 and Level 2 – are not worth using because they don't get the most out of the panel. These modes are not terrible as the response times are in the 5 ms range with minimal overshoot, but we can do better.

Level 3 is the optimal mode for this monitor. Here we achieve a quick performance, as you hope from TN. The overall gray-to-gray average is only 3.13 ms, and you can see from the visual charts that most transitions at 240 Hz are extremely fast, some as short as 1.2 ms. The performance in the dark is very good, so there is no smearing there, not that this would be unusual for a TN panel.

The best part is compliance with the update rate. 90% of the transitions are within 1 ms within the update rate window, which corresponds to almost 4.17 ms when updating at 240 Hz. This means that smearing is not a problem even at 240 Hz, as the monitor is generally fast enough to switch pixels before it needs to refresh the screen for the next image. What we have left is the real 240 Hz power and the extremely responsive, fuzzy experience. The error rates are also very good. There are no major problems. No inverse ghosting is displayed at this refresh rate.

The fastest available overdrive mode, level 4, pushes the average transition from gray to gray to 1.77 ms, but at the expense of a high overshoot level. 36% of the transitions had an overshoot of over 15%, many transitions over 20%, which leads to inverse ghost tracks in slow motion. This is not a mode that I would recommend.

Level 3 is definitely overdrive mode, and this holds up well across the refresh rate range. Even if you play at 120 Hz with adaptive synchronization, the performance is still excellent with an average response time of 3.16 ms. The overshoot increases as the update rate is slower and increases from an average error of 3.0% at 240 Hz to 7.9% at 60 Hz. However, none of these update rates have much inverse ghosting. That's why I set this monitor to level 3 and forgot about it. Even the performance at 60 Hz is ideal for console games.

How can the Omen X 27 be combined with other monitors? If we look at the gray to gray average, we are exactly in the zone for TN monitors between 2 and 4 ms. The Omen X is a further development of the Viotek GFT27DB, which we tested earlier this year. It is a 1440p 144Hz monitor, although we don't move the needle much to get faster response times than usual. Not that this is necessary, since TN technology has been fast enough for 240 Hz refresh rates at 1440p for some time. It's just about updating other areas of the display like the scaler.

We also see a performance very close to that of Gigabyte's Aorus KD25F, one of the ultra-fast 240 Hz panels in the 0.5 ms class with 1080p. At least for the response times, we correspond to 1080p monitors at this update rate.

Performance in the dark is obviously not a problem for TN monitors, this is just a consideration for VA. Even if compliance with the update rate is not a top chart, anything over 70 to 80% vert is good. With the Omen X 27's 91% compliance, this is more than enough for an excellent 240 Hz experience, and you won't get much better with other options.

The average error chart is not particularly useful in our test reports. However, we can see here that the latest generation 1080p 240Hz panel used in the KD25F with a response time of 0.5 ms is slightly faster in the class than the 1440p 240Hz panel used. This is because both options have an average response time of 3 ms, but the KD25F does so with a lower error rate. In practice, this doesn't mean much since they offer an equivalent experience in my opinion, but for those interested in panel technology, 1080p still seems to have a slight lead.

As already mentioned, inverse ghosting is not a problem with the HP Omen X 27 in the optimal overdrive mode, although the headroom is absorbed at lower refresh rates, which have an increasing but still controllable overshoot.

And even at 60 Hz, this is still a very fast monitor with response times around the 3 ms mark. This is impressive and makes the monitor ideal for adaptive synchronization as we know that ghosting remains largely unchanged across the refresh rate range.

The Omen X 27 is the fastest monitor we've tested so far, with zero input delay. Combined with such a high refresh rate and fast transitions, we get a 5 ms latency between the monitor receiving an input and displaying it fully on the screen. This is unbelievable and means that the chart performance is clearly exceeded.

All of this results in higher power consumption than a 27-inch monitor. Power consumption is more than 50% higher than the Viotek GFT27DB and other TN panels, which may or may not apply to you as we are still below 40 watts.

Color performance

The color performance of the HP Omen X 27 is surprisingly good. This is a wide color gamut monitor, but even when we measure against sRGB we see good things. For starters, the grayscale performance is immediately very good with a DeltaE average of 1.27. As usual, we aim at less than 2.0, so this is very accurate.

Standard color performance

The CCT curve is also decent and although our device was slightly tinted towards the yellow end after unpacking it, this is really a sucker and you won't get anything better outside of full calibration. The saturation performance is mainly influenced by the unclamped color scale, but this only gives moderately inaccurate results due to the oversaturation. There are no other problems. Yes, we see DeltaE averages in saturation above 2.0, but surprisingly this is below 2.0 in ColorChecker, which is very good.

This enables extremely high factory calibration performance compared to other gaming monitors that typically report between 3.0 and 4.0 with DeltaEs. If an sRGB terminal were available in the settings, this would undoubtedly be one of the most accurate gaming monitors that you can buy from the factory.

There is not much room to further optimize things in the OSD menu. The monitor is not only ready for immediate use, the color control is also quite cumbersome and difficult to control. We simply leave this monitor in its standard configuration, which includes contrast at 80, gamma at 2.2 and sharpness at level 4.

Calibrated color performance

After a full calibration, we can improve things further to achieve excellent color performance. Grayscale was not a problem already, although this has been tightened slightly. In the Saturation and ColorChecker diagrams, we see the benefits of the color profile, which allows us to properly display both sRGB and P3 images in supported applications. Here with sRGB performance, we see DeltaE averages around the 0.5 mark thanks to 100% sRGB coverage.

The P3 wide color gamut performance is not as strong, although it is not bad compared to monitors without a large color gamut. The main problem is that my device only had a native coverage of 87% of P3, which drops to 85% when calibrated. For example, if you look at saturation sweeps, the average is decent, but the top end performance is cut off because P3's outermost edges cannot be shown. There are several reasons why you don't want a TN monitor for creative work, but coverage of P3 below 90% is on the list.

The brightness in SDR mode is medium, although anything over 300 nits is bright enough for most environments. Where this panel really suffers are the viewing angles that are bad. With horizontal and vertical angles there is a significant color shift. If you don't look at this monitor from the front at the perfect angle, you will experience problems with desaturation. Even with this new generation of 1440p TNs, there are still the same problems with the TN viewing angle.

The contrast ratio is also quite weak with a calibration of only 833: 1. Black just doesn't turn very black, and although there are no major backlight issues with my device at least, you'll find that black looks more like dark gray when you view this monitor in a dark environment. Again common to everyone except VA and OLED monitors, but it's a disadvantage of TN technology.

In terms of uniformity, fairly decent, little drop along the left edge, but otherwise an even experience through the middle area. HP appears to be using a good quality panel, as you would hope given the price.

The HP Omen X 27 is also an HDR-capable monitor. Surprisingly, it hasn't received any DisplayHDR badges, though it does offer FreeSync 2 HDR support. Let's see how it does in the checklist.

This is a strange monitor in that it gets halfway there with each of the three main pillars of HDR. The monitor can easily withstand 450 nits for brightness, but not up to 600 nits. In contrast, we get local dimming with 16 edge illuminated zones, but we don't have the full array or high number of zones required for an excellent experience. And although the monitor offers a wide range of colors, the P3 coverage of around 87% is just below the 90% that we ideally want to see as a minimum.

In practice, we have an HDR experience that is better than SDR, but only slightly better, and nowhere near the full HDR experience that you get from a real HDR monitor. Take the brightness, for example. For small details like bright light in a dark scene, we get up to 470 nits. However, we don't get the over 1000 nits of the best HDR panels.

The absolute best contrast ratio that we can achieve in HDR mode is around 6,000: 1 for the Omen X, which is admittedly more than 6x higher than the standard SDR contrast of the panel without local dimming. But that's not as impressive, even with semi-HDR monitors like the LG 32UL650 with DisplayHDR 600 certification. And in our single image contrast tests, the Omen X again falls behind the package due to its small number of zones.

I would not completely rule out the use of HDR mode as it offers a small advantage over SDR and the large local dimming zones are not too noticeable with normal game use. However, the HDR experience is not as good as real HDR monitors, which are much more expensive. We just don't think TN is a good technology for HDR.

However, let's forget about the HDR performance as we don't think you will buy the Omen X 27 for this feature. What interests you is the combination of a resolution of 1440p and a refresh rate of 240 Hz. This is the star of the show and it is always exciting and interesting to test these types of new panels with new technologies.

Bottom line

The HP Omen X 27 is a great gaming monitor. There are some problems with using a TN panel, but this is not uncommon for this type of panel and everything else is excellent. The response times are fast enough to keep up with the refresh rate of 240 Hz and save some space. Even if the resolution is increased compared to older 1080p 240 Hz monitors, the performance has not changed. This is a really fast monitor that offers a first class, very responsive gaming experience.

HP also provides excellent support for adaptive synchronization, including tight response times across the update area and virtually no entry delay. This is one of the fastest and most responsive monitors we have ever tested. This is particularly exciting as we get it with a resolution higher than just 1080p.

The color output is very strong ex works, surprisingly for a gaming monitor that does not feature a factory calibration anywhere on this data sheet. Some minor oversaturation problems can be easily resolved with a software profile. Even if you are not using a profile, this monitor has excellent colors.

Most of the drawbacks are standard TN stuff. Poor viewing angles and a poor contrast ratio are standard and the crucial compromise for the performance of the elite. If you play in a dark room, you can disturb the above-average black levels. And although we really love the design and build quality, there are some nuisances, like a hard-to-use on-screen menu.

But most of these problems are really not that important. If you want the absolute fastest 1440p monitor on the market, you have to make some compromises. My bigger concern is more the price and the question of whether you should buy a 1440p 240Hz monitor at all.

The good news is that the HP Omen X 27 is much cheaper than its only other competitor with the same specs, the Lenovo Legion Y27gq-25. Lenovo's offer costs $ 1,000, though it is normally sold for $ 900. Why should you spend the extra money on the Omen X 27 at $ 650?

With 1440p displays, however, $ 650 is still expensive. This is definitely something for ultra high-end gamers who already have a well-equipped rig with a Core i9-9900K and RTX 2080 Ti, as this is realistically the kind of hardware you need to play games with this Operate resolution and frame rate.

Most other people could be better off with the LG 27GL850 if their hardware can't use a 1440p 144Hz display. It's still a lightning-fast monitor in terms of response times and input delay, but thanks to LG's Nano IPS technology, it has better viewing angles and a wider color gamut than the HP Omen X 27. It's also $ 150 cheaper than regular retail prices , which, at $ 500 for the 27GL850, is, in our opinion, justified for a high-end display with 1440p and high update.

Don't get us wrong, the HP Omen X 27 is a really great monitor with excellent performance. It's just one of those niche offerings for a super high-end audience. There is definitely a place for it in the market, and we're excited about new panel technologies like this. Before you buy one, however, you should take a look at the remaining hardware on your PC and decide which one is best for you.

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