HP OMEN X Emperium 65 "large format gaming display
"The Omen X Emperium is an amazingly large gaming monitor, but not a TV replacement."
Beautiful, fluid gameplay
Nvidia Shield TV is a nice addition
Clean, simple design
The image quality has its shortcomings
Annoying remote control
Not a good value
Playing at the desk has always had a few big advantages over playing on a couch. Two examples? High refresh rates and G-Sync.
But now the living room has caught up. The 65-inch Emperium Omen X may not call itself a television, but with its huge screen area and wide stance, this thing is made for the living room. It questions the definition of a gaming monitor, as does the $ 5,000 price tag.
Are the unique gaming features the ultimate PC gaming experience, or are you better off with a standard TV?
A player television
The Omen X Emperium is a television. No, it doesn't have a tuner, but it's supposed to sit in a living room instead of a TV. In every respect, it is a 65-inch television.
I guess that's why HP didn't do anything crazy with its design. Outside of the name, you may not even know that it is not from LG or Samsung unless you notice the Omen logo at the bottom of the screen. The set has sleek bezels, industrial metal mounts, and even a pretty nondescript black soundbar. It's impressive for HP's first foray into living room-sized screens.
Riley Young / Digital Trends
At least from the front.
Flip it over and the Emperium has more explicit game-oriented chrome, including an omen logo and some lights. Since most people want to have their TV on a wall, most of it remains invisible. However, you will notice the LED strip above the rear case, which creates a red glow on your wall. It's a subtle note that makes a nice difference to the competition. The design is rounded off by an elegant black sound bar, which is included.
That doesn't mean the Emperium is a dainty, ultra-thin display. In keeping with the name, the empire is strong. It's heavy (like the box) and super sturdy.
You have access to two USB-A ports, two HDMI ports, an Ethernet socket and DisplayPort.
Legs are also used at each end of the display instead of a single stand in the middle. This makes it feel solid, but you need a huge entertainment booth to get it up and running. Future large-screen gaming monitors like the Asus ROG Swift PG65 or the Alienware 55-inch OLED gaming monitor will include more traditional stands. The Emperium has a VESA mount.
Yes, you can mount this massive screen on a wall if your heart desires.
The subdued look is important, however. The Omen X Emperium has gaming chops at the forefront of its marketing, but if you put this in your living room, you don't want it to be noticed when watching a movie using the included Nvidia Shield surface. Nvidia previously sold the set-top box as a separate unit, but it is now built into the TV just like Roku TV. This gives the Emperium important smart TV functions.
The port selection is PC-compatible
The Omen X Emperium offers a wide range of ports, including the expected ones, and some interesting PC-specific options. On the right side you have access to two USB-A ports, while on the left side you have two HDMI ports, an Ethernet socket and DisplayPort. The DisplayPort enables the highest refresh rates – up to 120 Hz (overclockable up to 144 Hz).
Dan Baker / Digital Trends
The power switch and the power plug are both on the back in a hard-to-reach place. It can be difficult to set up the display. However, if you do, you can forget about it – after all, it's basically a television.
A limited remote control with a cobbled menu
The remote control and controls of the Emperium could be better. A single joystick is located at the bottom right of the back of the device and gives you access to various color modes and settings.
However, we have to talk about the remote control. It has some problems. It's the same remote control that comes with an Nvidia Shield TV set-top box, and it works just fine for that. However, the functions of a remote control that is to control the entire display are limited. It only has a single navigation wheel, a back button, a home button, and a Google Assistant button.
It doesn't seem to be certain whether it's a TV or a gaming monitor.
The middle of the navigation functions as an on / off switch when switched on, but there is no special button to switch it off. If you're using the Shield TV, you'll need to navigate up and to the settings, where you can click "Hibernate". The screen will naturally go to sleep by itself, but a special button on the remote would have been nice.
This is the same problem when trying to access things like switching inputs. Once you're in Shield TV mode, all you can do is switch to your PC by going back to Settings and selecting On Screen Display to access the standard screen settings. This could have been avoided by voice commands, but voice commands do not work with most TV settings.
Then there is the volume control. Instead of two buttons or a rocker, the Shield TV remote uses a touch-sensitive slider in the lower half of the front of the remote. It feels slow at first and then jumps too quickly between the volumes. You can easily find that increasing the volume from 25 to 75 without intending to do so will wake up your entire neighborhood.
Riley Young / Digital Trends
As already mentioned, the soundbar is included. Given the price of the package, it's a nice addition, but nothing special. The bass is not well represented and is supplied via a single 3.5 mm socket. If you're spending so much on a TV, you probably want surround sound that complements the graphics.
The seams of the empire are shown on the controls. Unfortunately, using it as the central hub of your entertainment system doesn't feel like a coherent or fluid experience. It is not certain whether it wants to be a television or a gaming monitor.
Excellent gaming monitor, mediocre television
At $ 5,000, it's no surprise that the Emperium gaming experience is excellent. It is a 4K screen with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, which supports a refresh rate of 120 Hz (144 Hz if you overclock and why not?), G-Sync and HDR1000. These are all the specs you want to see on a gaming monitor – and some are a first for the living room screen.
Riley Young / Digital Trends
G-Sync is perhaps the most remarkable. Nvidia has its patented adaptive sync technology firmly under control – and for good reason. It is the best in business. It is impressive to see a smooth, tear-free experience on the big screen. As long as you stick to DisplayPort input, a fast game like Battlefield V or Fortnite looks better than ever. It feels lag-free and smooth like only a real gaming monitor can offer.
But things are changing in the television world. Samsung will soon offer HDMI 2.1, which offers standard TVs a variable refresh rate. FreeSync, the popular alternative to G-Sync, is now also offered on these platforms for AMD systems.
The results we saw with our colorimeter were equally impressive. We measured the emperium with our standard monitor tests and found a record high contrast ratio and high brightness. 592 nits are enough to overwhelm reflections even in a well-lit room. In the meantime, we've seen impressive black levels across the board, making both games and movies all the more haunting. You won't edit photos on it, but the Emperium even has a decent range of colors and good color accuracy.
However, it cannot be judged only as a monitor. If you sit directly, the contrast looks good and the colors are vivid. If you move away from the axis, things will get worse. It is a problem with almost all LCD screens, but it is even clearer than normal. Bright, lively colors look washed out and black loses its sense of depth. If you play alone, this is not a problem. However, when you play local multiplayer or watch movies with a large group, your space in the room offers a less than positive viewing experience.
We also noticed vertical banding and vignetting and blotch areas along the edges. None of this is cruel, but the workmanship and quality of the backlight can't compete with the best TVs from Samsung or LG. This is a problem because the empire is expensive. You could buy almost two premium LG OLED TVs for the same price.
So many ways to play games
Although it is intended for use with a PC, the Emperium is a powerful smart TV. Nvidia's Shield TV is operated with Android TV and has a pleasant user interface and direct connections to YouTube, Netflix and Google Play Movies. It even has Chromecast built in, which means you can transfer your laptop or phone screen to it.
As indicated on the remote control, Google Assistant is also supported, which is directly integrated into the remote control. It's one of our favorite voice assistants, and having it in the living room is always an added convenience.
If you don't own two PCs or want to carry your desktop from room to room, this makes little sense.
The game streaming service from Nvidia, GeForce Now, is also special for Shield TV. It is a little strange to have a TV that is meant to connect to a powerful PC, but hey, the service is in the hands of more people. You can also use GameStream, which allows you to stream a game from another PC on your network to this display without having to lug your PC around and connect it directly.
This is very useful as a function for the Nvidia Shield television, but not very useful for the Emperium. This is because both GeForce Now and GameStream do not take full advantage of the display's high refresh rate and solid picture quality. Streaming games to the Emperium is convenient, but if you do, you can use a “normal” television.
This illuminates the real problem with the Emperium – and the idea of the living room PC. Most people occasionally use their play equipment for things other than playing. Writing homework, editing an Excel document, or even surfing the internet are not activities that are suitable for the living room. If you do not have two PCs or cannot easily carry your desktop from room to room, this makes little sense. But for those who swear that their PC should be the center of their living room, features like GeForce Now or Game Stream are a nice addition.
The Omen X Emperium is the first of its kind. It's certainly a pioneer, but that doesn't mean it's ready for prime time. For a specific person, the Omen X Emperium could now make sense. If you leave your powerful gaming rig in your living room and want to use it almost exclusively for gaming, the Omen X Emperium is one of the best gaming experiences you can have. As long as you have $ 5,000 left.
However, for most people, TV screens and gaming PCs still don't match. Things like Windows 10, mice, and keyboards are all office tools designed for a desk. Even if you only figured out how HP or Nvidia could imagine someone using the Emperium, some imagination was required. As long as there are no obvious advantages over a conventional television, it is hard to recommend for an average player.
Is there a better alternative?
There are many fantastic gaming monitors, all of which have 4K, G-Sync and 144 Hz. There are now extra large gaming monitors with a size of 49 inches that are still designed for the desk. The best is the Samsung CHG90.
If you want to fill your living room, one of the best gaming TV options is the Samsung QLEDs, which will soon support variable refresh rates and Adaptive FreeSync synchronization from AMD. You will definitely get a much better picture quality at a lower price.
There are also a few more displays along the way more in the style of the Empire. Asus has a 65-inch ROG G-Sync gaming monitor and Alienware has a 55-inch OLED option. However, we haven't tested either of them yet, and both will be released later in 2019.
Should you buy it
No, probably not. A high-end TV gives you better picture quality, and some even offer variable refresh rates for smoother gameplay.