Earlier this year, I had the chance to take a look at the HP TouchSmart 520 All-In-One, a 23-inch multi-touch system powered by a second-generation Intel Core i7 processor. The system was one of the best AIO solutions I've tested so far, but that was before the HP Omni 27 showed up on my doorstep.
The Omni 27 is another all-in-one system that shares many of the aesthetic features of the TouchSmart 520, although it is in a different class. Inside we find a third generation Intel Core i5-3550S Ivy Bridge processor with 3.0 GHz, 8 GB DDR3 memory, a 2 TB Hitachi hard drive with 7200 rpm, Radeon HD 6550A graphics and Beats Audio. There is also an HDMI input that allows you to use this display as an HDTV for watching cable programs from a set-top box or playing console games.
By default, HP has a wireless keyboard and mouse. Since this device does not contain a TV tuner, there is no media remote control. Buyers also receive a power cable and a large power supply module, similar to a notebook. Our configured price is $ 1,540.
As mentioned earlier, the design of the Omni 27 is very similar to the TouchSmart 520. It uses the same sturdy aluminum base that doubles as a keyboard shelf in case you need more desk space while watching a movie or playing a console game.
Behind the full-length glass is a 27-inch display, which admittedly looks a lot cleaner than what we saw on the 520. The difference is that the Omni’s 27-inch display isn't touch-sensitive, so people won't really miss a pre-Windows 8 desktop system or a desktop in general. The display operates at 1920 x 1080, which is considered the bare minimum for a screen of this size. There are LCD monitors and all-in-one competitors of this size that can be 2560 x 1440.
The sound bar is located at the bottom of the display and is accented with an HP logo on the left and the Omni 27 emblem on the right. A Beats Audio badge is in the top left of the display, while a webcam is centered on the top of the screen. The system's power button is located on the top right of the system, similar to what we saw with HP monitors.
Many of the I / O ports are located on the left side of the system in a recessed bay "behind" the screen. Here we have the hard drive activity indicator, an SD / MS / xD card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, a microphone jack and a headphone jack with the Beats Audio logo on it. Just around the corner is the real back, which contains a power connector with an activity light, an Ethernet socket, four USB 2.0 ports, a line-out socket and a subwoofer-out socket. On the right side of the system there is a DVD-RW drive, an HDMI input and four buttons.
You can use these buttons to control the settings of a device connected to the HDMI port. They do nothing when the system is in "Computer" mode. Note that the volume on the computer is muted when a device is connected to the HDMI port. There is also a Kensington lock slot on the back of the computer. The system can be mounted on the wall.
Commissioning with an all-in-one device is hardly any different than with a notebook. Plug in the power adapter, insert batteries into your wireless mouse and keyboard, and press the power button. The internal Wi-Fi radio takes care of your internet connection, so you really only need a single cable.
The Omni 27 was able to fully boot Windows 64 64-bit in about 58 seconds, or about 10 seconds faster than the TouchSmart 520. This is due to the faster 7200 rpm hard drive and possibly the new Ivy Bridge CPU.
If you remember my 520 review, this system was loaded with bloatware, and unfortunately the Omni 27 isn't much different. I counted 21 programs on the add / remove list that I considered wasted space. Deleting these applications doesn't take much time, but we'd love to see HP follow in the footsteps of some boutique manufacturers and give the user a Windows-only install.
Back is the HP Magic Canvas software, an alternative user interface for Windows 7. The problem here is that it is designed for a touch surface, which the Omni 27 lacks. Without touch it's pretty worthless and I can't help but get the feeling that this was an afterthought.
The Omni 27 also comes with other popular software called HP LinkUp that allows you to access other computers on your home network, even if they are not made by HP. It's basically a remote desktop viewer. LinkUp lets you quickly transfer data, run applications, and work with files from another computer. All you need is a home network and the HP LinkUp Sender software on the remote system. You will also need access to a password-protected administrator account on the remote computer.