Hewlett-Packard's Omni 27 doesn't match Apple's highest-end iMac in display resolution, but for anyone interested in using a Windows all-in-one as an entertainment hub, you will immediately appreciate the benefits of the Omni 27's large 1,920x1,080-pixel screen.
With Windows 8 and other 27-inch all-in-ones on the horizon, you might be wise to put off any new PC purchase. Also consider that HP is asking $1,249 for the Omni 27, a rather high premium given the middling components surrounding its display.
Omni 27, a self-contained PC with a gigantic 27-inch screen and a major in personal media, with a minor in usability tweaks for those of a less technical disposition.
we found some cool snaps of the massive screen and it's components on it's website, which actually amazed us. we will post some of the pictures on this post.
Hp omni boasts a gigantic 27" LCD display which supports full HD reolution. If you're a video hobbyist or movie aficionado, you may be tempted to buy the HP Omni 27 ($1,249 direct) for both viewing and editing videos. You would be making a great choice, as the Omni 27's huge 27-inch 1080p HD screen is essentially a theater-sized screen when you're sitting a few feet away. It has the power to create and transcode video for distribution online, plus the built-in Blu-ray means you'll have access to the thousands of titles that aren't available on Netflix or other streaming services. Plus Blu-rays usually have the special features that film geeks love to view over and over. For this and other features, the HP Omni 27 earns our Editors' Choice award for midrange all-in-one desktop PCs.
While a little cumbersome to maneuver, once it’s placed on your (big) desk or table, the weight is reassuring. The wide base connects to the display via a stylish pare of support brackets, doubling as adjustment arms that bend back to an angle of 25 degrees. Unlike some all-in-ones or monitor stands, the display stays put with almost no effort. Those with the inclination can remove the back panel and swap out the stand for a standard VESA mount.
The screen itself is an impressive if not overwhelming 1920×1080 panel. We’ve seen denser resolutions at this size (even from HP) but considering most consumers’ expectations and requirements, it should be more than enough. Aside from a model badge and both HP and Beats Audio logos, the front has only the 27-inch screen and a pair of sizable speakers hidden behind a soft grille. As a computer it’s more than adequate, and in a small room (such as a dorm or office) it can pull double duty as a television. You’ll need a desk with a depth of at least 30 inches to use it comfortably, but the large display does allow for more usable space on the desk itself.
The Omni 27's Intel Core i5-2400S processor gives it the oomph to return pretty good scores at our benchmark tests. The system returned a decent 1 minute 28 seconds at our Handbrake video test and 3:31 at our Photoshop CS5 test. This is significantly faster than the Core i3-powered Editor's Choice Sony VAIO VPC-L231FX/W ($999.99 at Staples) (2:22 Handbrake, 5:34 CS5), and a smidge slower than the Core i7-powered HP Compaq 8200 Elite All-in-One ($1,859 direct) (1:18 Handbrake, 3:02 CS5). The system's PCMark 7 scores (2,783 points) also follow pricing and processor positioning, with the HP 8200 Elite coming out on top (2,863). What's notable about these scores is that the Omni 27 is closer to the 8200 Elite than the Sony VAIO (which scored 2,167), which means we can consider the Omni 27 as a powerhouse system.
The hardware makes no bones about its focus on media. Along the right side of the unit you get a combined card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, a Beats-certified headphone port with pre-amp, and a separate microphone-in port. The back shows an extra four USB 2.0 ports, a subwoofer line and a digital audio out function. On the left you get the standard display and volume controls, plus a optical slot drive – DVD is standard, but our review unit came with a Blu-ray drive. There’s also a surprise HDMI port that deserves note: it’s HDMI-in, allowing users to either make use of Windows’ built-in DVR functions in Media Center, or just use the sizable display as a standard HDTV. This handy and useful extra is not standard, but for the moment, the upgrade is free. Another option for an over-the-air TV tuner was left out of our review unit.
HP’s include much more than just Windows 7 Home Premium on the Omni 27. First and foremost is the Magic Canvas, an adapted version of HP’s TouchSmart interface designed for use with a mouse and keyboard. The flashy and glossy UI serves as a replacement for Windows’ default desktop. While clearly intended for those without familiarity with Windows 7, it’s not any more or less complicated than the standard interface. While I can appreciate HP’s attempts to make the Omni 27 more friendly for inexperienced computer users, I can’t help but think that a set of interactive how-to’s for basic computer operation would have been just as effective and saved confusion in the long run. Without a touch panel, the extra tweaks seem unfortunately superfluous. You can switch between the basic interface and Magic Canvas at any time.
Design and Features
The Omni 27 looks like a ramped up version of the HP TouchSmart 520-1030 ($899.99) we saw last year. Instead of a 23-inch monitor, the Omni 27 has a huge 27-inch screen at the same true 1080p HD (1,920 by 1,080) resolution. The Omni 27 has a seamless, edge-to-edge piece of glass over the screen, since the system doesn't have to worry about supporting a touch interface. In contrast, the HP 520 has a raised bezel to accommodate the touch screen sensors. Not a huge thing, but the seamless glass results in smoother lines in the design. The components are built into the screen, which is suspended above the base by two silver-colored arms. The system follows HP's unique design ID, and it works really well.
The large screen on the PC looks very much like a 27-inch HDTV. At first I thought the screen would have too little resolution for the size, since the Apple iMac 27-inch (Thunderbolt) ($1,999) has a 2,560 by 1,440 resolution screen with more pixels and a larger desktop area. You will be able to see a "screen door" effect from the pixels on the Omni 27's display, but only if you get too close for usability, about 3 to 6 inches away. Viewing from desktop distance (about 3 feet) gives you a decidedly movie theater feel, and viewing from 5 to 8 feet away gives you a home theater-type view. The screen really fills your field of view from desktop distance. All in all, the system is both attractive and highly usable as a home entertainment PC.
If you want an all-in-one, space-saving, big-screen PC, HP's Omni 27 may be the best alternative to the 27-inch iMac, and has some features you won't find on the iMac, including a Blu-ray drive and a better sound system. It's also cheaper than the iMac, going for about $1,200 vs. $1,700 for the iMac. But it lacks a dedicated graphic card, something we think is critical for an entertainment PC. The iMac is a more powerful computer, provides more flexibility for expansion and, yes, runs Windows.
The good: For now, the HP Omni 27 has the largest display available among Windows-based all-in-ones.
The bad: Despite its big screen, the Omni 27's other specs are only average for its price.
The bottom line: HP's Omni 27 is the king of Windows all-in-ones in terms of screen size, but you'd be smart to wait and compare it with the other 27-inchers due out later this year.
[image courtesy] : Flickr - Hp_pc