HP announced their Omen gaming laptop and desktop lineup earlier today, but they also filled the press in on their new monitor, the HP Omen 32-inch gaming monitor. This is HP’s first gaming monitor under the Omen brand, and that brings with it a certain air of superiority, or an expected higher class of workmanship. It’s very similar in design and specification to HP’s existing ENVY 32-inch display, also shipping with FreeSync technology, but I believe that this one is different. HP typically doesn’t “get” gaming monitors except in circumstances where they accidentally produce a cracking good gaming display, and this looks to be the first one that they’ve actually paid attention to.
The Omen gaming monitor is quite a beast, measuring 32 inches diagonal. It has a decently sized bezel, and it’s not flanked by giant speakers like the ENVY 32 is. The display is flat, avoiding all the issues that large curved displays have, and promises 100% sRGB coverage, which is fairly good as far as displays go. Proper RGB would be preferable, but that’s not on the cards just yet. The display’s resolution is 2560 x 1440 pixels, which works out to a pixel density of 91.97 pixels per inch. That’s lower than most 1440p displays on the market because the panel is so large, and it would definitely be less sharp than a 1080p display at 24 inches. However, this avoids all the Windows 10 scaling issues that linger on the OS, so it has that going for it.
The panel is a VA type instead of TN or IPS, so colours should be more accurate down to the monitor’s lowest supported refresh rate. Because it promises support for AMD’s FreeSync technology, the panel needs to be of a good quality to handle the refresh rate changes. Sadly, because it is based on the ENVY 32, it’s fairly certain that the top-end refresh rate would be set to 60Hz, taking away the benefits inherent to adaptive refresh technologies because FreeSync cannot correct artifacts and animation stuttering when the refresh rate falls below the monitor’s supported range. I’ll have to hit HP up and see if the Omen 32 supports AMD’s low framerate compensation technology.
With a response time of 5ms grey-to-grey, one of the tougher jobs that HP will have is to make sure that the display implements overdrive properly. If this is not achieved, displays that are not calibrated properly for variable refresh rates might introduce ghosting into the picture because the pixels aren’t being switched fast enough, or there will be overshoot in the image if the pixels are not able to slow down at the appropriate time. Because HP has not been a gaming monitor company before, these problems will likely affect their first rollout in the Omen line, and it may take a second attempt to get things right. If they’re working with AMD on the FreeSync certification, then there’s a good chance we’ll see these problems ironed out before release.
Availability is set for August 2016, but no pricing was revealed in the press briefing that I was invited to.