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HP Omen 27k review: a shockingly good budget monitor

An HDR demo playing on the HP Omen 27k monitor.
HP Omen 27k
MSRP $420.00
“The HP Omen 27k is a resounding example of how far gaming monitors have come.”
Pros
  • Reasonably priced
  • Super sharp
  • USB-C input
  • Great color accuracy
  • KVM switch
Cons
  • Poor HDR performance
  • Artifacts at high overdrive levels
  • No cable management

You’ll find plenty of 4K displays among the best gaming monitors, but for the past several years, you’d have to pay up to get one. HP’s impressive Omen 27k is a change of pace. Clocking in at $400, and even less on sale, you’re getting a 4K display with a high 144Hz refresh rate that somehow offers premium features like USB-C and a KVM switch.

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It’s a remarkable showcase of how far gaming monitors have come in the past few years. Although this monitor doesn’t top the charts with its brightness and the HDR experience is far from perfect, there’s enough to love about the Omen 27k considering its affordable price.

HP Omen 27k specs

  HP Omen 27k
Screen size 27 inches
Panel type IPS
Resolution 3,840 x 2,160 (4K)
Peak brightness 400 nits
HDR DisplayHDR 400
Local dimming Edge-lit, 8 zones
Contrast ratio 1,000:1 (10M:1 dynamic contrast)
Response time 1ms GtG
Refresh rate 144Hz
Curve N/A
Speakers Yes
Inputs 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x USB-C
Ports 2x USB 3.2 Type-A, 1x 3.5mm
List price $420
Where to buy

Design

Lighting on the back of the HP Omen 27k.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The design of the Omen 27k is fairly pedestrian. It’s a black plastic shell, not dissimilar from a monitor like the Gigabyte M32U. HP goes a bit further than other monitors with some bias lighting positioned around the back of the display, which you can control through the menu. It’s surprisingly bright for such a small amount of light, especially if the monitor is pressed up close against a wall.

HP doesn’t go for over-the-top branding on the Omen 27k, instead opting for an Omen logo on the bottom bezel of the display and the signature Omen triangle on the base. The base is a small metal square that’s sturdy enough to support the monitor without taking up too much desk space.

The stand itself is decent, with tilt and pivot, as well as height adjustment. Unfortunately, there’s no swivel, but you can use the included 100mm x 100mm VESA mount to connect the monitor to a monitor arm.

Cables connected to the HP Omen 27k monitor.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Everything here is fairly standard, but I have one big gripe with the design. There’s no cable management whatsoever. Your cables hook into the bottom of the monitor, and they’ll sit dangling from the front of the display. Even something as minor as a hook like we saw on the Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 would go a long way to clean up the look.

Worse, the ports are down fairly low, meaning they’ll stick out even if you manage to tie everything back. It doesn’t impact the performance of the monitor, but the lack of any cable management is a clear blemish on what is otherwise a solid display.

Features

An OLED video demo playing on the HP Omen 27k.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

For a budget 4K gaming monitor, the Omen 27k has a shocking number of features. At this price — you can commonly find the Omen 27k for around $380, despite its list price — you expect a 4K resolution and a high refresh rate without much more. HP thankfully packs in the features here, making the monitor stand out from the crowd.

The features all center around the USB-C port. You get a USB-C input with DisplayPort Alt mode, allowing you to connect a laptop or another device with a USB-C output, such as the Steam Deck. The only downside here is that there’s no power delivery. You can’t connect your Steam Deck with a single cable, for example, which limits the port’s usability.

However, HP hooks the USB-C input into the monitor’s built-in KVM switch. You can share your peripherals across multiple sources on the display through the KVM switch, which is a huge bonus if you have multiple devices hooked up to the monitor. Although KVMs are more common than they used to be, it’s surprising to see the feature in such a budget-focused design.

Outside of the USB-C port, the Omen 27k also comes with built-in speakers. They don’t sound very good, with flat bass and not much volume, but it’s nice to see them regardless. Most monitors skip the speakers entirely, but it’s good to have something to fall back on when your headset dies.

At this price and with these specs, you don’t expect much more than a decent image out of a monitor. The fact that HP packs in features like speakers, USB-C, and a KVM speaks to the attention to detail here. HP could have easily skipped all of these features and still come out with a good product, so the fact that they’re here is a big plus.

Ports and menu

Controls on the HP Omen 27k.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

As mentioned, the big addition on the Omen 27k is the USB-C input. Otherwise, you have a fairly standard port selection with a single DisplayPort 1.4 connection and two HDMI ports. You have to be careful with the HDMI ports, though. Only one of them supports HDMI 2.1 for the full resolution and refresh rate.

The other port uses HDMI 2.0, which will either limit the refresh rate to 60Hz at 4K, or the resolution to 1440p at the full refresh rate. I’m really not sure why HP included only one HDMI 2.1 port. There might be some cost-savings in manufacturing or licensing, but I can’t imagine it’s enough to justify. If you want to get the most out of the monitor, you’re limited to one HDMI port and one DisplayPort connection.

The menu on the HP Omen 27k.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

For controlling the monitor, you’ll find buttons on the back around the right side. HP doesn’t use a joystick, instead opting for individual directional buttons along with a power button and KVM toggle. The on-screen display (OSD) is serviceable, though ugly and low resolution.

Still, you have a lot of options, including eight built-in color profiles. HP includes gain adjustments for the red, green, and blue primaries, so you have some options for calibrating the display through the monitor itself, too.

Image quality

Color waves on the HP Omen 27k.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Omen 27k performs surprisingly well considering its price. Despite some misleading specs due to the dynamic contrast — I’ll dig into that in a bit — this a top-notch IPS panel with great brightness, as-advertised contrast, and exceptional color accuracy.

For some quick numbers, I measured peak brightness of 436 nits out of the box, as well as a contrast of 1,080:1. Most IPS panels shoot for 400 nits and a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, so the Omen 27k is coming out slightly ahead. Color accuracy was fantastic as well, with the Omen 27k clocking a color error of 0.93. That’s better than what we see with some factory-calibrated monitors like the LG UltraGear OLED 27.

The image quality here is fantastic if you stick in SDR. HDR has some problems, and that’s mainly because of the DisplayHDR 400 certification. This is the lowest tier of certification, and although the Omen 27k gets fairly bright considering its price, the monitor still isn’t the best choice for HDR. That’s despite HP’s rather egregious claim that the monitor is capable of a 10,000,000:1 contrast ratio with its dynamic contrast feature.

A video of cherries on the HP Omen 27k.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

With dynamic contrast, the Omen 27k has local dimming, but with a rather small zone count. You get eight vertical dimming zones, so you shouldn’t expect the extreme contrast you find out of a mini-LED display like the Cooler Master GP27Q. You certainly aren’t getting the 10,000,000:1 contrast ratio HP claims with the local dimming.

Still, it’s nice to see local dimming on a monitor under $400, and one that’s 4K no less. Just a few years ago, you would spend upwards of $600 for the same feature on a monitor with a lower resolution. You’re not getting exceptional HDR performance, but at this price, you don’t need it.

Gaming

Cyberpunk 2077 on the HP Omen 27k.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

With a 144Hz refresh rate, FreeSync Premium certification, and a G-Sync Compatible badge, the Omen 27k certainly has the chops for good gaming performance. It’s even better that you’re getting a 4K resolution on a 27-inch screen, leading to exceptional pixel density and sharpness. You just need to be careful with the IPS panel.

Like most IPS gaming monitors, the Omen 27k includes an overdrive mode to improve response times. You have five levels, and the quoted 1ms response is based on the highest level. I wouldn’t run the monitor at the highest overdrive level, though. There’s an intense level of ghosting at the highest overdrive level and generally poor motion clarity.

Forza Horizon 5 running on the HP Omen 27k.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Thankfully, you don’t have to run at the highest overdrive level. Even the second level is plenty fast and with minimal ghosting. You’re not getting the fastest response time, but you shouldn’t expect that out of an IPS panel.

The gaming experience is solid, though the Omen 27k is better suited for players looking for cinematic experiences. You can get faster refresh rates at lower resolutions if you’re more interested in competitive titles. On top of that, you’ll need a rather beefy PC to run the Omen 27k in its full glory — 4K is still demanding in 2024, after all.

Should you buy the HP Omen 27k?

Doom Eternal running on the HP Omen 27k.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

There’s not much more you can ask for with the Omen 27k. At around $400, and even less on sale, you’re getting a high resolution, great color accuracy, and solid brightness, which is a trio that was unheard of at this price a few years ago. I’d recommend it at list price, and if you can score the Omen 27k on sale, you’re getting a downright deal.

Still, you should know what you’re getting into. The dynamic contrast feature isn’t great, with distracting local dimming zones that cover large areas of the the screen. Even with a DisplayHDR 400 certification, this is a monitor you want to run in SDR. The overdrive is very aggressive as well, so you shouldn’t run it at the highest level.

Even with those caveats, you’re getting enough here to justify the price. The Omen 27k is a rare example of how far gaming monitors have come over the past few years by offering the coveted 4K resolution and solid image quality at an affordable price.

Editors' Recommendations

Jacob Roach
Lead Reporter, PC Hardware
Jacob Roach is the lead reporter for PC hardware at Digital Trends. In addition to covering the latest PC components, from…
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