HP Omen 25 Review. HP omen 25
HP Omen 25 Review
If you’re looking for a new gaming display to upgrade to, then you may want to consider the HP Omen 25 display.
With its excellent aesthetic design, and packed with the performance and features, the Omen 25 monitor will deliver you the goods and the necessary features to give you the slight edge.
To begin with, HP is an awesome, and a reputable company that designs state of the art electronics, and one of their awesome designs is the HP Omen 25 monitor.
Having lots of features, connectivity, and speed, you’ll be able to gain the advantage when it comes to competitive gaming as well.
But before investing in this impressive display, let’s first check out the specifications, the design, and the performance of the display that the Omen 25 contains.
- Display: 24.5-inches
- Resolution: 1920×1080 FHD
- Panel Type: TN
- Refresh Rate: 144Hz
- Response Time: 1ms
- Screen Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 10M:1
- Display Type: LED-Lit
- VESA Mount Compatible
- I/O Panel: 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 1.4, 2x USB 3.0, HDCP, and 1x Audio Jack
- Weight: 10-lbs
The HP Omen 25 has a simple and elegant design. With its nice matte-black finish to the panel, you’ll be able to adore the monitor from a distance when entering your room or office.
With its 24.5-inch screen, you’ll have enough room to have multiple Windows open at the same time while gaming as well. Also, the display has thin bezels, making the monitor more immersive for users.
And along with its anti-glare screen, you won’t have to adjust the display itself, and you’ll still be able to see the screen without any glare from any bright sources, such as the intense rays from the sun, and this is thanks to its matte screen finish.
You’ll also find the Omen logo on the left side of the rear panel, which has a beautiful looking design and a dark-red finish to the logo, which makes it stand out.
If you’re a big fan of RGB’s, the logo also has RGB lighting, and the lights will add the ambiance of your environment. However, you can always turn off the RGB in your displays configuration if it’s not for you.
Along with the monitors’ aesthetic looks, the stock stand isn’t as ergonomically designed because you can only tilt the display up.5 to 23 degrees.
But the stand will give you the proper foundation for the display from preventing the monitor from wobbling and moving around.
If you’re not satisfied with the stand, you’ll be able to op-in for a VESA mount, and you’ll be able to control better and will allow the display to be a lot flexible. And the screen also comes with a VESA adapter as well, so you won’t have to invest in one separately.
Once set, you can mount the display onto your wall and enjoy your favorite movies as well.
Located on the side of the display, you’ll find a built-in headphone hanger which is very useful if you do decide to take breaks from your gaming and multimedia sessions.
Aside from the cool headphone hanger, you’ll find the I/O panels in the back of the monitor, and they’re easy to connect to. The panels consist of one DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 1.4, two USB 3.0, and one audio jack output.
Thanks to its HDMI port, you’ll be able to plug in your console systems such as your PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or SNES if you do plan on going retro gaming. And with the Omen 25’s features and performances, you’ll be able to take console gaming to the next level and gain a slight edge due to the monitors’ speed.
With the HDMI port, you can also invest in some of the top HDMI switches as well, and add multiple devices into the display.
Along with the I/O ports, the OSD panel is located in the right rear of the panel and uses a joystick to control the configurations of the display. Using the joystick is a lot convenient compared to using traditional buttons because you’ll be able to reconfigure the monitor with ease.
Performance and Features
With a display size of 24.5-inches, the HP Omen 25 runs a resolution of 1920×1080 FHD, with a refresh rate of 144Hz and a response time of 1ms. And with these speeds, you’ll surely gain the upper advantage when gaming competitively.
Having a 144Hz refresh rate will give you smoother gameplay, and you’ll be able to view fast-paced action scenes more clearly without having trails, nor motion blur.
The display is also FreeSync ready, so if you do have an AMD graphics card, you’ll be able to use the FreeSync capabilities to the fullest fully.
Once FreeSync is on, you’ll be able to enjoy smooth, buttery-like gameplay and won’t have screen tearing, nor ghosting while gaming.
However, if you have an Nvidia GPU, you can also use FreeSync, but you’ll need to go to Nvidia’s website and download the drivers to experience the full capabilities of the feature.
Also, if you do plan on overclocking the display up to 165Hz, you can by going into the configuration of the display and enable Turboclock to achieve higher refresh rates.
The colors are accurate and vibrant with crisp images. Thanks to its 99% RGB coverage, you’ll be able to utilize the monitor to its full potential, making the display great for content creators, artists, and gamers alike. And with the RGB coverage, you’ll be able to view movies, photos, and gaming with excellent color and image clarity.
Considering that the HP Omen 25 is a TN panel, it’s one of the fastest and still maintains color depth and vibrancy. The viewing angles have a 178-degree span, so you’ll always be able to see the images and colors without any fading when viewing from certain angles.
Also, the display is LED-backlit AMVA. and there won’t be any screen bleeding nor dead pixels. And with the displays 1800R curvature added with that, you’ll even have a more immersive gameplay and multimedia experience.
Is HP’s new 25-inch 1080p gaming panel punchy enough for this price point?
HP Omen’s latest 25-inch gaming monitor combines 165Hz refresh with decent if not spectacular pixel response. Just don’t expect anything special from the 1080p IPS panel in terms of image quality.
- Slightly underwhelming image quality
- Tilt-only stand
- Better displays are available at this price
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Got a budget of about 300 bucks to blow on a new gaming monitor or a similar sum in pounds sterling? Then you face a tricky conundrum. Could the solution be the new HP Omen 25i?
At this price point, you certainly have an embarrassment of choice. You can go for resolutions up to 4K, refresh rates north of 120Hz, all three of the major panel types (that’ll be TN, IPS and VA), G-Sync and FreeSync, various HDR implementations and, well, you get the idea. What you can’t have, of course, is everything in one panel. Not even close for this kind of money and arguably not quite at any price.
Panel size: 25-inch Panel technology: IPS Native resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Refresh rate: 165 Hz Response time: 1 ms (MPRT) HDR: VESA DisplayHDR 400 Contrast: 1,000:1 Color: 90% DCI-P3 Brightness: 400 nits Video Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x2, DisplayPort 1.4 Other: G-Sync Compatible, FreeSync Premium Pro, USB 3.0 hub
With all that in mind, HP’s latest gaming solution is built around a 25-inch 1080p IPS panel with high refresh rates, fast pixel response and at least some attention paid to image quality as opposed to purely speed.
At this budget, of course, you can have 1440p and even 4K monitors with far more pixels than the 1,920 by 1,080 on offer here and therefore far superior image detail. But not the same speed. The other obvious alternative is a TN panel with theoretically faster pixel response but poorer viewing angles, contrast, and colour accuracy.
specifically, HP rates the Omen 25i at 165Hz for refresh while pixel response is pegged at 1ms, albeit that’s MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time) rather than grey-to-grey. Typically, 1ms MPRT equates to 2ms GTG, an early indication that the Omen 25i might not be quite as quick as the very fastest IPS gaming panels, which are good for 1ms GTG.
Further key metrics include VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification, which is entry-level HDR technology and does not include a backlight with local dimming, 400 nits of brightness and 1,000:1 contrast. As for colour accuracy, HP quotes 90% coverage of the DCI-P3 digital cinema gamut, which is novel at least in so far as many manufacturers offering panels in this segment don’t bother quoting colour coverage at all.
Anyway, if that’s all largely in line with expectations for this type of gaming panel, what about the HP Omen 25i’s physical bearing? It certainly keys right into HP Omen’s established design ethic, most obviously in the base of the stand and the section on the rear of the monitor housing the ports and connectors. Both clearly pay homage to Omen’s logo.
The HP Omen 25i is also really nicely put together and sports sleek, slim bezels on three sides of the 25-inch panel. There’s some novel engineering in the way the stand clips into the rear of the monitor, too. It’s just a pity money was spent there and not on adjustability. Tilt is the only option, not even height adjustment is provided. Speaking of connectivity, you get one HDMI and DisplayPort each, plus a two-port USB 3 hub.
But what about the stuff that matters most, namely image quality? HP has acquired VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification for the Omen 25i. That requires a brightness capability of 400 nits. But this panel never feels quite that punchy. That may be partly because white tones aren’t quite as clean and pure as the best IPS panels.
It’s a relatively minor issue and one that the human brain is particularly adept at tuning out. But it is an indication that this isn’t a truly top drawer IPS panel in terms of straight-up image fidelity, as is evidence of a little compression in darker tones in our test images. Long story short, don’t get too excited about this monitor’s HDR performance or broader static image quality. It’s not what the HP Omen 25i does best.
In game, pixel response is good but not absolutely outstanding. HP has included five levels of user-configurable overdrive, which is welcome because it means you can really fine-tune pixel response and decide for yourself how much, if any, overshoot you are willing to accept. The two fastest settings do indeed suffer a little inverse ghosting. But, again, you get to decide what compromise to settle on.
Anyway, firing up shooters like Call of Duty Warzone, Apex Legends and Fortnite, the Omen 25i feels very responsive. Subjectively, the pixel response isn’t quite as snappy as the very best IPS monitors, much less the fastest TN screens. But don’t get us wrong, the Omen 25i is no slouch.
Slightly less successful is its performance in graphics fests like Cyberpunk 2077. The colours are marginally less vibrant than the best IPS panels. There’s also a little IPS glow visible in darker tones. Again, this isn’t a bad monitor, it’s just not especially remarkable.
Factor in the relatively modest 25-inch proportions and the unspectacular 1080p native resolution and you wouldn’t pick this panel if pure visual spectacle, as opposed to response and speed, was your main priority.
Of course, that much was obvious enough on paper. Big, bolder screens can be had for similar money. What the HP Omen 25i does deliver, however, is a pretty nice combination of speed and response, combined with tolerable all-round image quality, all wrapped up in a satisfyingly aesthetic, if not hugely ergonomic, package.
It’s not an instant no brainer to stick the HP Omen 25i at the top of your shortlist. But it certainly deserves serious consideration among the many 1080p high-refresh options. Check out our guide to the best high-refresh monitors if you’re in the market for a speedy screen.
HP Omen 25i Review: Uniquely Equipped
Though there are some 240 Hz screens available in the same price range, the HP Omen 25i delivers superior picture quality, killer HDR and accurate color that outperforms the competition. With 165 Hz, FreeSync, G-Sync and some truly useful and unique gaming features, it is a compelling choice and a solid value.
- Accurate color
- Impressive HDR
- Unique crosshair customization
- Low-res gaming enhancement
- Good value
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Features and Specifications
The sub-400 gaming monitor category is filled with many choices from every major manufacturer and even a few less well-known companies. With screens in both 25 and 27-inch sizes, it can be difficult to find one that stands out.
For between 350 and 400, you can expect to find a VA or IPS panel with at least a 144 Hz refresh rate, Adaptive-Sync and gaming features like blur reduction, aiming points and frame counters. A few of these screens also include HDR.
Though HP isn’t one of the gaming monitor titans, its line of Omen displays offers solid build quality and reliable performance for competing against the best gaming monitors. The newest addition is the HP Omen 25i. Expected to be available this July for 350, it’s a 25-inch, 1080p-resolution IPS screen with 165 Hz, two flavors of Adaptive-Sync, HDR and extended color.
There are also a couple of features here that we haven’t seen before: Game Remaster mode for retro gaming, and a customizable crosshair that should always be visible, helping to make this a more standout screen.
HP Omen 25i Specs
|IPS / W-LED, edge array|
|25 inches / 16:9|
|1920×1080 @ 165 Hz|
|8-bit / DCI-P3|
|SDR: 400 nits|
|1x DisplayPort 1.4|
|3.5mm headphone output|
|1x up, 2x down|
|16.2w, brightness @ 200 nits|
|22 x 15.3 x 9.2 inches|
|(559 x 389 x 234mm)|
|2.3 inches (58mm)|
|Top/sides: 0.3 inch (7mm)|
|11.6 pounds (5.3kg)|
At its core, the Omen 25i is similar to any other 25-inch gaming monitor. For a 350 MSRP, you get 165 Hz, AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, which adds HDR support and low framerate compensation (LFC) over standard FreeSync. You also get G-Sync Compatibility for pairing the monitor with Nvidia graphics cards, plus extended color, a native 8-bit IPS panel and DisplayHDR 400 certification.
Note that many other 1080p monitors in this price tier offer 240 Hz, but very few (if any) have HDR. And HP hasn’t just included basic support. It engages an effective dynamic contrast feature that sends the HDR contrast ratio up to almost 10,000:1, as you’ll see in our testing. Extended color is also rare in this category.
Assembly and Accessories
The Omen 25i’s base is a heavy metal diamond, which bolts to a solid upright that snaps onto the panel. You won’t need any tools for assembly.
Accessories in the box are DisplayPort and USB cables, along with a small external power supply.
The Omen 25i shares its styling cues with other monitors in the Omen series. Everything is formed from straight lines and right angles with nary a curve or taper in sight. Corners and edges are just soft enough to avoid sharpness. The base and rear bulge share a diamond shape, or a square turned 45 degrees if you prefer. The Omen logo also features this diamond.
The monitor’s anti-glare layer is flush-mounted with a thin bezel that’s visible when the monitor is powered on. The bottom trim is a bit wider and is broken only by the word “Omen” and a tiny power LED, which glows white for power on and orange in standby. Reach around the back right and you’ll find a small joystick for controlling the on-screen display (OSD) menu and a barely perceptible power button. Minimalism is certainly a design goal here, and HP has achieved a true form ahead of function concept.
The side and top views show a panel that’s a uniform thickness, except for the component bulge, which protrudes into a small upright. The package is kept stable by a heavy metal base that looks small but is very solid. Ergonomics are limited to.5/25 degrees of tilt; there is no height or swivel adjustment. The panel sits a bit low for our taste and must be angled upward to the eyepoint when sitting in a typical office chair. If you want a perfectly vertical panel, a monitor stand is required.
Inputs are on the bottom two sides of the component bulge and are easily accessible. On one side, you get a DisplayPort 1.4 and an HDMI 2.0, along with a 3.5mm headphone port and the power supply input. On the other side is USB 3.2, one upstream and two down.
You can route cables through a hole in the upright for tidiness, and there’s a headphone hook for your best gaming headset as well.
There is a lot to see in the Omen 25i’s OSD. Gaming features abound, with a customizable aiming point called Dynamic Crosshair, a frame counter, timers and multi-monitor alignment marks. You also get a large selection of picture modes and a set of precise RGB sliders for calibration. If you prefer to make monitor settings from the Windows desktop, an app called Omen Gaming Hub is available for download from HP’s website.
The Gaming sub-menu puts all the necessary tools in one place. You can toggle Adaptive-Sync,a frame rate indicator, timers and alignment marks with ease. MPRT is a blur-reducing backlight strobe with a five-level pulse width adjustment. Level 1 is the brightest with the least amount of blur reduction. Level 5 reduces brightness by around 50% and smooths motion considerably. This is all at the expense of Adaptive-Sync though, you must turn off the screen tear fighting tech options to engage MPRT.
The Crosshair option includes a powerful reticle editor, where you can build the aiming point from five different elements, then change the color, transparency and location. The interesting part is its adaptive center section. When you press the right mouse button to aim, a small circle appears that changes between black and white, depending on the image color. This keeps it always in contrast with the background and makes aiming a breeze. It’s one of the most useful aiming point features we’ve encountered.
The Omen 25i is a very accurate monitor, with eight total picture modes. Standard is a near-perfect representation of sRGB, while Native and Game Remaster use the DCI-P3 gamut. You can independently calibrate each mode with very precise RGB sliders. We’ll get into the ins and outs of these modes later, but HP has obviously made accuracy and color quality a high priority with the 25i.
HP Omen 25i Calibration Settings
Calibration of the Omen 25i is completely unnecessary because it’s very accurate out of the box, but we tweaked the RGB sliders in three of the modes for our tests. Standard is the default and is the go-to mode for sRGB color and SDR games. If you want the full color gamut, around 88% of DCI-P3, then choose either Native or Game Remaster. The latter applies adaptive edge enhancement, which helps low res games look better but does not look as good with 1080p content. To play modern games, choose Native. Below are our recommended calibration settings for the Omen 25i in Standard and Game Remaster/Native.
|Standard / Game Remaster Native|
|48 / 42|
|19 / 17|
|100 / 100|
|Standard. Red 253, Green 253, Blue 255|
|Game Remaster. Red 252, Green 252, Blue 255|
When an HDR10 signal is detected, the Omen 25i switches automatically, and all image controls are locked out. Accuracy is very high, and so is HDR image quality, both in the color and contrast realms.
Gaming and Hands-on
The Omen 25i has unique features that bear a closer look. We were most curious about Game Remaster Mode. This is the first monitor to use the new HP feature, which targets games made in resolutions lesser than 1080p with an “enhancement filter,” as HP put it in a press briefing. Engaging it with static images showed a bump in color saturation and a bit of edge enhancement. In Windows, this was not a good thing because it made the picture look soft. Small text became harder to read because black characters showed a tiny white outline. The extra color was nice, but Game Remaster mode is the wrong choice for any kind of graphic or document work.
But HP touts the feature as an enhancement for low-res gaming, so we dialed down the resolution in Tomb Raider to 1024 x 768 to provide a real torture test. That experiment revealed Game Remaster Mode’s strength. Details like Lara’s hair or a plant waving in the breeze looked much sharper than with the feature off. While we could still see occasional ringing outlines, they were less frequent and less obvious. The added color saturation was a plus too. Used in the right situation, Game Remaster is a real bonus to the Omen 25i’s feature set and something we haven’t seen before.
While Game Remaster is meant for low-res gaming, we also tried it at the monitor’s native 1080p resolution. It seemed to reduce the motion resolution, and the edge enhancement softened the picture rather than sharpened it. Watching the action carefully revealed that the effect was adaptive. In other words, it varied depending on the content’s contrast level. Higher contrast areas showed more artifacts.
We also tried the Omen 25i’s Dynamic Crosshair feature in both Tomb Raider and Call of Duty: WWII. Designing the ideal reticle shape and color was nice, and the tiny circle that appears when aiming really helped improve our shooting accuracy. Though many gaming monitors have crosshairs available, the Omen 25i’s is the best and most useful one we’ve seen yet.
Another feature that proved useful was Dynamic Contrast. It made static images look very bright but also made SDR games really pop, especially in highlighted areas. Our tests showed that the edge backlight doesn’t just change brightness adaptively. Instead, it dims selectively, like a zone array. The Omen 25i’s Dynamic Contrast feature isn’t as effective as a full-array local dimming (FALD) backlight, which many of the best HDR monitors have, but this approach is the next best thing. It puts the Omen 25i on a higher level of image quality than other monitors in its price category.
Checking out video processing in a few Blur Busters tests and in gameplay, we saw no issues with either FreeSync Premium Pro or G-Sync Compatibility operation. Our test GPUs were also able to hit 165 frames per second (fps) in some games, and the Omen 25i cooperated swimmingly. However, the MPRT blur reduction feature, which turns off Adaptive-Sync, neither improved nor reduced image quality. We ultimately preferred to use Adaptive-Sync instead.
The Omen 25i is a very flexible screen. Our recommendation for SDR content is to use Standard mode if you want perfectly accurate color, or Native mode if you want greater saturation. Game Remaster is great for low-res titles if you’re still playing an old copy of Doom, for example. But it should be avoided for video and games that play at 1080p.
The HP Omen 25L looks the part, but its build quality leaves us wanting more
With new GPUs in short supply, 2021 hasn’t been kind for anyone on the hunt for a brand-new gaming PC. The HP Omen 25L, a modular gaming PC, shines with an Nvidia RTX 3070 and an AMD Ryzen 5 processor behind its sleek glass panel, but it has some rough edges. Though it’s indeed fast at its best, unfortunately not all that glitters is gold. An iffy motherboard and aggressive thermal throttling hold its ultra-powerful hardware back from the kind of optimal performance we were hoping for.
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- About the HP Omen 25L
- What we like
- What we don’t like
- Recommended upgrades and modifications
- Should you buy the HP Omen 25L?
- Terrible airflow and temperature management
- Flimsy motherboard
- Feature-starved case
About the HP Omen 25L
The HP Omen 25L’s CPU Cooler is beautiful, but the amount of air it pushes barely amounts to a tickle.
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
- CPU Cooler: HP Omen proprietary heatsink
- Memory: HyperX Fury 8GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM
- Memory Slots: 2 DIMM up to 16GB DDR4-3200MHz
- Storage: Western Digital Black 256GB PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD
- Motherboard: HP ATX Moria 3 87C3 AMD B450
- Front Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 Type A; 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack; 1 x 3.5mm microphone jack
- Back Ports (Motherboard): 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2; 1 x USB C 3.0; 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1; 1 x Ethernet; 1 x 3.5mm microphone jack; 1 x 3.5mm audio out jack; 1 x 3.5mm audio in jack
- Back Ports (Graphics card): 1 x HDMI 2.0; 3 x DisplayPort
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition Custom Graphics Card
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5
- Power Supply: Cooler Master Bronze 500W ATX Power Supply
- Weight: 25.3 pounds
- Dimensions: 6.5 x 15.53 x 17.05 in
- Accessories: HP wired Keyboard and Mouse combo
- Warranty: One-year limited warranty
The HP Omen 25L is a midsize modular tower gaming PC, meaning it offers plenty of support for aftermarket hardware and accessories. We tested what we consider to be the best value configuration that you can buy direct from HP, although the Omen 25L can be configured with an Intel processor and other graphics cards in the Nvidia GeForce family.
Like all off-the-shelf PCs, it comes fully built, but the inside can be accessed and modified by removing the glass side panel.
What we like
Most of its parts are easily reusable or replaceable
By presses the “Internal Access” button on the rear of the PC, you can remove the glass side panel and access all the hardware inside the case.
When you’re buying a standalone PC, you have three options: an all-in-one where the PC is built into the display (like the iMac), a DIY tower where you pick out and assemble all the components yourself, or a fully pre-built PC (like the Omen 25L) from a manufacturer.
When it comes to prebuilt PCs, there is a surprising amount of variance in how modular the parts are. Thankfully, the HP Omen 25L is easy to modify with aftermarket or replacement parts down the line. Every component in the PC is replaceable, although you will need to make sure they fit in the rather slim case. We were barely able to squeeze in an EVGA Supernova 850W ATX power supply (a.k.a a big chunky model), which may be necessary if you wanted to add a more powerful GPU down the line.
importantly, many of its replaceable parts aren’t necessarily worth replacing for most people. Its Ryzen 5 3600 CPU is an excellent processor, as is its Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU and its HyperX Fury RAM. Because we got a model with 8GB of RAM, we would recommend getting another 8GB RAM module to fit into the motherboard’s second RAM slot.
While we did replace the power supply to see how complicated it would be, the Omen’s included power supply is decent—the 80 Bronze Efficiency 500W Cooler Master PSU it comes with will be plenty of power for demanding AAA games. The Bronze rating means that it is over eighty percent efficient at drawing power, which keeps your power draw from spiking too high and helps your power supply and PC components last longer (as spikes can reduce their lifespan).
It has a nice aesthetic
The RGB lighting on the front logo, the CPU fan, and the top of the case are fully customizable.
While the Omen 25L doesn’t have the most unique aesthetic out there, it’s hard to deny that it’s beautiful. The front diamond lights up with an RGB header that’s fully customizable on HP’s Omen Gaming Center software, although it looks beautiful as the default frosty white as well. The stock CPU cooler and the top of the case also have customizable RGB lighting to make your Omen truly yours.
The dark gunmetal finish on the front panel paired with the glass side panel give the Omen the “gamer” edge that RGB fans love, but it’s also classy enough to please those who prefer a more subdued aesthetic. When you look through the glass panel, the insides of the PC look clean thanks to the tucked away cables and all-black components.
It can run 4K games at reasonable frame rates
The RTX 3070’s custom shroud is thin and light, letting the GPU blend into the background of the case.
With an Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU and an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU, it’s no surprise that the HP Omen 25L is a capable gaming machine. You should have little trouble running 1080p games at very high frame rates, and even most 4K games will run at or above 60 frames per second. The monstrously demanding game Cyberpunk 2077 ran at about 45 frames per second at 4K with ray tracing enabled (if you’re new to ray tracing, it’s a power-hungry way of generating shadows and reflections that makes games look more realistic than ever).
Meanwhile, Shadow of the Tomb Raider averaged about 47 frames per second at 4K highest graphics, and Overwatch consistently hovered around 150 frames per second on 4K highest graphics. Unless you’re running Microsoft Flight Simulator in VR on its most realistic graphics settings, you probably won’t run into trouble with the RTX 3070.
For more varied tasks, the Omen’s Ryzen 5 processor is fantastic. Streaming, movie editing, and multitasking are all smooth and painless. In Cinebench R23, the Omen 25L scored a respectable 9,150 points, which puts it close to Intel’s premium Core i7 10700 CPU. Unless you’re a dedicated streamer or frequent 3D animator, you probably won’t even get close to maxing out the Ryzen 5’s capabilities.
What we don’t like
It underperforms because of terrible cooling
The only fans the PC comes with are the one on the CPU cooler and the one on the rear. There is a vent where the power supply’s cables lie, although it is small. The top vent has a shroud over it for SATA drives, not fans. You will need to mod the case somehow to make your own fan mounts.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of issues with the HP Omen 25L, and it all starts with its underwhelming cooling performance. While the PC is clearly capable of quality 4K gaming, many elements in the HP Omen 25L hold back the powerful hardware’s potential, leaving both the Ryzen 5 and RTX 3070 to perform under expectations by 5% or more.
Within a minute of booting up Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the CPU’s temperatures surpass 85 degrees Celsius and the GPU peaks at 93 degrees Celsius—way, way too hot for safe performance, let alone optimal performance. Past 95 degrees Celsius, the CPU and GPU can both sustain thermal damage, and keeping close to 95 degrees will wear away at their lives much more quickly.
The main issue is that the cooling is inadequate for the powerful CPU and GPU, despite the case being large enough. Let’s compare the 25-liter Omen 25L’s thermal performance to my personal small form factor (SFF) PC, built in a 7-liter DAN A4 case. Normally, more liters mean more air to cool a PC, so you should expect SFF PCs to run hotter than their larger counterparts. At idle, both the DAN’s and the HP Omen’s components are about 40 degrees. When running OCCT, a benchmarking software, the HP Omen takes about 30 seconds for its CPU to climb to 95 degrees.
Meanwhile, the DAN’s water-cooled CPU never surpassed 72 degrees when it ran the same benchmarks for a full minute. Mind you, 72 degrees is still hot, and it has an unfair advantage with water cooling, but the HP Omen’s 25-liter case is more than large enough to accommodate a similarly effective cooling system to keep the temperatures at least below 75 degrees (and ideally below 70 degrees).
The 7 liter DAN A4 case has airflow vents covering four of its six faces. Meanwhile, the 25 liter HP Omen PC has three vents.
So, if the “large” HP Omen 25L is so big, why does it run so hot? Well, size isn’t everything: the HP Omen’s stock cooler and stock case fan push far too little air to cool everything inside the PC. Because of the case’s structure, the GPU and PSU receive inadequate airflow, and the case overall has negative airflow (which means it’s pushing hot air out without pulling cold air in). There are very few vents around the case—just one on top, one next to (but not below!) the PSU, and one where the rear fan is located. The two front grilles are only decorative.
Furthermore, there are too few spots to improve the Omen’s cooling situation yourself. The only cooling mount is the one occupied by the rear case fan, so adding additional fans means you’ll have to DIY mounts with zip ties. This isn’t normal. The average PC case has at least three fan mounts, and a good one will have more. If the Omen had mounts for water cooling—which is an excellent choice for small, air-restricted cases—then it would make the airflow situation less serious, but there are no mounts.
The case is starved for features, air, and ergonomics
With no cooling mounts, few vents, and no places to hide cables, this case falls behind many budget cases on the market today.
Aside from the cooling situation mentioned above, the Omen 25L has many other oversights with its case. The glass panel is thankfully simple to remove (just press a big button on the top of the rear panel), but the front, top, and side panels require a lot more finagling. Additionally, if you need to swap out components with cables, like the power supply, removing the stock cables and organizing any new cables was more hassle than I’m used to with PC cases—it required a lot of tight weaving around the case in hopes of hiding the cables without squeezing them. Finally, because of the case’s negative airflow and its non-removable dust filters, cleaning it will be problematic in the long run.
Considering you can get an excellent case these days for under a hundred dollars, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to just ditch this case. Aside from the aesthetics, it doesn’t offer anything that you can’t find elsewhere, and it’s missing a lot of features that will make your life easier—removable dust filters, plenty of air vents, fan and cooling mounts, moveable risers and mounts, and a dedicated PSU compartment.
The motherboard is disturbingly flimsy
The back of the motherboard is covered in residue. There are several rails exposed on the front.
While the power supply, CPU, GPU chip, RAM, and SSD are all made by other companies, the motherboard is HP’s own handiwork. At first, I was annoyed to find only one M.2 slot on it (many boards have two or more slots for your SSDs) and not as much RAM potential as I’d hoped, but I quickly found more grave faults with the motherboard. The sloppy soldering, dirty back and exposed rails leave the user with ample opportunity to fry or bend something on the motherboard. However, the worst offense is its flimsiness.
Some flimsy or cheap components are frankly to be expected in prebuilt PCs, but the motherboard is the most important component of a PC, and this motherboard is so bendable that I was genuinely worried about breaking it every time I plugged or unplugged a connector on it. No one should ever worry about breaking parts by using them as intended, and especially not worry about one of a PC’s most critical components.
Underwhelming software package and accessories
HP should have included better peripherals, considering they make solid mice and keyboards.
If HP cheaped out on the PC’s most critical features, it shouldn’t be a surprise the extras and accessories were little more than an afterthought. The motherboard’s BIOS doesn’t have much on it, so you can’t mess with your components’ performance. Meanwhile, the HP Omen Command Center software is more a marketplace than a control center, with the only PC settings truly modifiable being the RGB lights. You can also monitor the CPU and GPU temperatures. Woo.
If you were hoping to save on a keyboard and mouse purchase, you’ll be disappointed to know the Omen’s included ones are less than adequate for gaming. HP packs a basic wired mouse and keyboard that were uncomfortable for me after a half hour, let alone a day, and they’re not customizable.
Thankfully, good gaming mice and keyboards are cheap these days. If you need a recommendation, this Havit mechanical keyboard and gaming mouse combo is an awesome choice for those on a budget.
Recommended upgrades and modifications
There are plenty of easy mods to make in the HP Omen 25L. One of the most important mods you can make is to swap the CPU cooler; the right photo shows the stock cooler next to a Noctua NH-D9L cooler.
If you can find a more fully-featured prebuilt PC with an RTX 3070, by all means go for it. However, if you’re in love with the HP Omen 25L’s aesthetic (that’s fair) or you just can’t find a better PC for sale around you, then there is a lot you can do to improve the experience. That’s the beauty of modular PCs.
For the HP Omen 25L, we recommend you upgrade the CPU cooler and case fan ASAP. Cooling is this PC’s greatest flaw, and fan coolers are not expensive. You should be able to replace the rear fan with any standard 92mm fan out there. We chose to go with the Noctua 92mm NF-B9 redux fan to replace the rear case fan, which is quiet, powerful, and relatively affordable.
For the CPU cooler, you will need a cooler that fits an AM4 bracket (this is the mount that AMD Ryzen 3rd and 4th gen CPUs use), is no more than 135mm tall, and has a 35mm RAM clearance (your RAM clearance must be at least the height of your RAM modules; we’ve provided you with the HyperX Fury’s height, but make sure to check your RAM’s height if you replace the Omen’s stock module). We went with the Noctua NH-D9L CPU cooler, which is 110mm tall and very easy to install.
As far as performance and features go, the Omen 25L’s case is nothing to write home about. There are a lot of excellent and fashionable cases for reasonable these days, like the 50 Cooler Master Masterbox Q300L or the pricier 115 Cooler Master NR200P.
Other easy upgrades to make include adding more RAM (up to 2 x 16GB of 3200MHz RAM is supported), upgrading the 256GB SSD to 512GB or more (PCIe gen 3 is supported), adding a SATA SSD or HDD, or getting a beefier power supply (make sure it’s no more than 125 mm wide and 85mm tall). HWMonitor can help you monitor your PC’s stats in greater detail, and under-clocking or under-volting your hardware can help it run cooler for more longevity. We don’t think it’s worth upgrading the CPU or GPU unless you plan to do something super power hungry (as in you’re an engineer or professional content creator), at which point a fully custom build is likely warranted.
Should you buy the HP Omen 25L?
Maybe, if you can find it on sale or you desperately want an Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card.
Considering the HP Omen 25L has 25 liters to work with, we were disappointed with how little HP did to take advantage of the space.
Overall, the HP Omen 25L presents a beautiful gamer PC that will be the envy of your teenage friends: it can run demanding 4K and VR games with stunning graphics, its RGB is gorgeous, and its hardware will stay relevant for many years to come. Should you outgrow the venerable Nvidia RTX 3070 or AMD Ryzen 5 3600, you can easily swap them out thanks to the PC’s modular design. You are bound to nothing in this build, and you won’t pay a premium for it.
However, we have serious long-term durability concerns that likely can’t be solved without swapping to a new case. Because the build didn’t bother cutting corners (I mean this metaphorically and literally: the components’ corners are sharp where they could’ve been rounded out), there are a lot of jagged edges that pierce through the PC’s potential. The dangerously thin motherboard feels like it could snap, and the lack of airflow leaves the hardware running near-critical temperatures. You can modify the PC to improve its shortcomings, but you’d ultimately have to replace its two distinguishing components (the case and the motherboard) if you safely want to do anything even moderately taxing.
If you’re lucky enough to choose which prebuilt PC you can buy these days, we recommend a PC with off-the-shelf PC parts and plenty of cooling so that you can have a quality computer you can upgrade down the line. The MSI Aegis RS and the CyberPower PC Gamer Supreme desktops are both builds that meet these requirements (and look cool for a reasonable price). Custom-built PCs—like those from Microcenter or Origin PC—will cost more, unfortunately, but you can have more control over the details of your hardware.
In a perfect world, we would likely recommend those hunting for an Nvidia 3070 GPU look elsewhere. However, considering the shortages may not be over until well into 2022, we don’t think the HP Omen 25L should be avoided entirely. At MSRP, the Omen 25L is reasonably priced, and you will get a 4K-ready computer out of the box that will work just fine in the short term. It’s designed to look good in a retail store: it has the aesthetic appeal many gamers want, and it will run well enough. However, those who know better will quickly find some serious faults, and if you plan to keep it long term you should budget for a new case at least.
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were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.