Product: 34C Ultrawide Monitor
Intended Use: Gaming
Manufacturer: HP Omen
If you are a newcomer to the PC market or feel a little unsure about monitors, I can understand; Ultrawides can be a bit daunting. The resolutions vary, the aspect ratios can be different, and since you measure a monitor by the diagonal, that’s another layer of insight you have to have to make the right purchase.
The Omen 34C is a brand new Ultrawide gaming monitor by HP that could be right for a certain type of buyer, and at a price of $479.99, it does make you question if it is too good to be true. Let’s discuss why.
Style / Feel / Build / Hardware
The Omen 34C, first of all, is extremely heavy. It’s bittersweet for durability reasons, as this monitor is made exceptionally well, with textured and “not-so-hollow” feeling plastic and a full metal neck and base. Back to the weight, due to the metal neck and base, the Omen 34C weighs 23 lbs, and all of the weight sits at the top of the neck when installed. I’m not the weakest person, and picking this monitor up with one hand is very difficult, and in some cases, you may need two people to carry this box and weight out of a store or on top of your desk.
Moreover, I’m happy it’s made well, but if you have a cheaply made desk mount or desk, I’d be concerned about bowing my desk. Next, the weight proves the monitor to be pretty shaky at the center point, but this is also because my desk also slightly wobbles. I did have less wobble on a non-ultrawide monitor on this desk, and this is due to a tighter center point of gravity, so keep in mind your setup when purchasing the Omen 34C.
The neck of the monitor attaches to the base with a hand screw with no need for tools. The monitor’s base could use a bit more rubber grip pads, as I found that this monitor can be rotated a tad too easily, leaving me a bit concerned about its general security to the desk. They have this little rubber nub in the center, and it doesn’t make much sense to me.
Moving on, you can find a printed “OMEN” logo front and center on the 34C’s bottom bezel. The other edges feature a bezel measuring ⅜”, and the front bottom bezel is about twice that size. It’s not the most discreet look, but it isn’t too noticeable due to the ultrawide nature of the screen.
The base of the Omen 34C also has a glossy print of their diamond logo, and I must say, I like the base’s open and simple square shape. I can place things on top of it without it falling off, and I appreciate how it gives back the space rather than using some weird destructive design or shape.
The 34C could benefit from some USB ports, or maybe even an SD card reader or something, as It does not feature anything other than two HDMI ports, one display Port, and Menu buttons. There is also an aux port, believe it or not. Back to the menu buttons and panel, this is one of the better configurations I have used and the buttons click pretty firmly, and it is satisfying to use. I find most monitors’ back buttons often come across as relatively cheaply made, and these buttons feel premium for sure.
Once again, the top of the neck attaches without tools, simply clicking into a mechanical lock. There is a release button at the bottom of the place of attachment to easily detach the monitor. The buttons are easy enough to click where if you were to grab the screen by the neck, you would accidentally click the button, and at that point, the monitor can easily slip right off, so be careful how you lift the display.
The 34C has a plastic covering to hide the screws and mounting location if you use the desk stand. On the other hand, Omen logos strike again because your mounting hardware MUST be 90 degrees rotating in full motion to mount this display anywhere. They hold true to their brand so much they would force you into a particular type of hardware, so be sure your mount can hold 23 pounds.
Regarding the back of the display, another “OMEN” typography logo comes across as premium and stylish. It doesn’t tramp stamp the monitor per se but offers another differentiating factor from its counterparts. Another notable mention about the back of the display is the click-in wire management harness. The harness slides and clicks into the monitor stand and does not feel loose or cheap but instead stuck in place to strap in your hefty cables. This brings me to say this display does provide a 2-meter display port in the box, which seems to perform just fine in terms of framerates, but we will return to framerates.
Surprisingly, the Omen 34C does provide built-in speakers, which is always a friendly bonus, although these speakers do not sound very friendly. The speakers sound afraid of you, like a quiet kid in the corner, providing a very muffled and hard-to-hear sound. It still included speakers on a monitor, so it’s nice to have for general and careless media consumption. Still, it’s too hard to distinguish tonal differences due to the muffled nature. Yet another bittersweet story for the Omen 34C.
To close out this section of the review, I’d like to mention that the top right of my monitor was slightly warped or dented. This could be from shipping, but the frame is still susceptible to warping, so be extra careful with the bezel of the Omen 34C. Lastly, there is a small yet detailed decision to make the Omen 34C’s “On or Standby” light on the front a diamond shape to match their logo. It’s the smaller things that add to the sense of pride after spending $500 on a screen.
Performance / Hands-on Use / Features / User Experience / Analysis / Etc.
Let’s start by stating some basic specs that regard performance. The Omen 34C has a resolution of 3440×1440, an extended quad HD (1440p). The monitor also boasts the gamer’s favorite spec of 1ms response time with a refresh rate of 165hz. It also has a 3000:1 contrast ratio featuring a brightness of 400 nits.
Starting with brightness, the Omen 34C supports all means of content, providing a broad spectrum of color and dynamic range. Whether you are a gamer, content creator, photo editor, or more, I found that the monitor provided more than enough brightness and dynamic range to see a proper SRGB output, as that is the color space most consumers can 100% visualize.
As an avid video and photo editor, it was a bit hard to get used to at first, but I found the color and lighting to suffice, especially as I come from a brighter screen. If you are sensitive to brightness, regardless of eye-safe tech, this screen has light power, and my eyes are getting more sensitive as the years pass.
The Omen 34C, as most Omen products do, has different picture presets and color spaces to adjust, such as gaming, native, and more. The native setting provides the most accurate color display, although not the most comfortable, as gaming will have a warmer and more relaxing tonality. I usually have it set to native or gaming depending on if I’m making art or playing games, but native is the most accurate, although it comes across as very blue. I had to lower the green and blue levels a little to my liking to make the screen less in your face.
The Omen 34C is quite a large screen. It may not be the widest ultrawide on the streets, but it certainly can replace two screens if you want to minimize. You probably will lose a bit of screen space if you are used to two screens, but I think after a few uses, you will like this more than a double display setup. I am coming from three screens myself, and this was very hard to get used to. I kind of miss my three-screen setup. This display is very nice, but it just can’t replace everything I like to have open at once amongst multiple monitors. This goes for all ultrawides at 34 inches, as this is solely not a critique of the Omen 34C.
Let’s jump into the gaming experience on this display, and when it comes to having fun, this is where this display shines. It is unique to get this performance, size, and experience for less than $500 because you get full HDR and 165hz without issues on all your favorite titles. The price is not terrible for what you get in terms of resolution, refresh rate, and screen coverage.
The real fun is derived from modern games, allowing the games to be full screen, basically allowing me to see twice as much as my friends playing the same games. It’s almost as if I’m cheating a little because I can see more in my peripherals, and there is this underlying premium nature to the Omen 34C, being that I can see more at such a high refresh rate. The viewing angle of the Omen 34C is also stellar, enough to watch the screen from off to the side, as the curved nature provides a better fit for the human eye.
Take it into a game like Fortnite. For instance, I can see enemies looting or shooting in my peripherals that weren’t even on the screen otherwise on a non-ultrawide. The screen is also bright, vivid, responsive, and clear enough to really make an impact on your gaming style.
Before we close this out, let’s circle back to the question, Is this monitor too good to be true and the answer is undoubtedly confusing, depending on how you want to look at it.
Not even 12 hours into testing the Omen 34C out, I realized you would burn in if you keep windows, tabs, or software open and stationary. Now, the burn-in does fade away a bit, but it does not give a good sign as to the longevity of the panel in general. I am sure it will seem splotchy or dim in some areas over time or have foggy pictures from the continued burn over time.
Here is the kicker: for a content creator or regular user, this is a bigger deal than for someone gaming full screen, as the display is constantly changing and refreshing. This will probably result in way less burn-in and longer life for the Omen 34C, rather than the general user or professional who may have one piece of software open for extended periods of stationary use.
Let’s finish with some framerate speak, and it’s even more important to talk about the refresh rate, granted this monitor boasts high performance on such a large screen at a relatively fair price. Now, would you buy this monitor if you can’t even perform at 165hz? Again, Yes and no, because it depends on who you are.
If you aren’t a huge gamer, the refresh rate adds to the premium feel of the device, but you really won’t be taking advantage of what the Omen 34C does best if you aren’t gaming, and don’t forget the burn-in! The monitor is somewhat self-contradicting at times whether it is worth the purchase for a nongamer, so let’s speak about whether it’s worth it for a gamer themselves.
I didn’t face any screen tearing on this device due to the provided FreeSync support, but let’s just say you may not always be getting 165hz, even if you have a strong computer. Every game is made differently and performs differently, so we must remember this to remain practical unless you like to live on the edge.
My PC has a 16-core AMD Ryzen 9, a Nvidia 3070, and 128 GB of RAM. These are my general frame recordings using the Omen 34C, and you can use these specs to justify this review if needed:
- Fortnite hits about 70-80 frames with full screen
- Apex hits about 130-146 frames with full screen
- League of Legends hits 144-145 frames with full screen
- Rocket League hits a perfect 165 frames with full screen
Overall, these recordings are pretty solid, being the ultrawide resolution, HDR support, and general load this high refresh monitor puts on your GPU, so take them as you will.
So it all comes down to you in the end. Depending on the user, this monitor, although not the cheapest, is not the most expensive, granted the screen provides a fantastic user experience. It puts a smile on your face most of the time, and I started to realize that quickly in this review. I wish it didn’t scare me with burn-in on day one, but it is what it is. There are some other downfalls to this display, such as the dent from shipping, crappy speakers, no USB or extra inputs, and a few more that are stuck in the back of my mind.
Noisy Pixel is giving the Omen 34C a B+. Great screen; it just worries me a bit, so we will leave it at that.
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