HP Omen X Emperium 65 first look: HP’s BFGD-rated monitor-TV hybrid is finally here

HP Omen X Emperium 65 is a 65-inch 4K gaming monolith that’s designed to drag PC gaming into your living room, replacing your old TV as it does so.

Key Features

  • 65-inch 4K HDR 144Hz display
  • Nvidia G-Sync
  • Entertainment features could see this monitor double as a TV
  • Extra LEDs for ambience and port illumination

The HP Omen X Emperium 65 is a colossal 65-inch gaming monitor that looks more like a 4K TV than a typical gaming monitor. That’s because as well a giving you a 144Hz refresh rate and Nvidia G-Sync HDR, you also get an integrated HP Omen X Emperium soundbar and Nvidia Shield, which gives you things like Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube on tap, too.

The Omen X Emperium could easily sit in your living room and act as a replacement for your smart TV, so if you’re in the market for both, why not kill two birds with one giant LED panel?

HP Omen X Emperium 65 price and release date

The HP Omen X Emperium 65 will cost $4999 in the U.S. and around €4799 in EU countries when it goes on sale this March.

In the UK, the HP OMEN X Emperium 65  will be available for pre-order exclusively from Currys PC World for £3499.99 without soundbar or £3899.99 with the soundbar, from January.

Note that HP has yet to announce UK-specific prices, but you should expect to pay something in the region of £4000-£4500.

Related: CES 2019

HP Omen X Emperium 65

Is it a gaming monitor? Is it a TV? No, it’s the HP Omen X Emperium 65.

HP Omen X Emperium 65 design and features

The HP Omen X Emperium 65 is one of the first monitors to go on sale that’ll meet the Nvidia BFGD standard. That’s short for ‘big format gaming display,’ and not anything rude, mind (although let’s be honest, the Emperium 65 is that too).

BFGD was actually announced by Nvidia at last year’s CES – it’s taken this long for product managers and engineering teams to design, build, tweak and perfect the Omen X Emperium 65.

Big format gaming displays should tick a number of boxes in order to earn that certification, and those are, the ability to hit 1000 nits of brightness and meet the HDR10 standard, full (or near-full) coverage of the DCI-P3 colour space, supportting refresh rates of at least 120Hz, and inclusion of Nvidia’s G-Sync variable refresh rate tech.

Related: Best gaming monitor

The HP Omen X Emperium 65 does all of this to varying degrees – the top refresh rate of 144Hz exceeds the 120Hz minimum, and it achieves peak brightness of 1000 nits, giving you 750 nits (with HDR turned off) most of the time. There’s support for G-Sync, meaning the panel’s refresh rate should be synced with the frame rate of your PC at all times (provided it’s got an Nvidia GPU inside, of course). This means no pre-rendering of images, causing screen tearing. 95% of the DCI-P3 gamut is covered, so a little off of the full coverage you’re supposed to get, but for what it’s worth, the game footage I saw (Battlefield V, with ray tracing turned on), was scintillating.

Related: Nvidia ray tracing

HP, perhaps cannily, opted to have the snowy Battle of Narvik level of Battlefield V up and running. Yomping around in Norway, I appreciated that the snow wasn’t just a dusting of plain white pixels – pine trees cast their shadows across unspoiled snowdrifts, which contrasted subtly with the greyed slushy areas where enemy soldiers had marched or driven through. You can’t really tell from my pictures, but snowflakes whipped by with a pleasing smoothness.

‘Buttery smooth’ is a phrase that’s trotted out all too often by reviewers, but there’s no denying that watching Battlefield V on this thing was very eye-pleasing. If we have to employ buttery smoothness as a descriptor, then the Omen X Emperium 65 is on par with a very expensive clarified butter, the kind you’d make a fancy curry with.

As it’s an LED, it’s not going to be able to match the black levels you get on an OLED, but it’s worth pointing out that this is an Advanced MVA-type panel, so in theory, black and contrast levels should be better than an IPS equivalent. I wasn’t able to explore any dark or gloomy areas when I was playing around, so I can’t say if claims of a minimum contrast ratio of 3200:1 stand up – and I didn’t have a colorimeter with me anyway.

The included HP Omen X Emperium soundbar is a 120W set of speakers with a 40-20k Hz frequency range. If you’ve already got a soundbar, then you can simply detach the speakers and connect your own, but it’s worth pointing out that HP has designed this specifically to sit under the Omen X Emperium 65’s stand. Anti-vibration measures have apparently been installed to stop lower tones from rattling the screen. I wasn’t really able to hear much over the hubbub at CES 2019, mind, despite the loud gunfire and grenade noise, but the whine of near-miss bullets did occasionally penetrate the background noise. 

Related: Best soundbar

Getting a top refresh rate of 144Hz on a display this big and not have it kick out Paris Climate Agreement-bothering levels of heat can’t have been an easy task in itself, to say nothing of all the rest of the neat tricks and features HP’s baked in here.

HP Omen X Emperium 65

The colour spectrum of the ambient LED on the Emperium 65 isn’t currently known – all HP could tell us is that it’s got a lamp life of 30K hours.

These include a an LED strip which runs along the back of the Omen X Emperium 65. This is intended to create an extra level of immersion, by picking the most dominant on-screen colour and having that create an ambient glow, Philips Ambilight-style. During my eyes-on time with the X Emperium 65, that strip shone a greyish-white most of the time, to complement the snowy slush of the level I was running around (and dying) in. It’s currently unclear if you’ll be able to pair this with any Philips Hue light recipes for extra ambience out of the box, but that would be a nice addition, if IFTTT is your kind of thing. 

There’s another light to be found round on the left hand side, where the ports live. This is activated by a motion sensor, which occurs whenever you’re fumbling around trying to connect an HDMI or Ethernet cable. This will kick in for around eight seconds, which should give you enough time to locate the port(s) you need and hook everything up. It’s a very cool, considerate feature and worked as advertised when I tried it out.

HP Omen X Emperium 65

No more fumbling around in the dark – HP’s added a light strip which will activate whenever you’re trying to plug something in.

As I said above, you get the Nvidia Shield entertainment centre built in, too. Presuming you’re not going to connect a Sky Q box or Amazon Fire TV Stick to this, this is a nice value add that’ll see you able to stream 4K HDR content from Netflix and Amazon when you’re not playing games, and that too should look fantastic – I wasn’t able to check out any of the streaming features at HP’s stand at CES though. There’s no word yet if UK versions of the HP Omen X Emperium 65 will feature BBC iPlayer out of the box. Given that iPlayer is in practically everything sold in the UK with a screen and an Internet connection, I can only assume that if it’s not there from day one, it’ll only be a matter of time before it’s added.

Related: Best TVs

HP Omen X Emperium 65 specifications

Here are all the key specs for the HP Omen X Emperium 65 and the included HP Omen X Emperium soundbar:

HP Omen X Emperium 65
Dimensions 93.422 x 144.808 cm x 34.04 cm (36.8 x 57.01 x 13.4-inches)
Weight 36.1 kg (79.6 lb)
Display 64.5-inch 3840 x 2160 @144 Hz (Display port w/ overclock on) AMVA display, 16:9 aspect ratio, 67.78 ppi (pixels per inch), 4 ms grey-to-grey (overdrive), 8 bits panel depth, 178 degree viewing angles (horizontal and vertical)
Brightness 750 nits (HDR off) typical, 1000 nits peak
Contrast ratios Static (Typical): 4000:1, Static (Minimum): 3200:1
Colour gamut coverage 95% DCI-P3
Pixel pitch 0.372 x 0.372 mm
Ports 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 3 x HDMI 2.0, HDCP support (DP and HDMI), 1 x Line out, 1 x S-PDIF out, 1 x

HDMI ARC, gigabit Ethernet

Connectivity Wi-Fi ac, dual-band,

 

HP Omen X Emperium soundbar
Output power 120W
Impedence 4 Ohms
Frequency range 40-20k Hz
Sensitivity 91 dB @ 1K Hz at 1m full scale volume
Magnet Ferrite
Diaphragm Aluminum
HP Omen X Emperium 65

For when you’re not gaming, there are shortcuts to streaming services baked right in, thanks to the presence of Nvidia Shield.

HP Omen X Emperium 65 first impressions

Like Lenovo’s Smart Tab P10, which is basically a smart home speaker and Android tablet rolled into one, the HP Omen X Emperium 65 potentially ticks two boxes, as it’s a gaming monitor first and foremost, but one which could also easily be your next smart TV purchase. TV snobs might turn their noses up at that 8-bit colour depth, and opt for something with 10-bits of colour instead, but this won’t be a dealbreaker for most gamers.

As it’s a 65-incher, it’s just going to be too big for some. Looking at the HP Omen X Emperium 65 was a sharp reminder that average floor space in the UK is far below what our American (and some European) cousins enjoy. Personally, I’d be more excited by the concept of something smaller, in the 50-55-inch ballpark, but as it stands, the HP Omen X Emperium 65 is too big for me, and I suspect it will be for others, too.

That said, it’s a seriously impressive panel. If you’ve always wanted to bring PC gaming into the living room (or you’ve got a gaming den roomy enough to accommodate something like this), then the HP Omen X Emperium 65 is definitely one to look out for when it launches in March.