HP Omen 34c 165 Hz Gaming Monitor Review: Smooth Performance and Refined Style

A 34-inch curved ultra-wide monitor with 165 Hz, Adaptive-Sync, HDR and wide gamut color.

HP Omen 34c
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

Though the HP Omen 34c has a few gamma anomalies, it delivers a colorful and accurate image for both SDR and HDR. It sports premium level video processing that ensures smooth and immersive gaming along with solid build quality and refined styling.


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    Sharp and bright image

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    Accurate color out of the box

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    Premium grade video processing with usable backlight strobe

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    Solid build quality and refined styling


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    Light gamma with no user options

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    Some color anomalies when using the wide gamut for SDR

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    Slightly less gamut volume than the competition

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It wasn’t long ago that curved ultra-wide gaming monitors were considered exotic. Users weren’t sure if the curve was good, bad, or indifferent. But now, the category is firmly established as something many gamers consider essential hardware. You can’t replicate their immersive quality with a flat panel unless you go big, say 42 inches.

Another firmly established category is QHD 165 Hz because it offers a great balance of price and performance. 3440x1440 resolution at 34 inches is 109ppi, which is dense enough for a sharp picture free of visible dot structure and a lighter load for the connected PC or console. Anything that increases frame rates is a good thing.

HP brings solid engineering and refined styling to the genre with the Omen 34c. It’s a high-contrast VA panel with 165 Hz, Adaptive-Sync, HDR400 and wide gamut color. The curve is 1500R, so it’s well suited for work and play. Let’s take a look.

HP Omen 34c Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Panel Type / BacklightVA / W-LED, edge array
Screen Size / Aspect Ratio34 inches / 21:9
Row 2 - Cell 0 Curve radius: 1500mm
Max Resolution and Refresh Rate3440x1440 @ 165 Hz
Row 4 - Cell 0 FreeSync: 48-165 Hz
Row 5 - Cell 0 G-Sync Compatible
Native Color Depth and Gamut8-bit / DCI-P3
Row 7 - Cell 0 HDR10, DisplayHDR 400
Response Time (GTG)1ms
Brightness (mfr)400 nits
Contrast (mfr)3,000:1
Speakers 2x 3w
Video Inputs1x DisplayPort 1.4
Row 13 - Cell 0 2x HDMI 2.0
Audio3.5mm headphone output
USB 3.0None
Power Consumption35.8w, brightness @ 200 nits
Panel Dimensions WxHxD w/base31.8 x 19-22.9 x 9.6 inches (808 x 483-582 x 244mm)
Panel Thickness4.3 inches (108mm)
Bezel WidthTop/sides: 0.4 inch (9mm)
Row 20 - Cell 0 Bottom: 0.9 inch (23mm)
Weight23.4 pounds (10.6kg)
Warranty1 year included
Row 23 - Cell 0 2 years $25, 3 years $45

Prices in this category have dropped quite a bit thanks to increased competition. The Omen 34c sells for $480 at this writing, which is at the upper end but still far less than similar monitors from just a year or two ago. The standard warranty is one year, less than the typical three years included with nearly every monitor currently available. But you can buy one additional year for $25 or two for $45.

The panel uses VA technology, which means higher contrast out of the gate. HP claims 3,000:1, and I verified that in my tests. HDR content gets a boost from dynamic field dimming to over 6,500:1. Wide gamut color is available, too, with 86% coverage of DCI-P3. That’s about average for today’s panels, but some newer models can cover more. I’ll tell you later about some interesting behavior I observed in the tests, but I can say that the Omen 34c includes an accurate out-of-box picture mode that does not require calibration. Peak output is high at over 450 nits for both SDR and HDR.

Gaming is enhanced by the 165 Hz refresh rate and a well-tuned overdrive. Also available is a backlight strobe with an adjustable pulse width that works instead of Adaptive-Sync. The Omen 34c is certified for FreeSync Premium Pro and runs G-Sync without issue (even though it has not been certified by Nvidia).

The Omen 34c has the tools required for competitive gaming, like aiming points, frame counter and countdown timers. And it has decent audio from a pair of integrated speakers. But USB ports and LED lighting are absent. HP’s typical solid build quality and refined styling are present and accounted for. Though the price is at the upper end of the category, the Omen 34c’s look and feel are commensurate with a premium display.

Assembly and Accessories

HP dispenses with crumbly foam packaging in favor of strategically folded cardboard and a few strips of rubbery material. The contents are well protected. The base and upright attach with a captive bolt and the panel snaps in place. A 100mm VESA mount is provided for aftermarket arms and brackets. A snap-on cover and cable clip help clean up the rear view. The power supply is internal, so you get an IEC cord and a DisplayPort cable.

Product 360

HP makes the most of the Omen 34c’s simple styling. Though there aren’t obvious gaming cues like molded textures or shapes, the look is unmistakably HP. The front bezel is 9mm wide around the top and sides, flush mounted, and 23mm wide at the bottom, with a small Omen logo in the center. The anti-glare layer prevents image-degrading reflections and doesn’t add any visible grain to the image.

The control keys consist of four directionals and a select button arranged in a nav pad layout. It’s the perfect imitation of a joystick and is just as intuitive to use. Next to this is a power toggle. On the front is a fairly bright white power LED.

A large Omen logo is in the back, and you can see the diamond-shaped mount cover. The finish is otherwise smooth with a matte texture. The stand is substantial and holds everything solidly together. There is no trace of wobble or play in the adjustments. You get 5/20 degrees tilt and 3.9 inches of height. There is no swivel or portrait mode. Movements are super firm and smooth and befit a premium product. The panel’s maximum height is perfect for people who want to set it vertically with a center-screen eyepoint. This is ideal for gaming as it keeps the entire image in focus.

The input panel includes a single DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones or powered speakers. Internal audio is of decent quality and comes from two three-watt speakers. There are no USB ports or LED lighting of any kind.

OSD Features

The Omen 34c’s OSD is summoned by pressing the select button in the center of the four directional keys around the back right corner. You can also go straight to the brightness slider, color modes, audio volume or input selection.

The OSD is well organized, with eight sub-menus. Signal and input information is always displayed at the bottom. Gaming lets you toggle Adaptive-Sync, adjust the overdrive, turn on aiming points, frame rate counter, timers or alignment marks, and activate multi-monitor alignment marks. MPRT is the backlight strobe, and it includes a pulse width adjustment. Higher settings decrease blur at the expense of brightness. There is a slight phasing artifact, but it is less obvious than what I usually see. The Omen 34c is one of the few monitors with a usable strobe. It works instead of Adaptive-Sync and does reduce blur more than the overdrive alone.

The user can create the aiming points with any combination of five different elements and multiple colors. It can be placed anywhere on the screen; it isn’t limited to the center only.

In the Image menu, you can adjust basic luminance parameters and engage a dynamic contrast for SDR content. The Omen 34c has plenty of contrast already, so it isn’t really necessary. Field dimming is an improving factor in HDR mode, where the feature is locked in the on position.

The Color menu has eight picture modes, all of which can be calibrated. Unfortunately, there are no gamma controls, and my tests revealed room for improvement. The default mode is Standard, and it is very accurate without calibration. HP has locked this mode into sRGB color for SDR content in an unusual move. This is the correct choice, but some users may want more color. You can find that in the Native mode, which uses the Omen 34c’s entire gamut for SDR. It is not without compromise, though. I’ll talk more about this in the color tests.

HP Omen 34c Calibration Settings

All the Omen 34c’s picture modes have independent settings for the RGB sliders which is nice. The default Standard mode doesn’t require calibration but can be improved slightly. It uses the sRGB color gamut for SDR content and the wide gamut for HDR. If you want wide gamut SDR, choose the Native mode. It does require calibration as it is very cool by default. It also has a lighter gamma with no correction available. HDR mode cannot be adjusted but is very accurate. My SDR settings for Standard and Native mode are below.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Picture ModeStandard / Native
Brightness 200 nits55
Brightness 120 nits22
Brightness 100 nits13
Brightness 80 nits6 (min. 67 nits)
Color Temp UserStandard – Red 246, Green 248, Blue 255
Row 7 - Cell 0 Native – Red 255, Green 243, Blue 206

Gaming and Hands-on

The Omen 34c quickly proved itself capable of everything I wanted to do. The curve is fairly benign, so work tasks look the same as on a flat screen. The extra width is helpful for comparing documents or editing photos with lots of toolbars open. Web browsing takes place at the center of the screen for the most part, but occasionally, I moved Chrome to one side to add information to a Word file.

The image is well suited for reading text with an ideal 109ppi pixel density. I backed off the sharpness control one click from the default to eliminate a slight ringing artifact. The curve neither enhances nor detracts from productivity. I didn’t notice it until I started watching videos and playing games.

HP has done well with the Omen 34c’s video processing, placing it in the top tier of monitors I’ve reviewed below 200 Hz. Overdrive is a big separator between displays of the same refresh rate as it directly impacts motion resolution. Too much, and you’ll see white trail artifacts behind moving objects. This not only reduces detail in the foreground, but the background descends into mush when you move the mouse quickly. The Omen 34c works best on setting 4 where there is almost no blur or visible artifacts.

Adaptive-Sync worked perfectly on both AMD and Nvidia platforms. I did nearly all my gaming tests using a GeForce RTX 4090-equipped PC. This let me max the frame rate so I could use the backlight strobe. The Omen 34c has one of the few good implementations of this feature. Most monitors show significant phasing when it’s on but here, it wasn’t an issue. Motion resolution was even better, and brightness was only reduced around 15% on the widest pulse width setting. It is a viable alternative to Adaptive-Sync if you can keep the frame rate above 150fps.

The image in both SDR and HDR modes was excellent. I noted slightly light gamma in my color tests, and I could see some desaturation here and there, but it was far from a deal-breaker. The detail was clear in all parts of the picture, both bright and dark. The wide gamut came to bear for HDR content and the dynamic contrast feature, which takes contrast to over 6,500:1. The Omen 34c is one of the better edge-backlight HDR monitors I’ve reviewed.

Takeaway: The Omen 34c’s slight curvature makes it ideal for work and play. It isn’t a factor for productivity, and it brings a little more immersion to gaming. The image is superb, with vivid color and sharp detail. Pixel density is high enough for a clear picture but low enough for high frame rates with a wider variety of graphics cards. Video processing is among the best, with a super clean overdrive and a usable backlight strobe option.

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Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.