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When curved monitors first appeared, they were exotic and expensive items. But clearly, users have taken to them because now, they aren’t much costlier than similarly sized flat screens. With so many sizes and curve radii to choose from, gamers can create a more personal experience for themselves with extra immersion and a nod to productivity.
Gaming monitors have also evolved in speed and there are many choices there as well. High resolution is always desired, but one must consider the support hardware. Ultra HD is great but comes at a cost, not only for the display, but for the graphics card required to drive it at usable frame rates.
A monitor that wraps all those things into a single product, and sells for a reasonable price, is bound to appeal to many buyers. A 34-inch ultra-wide screen with WQHD resolution and 165 Hz sounds like the just-right ticket to happiness.
HP’s Omen 34c is one of many such gaming monitors, but it offers better video processing than most. It also sports excellent build quality and refined styling. While some may enjoy monitors that look like a science fiction film and create light shows, others prefer displays that place function ahead of form. The Omen 34c is firmly in that category.
Under its simple skin is some of the best video processing I’ve seen for less than $500. The Omen 34c has a precisely tuned overdrive that ups motion resolution without visible artifacts. And it has a truly usable backlight strobe. Low input lag gives it a premium feel when playing that suggests a more expensive monitor.
The image is excellent in most respects. I’m glad to see HP staying true to the sRGB color gamut for SDR and making the out-of-box mode so accurate. But some users will want to use the wide gamut and there is some room for improvement there. Light gamma is the culprit and there are no additional presets to provide options.
In the end, I had many positive reactions to the Omen 34c. Gaming on it is a lot of fun and productivity is a natural and low-stress activity. It will stand proud on any desktop with high-end build quality and styling. Though a little more costly than its closest competition, it has better-than-average video processing and HDR quality. From that perspective, it is well-priced. If you are looking to go ultra-wide, the HP Omen 34c is worth checking out.
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Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.