As all-in-one desktops go, the HP Omni 27-1015t is a fairly standard entry. Though the screen is large and attractive, overall this machine lacks the wow factor necessary for it to stand out among the competition.
Priced at $1549 as configured (as of July 6, 2012), this glossy 27-inch all-in-one could almost pass as an HDTV. It has a high-definition resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, but unfortunately forgoes any kind of touch support. (This omission is disappointing with Windows 8 on the horizon, since touch-capable screens will get the most out of the new operating system.) You can tilt the screen slightly backward and forward, but at certain angles it tends to be reflective, making it difficult to use without some quick lighting adjustments.
The system comes with a Core i5-3550S, a low-power version of Intel's new Ivy Bridge processor. It runs at a standard speed of 3.0GHz, but can accelerate to 3.7GHz with Intel's Turbo Boost technology. In general, thanks to these newer, faster and more-efficient processors, machines housed in compact, all-in-one cases should offer better performance.
When we put the Omni 27-1015t through our rigorous WorldBench 7 benchmark suite, it earned a score of 115, which means that it was 15 percent faster than our baseline system. Thats an impressive mark for an all-in-one PC, as compared with our lab's standard desktop system.
One pleasant surprise: The Omni 27-1015t has a discrete graphics card, which is somewhat rare among all-in-ones. The AMD Radeon HD 6550A isnt a top-of-the-line board, but it is much better than integrated graphics options. In our tests it managed an average of 12.0 frames per second on Crysis 2 and 25.4 fps on Dirt 3 at ultra settings. While only barely playable, those results aren't too shabby given the demanding nature of those games. Dropping the graphics settings to low made Dirt 3 more than playable at an average frame rate of 46.7 fps at 1920 by 1080 resolution, but Crysis 2 remained choppy at 16.4 fps. Only when we dropped the resolution to 1024 by 768 on low settings did we get anywhere near 40 fps on that game.
When it's nearly impossible to upgrade a system, as is the case with many all-in-ones, a large amount of storage is absolutely necessary. Luckily the Omni 27-1015t provides a decent amount of space, as it comes equipped with a 2TB hard drive. (Operating at 7200 rpm, the drive is relatively quick, too.) Ideal for holding tons of photos, videos, music, and programs, the capacious drive helps to make this all-in-one a great choice as a media machine.
The Omni 27-1015t offers other all-in-one standards as well, such as a built-in webcam, an integrated microphone, and the Beats Audio technology that ships with many HP products. It also comes with a wireless mouse and keyboard that connect via Bluetooth. You get plenty of ports, including four USB 2.0 ports on the back and two USB 3.0 ports on the side. The PC also sports a comprehensive SD Card reader to maximize its media capabilities.
The standout feature of the Omni 27-1015t is the HDMI input on the side. While not uncommon, the port makes it easy to plug in a game console or media player. A button above the HDMI port allows you to switch the PC into 'Game Mode' (basically changing the source to the video input); one press, and you instantly have a beautiful 27-inch display to play on.
If youre not in the market for a power PC, and if the thought of an all-inclusive media machine piques your interest, other options exist. The Sony VAIO L24 (priced at $1400 as of May 24, 2012), for instance, is another all-in-one desktop that aspires to be a TV. It isn't as speedy as the Omni 27-1015t, and it has a smaller screen. What you get in return, however, is a multitouch display with a myriad of media options such as a video input and a TV tuner. On top of that, Sony all-in-ones usually come with some fun, if a bit gimmicky, games that take advantage of their touchscreen functionality. Both systems are appealing options for a desktop media center, but the Sony is better prepared for Windows 8.
Overall, the HP Omni 27-1015t is a solid, beautiful media center with a bit more power than you can find in the typical all-in-one system. It fails to be unique, however. On this machine, HP has played it safe, providing adequate features and straddling the line between affordable and overpriced. In the end, though, this model doesn't really stand out.