HP has been strangely quiet in their introduction and release of the Omni 10 tablet, and I’m not sure why. I’ve been using one for the last few days, and it’s a very nice 10” Windows 8.1 tablet.
There’s currently only one version of the Omni 10 (toss a little cash in the tip jar and buy the Omni 10 from Amazon if you’re interested), and unfortunately storage is so far limited to only 32GB. With the included Office Home and Student 2013 installed, there’s less than 10GB of storage remaining. Another 8GB or so is taken up by the recovery partition. The price is $399, and while that seems fair, I’d be willing to pay a bit more for a 64GB version. Early looks at the machine indicated a 64GB model, and so I’m assuming that one is coming at some point.
Screen and Touch
HP upped the screen resolution vs. competitors like the Dell Venue 11 Pro, offering 1920X1200 instead of the standard HD resolution of 1920X1080. This gives the Omni 10 a 226PPI screen density, a bit higher than the Venue 11 Pro’s 203PPI. Text is indeed noticeably sharper on the Omni 10, and pictures and video look excellent. Overall, the Omni 10’s screen is very good, with plenty of color saturation, contrast, and brightness. It’s not exactly usable in direct sunlight, but otherwise it’s a surprisingly good screen for the money.
Touch response, which I’ve complained about in the Venue 11 Pro, is excellent. Where using Chrome on the desktop is nearly impossible with the Venue 11 Pro, the Omni 10 offers a flawless experience—and that’s with a smaller screen and higher resolution, meaning clickable elements are smaller on the Omni 10. Since the even smaller Venue 8 Pro also works perfectly with Chrome, I’m now convinced that the Venue 11 Pro simply has some serious issues with touch.
Overall, the screen and touch experience on the Omni 10 leaves me scratching my head at why HP has been so low-key in their promotion of the device. At least in this regard, the Omni 10 is the best experience of the Windows 8.1 tablets I’ve used so far. It deserves more attention from HP’s marketing department.
Build Quality and Comfort
The Omni 10 feels precisely as you’d expect a mid-range tablet to feel. It weighs 1.4lbs, which is reasonable, and uses a non-stick plastic that’s very comfortable and provides some confidence that the tablet won’t easily slide out of your hands. Build quality is good, with no unsightly seams, no creaking or rattling, and the confidence of Gorilla Glass 3.
Button placement is reasonable, with the standard Windows capacitive touch button in the center below the screen (with haptic feedback that I can’t seem to apply anywhere else in the operating system), power button on top, headphone/microphone combo jack on the left side and various ports along the bottom. The only odd touch is the volume rocker, which is on the right side but a little towards the back. It’s not hard to use once you get used to it, but it does take a little getting used to.
The Omni 10 uses the Bay Trail Z3770 processor, making it a bit faster on paper than the Bay Trail Z3740 processor used in the Dell Venue 8 Pro. Comparing the two side-by-side, however, I have a hard time seeing any differences in performance. Perhaps the Omni 10’s 1920X1200 resolution, version the 1280X800 resolution on the Venue 8 Pro, adds some overhead that keeps apparent performance the same.
Looking at Geekbench, and tossing in the Dell Venue 11 Pro Core i5 version for kicks, we get the following results:
- Omni 10: 965 single-core, 3094 multi-core
- Dell Venue 8 Pro: 769 single-core, 2263 multi-core
- Dell Venue 11 Pro: 1871 single-core, 3418 multi-core
Note that the Venue 11 Pro is running 64-bit Windows 8.1, while the other two are running 32-bit Windows 8.1.
The Omni 10’s performance delta over the Venue 8 Pro, particularly multi-core, surprises me a bit. As I said, I certainly don’t see this kind of difference in actual use. The Dell Venue 11 Pro single-core performance was dominant, but not nearly as much in multi-core over the Omni 10. The Venue 11 Pro’s Core i5 4210Y processor isn’t the fastest Core i5 out there, and I think it shows up here. Either that, or the Z3770 Bay Trail is a very, very good low-power and low-cost processor.
On a side note, I’d recommend foregoing the Core i5 version of the Venue 11 Pro, which is also considerably more expensive, and stick with the Bay Trail version (which uses the Z3770). The only reason to “upgrade” to the Core i5 in my opinion would be for the 128GB storage option and the 4GB of RAM (vs. the 2GB in the Bay Trail version), and the fans on the Core i5 version can get very loud.
For kicks, I also ran 3D Mark, and here are the results:
- Omni 10: Fire Strike 1.1: would not run, Cloud Gate 1.1: 1258, Ice Storm 1.2: 16,375
- Dell Venue 8 Pro: Fire Strike 1.1: would not run, Cloud Gate 1.1: 1247, Ice Storm 1.2: 16,001
- Dell Venue 11 Pro: Fire Strike 1.1: 222, Cloud Gate 1.1: 2819, Ice Storm 1.2: 27,448.
Obviously, none of these tablets would serve as acceptable PC gaming platforms, but from my experience the games in the app store written for the modern UI and tablets run very well. It’s interesting that the Omni 10 and Venue 8 Pro scores were so close—obviously, there’s not much difference in the GPUs in the two Bay Trail variants. Meanwhile, the GPU in the Core i5 4210Y is significantly more robust than Bay Trail’s.
I didn’t perform any exhaustive battery tests with the Omni 10, but anecdotally I’d say that a good eight hours of light to medium use is a reasonable expectation. I did charge the tablet every night, but then I tend to do that by habit with all of my devices—I like having a fully charged battery to start the day.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this mini-review, I’m surprised that HP isn’t doing more marketing for the Omni 10. I’ve found it to be a pleasure to use, with a very nice screen, good touch responsiveness, decent performance, and a fair price at $399. My only real complaint is the 32GB storage with so little remaining space. I’d happily recommend (and probably buy myself) a 64GB version for $449 or so.