HP Omni 120 review:

HP Omni 120

I don't intend for this review to devolve into a dissertation on the merits of tablets and traditional computers, but the rise of tablet computing, and the iPad in particular, means that those shopping for lower-cost computers now have a more complicated tech landscape to consider before making a purchase. A desktop still makes sense for a lot of users (students with papers to write, or those with large music, photo, or movie libraries, to name two), but if you're looking for a computer for basic entertainment, social networking, or other predominantly light-duty activities, a tablet could very well serve all of those needs in a more compact package.

Along with only a basic set of core features, the Omni 120-1024 provides a similarly spare set of external connectivity options. It has six USB 2.0 jacks between its left edge and rear panel. You will also find two analog audio jacks and an SD Card slot along its left side. On the back, you get an Ethernet input and another analog audio output. HP includes no hard display or volume controls on the system itself, but the wired keyboard does offer basic volume buttons.

Juice box
HP Omni 120-1024 Average watts per hour
Off (watts) 0.88
Sleep (watts) 1.35
Idle (watts) 32.6
Load (watts) 44.3
Raw (annual kWh) 124.18614
Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh) $14.10

Although its power consumption comes in at a modest annual average of $14.10, the Omni 120 seems to commit the cardinal sin of drawing more power than another system that has better performance. I say "seems to," because the Omni also has a larger monitor, and a higher display resolution than the Pavilion MS225, which means the Omni has to power more pixels than its forebear. With only $1.82 between the two, the gap is not worthy of criticism, and in general, the Omni 120-1024 is as power efficient as it should be.

HP includes a basic one-year parts and labor warranty with the Omni 120. You also get 24-7 toll-free phone support and a variety of support resources available on HP's Web site, as well as on the system itself.

HP's low-cost Omni 120-1024 delivers exactly what I'd hope to find in a sub-$500 all-in-one. It's fast enough to serve as a basic day-to-day home desktop, with enough functionality and connectivity to accommodate average technology consumers. You will quickly find its limits if you try to branch out of those mainstream tasks, and I'd also suggest that you consider whether a tablet might fill your needs instead. On balance, I recommend the Omni 120-1024 most for those who need to produce regular written content or who want a large amount of storage space for digital media files.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

HP Omni 120-1024
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 1.6GHz AMD E450; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 384MB (shared) AMD Radeon HD 6320 integrated graphics chip; 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive

HP Pavilion All-in-One MS225 Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 1.6GHz AMD Athlon II X2 250; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) AMD Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip; 320GB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive

Lenovo C315 Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 1.6GHz AMD Athlon II X2 250u; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4530; 500GB Seagate hard drive

What you'll pay

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