Better known for its boring office PCs, HP is making a push into the gaming market, where it appears that pockets are deep and margins are large. As you can see from our monitor roundup, the Omen 27 inch display is targeting the top of the top, yet the Omen 15 is going for the middle of the market. Can this business branded company make it in such a tough field dominated by brands that have been making gaming machines for years.
Unlike most HP machines, the Omen looks and feels like a gaming machine. It’s got sharp angular lines with a glowing Omen logo on the rear, leaving no doubt that this isn’t a machine designed just for Excel. It’s also one of the first laptops that we’ve seen to use Nvidia’s Max-Q design methodology, but it doesn’t have the huge slab of plastic at the top half of the base that most Max-Q machines have. Our version came with a GeForce GTX 1060 mobile with Max-Q design, which brings some rather significant performance sacrifices to the table.
The biggest of these are the frequency drops. A normal GeForce GTX 1060 mobile GPU runs at 1506Mhz while the Boost is 1708Mhz. However, the Max-Q version runs at a base speed of 1265MHz base and the boost is 1480MHz. As expected, this 15 to 20% performance drop results in noticeable game frame rate loses, but also delivers a much quieter machine. Battery life isn’t extended anywhere near as much as we’d expect – we’re looking at 20% or so at most.
Despite this, the rest of the machine is remarkably well specced for this price. For a 15.6-inch laptop it’s not the lightest box around, at 2.67kg, yet is still lower weight than most laptops in this size. A huge benefit of this machine is the 120Hz G-Sync display, which is still based on IPS technology to help deliver rich colours and wide viewing angles.
Surprise, surprise, we see Intel’s quad cored i7-7700HQ CPU powering the whole system, which hits 3.8GHz under Turbo mode, while 16GB of memory handles your game loads. There’s a 256GB Samsung SSD for your fave games, while a healthy 2TB HDD is there for your long-term needs.
HP might be known for its boring black range of office laptops, but its relaunch of the Omen brand shows that it’s serious about getting into gaming. Sure, the Max-Q 1060 suffers some performance losses, but the rest of this machine is exceptional value for money. Where else can you get a 120Hz G-Sync display, GTX 1060, 256GB SSD, 2TB HDD and i7 7700HQ for this price. The answer is simple – nowhere. With this single launch, HP has proven it’s serious about getting a slice of the gaming pie, and it’s offering damn good value in the process.