This one appropriately named laptop. The dark red and black colour scheme hint at some kind of evil force trapped within, like Damien from the Omen. But fret not, gentle reader: there are no trapped horrors here. It just happens to be HP’s latest gaming laptop. In the past we haven’t been blown away by their efforts, but the Omen has definitely learnt from the lessons of the past.
This is a large 17.3-inch model, with the screen using the good old HD standard, 1920 x 1080. There are no high refresh rates, but it is G-Sync enabled. HP has gone for a very plain design, with the plastic chassis lacking any defining lines or sculpting. It does have a “shadow mesh” pattern though, which is basically diagonally striped lines. To our surprise, the included Bang & Olufsen quad speakers are actually worth using when watching a film or gaming, unlike the vast majority of tinny drivers found on most laptops.
Like many laptop manufacturers, HP has put a few bits of unnecessary bloatware on its machine. These are supposed to make the lives of users easier, but the HP Support Assistant proved to be a major pain in the posterior, interrupting our benchmarks several times – we’d suggest uninstalling it immediately.
As expected given the size of the screen, this is a behemoth. However, the use of plastic means it’s not too heavy, at 3.18kg, though that doesn’t include the large power brick. The touchpad is nice and responsive, while the full-sized keyboard mimics a traditional desktop keyboard nicely, making it easy to become comfortable with its layout (other laptops adopt weird shapes for certain keys such as shift or alt, making them hard to find).
I/O options are generally excellent, though the lack of any USB 3.0 Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 seems to be a major omission. Three USB 3.0 Type A connections will have to fill your needs instead, alongside a mini-DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0. Ethernet in means you won’t be at the mercy of capricious Wi-Fi demons, but if you do choose to go wireless, the 802.11ac Wi-Fi adaptor does the job well enough, though it’s worth noting that it only uses a 2x2 configuration. Finally, and least excitingly, there’s an SD card reader.
As expected, Intel’s ubiquitous i7-6700HQ is the CPU of choice, as is the 16GB of DDR4 memory running over dual channels. Where this machine shines is the inclusion of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 mobile graphics chipset. Combine this with the G-Sync display and you’ve got a machine that will mow anything down. Sadly a meagre 128G SSD is all you get for your OS, alongside a 2TB mechanical hard drive.
Spooky red and black aesthetic aside, the Omen is a decidedly plain-looking machine, and to be honest we’re not big fans of the plastic case. However, HP has delivered a blazing fast build at a very solid price point, and for that we can’t complain.