HP Omen 15

Busi­ness at the front, gam­ing at the back

PCPOWERPLAY - - Tech - PRICE $ 2698 www.hp.com BEN­NETT RING

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

sharp an­gu­lar lines leave and a glow­ing logo leave no doubt that this isn’t a ma­chine de­signed just for Ex­cel

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.

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