HP has redesigned its Omen line of gaming laptops, moving away from an off-the-shelf HP chassis with a GPU wedged into it. The new Omen line not only has proper space for a GPU, but it also includes a new cooling system. True to its original mission, HP’s Omen line still combines performance and affordability with pricing that starts at $400.
However, the model I received for review is the HP Omen 17 is a customized build that leans heavily on the performance scale. Of course you can lower the price a bit without a major sacrifice in performance by opting for less storage, less than 32GB of RAM, a different panel, and so-on.
Here are the specifications of the HP Omen 17 I’m evaluating:
Model: Omen by HP Laptop 17-an004xx
Display: 17.3-inch UHD (3840×2160) IPS Display
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ (Quad-Core, 6MB Cache, up to 3.8GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
Memory: 32GB DDR4 SDRAM
OS: Windows 10 Home
OS Drive: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Storage Drive: 1TB 7200RPM SATA
Ports: 1 x mini-DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Ethernet, 3 x USB 3.1 ports, 1 x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3), 1 x audio out, 1 x audio in, 1 x SD card reader
Battery: 8-cell 86Wh lithium-ion
Wireless: 802.11b/g/n/ac (2×2) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
Dimensions: 16.65 x 11.97 x 1.3-inches (WxDxH)
Weight: 8.23 pounds
HP OMEN 15.6" Laptop
HP OMEN 15.6" Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 - 1TB Hard Drive + 128GB Solid State Drive
4-cell 70 WHr lithium-ion polymer battery
Design and Features
Bucking the trend of going for a smaller chassis thanks to Nvidia’s Max-Q tech, the Omen 17 is unapologetically big. Not overly big, by any means, but nowhere near as thin and streamlined as, say, the Alienware 15 R3 or Dell’s Inspiron 15 Gaming. Measuring 16.65 x 11.97 x 1.3-inches and weighing just over 8 pounds, the Omen 17 will fit in a bag or backpack, but you’ll undoubtedly know it’s in there.
The all-black exterior is interrupted by red highlights on the lid, labels on each of the ten expansion ports, and on the keyboard. There is also a red backlight on the keyboard, and if you want RGB lighting you’ll have to pony up for the next model higher in the product stack.
I rather enjoy the keyboard on the Omen 17. The keys have just a little travel and feel well-balanced. For instance, when you press the Shift key on an edge, the entire key travels — it’s not lopsided. The full-sized keyboard with number pad on the right side and macro keys for gaming shortcuts on the left side take up most of the housing’s width. The touchpad has two physical buttons and is smooth when used for scrolling or moving files across the desktop.
As a full-sized laptop the Omen is loaded when it comes to expansion ports. On the left side are the following: mini-DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C , audio-in/out, and an SD card reader. On the right side there’s a charging port and two more USB 3.1 ports. There are more than enough ports on the Omen line to power and connect to pretty much whatever you’d like, with room to spare.
The 17.3-inch UHD (3840×2160) IPS LED display is a looker, but a bit oversaturated for my tastes. You can also order it with a 120Hz 1920 x 1080 panel, or a 144Hz 1080p G-Sync panel as well, but HP sent me the most expensive version, which is 4k. Tucked inside the hefty housing is an Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU, a ridiculous 32GB of DDR4 memory, and two storage drives. The primary drive is a 256GB PCIe SSD for the OS, with a secondary 1TB 7, 200RPM SATA drive for your data and games. Again you can configure this laptop to have less RAM, more storage, etc. Connectivity options are abundant, as the Omen 17 includes a physical Ethernet port, 802.11b/g/n/ac (2×2) wireless, and Bluetooth 4.2.
Any time a laptop is pushing the sheer number of pixels a UHD display requires, there’s bound to be a performance hit when gaming at that resolution — regardless of what’s inside the chassis. Even with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ and GTX 1070 GPU, getting smooth gameplay at 3840 by 2160 is going to be a challenge. The HP Omen I reviewed is no exception. Though these high-res panels are great for desktop work, we’re still not at the point technologically where a lone mobile GPU can power a display of this resolution, at maximum level of detail. Because of this, IGN tests laptops at 1920 x 1080 resolution. Here’s a quick rundown of the scores tallied by the HP Omen 17 compared with similar systems:
HP OMEN 15.6" Laptop
HP OMEN 15.6" Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 - 1TB Hard Drive + 128GB Solid