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HP Omen 17 – Review

HP Omen 17 – Review

The HP Omen range is supposed to represent the top table of gaming technology, but we’ve not been impressed in the past – the Omen X desktop was a bit of a disaster.

We’ve got more faith in HP’s laptops, though, as the firm has far more form when it comes to building notebooks. This £1,520 machine sits right in the middle of the gaming laptop market.


The most important bit of kit inside this machine is the GTX 1070. It’s one of Nvidia’s Pascal parts, which means there’s little difference between this mobile GPU and the full-fat card found inside desktop PCs.

The GTX 1070 here has 2,048 stream processors and runs at 1,442MHz, with a total throughput of 6.73 TFLOPS – not far behind the 7.2 TFLOP throughput of the desktop card.

It’s the same GPU as this machine’s big rival – the Medion Erazer X7849. That machine cost £1,749 when we reviewed it back in March, but it’s now been slashed to £1,549.

Both machines share a processor, too. The Core i7-6700HQ is one of Intel’s older Skylake chips, but the minor improvements in Kaby Lake mean you’re not missing out on much. Its base and Turbo speeds of 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz are still ample, and it remains a quad-core chip with Hyper-Threading.

Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to settle for the older chip. This model costs £1,499, but HP also sells a system called the 17-w200na for £1,520 – and it’s the same specification aside from an upgrade to the Core i7-7700HQ.

Elsewhere, the HP’s components are reasonable. Its 16GB of memory matches the Medion for capacity and runs at a faster 2,400MHz, and it’s got a 256GB Samsung SSD and a 1TB hard disk. There’s nothing special about the connectivity, though, with bog-standard Gigabit Ethernet and dual-band wireless.

There’s also a distinct lack of software on this system. We’re used to gaming laptops arriving with apps for monitoring and tweaking, with many having graphics overclocking modes and some even offering CPU overclocking and different networking configurations. It’s also commonplace to find tools for different screen modes and keyboard tweaks, and individual game profiling.

The only tool included on the Omen is a basic application to tweak the audio. It leaves this machine feeling threadbare when compared to its rivals. It’s also only got a one year warranty – half as long as many other gaming portables.

Full Specification

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ
Memory: 16GB 2,400MHz DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
Sound: On-board
Screen size: 17.3in 1,920 x 1,080 Nvidia G-Sync IPS
Hard disk: 256GB Samsung PM961 M.2 SSD, 1TB hard disk
Weight: 3.35kg
Ports: 3 x USB 3, Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x audio, SD card slot, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort
Dimensions: (W x D x H): 416 x 279 x 34mm
Extras: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi
Warranty: 1yr RTB


HP’s laptop adheres to its Omen design blueprints. That means plenty of black metal with a carbon fibre-style pattern and numerous red accents – the keyboard’s buttons are red and the lid’s logo is finished in the same tone. The speaker grille has a smart, geometric pattern, too.

It looks the part, sure, but the Omen 17 isn’t the slimmest, lightest or sturdiest system. Its 3.35kg weight is heavy even for a 17.3in gaming notebook, and its 34mm-thick body is a whole centimetre thicker than the Medion. The rear of the screen isn’t particularly strong, and the base is flexible too. The area around the keyboard is stronger, but we’d still use a protective sleeve for moving this machine.

A small panel on the base can be removed to access the two memory slots, but they’re already occupied and no other components are accessible. That’s a tad disappointing for this kind of laptop – many other gaming notebooks allow for full internal access to the memory, storage and cooling gear.


The keyboard is underwhelming, even for a chiclet-style unit. The layout is largely a let-down: the Return key is only a single-row button, the cursor keys are cramped, and there aren’t any macro keys or software to customise the unit.

The keys are consistent and fast when typing, but they’ve got less travel than most other laptops – so it’s closer to a MacBook than a gaming notebook. That’s fine for documents, but poor for gaming; the lack of travel means the keys don’t have the harder and more definite feedback that’s better for more frenetic moments.

The touchpad is no good, either. The buttons are soft and push down too far, and the pad itself has too much friction. The pad and the buttons are far louder than other gaming touchpads, too, which could prove irritating for other people in the room.


The GTX 1070 is no slouch. Its 3D Mark Fire Strike score of 13,064 is a few hundred points ahead of the Medion, and it didn’t balk at the demanding settings of our test titles: it ran most games with minimum framerates beyond 60fps, and played three of them with averages higher than 100fps.

It traded blows with the Medion, too. The HP’s Witcher 3 minimum of 40fps was behind the Medion, but its average of 64fps was four frames faster. There’s no clear winner between the two machines, then, but it’s safe to say that this laptop won’t struggle with playing modern games and running them at G-Sync’s 75fps target. It’ll output to VR headsets, too.

The processor might be an older model, but there’s little to choose between the Skylake Core i7 and other machines with the same chip – and those with newer Kaby Lake silicon.

The HP’s Cinebench score of 672cb is virtually identical to the Medion and only a few dozen points behind systems with the Core i7-7700HQ, and its single-core Geekbench score of 3,915 points is also only a little slower.

The only area where the HP fell behind is in the multi-tasking test, where its Geekbench score of 12,022 saw a larger gap open between this machine and laptops with newer silicon.

When it comes to daily use, though, you just won’t notice any issues – the older processor’s slightly slower clock speed isn’t enough to hamper gaming, productivity software or multi-tasking. That said, we’d still recommend upgrading to the newer CPU, if only because there’s just £20 difference between the two models.

Elsewhere, the SSD delivered read and write speeds of 1,269MB/s and 948MB/s. They’re fine figures and far quicker than the Medion, but hardly revolutionary when other NVMe drives are considered. Again, though, they won’t slow the machine down.

The Omen performed well until we ran thermal tests. A gaming benchmark saw the CPU and GPU top out at 84°C and 71°C while remaining reasonably quiet, but adding a CPU stress-test ramped the chip up to a peak of 97°C.

That’s too hot for our tastes, and the machine became around twice as loud, pumping out a distracting amount of noise. Warm air emerged from vents on both sides of the machine, too.

It’ll be rare to have the processor running at that sort of level, but the HP was hotter and noisier than the Medion, no matter which tests we used.

The HP wasn’t much good in battery tests, either. It lasted for exactly three hours in our PC Mark test, which is eight minutes short of the Medion. It’s not an awful result for a gaming notebook, but it’s hardly groundbreaking – if you want to play games, you’ll still need to stay close to a plug socket.

Screen and Sound

HP has sensibly paired the GTX 1070 with a 1080p resolution and Nvidia G-Sync. That means there’s enough power to run any game well on this panel, even when G-Sync is activated at its peak level of 75Hz – so games will look butter-smooth, no matter the quality settings used.

In this department it matches the Medion, which also had a G-Sync screen at 1,920 x 1,080.

The HP’s benchmark results are reasonable, too. The huge brightness level of 332cd/m2 is paired with a decent black level of 0.34cd/m2, which means a solid contrast ratio of 976:1 and plenty of versatility – the backlight is powerful enough to help in even the brightest sunlight, while there’s enough depth and vivacity to make subtle colour differences stand out.

Colours are good, too. The Delta E measurement of 3.21 is fine for a gaming laptop, and the colour temperature of 6,612K is superb – barely different from the ideal 6,500K figure, and close enough to ensure that colours look as accurate as possible.

The backlight lost around 10% of its brightness along its top and bottom edges, which is a reasonable figure. That’s our overall verdict on this screen, too –entirely reasonable. It’s got solid benchmarks in every department with no major problems, which makes it good for gaming.

The good screen is paired with a solid sound system. The Omen has four Bang & Olufsen speakers, and its default Music option is the best available on this machine, with a balanced mid-range and a clear, high-quality high-end. The bass is a little weak, but that’s our only criticism. The Music and Movie modes are too tinny, but it’s easy enough to avoid those.


HP’s latest laptop delivers great gaming speed, decent benchmarks elsewhere and a solid multimedia experience thanks to its good screen and speakers. Battery life is solid, too.

It’s sad, then, that those good attributes are undermined by some serious issues. The keyboard and touchpad are among the worst we’ve used for gaming on notebooks, and we’re disappointed by the general lack of software on this machine.

There’s no optical drive, either, and the Omen is also thicker and heavier than most other machines in this category. The lack of specialist software is another disappointment.

We expect luxury machines from the Omen brand, but this laptop hasn’t quite delivered. It’s got the pace and the media chops, sure, but it’s thick, heavy, with a lack of software and underwhelming ergonomics. Those issues see it fall into mediocre territory – and that means it doesn’t live up to its Omen billing.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
HP Omen 17
Author Rating

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About Author

Mike Jennings

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