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HP Omen 15 Review

HP Omen 15 Review

HP Omen 15 07The HP Omen 15 has been refreshed for 2019 with design tweaks and beefed-up internals – as well as a stunning 240Hz screen designed for esports and fast-paced games.

This upgraded version includes RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics and a Core i7-9750H processor, and it costs $2,209 in the US and £1,699 in the UK. Look for model number 15-DH0007NA in the UK – and, in the US, head to HP’s website to configure this specification.

Does the HP Omen 15 remain a good gaming option, or have HP’s changes made this machine worse? Read our HP Omen 15 review to find out!

Design

The HP Omen 15 is still recognisable when compared to previous generations, but work has clearly been done to refine and improve HP’s familiar gaming laptop blueprint.

HP Omen 15 04This machine has two hinges – previous Omens have had one – but they’re still positioned in the middle of the 15.6in display, which means the new Omen still has recognisable, angled screen edges.

The dramatic Omen logo still sits below the screen and on the lid. Smart Omen lettering sits below the keyboard and on the rear of the hinge.

The lid is divided into four sections with alternate matte and brushed finishes used on the aluminium, and the brushed metal surrounds the trackpad and underpins the keyboard.

Previous Omen machines have been littered with red accents, but that’s not the case here. They’ve been massively toned down. The power button illuminates in red, but that’s it.

HP Omen 15 01The design changes mean that the HP Omen 15 looks fantastic. It’s darker than previous Omen machines, and classier too – but it’s still unmistakably an Omen laptop. It’s certainly up there with the Aorus 15 X9, which is one of the most impressive gaming laptops we’ve seen over the past year.

HP’s laptop weighs 2.5kg and is 20mm thick, so it competes well with other powerful gaming notebooks. That Aorus, for instance, was a tiny bit lighter but four millimetres thicker. The solid dimensions make it pretty easy to take the HP out to LAN parties and to other gaming events.

Don’t get too stressed about other laptops being thinner or lighter, either – we’re talking about millimetres and a couple of hundred-gram differences, and the majority of people won’t notice.

The HP has decent build quality, too. There’s no give in the base metal, which is impressive – the whole base section feels robust. The central hinges mean that the screen’s sides do feel weaker, but they’re not any worse than laptops with more conventional hinge designs.

Around the edge you’ll find three full-size USB 3.1 ports and a Type-C connector that also supports Thunderbolt 3. The HP also has Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and mini-DisplayPort and an SD card reader. There’s nothing missing.

Components

The RTX 2070 Max-Q is deployed in the HP Omen 15, which makes sense – this laptop needs enough graphical power to handle top games and to run esports titles beyond 200fps, but it also needs to cope from a thermal perspective.

The card inside this laptop retains the 2,304 stream processors, 8GB of memory and 36 RT cores of the full-power RTX 2070. However, it runs with base and boost clocks of 885MHz and 1,185MHz – reduced from the 1,215MHz and 1,440MHz speeds of the proper mobile card.

HP Omen 15 05This is one area where you will find more power elsewhere. That Aorus 15 X9 had the full-power RTX 2070, for instance.

The GPU is joined by an Intel Core i7-9750H. It’s one of Intel’s newest mobile processors, and this is the first time it’s appeared in an HP Omen 15. It’s also the first time we’ve seen a laptop with this chip.

Don’t expect much different, though. The Core i7 retains the Coffee Lake architecture of its predecessor, the enormously popular Core i7-8750H, which was included in the Aorus 15 X9. Its clock speeds only deliver minor improvements: the base speed has improved from 2.2GHz to 2.6GHz and the Boost peak rises from 4.1GHz to 4.5GHz.

HP Omen 15 10Elsewhere, the HP Omen 15 has a great specification. There’s 16GB of DDR4 memory. The 1TB Samsung PM981 SSD offers loads of space, therefore eliminating the need for a slower hard disk. The SSD is fast, too, with top-notch read and write speeds of 2,699MB/s and 2,118MB/s. That means the HP always deliver fast boot and loading times.

There’s faster WiFi 6 with dual-band 802.11ax connectivity alongside Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 5.0.

The rival Aorus machine is arguably poorer value. It does have the full-power RTX 2070 and its prices are a little lower than the HP, but it doesn’t have the 240Hz screen, it has smaller SSDs and it still relies on last year’s processors. It also doesn’t have WiFi 6.

As ever, the HP Omen 15 is available in several specifications. If you want to save cash, the $1,660 and £1,500 version takes this review specification but halves the SSD size and drops down to an RTX 2060. That model also has a 144Hz screen and so is a good alternative if you’re not fussed about the 240Hz panel. Even cheaper models also can be configured with the GTX 1660 Ti.

If you’re feeling flush, the $2,360 and £2,000 model upgrades our specification to an RTX 2080 Max-Q.

At the top of the range is the HP Omen 15 X, which adds a second screen above the keyboard to display secondary applications like Twitch, Discord or Spotify. The $2,330 or £2,500 model has virtually the same internal specification as the model we’ve reviewed here, and the $3,300 and £3,500 version upgrades to a Core i9-9880H CPU, an RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU and 32GB of memory.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The keyboard has a customisable RGB LED backlight, a dedicated button to open HP’s Omen Command Centre tool, and highlights around the WASD buttons. There’s a numberpad, and 26-key anti-ghosting support.

HP Omen 15 09When it comes to layout, we only have tiny complaints. The function row and cursor buttons are smaller than the rest of the buttons, which means they’ll be trickier to hit during intense gaming. That’s a tiny issue, though, and not unique to HP.

The HP has a chiclet keyboard, just like virtually every other gaming laptop out there – including the Aorus.

However, the HP Omen 15’s keyboard isn’t bad at all. The buttons have 1.5mm of travel, which is just enough, their typing action is consistent and the base is very firm. They’re certainly robust enough for gaming. Their action is still slightly soft, but the robust base and design mean the buttons also have good speed and a crispness that many other gaming laptops don’t have.

Traditional gaming laptop keyboards still offer more travel, weight and rigidity, but the HP Omen 15 has chiclet buttons that are among the best on the market. It’s not perfect, but you can certainly use this keyboard for gaming without any major issues.

The trackpad’s matte surface is smooth, and the pad is large enough. However, its two discrete buttons are a little too soft and push down a bit too far. It’s not bad, but a USB mouse is far better.

HP Omen 15 Review – Gaming Performance

gaming benchmarksThe RTX 2070 might be a Max-Q version of the GPU, but there’s still plenty of gaming power available.

It zipped through our benchmarks with no problems. With games running at their highest graphics settings, 1080p averages ranged between 68fps and 124fps.

You’ll be able to play any current-generation game at top settings at 1080p on the HP Omen 15, even if they’re graphically demanding. The Omen 15 also has the grunt to handle Ray-Traced games – in Battlefield V its average still sat at 62fps with Nvidia’s feature enabled.

The HP has enough power to play top esports games at speeds beyond 200fps. Titles like Overwatch, Fortnite, League of Legends and CS: GO will all run at pace approaching 240fps, which means they will be incredibly smooth and fast on the 240Hz screen – especially with G-Sync enabled too. At most, you may have to tone down some graphics settings – but not drastically.

Competitive gaming is about speed, smoothness and consistency, and the HP Omen 15’s screen will deliver the best possible experience here.

However, don’t expect to play top, current single-player titles at beyond 200fps. Even with graphical settings turned down to Medium our test games still ran at averages between 94fps and 183fps.

That’s still great pace, and it means that you can play single-player games smoothly at superb refresh rates – often at better rates than you can manage on 144Hz screens. However, while this headroom and versatility is welcome, most single-player games won’t approach 240fps.

Elsewhere, the RTX 2070 Max-Q will handle VR and widescreen output, and it‘ll also play on 1440p panels. It won’t do 4K though.

Also remember that certain laptops do have the full-power RTX 2070 on-board – like the Aorus 15 X9. If you do need extra gaming power, the proper mobile RTX 2070 is ten to twenty frames quicker. That’s a solid boost, and worth considering if you want gaming power more than you want a 240Hz screen – or if you just don’t need a 240Hz screen at all.

It’s possible to find RTX 2070 laptops with 144Hz screens at similar prices to the HP Omen 15. However, bear in mind that RTX 2070 laptops with 240Hz screens are significantly more expensive than the HP.

HP Omen 15 Review – Application Performance

application benchmarksThe Core i7-9750H is fast, but it only delivers a small speed boost over the popular Core i7-8750H. Its Geekbench single- and multi-core results of 5,239 and 20,999 are around 500 and 1,500 points ahead of the older chip respectively.

In PC Mark 8 the nine-series chip scored 5,270 points, which is about 400 points better than the older chip. Its lead in Cinebench was slender.

The Core i7-9750H doesn’t do much new, but it provides a small boost and still has enough power to handle any situation. You’ll never get gaming bottlenecks from the CPU.

The processor will also easily run day-to-day applications, like web browsers with loads of tabs open and Office tools. Photo-editing suites and other content-creation software will run well on this machine too, which makes the HP an effective all-rounder.

The HP Omen 15 only has a couple of performance issues. For starters, its thermal performance is inconsistent.

We had no problems in gaming. The GPU ran at a solid pace, and the machine’s exterior remained reasonably cool – hot air was ejected from the rear and the base only warmed up slightly. Using it on your lap won’t be an issue. Temperatures were fine during games; the CPU and GPU peaked at 83°C and 71°C.

The noise levels weren’t bad, either. The fans in the HP Omen 15 do produce sound, but the noise is consistent and isn’t particularly loud. For noise levels it’s one of the better options around, and the speakers or a headset will mask it.

However, running a full-system test with the CPU and GPU at 100% load saw the processor rocket to 98°C and then throttle down to speeds of 2.4GHz. That means you’re not getting the full ability the CPU. This issue didn’t occur during normal workloads where the CPU isn’t constantly at 100%, but if you really want to push the CPU in tough work tasks then you’d be better off looking elsewhere.

Battery life isn’t good either. In an application test the HP Omen 15 lasted for just under two hours. That time was halved during gaming. As ever, you need to plug in for a proper gaming session.

Click here for all of our in-depth graphics card reviews – including the RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, RTX 2070 and RTX 2060!

HP Omen 15 Review – Screen and Sound

The screen has a stellar specification. Its 1,920 x 1,080 resolution is crisp and it has Nvidia G-Sync with a peak refresh rate of 240Hz.

HP Omen 15 06The 240Hz refresh rate and the inclusion of G-Sync puts its right at the peak of the laptop market. There are more notebooks around with 240Hz screens, but hardly any also include G-Sync.

The screen is superb for gaming. The high refresh rate and Nvidia technology makes fast motion look incredibly smooth, with no sign of tearing or ghosting. For esports, it’s a boon. Lots of gamers don’t need that level of refresh rate, but keen esports players will really appreciate it.

Quality levels are decent, too. The brightness measurement of 323cd/m2 is high enough to handle anything, and the black point of 0.27cd/m2 is fine. They combine for a contrast ratio of 1,196:1. That’s good enough for gaming and gives titles loads of punch and vibrancy.

The HP’s panel renders 93.3% of the sRGB colour gamut, which is reasonable, and its Delta E of 1.88 is very good – so colours are accurate. The temperature of 7,112K is a little chilly, but not bad enough to cause issues during games.

In short: the HP Omen 15 has an excellent screen. The combination of butter-smooth 240Hz G-Sync, accurate colours and good contrast makes games look superb.

The speakers are decent, too. At the high-end and in the treble range they have ample clarity and reasonable punch. They’re a bit tinny and the bass is a tad weak, so a headset will be better – but the audio kit here is usable.

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

HP Omen 15 Review – Conclusion

The HP Omen 15 makes minor mis-steps, just like any gaming laptop – but it’s better than most other options in the market.

HP Omen 15 08On the inside, the RTX 2070 Max-Q is a powerful GPU that has enough power to play single-player titles at good framerates and to handle esports games beyond 200fps. The proper mobile RTX 2070 is faster, though, so think about a machine with that GPU if you’re more concerned with gaming power than the high refresh-rate panel. Elsewhere, the CPU, memory, storage and connectivity are excellent.

The screen has stunning, smooth 240Hz Nvidia G-Sync and good quality, and it’s joined by reasonable speakers. Ergonomically, the HP has a decent chiclet keyboard that beats plenty of other gaming machines. The whole device looks great, too.

HP’s machine has terrible battery life, and build quality could be a little better on the screen. It could also be a bit lighter.

The HP Omen 15 does better than the vast majority of rivals. That means it’s a great option for single-player gaming – and especially for esports. The prices are decent, too, with $2,209 and £1,699 both very competitive.

The latest HP Omen 15 is one of the year’s best gaming laptops, although bear in mind that the 240Hz screen will be overkill for lots of gamers. If that’s the case, HP’s own 144Hz models or other laptops with the full-power RTX 2070 could be better options.

The machine in our HP Omen 15 review costs £1,699 in the UK and $2,209 in the US. Discuss our HP Omen 15 review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading our HP Omen 15 review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The GoodRecommended Award

  • Ample 1080p gaming power
  • Enough grunt for 200fps esports
  • Superb 240Hz screen
  • Great components elsewhere
  • Decent prices

The Bad

  • Poor battery life
  • Proper RTX 2070 is faster
  • Screen sides are flimsy
  • Could be slightly lighter

The Specs

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
Memory: 16GB 2,666MHz DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q 8GB
Screen: 15.6in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS 240Hz
Dimensions: 360 x 260 x 20mm (WxDxH)
Weight: 2.5kg
Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11ax WiFi 6, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5
Ports: 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C with Thunderbolt 3, 1 x mini-DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x audio jack, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x SD
Storage: 1TB Samsung PM981 M.2 SSD
Warranty: 1yr RTB

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
HP Omen 15

About Author

Mike Jennings

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