I've been testing the HP Omen Transcend 14 — and it's my favorite gaming laptop of the year so far

HP Omen Transcend 14
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I test the best gaming laptops for a living, but even I have trouble deciding which one I'd buy for myself. 

Admittedly, I can be picky. I need a machine with enough power to play the best PC games but I also want something that's slim and portable. On top of that, I would prefer a gaming laptop that doesn’t look like one.

Those are very specific requirements but they’re not unrealistic. In fact, I’m currently testing a gaming laptop that checks all those boxes… and then some. Enter the HP Omen Transcend 14.

My full review will be up soon, but I wanted to post my initial thoughts about the Omen Transcend 14 since it’s currently my favorite gaming laptop of the year. It’s not perfect, but for what it delivers, I think it’s a great product that accomplishes its main goals — namely a solid gaming experience on a svelte machine. Even if the starting $1,499 cost isn't cheap, it’s worth the investment. Here’s why.

Killer design 

HP Omen Transcend 14

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I know that it’s what's inside that counts when it comes to electronics — but why shouldn’t a device also look good? Apple has built its career on that, after all. Though the HP Omen Transcend 14 isn’t as elegant as some of the best MacBooks, it certainly gives those notebooks a run in the aesthetic department.

HP Omen Transcend 14:

HP Omen Transcend 14: was $1,499 now $1,250 @ HP
The new HP Omen Transcend 14 is a gaming laptop that doesn't look the part. The entry-level models packs a 14-inch 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800) OLED 120Hz display, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU, an Intel Core Ultra 7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. You can get it in Shadow Black or Ceramic White, and right now HP is selling it for $250 off.

You could easily mistake the Omen Transcend 14 for a non-gaming laptop thanks to its understated design. There’s no RGB lighting or flashy logos on the outside of the slim machined aluminum chassis. Instead of sharp angles or seams, it’s all smooth rounded curves. If you’re in public, it’ll be hard to identify this machine as a gaming laptop at a glance.

Visually, the only thing that denotes the Omen Transcend 14 as a gaming laptop is the RGB keyboard. Since most of the light shines from around the keys instead of underneath them, the colors spill out over the keyboard deck. This is one of the most tasteful uses of RGB lighting — and I say that as someone who typically doesn’t care for all those extra colors.

At 12.3 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches and weighing 3.6 pounds, the Omen Transcend 14 is great to travel with, which is a huge plus if you’re already carrying a bag filled with other electronics. There are lighter and thinner laptops, such as the 13-inch MacBook Air M3 (11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches / 2.7 pounds), but for a gaming laptop, the Omen Transcend 14 is practically featherweight.

Awesome gaming performance 

HP Omen Transcend

(Image credit: Future)

I like gaming in 4K at 60+ frames per second as much as anyone. But for gaming laptops, I’m willing to compromise … to an extent. For instance, to my eyes, 1080p is perfectly fine on a 14-inch display. As for performance, if I can get a game to run at near 60 fps, I’m a happy camper.

The Omen Transcend 14 I tested featured an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, an Intel Core Ultra 7 CPU and 16GB of RAM. Those aren’t mind-blowing specs, but for 1,080p/60fps gaming at medium settings, they’re more than plenty. For instance, Doom Eternal ran between 120 and 140 fps, which is amazing.

Cyberpunk 2077 managed to run between 30 and 40 fps at those same settings. Not the best, but good enough for a medium-range gaming laptop. I should note that I enabled XeSS (Intel’s answer to Nvidia's DLSS) to get Cyberpunk 2077 to run at those frame rates.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Frame rate test results (@ 1,080p)
Header Cell - Column 0 HP Omen Transcend 14
Assassin’s Creed: Mirage66 fps
Borderlands 363 fps
Far Cry 663 fps

Our lab tests also delivered commendable results. Assassin’s Creed: Mirage, Borderlands 3 and Far Cry 6 all ran at just a little over 60 frames per second at 1080p. In short, you can have a good time gaming on the Omen Transcend 14.

Bright and colorful display 

HP OMen Transcent

(Image credit: Future)

Games look as good as they perform thanks to the 14-inch 2.8K 120Hz OLED display. The bright and colorful graphics of the titles mentioned above looked awesome on this display. The neon-drenched dystopian streets of Cyberpunk 2077 came through in vivid detail, as did the hellish domains of Doom Eternal.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Display benchmarks
Header Cell - Column 0 HP Omen Transcend 14
Nits (brightness)392
sRGB190.6%
DCI-P3135%
Delta-E0.29

As you can see in the table, the Omen Transcend 14’s hues are pretty oversaturated (100% for sRGB and DCI-P3 tends to look more natural). However, I’ve always liked oversaturated hues in video games. So to me, this is a bonus. Give me all the bright colors! The display is also fairly bright at nearly 400 nits, but not aggressively so.

A fun typing experience 

HP Omen Transcend

(Image credit: Future)

Even though I review laptops, I’m typically not fond of their membrane keyboards. However, even a fan of the best mechanical keyboards like me had fun using the Omen Transcend 14’s keyboard.

The thick keycaps are the main reason I enjoyed the keyboard so much. Not only are they large, but also bouncy and with good travel distance. They also give off a satisfying click when pressed. The fact there’s a soft RGB glow under the keys only served to heighten the typing experience.

An awesome gaming laptop 

HP OMen Transcent

(Image credit: Future)

The HP Omen Transcend 14 already impressed me when I first went hands-on with it at an HP event last year, so I had high hopes for the system. As you can see above (and by this article’s headline), it’s one the best laptops of any kind I’ve tested in 2024. I have some issues with it, namely port selection and battery life, but I’ll delve into those aspects and more in my upcoming review. Stay tuned! 

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Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.


  • djcalligraphy
    If the laptop has an Nvidia RTX 4060 in it, how were you running XeSS? Were you using the integrated GPU for Cyberpunk? Or are you able to use it on Nvidia cards too somehow?
    Reply
  • rgd1101
    XeSS can be run on intel, amd or nvidia gpu
    https://www.tomshardware.com/news/shadow-of-the-tomb-raider-xess-tested
    Reply
  • djcalligraphy
    rgd1101 said:
    XeSS can be run on intel, amd or nvidia gpu
    https://www.tomshardware.com/news/shadow-of-the-tomb-raider-xess-tested
    Interesting, thanks! I always assumed it was for Intel Arc GPUs only
    Reply