What happens if you cross a MacBook Pro 16-inch with a relatively affordable gaming laptop? Well the newly revealed HP Omen 16 appears to be the answer.
HP revealed new additions to its Omen gaming family computers and monitors, with the new Omen 16, One 17, Omen 25i gaming monitor, and the new Victus line spearheaded by a 16-inch affordable gaming laptop. With access to the latest AMD and Intel processors and Nvidia GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards, these could be the gaming laptops to watch in 2021.
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Where once HP Omen laptops were chunky machines festooned with sharp edges, red accents and a distinct ‘gamer’ aesthetic, the new Omen and Victus machines are a lot less ostentatious, looking not a million miles away from gaming versions of the MacBook Pro. That does mean the Omen 16 is firmly in the domain of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced, a gaming laptop that has long drawn design comparisons to the MacBook Pro.
The Omen 16 for example has a rather clean design, with only a stamped black “O16” text on the right hand side of the trackpad being something that would stand out from the general look of ultraportable laptops. The expansive trackpad is reminiscent of that on a MacBook or Razer Blade 15, as are the rather trim bezels around the display.
While these bezels aren’t as slim as those found on the Asus Zephyrus M16, they are noticeably more svelte than those on the older Omen 15. That’s probably why the laptop manages to fit in a 16.1-inch display that can be specced with up a QHD resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate, all in a package that doesn't look horribly bulky.
The only disappointing thing here is the Omen 16 sticks with the 16:9 aspect ratio common in a lot of gaming laptops, rather than the 16:10 aspect ratio found in newer Asus and Lenovo laptops. That means it loses some of the vertical space that’s handy when you want two windows open side by side for productivity tasks.
But then again, it has some serious specs to chew through the video and photo editing and rendering work of so-called ‘creators.’ The Omen 16 has the choice of AMD or Intel processors running up to the Ryzen 7 5900HX and Core i7-11800H respectively. And on the graphics side, it can be configured with up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070. There’s also an RGB backlit keyboard.
To keep pack in all this hardware, the Omen 16 isn't quite as svelte as the likes of the Razer Blade 15. But that means it packs in a healthy selection of ports, including a trio of USB Type-A ports, HDMI 2.1, an Ethernet port, DisplayPort, USB-C (with Thunderbolt 4 if you have an Intel machine) and a full-sized SD card reader; the latter ideal for photo and video editors.
With prices starting at $1,049 for an entry-level model with a Ryzen 7 5800H processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, a top-spec Omen 16 won’t be cheap when it’s released in June. But it looks to be more affordable than similar gaming laptops from the likes of Asus and Razer.
People after a little more power and a larger screen can go for the Omen 17, which has a 17.3-inch display and tops out at with an Intel Core i9-11900H processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. It’s also available in June with prices starting at $1,369.
HP Victus gaming laptop
Not everyone has a large wad of cash to burn ono a gaming laptop. So HP’s new Victus gaming laptop offers the same display as the Omen 16 and 17, and roughly the same design — it uses a different hinge mechanism, a standard backlit keyboard, speaker grilles rather than slashes either side of the keyboard deck — but has less powerful specs.
But with an Intel Core i7-11800H or 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor, and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, the Victus should have plenty of power for QHD gaming at 60 frames per second. It doesn't have the “Omen Tempest Cooling” of its more expensive Omen stablemates, so we’ll have to wait and see how well the Victus handles heat.
However, it comes with an expansive port selection and a starting price of $799. That means it could be a solid machine for people who want a gaming laptop that’ll also double up as a solid work machine, but don’t have the money for a Razer laptop.
HP OMEN 25i Gaming Monitor
HP also took the covers off the OMEN 25i Gaming Monitor. Sporting a 165Hz refresh rate with 1ms response time, AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync tech to reduce frame tearing, the display could be a solid partner to the aforementioned laptops, when they are being used as part of gaming setup.
The display's IPS panel offers VESA DisplayHDR 400 compatibility, 400 nits of brightness and 90% coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut. That should make it good for gaming and watching movies.
All in all, HP looks like it has some promising gaming laptops and hardware to challenge its rivals.
And the likes of the Omen 16 continue to drive the trend of gaming laptops looking more like machines that can be used for work and play, rather than devices you’d feel a tad awkward opening up in a trendy coffee shop.