HP Omen Transcend 14 hands-on review

Don't let its appearance fool you — this is indeed a gaming laptop

HP Omen Transcend 14
(Image: © HP)

Early Verdict

The HP Omen Transcend 14 is a gaming laptop that doesn't look the part, thanks to its thin and understated design. Its Intel Core Ultra CPU is meant to facilitate AI tasks while its powerful RTX 40-series GPU handles even the most demanding games. This elegant laptop seems like a winner.

Pros

  • +

    Thin and light design

  • +

    RGB-lit keyboard

  • +

    AI-friendly Meteor Lake chip

Cons

  • -

    Only has 4-zone RGB lighting

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The HP Omen Transcend 14 is a gaming laptop that doesn’t look the part. Though it sports RGB lighting on its keyboard, you could easily mistake the HP Omen Transcend 14 for an ultraportable. In fact, HP is marketing it as “the world’s lightest 14-inch gaming laptop.” It’s a fetching machine that won’t look out of place at the office or home.

Other than its design, the HP Omen Transcend 14 separates itself from the best gaming laptops by packing a new Intel Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” chip. This processor’s NPU can handle the processing necessary to run a streaming application like OBS while the laptop’s CPU and GPU can focus solely on whatever game you’re playing. This could be a selling point for those who stream to platforms like Twitch.

I went hands-on with the HP Omen Transcend 14 at a recent Dell event and was impressed by what it promises to offer. I’m still not entirely sold on AI laptops, but my brief time with HP’s notebook showed me the potential of such devices — especially for gaming. And even if the AI functionality doesn’t live up to the hype, we’re still getting a sleek and elegant device.

Here are my initial thoughts on the HP Omen Transcend 14. 

HP Omen Transcend 14 hands-on review: Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 HP Omen Transcend 14 (starting)
Price$1,599
Display14-inch 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800) OLED, 120Hz, 0.2ms
CPUIntel Core Ultra 7 155H
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 4050
RAM16GB
Storage512GB
Ports2x Thunderbolt 4/USB-C, 2x USB-A, 1x HDMI, 1x headphone jacx
Dimensions12.3 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches
Weight3.6 pounds

HP Omen Transcend 14 hands-on review: Price and availability

You can preorder the HP Omen Transcend 14 for $1,599 now at HP’s website and Best Buy.

This starting configuration features a 14-inch 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800) OLED display with a 0.2ms response time and a refresh rate up to 120Hz. It also packs an Intel Core Ultra 7 processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage.

If you need more power and storage, you can configure this laptop with up to an Intel Core Ultra 9 CPU, an RTX 4070 GPU, 32GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage. Naturally, higher-end configurations will cost more than the entry-level model.

HP Omen Transcend 14 hands-on review: Design and display

HP Omen Transcend 14

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The HP Omen Transcend 14 is one of the most understated gaming laptops I’ve ever seen. If you didn't know better, you could easily mistake this for a non-gaming laptop. There is no RGB lighting or flashy logos anywhere on its thin and sturdy chassis, for example. Thanks to this subdued design, you won’t receive any sideways glances if you’re at a cafe or the office when using this notebook. The keyboard deck sports nice RGB lighting, but I’ll cover that shortly.

At 12.3 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches and weighing 3.6 pounds, the Transcend 14 is the definition of an ultraportable. It should be easy to carry around wherever you go, which is good if you’re a streamer who doesn’t want to take a big and bulky gaming laptop on the road. I’m not a fan of big and heavy laptops in general, so the Transcend 14 is right up my alley.

Given its thin design, the HP Omen Transcend doesn't offer many ports. That said, the two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, HDMI port and headphone jack should be just enough for most people. And you can always pair this laptop with the best wireless gaming mice, best wireless keyboards and best wireless gaming headsets if you need to free up ports.

HP Omen Transcend 14

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Another cool (pun intended) feature is the laptop’s thermal technology. HP says the chassis utilizes inbound airflow to creature a pressurized zone with vapor chamber for direct heat dissipation through the rear vents. The company claims that these innovations result in the world’s coolest 14-inch gaming laptop. I didn’t feel the Transcend 14 get hot during my time with the laptop, but we’ll have to get the notebook into our testing lab to see if HP’s claims are accurate.

The 14-inch 2.8K OLED display looked great to my eyes. HP says the panel can hit 400 nits of standard brightness and 500 nits of HDR brightness. The company also says the display can achieve 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. We'll need to get this laptop into our test lab to confirm these claims.

Performance-wise, the 120Hz refresh rate and 0.2ms response time, along with VRR support, should deliver a smooth gaming experience.

HP Omen Transcend 14 hands-on review: Keyboard and touchpad

HP Omen Transcend 14

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The main thing that denotes the HP Omen Transcend 14 as a gaming device is its 4-zone RGB keyboard. Most of the lighting shines from around the keys, which then spills over the rest of the keyboard deck. It’s a cool effect, especially on the Ceramic White version of the laptop.

The keys felt nice and springy when I typed on this device, with a decent travel distance. Even though I have big hands, I didn’t find the keyboard deck too cramped. The smooth and responsive touchpad was also larger than what you normally see on a gaming laptop. Even though the Transcend 14 is a gaming laptop, I expect it will deliver a comfortable typing experience.

Right now, the Transcend 14 only offers 4-zone RGB lighting. HP says a Per Key lighting version will arrive sometime in Spring 2024.

HP Omen Transcend 14 hands-on review: AI features

HP Omen Transcend 14

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Like the MSI Prestige 16 AI EVO and Dell XPS 16, the Omen Transcend 14 supports AI Model acceleration thanks to the Intel Core Ultra’s dedicated AI NPU. Intel has collaborated with more than 100 AI-ready apps to “further accelerate workflow by transitioning workload to NPU.” If you want to stream a game to Twitch, having the NPU handle non-gaming-related tasks should be beneficial.

During my Omen Transcend 14 demo, I played Cyberpunk 2077 with OBS and a webcam running. Since the Meteor Lake chip’s NPU handled processing those applications, Cyberpunk 2077 ran at an almost consistent 60 frames per second. Cyberpunk 2077 is a graphically-demanding title and OBS can also be a drain on the CPU. But with Meteor Lake’s NPU handling OBS, games can fully utilize the CPU and GPU.

I’m eager to stream some games on the Transcend 14 to see how they function outside of a controlled event demo. If things work as intended, this could be a great laptop for people who want to stream their games from anywhere with a good Wi-Fi connection.

HP Omen Transcend 14 hands-on review: Outlook

I’ll have a better sense of what the HP Omen Transcend 14 can do once I’ve reviewed the laptop. Right now, it seems like it could be a great machine for gaming, streaming/broadcasting and everyday work — all in an understated design. Could this be the ultimate AI gaming laptop? We’ll know soon enough.


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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.