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HP Omen X Compact Desktop: VR Backpack Starts at $2,499

When is a backpack not a backpack? When it's a desktop that you can then strap on your back and plug in an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and start exploring virtual worlds.

And that's what's you'll have in the Omen X Compact Desktop (starting at $2,499) beginning on July 27.

You might remember the Omen X from when it was a concept. When I tried it out last summer, I noted that it was crazy light, but you could definitely feel the heat on my back from the system attempting to cool itself. But the Omen X's major flaw was that when you were done walking around in virtual space, you couldn't really utilize the backpack as a bonafide desktop. That changes with the consumer version of the Omen X.

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This iteration of the Omen X Compact Desktop can go toe-to-toe with the leading small factor PCs. Under the fetching red and black chassis, sits a factory overclocked Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU and an Intel Core i7 processor. That means the system will be able to run games in 4K as well as smoothly play VR titles.

When it's being used as a desktop, the Omen X will sit in its bundled dock, which adds another pair of USB 3.0 ports and a USB Type-C port to the rig's collection of ports. That's in addition to the two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, a Thunderbolt port and jack for a headset and the power port.

 Now, if you want to strap the Omen X on your back Ghostbuster-style, you're going to have to shell out another $599 for the backpack attachment. Once you've transformed the Omen X into a backpack, you should be able to experience HP's other improvement, the cooling system. Instead of directing the heat towards your back, the redesigned rig has a strategically placed fan exhaust and an angled mounting plate positions the top of the PC, which should keep things nice and cool. 

HP has also shortened the cables on the backpack, so you won't trip and take an inadvertent fall. The company wisely kept the hotswappable batteries, although HP has yet to disclose how much battery life we should expect from the pack, especially with such high-end components. Either way, I'm still excited to take the Omen X Compact Desktop for a spin as soon as it arrives in our lab.

Sherri L. Smith

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.