If you’re looking for a powerful gaming laptop, the HP Omen laptop is definitely worth considering. This machine is packed with features that will appeal to gamers, including a fast processor, a large hard drive, and a dedicated graphics card. The Omen also has a cool design that will make it stand out from the competition.
HP Omen 16 Gaming Laptop Review
- Metal base, subtle design
- Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4
- Simple maintenance
- Decent 144-Hz FHD display
- System performance and CPU/GPU speed
- Cool WASD keys, balanced heat distribution
- Battery life is excellent
- Preinstalled Bloatware/Trial Versions
- Only 3x USB 3.0, but 1x USB 4.
- Dropouts in touchpad inputs
- Just by opening the browser, you can increase DPC latencies
- A slight, temporary electronic sound
- Compared to competitors, slightly louder
1. Design and Features
The HP Omen 16 is primarily made of plastic, with a hint of brushed metal at the edges. The entire device has a matte black finish. This looks great, but it is also very dust and fingerprint magnet. It will not look new even if you wipe it down frequently.
The laptop’s dimensions are 14.53 inches wide by 9.65 inches deep and 0.89 inches tall. The base configuration is 5.1 lbs. Upgraded hardware will add a little more. I love the clean lines and sharp corners. It almost reminds me of a business laptop. It has a pleasant aesthetic that isn’t too sharp.
The build quality is excellent. The Omen is solid and well-built, even though it’s not as strong as an all-metal laptop. The keyboard needs a lot of force to turn it around, so I don’t anticipate anyone having any problems.
To get the body to bend, you will need to use a lot of torsions. The system worked flawlessly in my backpack and suitcase. This is normal for a heavier laptop, which weighs in at over 5 pounds. It’s not too heavy for a gaming laptop, but it might not be for you if you need something very portable.
The trackpad and keyboard are acceptable. They do the job. The laptop isn’t super thin. This allows the keys to travel a fair distance, but the actuation is a little mushy. I’d prefer to see a little more click at the bottom.
The layout is simple, and we don’t see any unusual vital combinations. Hotkeys are located in the upper right corner. These hotkeys can be used to open the Windows calculator’s HP Omen Gaming hub and take a screenshot. These hotkeys could be reprogrammed. The HP software was a bit buggy, so I didn’t know how to fix it. It would have been a good idea to place some media keys on the right side, in the space above the arrows. It makes no sense to keep that area empty, as the keyboard space is often limited.
The trackpad is approximately as big as it can be on this laptop. The trackpad was OK for precision, mouse click, and average at multi-finger gesture recognition. It could scroll up and down with two fingers, but it struggled to switch between three fingers.
I found the coating of the trackpad a bit rough to my touch. It is almost too smooth sometimes, and my finger would slide across the trackpad without fully registering. Other times my finger would become stuck and then bounce or skim across. Overall, it’d get 8/10.
The port selection and connectivity are excellent as you move to the edges. The input power jack for the 200W charger is to the left, an RJ45 jack hinged, a USB Type-A port, mini display port, HDMI, USB Type C, a headset connector, and an SD card slots.
Remarkably, the connector and power brick are so large, considering their 200W ratings. We find two additional USB Type-A ports on the right edge. This makes a total of three. A cooling vest is also available to remove hot air. There’s not much I can complain about.
2. Thermostats and Cooling Design
The bottom mesh grill is proof that HP researched thermal design. The raised rubber feet and honeycomb design ensure that the cooling fans can access fresh air. They can’t be covered accidentally.
Each environment and configuration is different. However, our thermal test results were the same. The GPU reached 49C on battery and 66C when it was plugged in. The CPU reached 56C with a battery charge and 79C when plugged in.
The highest temperatures I could see with CPU and GPU pinned at 100% for a while were 56C and 61% respectively on battery and 77C and 90C when plugged into. The fan noise was very reasonable. The fans spin, but not the air is blowing through them, making most of their noise when they turn up. The laptop’s sound is like a low “whooshing” rather than a high-pitched whine. Even after prolonged periods of heavy usage, I didn’t find the laptop’s bottom or typing surface too hot. You don’t feel heat because the airflow blows away from you, just as an excellent thermal design should.
The Omen uses the aggressive throttle to keep the Omen cool and conserve battery life. When switching between battery and wall power, the GPU performance increased by 3.3x, while CPU frequency almost doubled.
This is a great way to extend your gaming session. However, some people may not wish their system to be throttled automatically. Although I disabled several performance limits in Windows, Nvidia Control Panel, and Omen Gaming Hub, it was impossible to achieve battery performance comparable to wall power. This feature would be fantastic if it were easy to switch on or off.
The webcam quality built into laptops is slightly better than average. It’s a little less sharp in low-light than you might expect, but it will do the job for video chats. HP chose to use a white status LED “camera on” instead of the more secure, built-in privacy shield. Two microphones are available on the Omen for stereo recording: one on each side of the webcam.
Dual speakers are mounted beneath the keyboard’s edges for audio playback. They project outwards from your laptop and bounce off the surface of the computer to reach you. They have a wide soundstage, but this can compromise their clarity. The interior is too small to accommodate significant drivers, so bass is virtually non-existent. Although it is clear and accurate at lower volumes, it becomes muddy when you crank it up.
This causes the top end to become harsher. Although the Omen is loud enough for one listener, it doesn’t fill a room. The amplifier could have been amplified by 20%.
3. Show Performance
Now, onto the display. To test the screen’s performance, we used Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software and X-Rite i1DisplayPro. The measured peak brightness of 323 nits was relatively low. The Omen will struggle in bright sunlight or near bright windows, but it is sufficient for indoor use.
It’s not as impressive as other laptops that can reach 400 or 500 nuts. HP doesn’t hide anything in the Omen specification sheet, stating 300 nits.
Let’s get to the color accuracy. Pre-cal results were not bad, especially for a gaming laptop. Average deltaE values for grayscale were 3.3 and 4.27, respectively. Color accuracy values below 1.0 are almost invisible to the eye. Results between 1-3 and 4-10 are easily seen if you pay attention. Anything above 10 is a sign that something is seriously wrong.
The blues are very noticeable. I can imagine it straining your eyes after a while. It’s not clear if the panel is defective. HP should investigate lowering the factory’s blues if this was expected.
The accuracy of the Calman computer monitor calibration workflow was greatly improved. The display looked more natural because the blue tint disappeared. You could probably do some occasional content for Instagram and YouTube with a color accuracy deltaE 1.9. It is not recommended for use with anything that is color-sensitive. We’ve attached the calibration profile for those who own this laptop.
The HP Omen 16’s 6 cells, 83Wh battery provided solid battery life. This battery is nearly 20% more potent than the Victus’ 4-cell, 70Wh unit. The majority of gaming laptops in this class are between 70 and 80Wh. This is why the Omen has the advantage. The screen brightness and the workload will significantly affect the run-time values. All measurements were taken at 50% brightness. We achieved 10.75 hours of idle time, 6 hours of video playback, and 78 minutes of gaming at medium settings. These are awe-inspiring numbers for a gaming laptop.
The Omen 16 is standard equipped with Intel’s AX201 WiFi 6 modem. It can also be configured using the AX210 WiFi 6E modem. My unit’s AX201 managed file transfer speeds of 820Mbps in one room, 350Mbps in another room, and 255Mbps in a second room. Although the Omen’s performance is more important than this, it indicates the modem’s performance. However, there is some tuning due to antenna placement.
After removing the screws from the bottom, accessing the internals was easy. We can now see the upgradeable RAM and SSD, as well as an extra M.2 slot. HP does an excellent job of helping customers repair their laptops. The screw types are clearly labeled, and a detailed teardown and upgrade video is provided. This is a great idea, and we wish that more vendors did this.
The review unit arrived with a Core i7-11800H processor, RTX3050 Ti GPU and 16GB of DDR4, a 512GB SSD+ 32GB Optane, as well as a 1080p 60Hz IPS monitor. Since we have already written detailed articles about the CPU and GPU, we won’t be reviewing their performance. The CPU is quite capable and a significant improvement from previous generations. The GPU was less popular than the CPU, with its 4GB video memory proving a limitation in many areas.
HP has some of the most bloatware of all significant vendors when you boot into Windows. The Omen is no exception. You can get 15 HP-branded apps preinstalled, as well as free McAfee or VPN trials. It is amazing how much junk HP adds to their systems. Despite all the other bloat, the McAfee popups are the most annoying. It takes only a few seconds to uninstall or disable it. We will give HP the benefit of the doubt, as they are using the kickbacks from these installations to offset the cost of their system.
5. Configurations and Value
There are many options when it comes to ordering HP Omen. The Omen 16T (Intel) and the Omen 16Z(AMD) have two options. The 16T includes the i5-11400H, i7-11800H, RTX 3050T CPU options, and the GTX 1650 or RTX 3360 Ti as GPU options. You can configure the 16Z with a Ryzen 5, 5600H, Ryzen 7, 5800H, or Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU and a GTX 16,50, RTX 3050T, RTX 3270, or RX 6600M graphics card. Both chassis can support up to 32GB RAM and 1080p IPI displays.
The screen being upgraded to 144Hz was one configuration I found confusing. The upgrade costs $30 for the AMD platform and $100 for the Intel platform. It’s even more confusing that the entry Intel configuration with a GTX 1650 doesn’t allow 144Hz. You will need to spend $250 more to upgrade your CPU to an i7 or GPU to an RTX3050 Ti. The AMD variant is even worse. The 3050 Ti package doesn’t have a 144Hz display. You will need to upgrade to the $440+6600M or $680+RTX 3070 Tier to allow this combination. The Omen 16T (16Z) and 16Z cost around $1,050. However, the lowest configuration with a display of 144Hz is $1,400.
It seems that this is an arbitrarily made decision to make consumers spend more on a feature they should already have. The AMD version claims it can only support one drive, but the Intel version supports dual M.2 SSDs.
You may be curious about the differences between Omen and HP Victus.
While the HP Omen brand has been the company’s leading gaming brand for many years, the Victus line is newer and still making a name for itself. We found the Victus to be slightly less durable, have more fans, and have a smaller battery. You would expect it to be somewhat less expensive than Omen.
This is the deal: The same configuration (i7-11800H with 16GB RAM and RTX 3060 at 144Hz, 512GB SSD, 512GB SSD) costs $500 more to buy as an Omen than as a Victus. This seems crazy, even though HP may have a bugged pricing tool. While I can understand $100-200 extra, $1,650 vs. $1,150 is a lot more. It’s nearly half the price for the same components.
The HP Omen 16’s current price is not very competitive if we stick with the sample configuration and look at the wider market. The MSI Creator 15 is $1,450 and Acer’s Predator costs $1,300. HP’s Omen 17 can also be purchased for $1,450. The Omen 16’s $1,650 price tag is not the same.
HP Omen 15 Gaming Laptop Review
- Amazing QHD display at 165Hz
- Strong gaming performance
- Cooling is great, it doesn’t get too hot
- Muted ‘gamer’ aesthetics
- A fragile chassis
- The power button is dangerously placed
- There is no USB-C charging
The HP Omen 15 follows the trend of slimline gaming laptops. It eschews past bulky designs and angularity in favor of a more subtle aesthetic. The machine is compact in the lower half, with a small keyboard (no Numpad), a large touchpad, and a simple diamond Omen logo at the back. This would look great in an RGB-clad office.
The chassis is solid and stable, with no bend or bounce in the keyboard plate. The screen has a lot of flex and wobbles on its hinges. This is not a problem as the machine costs less than $1300/PS1300 and has some fantastic components underneath. However, it does demonstrate how the machine’s materials aren’t the strongest in the industry.
The hinge that connects the two halves is strong enough to hold the weight of the mainboard well when opened.
HP has strangely placed the power key along the top row, dangerously close to the delete key. Although I didn’t have any problems with the machine going to sleep if I accidentally pressed it, it took some time to get used to.
The four-zone RGB will be visible on the HP Omen 15 as you turn it on. These LEDs don’t have the same boldness as RGB lighting on other devices and are more pastel-toned, even in direct sunlight. However, they can still be used in brighter environments.
The Omen is 2.46kg in weight. This device is slim but still has a lot of power. The MSI Stealth 15M, which has a similar form factor, weighs 1.67kg.
The HP Omen 15’s stunning 1440p 165Hz display is one of its most distinctive features. The show can produce crisp images, even on desktop icons and home screens. There are many things to admire here, including deep blacks and excellent color handling. Motion is also smooth at 165Hz.
The display is still glossy, so it shines in brighter lighting. It’s still one of my favorite laptops, even though the lights were dimmed slightly.
Although the keyboard feels great in my hand, it is noticeably less clicky than my previous model. The keyboard was responsive and quick to respond, making it easy to glide across the board.
The HP Omen averaged a speed of 87 WPM with a 96% accuracy. This is quite impressive, considering that my HyperX Alloy Origins 60 average was 91.3 WPM and 96.3% accuracy. It’s also my daily driver, with lots of muscle memory. The large touchpad has a soft feel and is easy to use. It also features a responsive tap and the correct resistance below the main clicks. This is not recommended for gaming use.
Omen Gaming Studio is embedded in the computer and provides a clean and straightforward terminal to store all your settings, keyboard lighting, and install games. This software is an improved version of the Omen Command Centre from previous iterations. It’s a very easy-to-use piece. It is excellent that HP has removed the ‘spy’ look that many computers use to cover up their software and instead offers a variety of simple menus.
Remote Play is available for Android Marshmallow or iOS 13 on their mobile devices. This program allows you to send your gameplay to another device. It was a bit slow in my testing, but it worked well. However, I don’t see any particular use for Remote Play since you will need to be connected to the same WiFi network to play. This feature is best placed on HP gaming PCs.
The HP Omen was quiet even during light gaming and day-to-day tasks. While those fans were louder during the most challenging moments, the fan noise was not overwhelming. I also didn’t notice any temperature rises. The best gaming headsets will block out that extra noise if you are concerned. This was not surprising, considering that these slimline laptops lack internal cooling to maintain a comfortable temperature. HOWEVER, this CPU is highly efficient and runs super fast in everyday work and play.
The QHD screen displayed the autumn colors of Life Is Strange and True Colors beautifully, with vibrant colors that popped across the city and smooth background movements, shadows, and detail throughout my travels. Thanks to the display panel, every game felt brighter, which provided a vivid picture but sometimes sacrificed clarity to show more contrast in more cluttered scenes.
My old 2018 Omen was often too fast when I loaded more significant Planet Coaster projects. But this model can handle even densely packed areas with ease. It only starts to feel the throttle when many people are moving around. This area was particularly well-lit and detailed.
Things got faster when it came to action sequences. Fans had plenty to choose from with games like Apex Legends and Doom Eternal. However, the system sometimes dropped frames when it wasn’t putting performance above all else. While the game is playable, it is strongly advised that you have an adapter nearby.
The frame rates from this machine aren’t as high as those of more expensive options, they still managed 60 frames per second when I focused more on graphical elements that were less important than smooth images. Although this laptop is a cheaper RTX3060, it still has a Ryzen7 5800H processor and a lot of RAM. Although it was disappointing that the RTX 3060 could not reach 60fps in games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 or Metro Exodus, these titles are more demanding, and the RTX 3060 remains at the ‘lower end’ of the 30-series spectrum.
It is also worth noting that while the 1440p resolution is good, some more intense titles will run better at 1080p. Save your super-resolution for games, work, or binge-watching.