Review: HP Omen 15
4.3Overall Score
Price (RRP): $2199 (starting price) Manufacturer: HP

HP returns to the gaming sector with a new laptop aimed at giving hardcore game lovers something new to pine over. Does it work, and is the Omen a sign of things to come for HP?

Features and performance

Gamers need computers too, and if the idea of a fast gaming machine without the bulk grabs your interest, 2014 is your year.

Dell and its Alienware brand have been cooking up new hardware, as have Razer and Acer, and now it’s time for HP to show what it has been doing with the release of the Omen, a new breed of gaming laptop from a brand not known for them.

We’ve seen plenty of HP laptops this year, mind you, but none of them have been focused on games, and with Steam turning into a hotbed of activity and poised to take on next-gen gaming networks like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, there’s more reason than ever to look back into PC gaming as it makes its return to the scene.

HP’s effort in this is the Omen, a sleek black aluminium machine boasting high-end specs in a body barely weighing a little over two kilograms (2.28kg to be exact), packing in a 15.6 inch Full HD touchscreen and a smattering of high-end specs, starting with the Intel Core i7 quad-core 4710HQ Haswell chip, which is standard across all the variants.

Either 8 or 16GB of RAM is standard depending on the model, as is a solid-state drive, with either 128, 256, or 512GB in the machine. There are no HP Omen models relying on conventional moving part hard drives, and you won’t find an optical drive in the unit either, making it a fairly lightweight machine. Windows 8 runs on the machine out of the box.

NVidia’s GeForce GTX graphics arrives on the machine, too, with the 860M graphics processor paired with either 2GB or 4GB RAM, while HP makes use of Beats for the speakers on the machine.

Ports are reasonably varied, and you’ll find four USB 3.0 ports, one Mini DisplayPort, one HDMI (1.4), and a headphone microphone combo port (headset), as well as the AC adaptor port, all of which are found on the back of the computer. An SD card slot can also be found, but this slot is located on the right side.

There’s a metal hinge made in silver with faded blue accents, almost as if it were an exhaust pipe, and this connects the machine to a 15.6 inch Full HD In-Plane Switching touchscreen, with a Full HD camera sitting above the frame.

The HP Omen 15 weighs a little over two kilograms, and measures 15.5mm when closed, and starts at $2199 in Australia. but the model reviewed by GadgetGuy was the top-of-the-line edition, priced at $2999 with the inclusion of 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M with 4GB RAM.

Those specs alone are a good — excuse the pun — omen for the machine, so we’re eager to take the Omen for a spin and see what it can do.

From the box, though, you can see HP has put some effort into this machine, providing a trapezoid of a box that really does look unique, and basically sets the scene for the computer inside.

When you open it up, you’ll see what we mean, with a similarly trapezoidal machine that looks a little like a spaceship, but obviously isn’t.