Good Omens

HP Omen 15

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

HP Omen 15

The Omen brand is HP’s dedicated gaming line-up, and its devices shed the company’s corporate veneer in favor of a more upstart look that gamers tend to favor. This means aggressive designs and RGB lighting, in addition to a very distinctive tribal mask that serves as its logo. 

I like the look of the Omen 15, and I think it expresses the brand’s character without being too gaudy or over-the-top. This is also a laptop with a Max-Q design, which means it consumes less power than your average gaming laptop. 

However, compared to some of the other laptops we’ve reviewed in this space, such as the Razer Blade and MSI GS65 Stealth Thin, the Omen 15 is still a little chunky. It’s noticeably thicker and heavier, measuring 26mm thick compared to the Blade’s 17.3mm and weighing 2.4kg to the latter’s 2.1kg. These may seem like small differences, but they’re pretty obvious when you’re handling the laptop and have to carry it around with you. 

The Omen 15 may be cheaper than its competitors, but it looks like its paying for that in terms of added bulk. Fortunately, the laptop has pretty good build quality. The metal chassis feels solid and well-built, and there’s little to no discernible flex anywhere. 

One of the biggest improvements over the previous generation is also the slimmer bezels. The bezels at the side have been lopped off, and in addition to looking way better, it also helps to reduce the footprint of the laptop.

My Reading Room

The 1080p IPS display is sufficiently bright and has good viewing angles and contrast. The matte panel helps reduce reflections and glare from overhead lighting, and the 144Hz refresh rate means that everything, even dragging windows around on the desktop, feels super smooth and fluid. G-Sync is supported as well, so you shouldn’t experience any stuttering or tearing in games. 

The dual bottom-firing speakers sound great, and it looks like the Bang & Olufsen tuning counts for something here. In fact, they may be one of the best speakers on a gaming laptop, and I found myself actually wanting to continue listening to the sound they pump out. For starters, they definitely get loud enough to fill a small room, and music comes through with decent clarity and minimal distortion. There was nice impact to the low-end of the audio spectrum as well, but I did notice some sibilance in the higher frequencies. 

The laptop also comes equipped with a full-sized keyboard that offers decent key travel and tactile feedback. There’s no support for per-key customizations however, and you’re limited to four independent zones, including the WASD key cluster. 

Performance-wise, the HP Omen 15 fares really well with other Max-Q laptops like the Razer Blade, pushed ahead by its generous 32GB of RAM. There’s honestly little to dislike about it. Better still, it runs pretty cool, so you’ll remain comfortable even after long hours. 

The problem is that this is a Max-Q laptop that doesn’t quite feel like one. It is considerably thicker and heavier than the Razer Blade, while still having a smaller battery, so it seems like that extra weight was all for nothing. Maybe HP managed to pack in a more robust cooling system – the palm rests on other Max-Q laptops can get quite toasty – but that doesn’t seem like it’s worth the extra heft. 

All things considered, you’ll probably be pretty happy with the HP Omen 15, but only if you moderate your expectations about what a Max-Q laptop is. 

A good laptop that manages to tick almost every gaming checkbox. 

My Reading Room

There’s a Thunderbolt 3 port at the back of the laptop, in addition to a range of display outputs. 

My Reading Room
My Reading Room