Casual gamers have turned the console into the preferred gaming platform because it’s relatively cheap, has tons of games, and is easy to play. But for the select few who are a little more “hardcore” about their gaming, a desktop PC is the only machine that can offer the ultimate gaming experience.
But gaming notebooks are rapidly catching up.
Once considered to be vastly inferior to gaming PC’s, many gaming notebooks now offer similar specs and features found inside desktops. Whether you’re looking for an overclocked processor, excessive amounts of RAM, or the latest graphics card; gaming notebooks are now a valid alternative for gamers looking for portability.
And HP’s latest gaming notebook, the OMEN, looks like it may be the best one yet for one simple reason: It’s actually portable.
The OMEN is a Portable Powerhouse with Style in Mind
Most gaming notebooks weigh around 10 pounds because they are loaded with high-end hardware better suited for a desktop PC. Lighter options usually weigh less because the manufacturer decided to sacrifice function for the sake of form. But HP did things a little different with the Omen.
Instead of removing components or using smaller/weaker hardware, HP constructed the OMEN’s chassis out of CNC-milled solid aluminum. The end result is a powerful gaming notebook that is only 19.9mm thin and weighs a mere 4.68lbs. But size and weight are not the only things that make the OMEN so unique.
It’s very stylish.
“Gamers play to win and expect their PCs to do the same. The HP OMEN delivers the power to dominate with a stunning design to give gamers the ultimate gaming experience.”
– Mike Nash, Vice President, Product Management, Consumer Personal Systems, HP
The OMEN’s anodized matte black finish combined with its subtle chrome hinges make the notebook sleek and stylish. Adding to the sleekness factor are the hidden ports that have been positioned on the back side of the notebook, making sure you won’t have to look at a tangled mess of wires.
The OMEN’s design isn’t only for looks; it also serves a very valuable function. HP designed the chassis in a manner that optimizes thermals and leads to the Core i7 processor being able to function at full speed for a longer period of time. The OMEN’s design also utilizes dual fans that pull air from the bottom and funnels it toward the back, keeping your keyboard cool and hands protected.
All this careful attention to design means the OMEN will perform better than other notebooks with the same hardware.
HP OMEN Specs
- Operating System: Windows 8.1 / 64-Bit
- Processor: Intel Core i7 Quad Core 2.5GHz
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
- Display: 15.6” / 1080p / Touch-Enabled
- Audio: Beats Audio
- Storage:128GB / 256GB / 512GB PCIe SSD
- Memory: 8GB / 16GB DDR3
- Graphics Memory: 2GB / 4GB GDDR5
- Ports: HDMI / mini DisplayPort / 4 USB 3.0 Jacks / Ethernet Dongle
The OMEN Proves Good Design Doesn’t Have to Sacrifice Function
The OMEN’s industrial design is definitely nice, but the machine resembles a “work computer” more than a gaming notebook – that is, until you open it up. On the inside, the keyboard’s red accents eliminate all doubt that this machine is for gamers and HP has gone to great lengths to make certain it can keep up with your desktop PC.
The keyboard is arguably the most important element of a gaming rig because it can be the difference between victory and defeat. For this reason, desktops have always been vastly superior to notebooks. For this reason, the OMEN’s keys have been optimized for gameplay and have been tuned to provide a crisp and precise feel.
The key spacing and travel have also been optimized and HP is promising they will be just as speedy and accurate as your desktop’s. And with six programmable function keys that can be customized to the unique features of whatever game you’re playing, you’ll always know where your spells and weapons are located.
The keyboard also features impressive back-lighting with seven zones of multicolored options. And when used in conjunction with the OMEN X9000 gaming mouse (sold separately), pixel-precise targeting will be a breeze. The mouse features 8200DPI laser tracking along with eight levels of in-game, on-the-fly sensitivity adjustments — further solidifying HP’s belief that precision and comfort should not be sacrificed at the expense of good design.
Can the HP OMEN Replace Your Gaming Desktop PC?
The HP OMEN is easily one of the best-designed gaming notebooks ever. And with prices starting at $1,500 it’s also one of the most affordable. But unless you’re always on the go or want to bring something lighter to your next LAN party; a gaming notebook may not be able to replace your desktop PC – yet.
The OMEN is a step in the right direction for portable gaming for many reasons: It’s light, beautiful, and powerful. And while it can be a viable alternative to traditional PC gaming, it’s still not enough to offer the same experience gamers crave. But that doesn’t mean the OMEN doesn’t have a place in your gaming lineup.
If you’re thinking about entering the portable gaming arena or simply want a machine that’s easy to lug around, the OMEN looks to be one of your best options. It’s also a good solution for those of you who watch videos or stream music from your notebook. But until we get a machine with a 4K monitor, I have a feeling most gamers won’t be willing to get rid of their desktop PC just yet.
What do you think? Can the HP OMEN replace your gaming desktop PC? Is portable gaming getting better? What’s your favorite gaming notebook? Let us know in the comments below!