Product Overviews

HP’s OMEN Notebook is the Next Best Thing to a Gaming PC

By November 4, 2014 11 Comments
HP OMEN

The HP OMEN: Now available for preorder!

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

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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

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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?

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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!

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Ivan Barajas

Author Ivan Barajas

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Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • joeybeta says:

    This laptop is fine and all, just that HP has this thing about turning me off with their arrow keys and they still have that format size in this laptop as well. I have to back out with this one unfortunately.

  • nomasteryoda says:

    Form factor is pretty sweet, but it MUST have true discrete and dedicated Nvidia GTX card. SteamOS is a MUST on something like this and that means it <> have the Nvidia card filtered through the Intel chipset (aka Optimus or Primus required for Linux gaming). That just won’t make the diehard gamer’s Christmas list.

    • Obiwan says:

      SteamOS in 3 years, maybe. I’d need all new games to work on it, so Windows for sure. And you’re never getting a GTX card in ANY laptop. The GT Mobile card is top-notch by laptop standards.

  • Cole Bright says:

    Razer blade came first, then Gigabyte and MSI used that thinline form factor as well. It’s not that a laptop isnt “as good” as a desktop, its that it can never be upgraded. That after 4 years it officially has to be completely replaced to be relevant to hardcore graphics gamers. That’s why we chose desktops. Don’t get me wrong my Sager laptop is nice, but I don’t expect it to run new games anymore at max after two years owning it. From a economical stand point, the gaming desktop will always be better, because its parts can be shifted out for new over time.

  • Ekul Labyrinth says:

    So having checked the processor, I could say it gives a desktop a run for the money.
    But the base clock is lower then the standard desktop’s for gaming. To get the performance I’d expect from a gaming machine, that laptop will be running HOT(!) from the settings I use on my desktop, I know this from my high performance laptop I’m currently using and it can’t handle what my desktop does.
    Honestly though, if I needed to chose between the two, I’d take the laptop because mobility matters in this day and age, and even though its set for gaming you will use it for more than that.
    But if you are marketing for gaming enthusiast, No, the desktop can give you more bang for the buck. desktops can handle the performance and, depending on chip sets, give you more for less. you can put a 4.4GHz processor in a $50 motherboard and still get blazing preformance. and when its time to upgrade, you don’t need a complete new rig.

  • PCgamersince84 says:

    No thanks… Give me AMD CPU and AMD GPU. I need RAID for data storage protection and speed. No way am I going to fit half my my steam library on a 500gb SSD drive and no way I am trusting my semester of homework on this thing. Plus, its made by HP so you know it is over priced garbage. I’ll keep my desktop for games and my inexpensive laptop for school.

  • ads says:

    The MSI GS series of laptops are have the same specs and are similarly priced AND sized. This already exists and I for one am glad to have bought the MSI GS60. I’ve owned enough HP laptops that have suffered from poor build quality and broken (Screen quits, hinges break) after 2 years of LIGHT use. While I’d hope HP puts more care into designing a gaming laptop (and I’m sure they will) I certainly wasn’t about to drop $1500 for anything HP. I took a chance and bought an MSI – I figured they make great boards, what’s to think they won’t make a great laptop – and they have.

    Just my 2 cents

  • Luscious says:

    Let’s get a few things straight here, and not in any particular order:

    1. A serious gamer does not game on a notebook
    2. A proper gaming notebook does not have a <20mm thin profile – it's thicker. MUCH thicker.
    3. The cursor key layout is not "isolated" – give me full-size up/down keys!!!
    4. Windows 7 instead of Windows 8.1
    5. A GTX980M instead of GTX860M
    6. An i7-4940MX instead of 4710MQ
    7. A full-size DisplayPort instead of HDMI
    8. Dual Harman/Kardon speakers with a subwoofer
    9. Dual-fan cooling with all-copper heatsinks/heatpipes

    I could go on, but it's evident that HP doesn't have the faintest idea of how to make a proper gaming notebook. I wonder when was the last time Meg Whitman ever sat down to talk to an actual PC gamer…

    Maybe I should make an appointment with her – I've been elbow deep in this stuff for the last 13 years. Unfortunately, other notebook manufacturers are just as lost.

    • Hakan says:

      You see, you can’t expect all customers to have your preferences. My first requirement was a beautiful design with better specs. MSI, ASUS, Lenovo, Dell, Gigabyte did not fit my description. If they put 128GB RAM with a Core i7 extreme CPU and a GeForce 1280GX(?) card into a thick and not good looking laptop and cheaper, I still wouldn’t buy it. I know you would and I would not judge that at all. I’d that’s what want… Clearly HP put mobility and design in the first place. And that what satisfied me and made me order one. Oh, a 17″ laptop? That’s a no no for me if I am going to carry it in a bag. Alienware is good but does not look stylish and Razer is stylish but expensive for what it is. I’m a hardware engineer by the way who has built 100s of PCs for all segments including servers.

    • Sam says:

      Let’s get a few things straight here, and not in any particular order:

      1. This is true
      2. Define “Proper Gaming Notebook” because if you are a hardcore LoL player this would just as good as a 2k dekstop
      3. I agree with this (but had to save space)
      4. I would rather have windows 7 but 8.1 is ok just run in desktop mode all the time
      5. Not possible in this form factor – plus heat/power usage would be an issue.
      6. A true gamer knows that an i5 performance is pretty much the same as an equivalent i7 (so no need to change to a better i7)
      7. Has a displayport so you can hook up to a 4k TV . . . .
      8. Why? I game with a headset and most of everyone I know does as well
      9. The HP-Omen already has this . . .

      I could go on, but its evident that you have no idea what this is supposed to be used for. This machines is to be used for a super portable gaming machine. When I fly to Blizzcon, Pax, ComiCon, E3, and so on I want to be able to watch a full movie on a plane. This does that. I want to be able to log in to WoW and do stuff. This does that. I want to be able to get on and play some BF4. THIS DOES THAT!!! All while allowing me to edit reviews, podcasts, and video taken from the each event. For a person that has been up to this stuff to there elbows I am taken back on how narrowminded you are. The most interesting thing is you claim to know what a “Proper gaming laptop” is. The funny thing is THAT THERE IS NO SUCH THING. Laptops will always lag behind desktops. This will never change in my life time and I doubt it will in yours.

      I would love for you to sit down with HP and explain to them why you have no idea what they hell your talking about. That would be epic to see.

  • Ashry says:

    This is really cool laptops. Is there used laptop available for me? Want to buy

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