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HP recasts its gaming Omens

With completely redesigned hardware for laptops, desktops and accessories, it looks like the company's getting serious about your fun.

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Lori Grunin

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The Omen X Compact Desktop, formerly the VR backpack

HP released its VR backpack developers kit last year, and ended up cleverly overhauling the product with a dock so that when it's not on your back you can use it as your desktop PC.

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View from the back

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Tons of connectors

The dock has a reasonable number of connections, including HDMI, DisplayPort and three USB 3.1 Type-A in the back plus a couple in front, as well as a USB-C. When you add in the four Type-A, one Thunderbolt/USB-C, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort on the system itself, that's as much as many full-size desktops.

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Pluck it out

When you remove it from the dock, it switches automatically to internal battery power.

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Light show

You can change the color of the lighting in software.

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Slip into the Backpack harness

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Connect to the batteries

When you connect it to the two 73Wh batteries, it switches to that power source. 

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Pretty comfortable

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Stylish venting

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In action

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Battery

The system comes with two pairs of batteries, each pair rated to last about an hour.

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Battery dock

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Dongle me

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Pattern

The faux carbon fiber pattern is big this year, and HP uses it across all the Omens.

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In action

Dear VR headset manufacturers: please leave a hole for a ponytail.

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Omen laptops

With more vents, angles and badging, the 2017 models look like gaming systems.

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Updated lid look

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Improved keyboard

The keyboard layout is much better, with red (as opposed to red backlit) WASD keys and arrow keys set off from the rest of the keyboard.

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Light it up

Keyboard backlight controls are just OK: your choices are all red, only the WASD keys lit or off.

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WASD

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Red and faux carbon fiber accent

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Connections

The 15-inch model has a Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, Ethernet, USB 3.1 Type-A, USB-C/Thunderbolt and audio jacks on the left side.

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Omen 15 connectors

On the right there are two more USB 3.1 Type-A connectors and an SD card slot.

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At rest

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Omen 17

The 17-inch moves most of the connectors to the left side to make room for an optional optical drive on the right.

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Omen Accelerator

If you have a compatible HP system (with USB-C), you can plug it into the new external GPU unit and turn your underpowered system into a maxed-out gaming PC.

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Pack it in

The Accelerator can take up to a GeForce GTX 1070, 256GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive.

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Back

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Relative size

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Omen Desktop

Fierce!

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No resemblance

If you've seen its predecessor, you'll realize the 2017 model is a completely different beast.

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Look at me!

The essential clear panel.

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Back

There's nothing particularly notable about the back, but you can see it's almost all vented. There don't seem to be a lot of ports on the motherboard, though.

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Top connectors

Two USB-C ports is nice.

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Omen 25 and 27

The new TN displays don't stand out particularly, but they do support reasonably high refresh rates for midrange gaming displays. The HD 25-inch goes up to 144Hz and supports FreeSync, while the QHD 27-inch hits 165Hz and uses G-Sync.

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Pairing

For spanning, the bezels aren't that narrow.

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Back

Stylish!

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New keyboard

HP's new mechanical keyboard is manufactured by the company itself.  

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WASD

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New mouse

You can quickly switch sampling rate for the 12,000 dpi mouse.

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Mechanical buttons

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Updated headset

HP improved the headset design for improved comform and better low-end sound.

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Better fit

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Covered cords

All the corded accessories now have woven casings for better durability.

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