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HP Omen (15-inch, 2017) review: HP's Omen is a devil of a deal if you’re looking for 4K gaming

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High-powered with a power plug

Packing a GeForce 1060 into a 15-inch laptop is impressive, but it's a trick that's been pulled off a few times now. If you're after the more robust 1070 GPU, you'll have to go for the 17-inch unit (17-inch Omens with a 1070 start at $1,589 -- AU $3,000, £1,800 -- though, for the US model, that's with only 8GB RAM and no SSD).

With the Max-Q design, it's something of a disappointment that there's no option for a 1070, although 15-inch laptops armed with top-of-the-line GPUs tend to cost an exorbitant sum (see Razer Blade Pro and ROG Zephyrus, which both run 1080s). But still, a GeForce 1060 was more than enough firepower for me -- even if the machine lagged behind the competition on some benchmark tests.

My game of choice right now is Overwatch, which I was able to play at highest possible settings at 100 frames per second, and in full 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. That's a game that you can play without even having a discrete graphics card, but the Omen fared just as well with the more graphically intense Just Cause 3, handling it with no problem with all the settings as high as they can go. How much of an improvement 4K screens (3,840x2,160) are over FHD (1,920x1,080) or QHD (2,560x1,440) displays is a point of contention, but in absolute terms, these games looked gorgeous on the Omen. 

But you'll pay for that beauty in battery life. The laptop lasted exactly 180 minutes in our streaming video test, which is less than half of what you'll get out of an Acer Aspire VX 15 or a Dell Inspiron 15 7000. That can mostly be chalked up to to the 4K resolution. In practical terms, I watched Netflix for one hour on full brightness and volume and the battery went from 100 to 29 percent.

Gaming laptops are known for their substandard battery life, but even in that category the Omen 15 is far below average. Since you're not going to do a lot of 4K gaming with just the Nvidia 1060 card, a standard FHD screen is usually better middle ground for gaming laptops, and will offer better battery life. Unfortunately, the 1060-equipped Omen isn't available with anything other than a 4K screen.

There are some silver linings, though. The screen is a battery killer, but it's an IPS display, meaning the viewing angles are better than normal LCDs. And unlike many of its competitors, the Omen is a quiet beast; it's not silent, but I never heard the fans pumping over the sound of games I was playing. Plus, it won't burn a hole through your lap when you game.

If you've got a big budget for gaming, there are more robust contenders out there. The Alienware 15 R3 can be configured with a GeForce 1070 for around $2,000 ($AU3,500, £1,750) while the $1,900 Razer Blade (AU$2,800, £1,800) has similar specs to the Omen 15 but in a thinner frame. But the Omen offers a solid sub-$2,000 deal, a deal that becomes much sweeter if you're after a 4K screen, since your alternatives, like the 17-inch, $3,700 (AU$5,900, £3,800) Razer Blade Pro, are much more expensive. 

Just don't expect to be away from a power socket for too long. 

Multimedia multitasking 3.0

HP Omen (15-inch)
136
HP Omen (17-inch)
184
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
200
Lenovo Legion Y720
204
Acer Predator Helios 300
217

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance (in seconds)

Geekbench 3 (Multi-core)

Lenovo Legion Y720
14,441
Acer Predator Helios 300
14,256
HP Omen (15-inch)
14,221
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
13,708
HP Omen (17-inch)
13,362

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

HP Omen (17-inch)
3,816
Acer Predator Helios 300
2,804
Lenovo Legion Y720
2,523
HP Omen (15-inch)
2,323
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
1,822

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test (streaming minutes)

Lenovo Legion Y720
358
Acer Predator Helios 300
312
HP Omen (17-inch)
270
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
262
HP Omen (15-inch)
180

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Bioshock Infinite (fps)

HP Omen (17-inch)
137.56
Acer Predator Helios 300
134.04
Lenovo Legion Y720
127.74
HP Omen (15-inch)
122.59
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
89.35

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (fps)

HP Omen (17-inch)
75.8
Acer Predator Helios 300
59.6
Lenovo Legion Y720
53.7
HP Omen (15-inch)
50.7
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74
36.1

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

System configurations

HP Omen (15-inch) Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with Max-Q Design; 256GB SSD + 2TB HDD
Acer Predator Helios 300 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060; 512GB SSD
Lenovo Legion Y720 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060; 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
HP Omen (17-inch) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

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