HP Omen 15 – A sign of the times (And the future)

I’m starting to that laptop makers are getting a kick out of sending me gaming laptops to review because they all know that I’m not a gamer. You’re probably thinking that it’s kinda weird to send a non-gamer gaming product to review, and a few months ago I probably would’ve agreed with you but now I’m starting to think that they’re all on to something.

Gaming laptops used to be these in-your-face, more lights than Times Square, devices that at times were so out there in terms of design that it almost felt like someone was holding a bullhorn to your face and telling you that they’re a gaming-specific device. Even vegans and cross-fitters weren’t that vocal about their predilections.

These days though, gaming laptops are more refined machines that offer a chameleon-like ability to fit in no matter where you are and the HP Omen 15 is the perfect example of this.

Design

I’m a fan of understated, refined design and this is something that HP excels at with their business devices, and now with their gaming laptops as well.

Don’t get me wrong, the Omen 15 hasn’t lost its gaming credence, instead, it’s taken that core DNA and helped it grow up a little bit.

The outside shell of the Omen 15 is a simple affair with nothing but the Omen logo adorning the back of the device, and no it doesn’t light up.

Opening the device brings you minimal bezels on three sides of the display – the bottom portion of the display sits above a sizable bezel that holds some Omen branding – a stylish geometric speaker grille, keyboard (with no separate num pad but it does have RGB lighting), a sizeable and very comfortable palm rest which boasts Bang & Olufsen branding, a decently-sized trackpad that I wish was just a tiny bit larger, the usual chipset manufacturer stickers and a stylised O15 (Omen 15) logo.

Around the sides you’ll find 1 SuperSpeed USB-C port, 3 SuperSpeed USB-A ports, 1 MiniDisplay Port, 1 HDMI 2.0a port, 1 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack and 1 SD card reader.

That’s it. Super simple, clean design which is necessary because the device does come across as a bit chunkier than what I’m used to as a non-gamer.

Specs

Operating systemWindows 10 Home
ProcessorAMD Ryzen™ 7 4800H (2.9 GHz base clock, up to 4.2 GHz max boost clock, 8 MB L3 cache, 8 cores) Processor family: AMD Ryzen™ 7 processor
ChipsetAMD Integrated SoC
Memory16 GB DDR4-3200 SDRAM (2 x 8 GB)
Storage512 GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD
GraphicsDiscrete: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 Ti (4 GB GDDR6 dedicated)
AudioAudio by Bang & Olufsen; DTS:X® Ultra; OMEN Audio Control Support DTS:X® Ultra; Dual speakers; HP Audio Boost 2.0
Display39.6 cm (15.6″) diagonal, FHD (1920 x 1080), 144 Hz, 7 ms response time, IPS, micro-edge, anti-glare, 300 nits, 72% NTSC
Screen-to-body ratio80.95%
Power150 W Smart AC power adapter
Battery type3-cell, 52.5 Wh Li-ion polymer; 270 g
Battery and PowerUp to 7 hours and 30 minutes Supports battery fast charge: approximately 50% in 45 minutes
Maximum battery life video playbackUp to 7 hours and 45 minutes
Wireless connectivityNetwork Interface
Integrated 10/100/1000 GbE LAN
Wireless Connectivity
Intel® Wi-Fi 6 AX200 (2×2) and Bluetooth® 5 combo (Supporting Gigabit file transfer speeds)
Ports1 SuperSpeed USB Type-C® 5Gbps signaling rate (DisplayPort™ 1.4, HP Sleep and Charge)1 SuperSpeed USB Type-A 5Gbps signaling rate (HP Sleep and Charge)2 SuperSpeed USB Type-A 5Gbps signaling rate1 Mini DisplayPort™1 HDMI 2.0a1 RJ-451 AC smart pin1 headphone/microphone combo1 multi-format SD media card reader
WebcamHP Wide Vision 720p HD camera with integrated dual array digital microphones
ColourMica silver cover and base, mica silver aluminum keyboard frame Matte cover and base, anodized keyboard frame
SoftwareHP Apps
OMEN Command Center; HP 3D DriveGuard; HP Audio Switch; HP JumpStart; HP Support Assistant
Software
Netflix; ExpressVPN (30 day free trial); LastPass Premium (30 day free trial); 1 month trial for new Microsoft 365 customers
Service & support
McAfee LiveSafe™
Weight2.38 kg; Packed: 3.65 kg Weight Note: Weight varies by configuration
Dimensions35.79 x 23.97 x 2.25 cm; Packed: 6.9 x 52 x 30.5 cm Dimension Note: Dimensions vary by configuration
Warranty1 year limited parts, labour, and carry-in service; You can expand the warranty coverage of your product to reach up to 3 years in total; for more information, check with your HP reseller.
KeyboardFull-size, 4-zone RGB backlit, mica silver keyboard and 26-Key Rollover Anti-Ghosting Key technology HP Imagepad with multi-touch gesture support; Precision Touchpad Support
Security managementFingerprint reader not available
SensorsIR Thermal sensor

Usability

Now that you know the specs, you know what to expect and this device delivers!

To be fair, I’ve been using it mainly as a normal work laptop, but my workflow includes writing, editing both video and audio, and like everyone else these days way too many Zoom/Teams/Meets calls.

Because this is a gaming device, it has processing power in spades, and never once did this machine slow down or stutter, in fact, it’s been my go-to Windows machine since it arrived.

Audio is crisp and rich thanks to the Bang & Olufsen tuned speakers, the keyboard has great travel and the perfect balance between springiness and pushback and the display is so bright that I’ve never needed to turn it up to max brightness.

Battery life has been fairly average with the laptop getting me through a full day without needing to plug it in unless of course, I’ve been doing graphically intensive work.

I do wish that HP had opted to include a fingerprint scanner on this machine as it’s my preferred way of unlocking a laptop and if I have to take the laptop on the go with me, Windows Hello facial recognition isn’t going to be able to see through my mask and unlock the device, so a fingerprint scanner would’ve been ideal.

The beauty of this laptop is that not only is it my go-to for work, it’s also my go-to for the occasional spot of gaming. This is where the NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics and the 144Hz display make my eyes go wide.

If there’s a letdown when it comes to gaming on this device, it’s most likely going to be my internet speed or my complete noobishness when it comes to pretty much any game.

Verdict

HP’s Omen 15 is an impressive piece of work that belies its demure looks but also speaks to the future of gaming laptops. No longer do you need to buy one laptop for work and another for gaming, this truly is the do-it-all laptop and it’s making a very compelling argument for me to get into gaming.

Available at the HP online store for R23 999.00

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