With all the latest gaming laptops featuring fancy specs, HP has been surprising us with how fast it’s catching up on it all. The HP Omen 15 2018 is another upgraded attempt by the company that has brought forth a budget-friendly gaming laptop. Not only is the price a good catch but it caters to a kind of audience that indulges in gaming every once in a while.

HP Omen 15 – 2018 Review

This all-rounder laptop has impressed us for what it has to offer. With good customizing options, fairly good performance and easy on the pocket, the HP Omen 15 2018 is now on our recommendation list.

Pros

  • Economical
  • Customizability options
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Not very premium looking
  • Average display

Pricing & Availability

The HP Omen 15 2018 has been available in the market around the end of July. It is available on the official HP websites along with various configurations that one can choose from. The USA model goes by the name HP Omen 15-dc0051nr and the Australian variant goes by the name HP Omen 15-DC0101TX.

Pricing is fairly economical with the basic configuration (specs mentioned above) at $979 (£929 and AU$1,325) and the highest specs of Nvidia GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU and a 4K display costing up to $1,700 (£1,600 and AU$2,300). This still costs less than its rival Razer Blade 15 which comes with slightly higher specs but at the starting price of US $1,899 (£1,699, AU$2,899). Nevertheless, this makes it affordable for starters or those who prefer a dual combo of gaming and business laptops.

Specs

  • CPU – Intel® Core™ i5-8300H (2.3 GHz base frequency, up to 4 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 8 MB cache, 4 cores)
  • Screen – 15.6 inches
  • Display – FHD 144 Hz IPS anti-glare micro-edge WLED-backlit (1920 x 1080)
  • Graphics –NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 (2 GB GDDR5 dedicated)
  • RAM – 8 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM (1 x 8 GB)
  • Storage – 1 TB 7200 rpm SATA, 128 GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD
  • Weight – 2.38 kg
  • Size – 36 x 26.3 x 2.5 cm (W x D x H)
  • Camera – HP Wide Vision HD Camera with integrated dual array digital microphone

Design

HP stuck to the same old Omen 15 design with minimal changes. It features the same edgy black and red combination with plastic case sporting sharp cuts and lines. The faux carbon-fiber design is still quite appealing despite the repetition. Although the company has claimed that the newer model is slightly thinner than its predecessors but the difference is not as apparent as we would have liked. Another one of its rivals, the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin is much lighter, weighing a mere 1.88kg. Not that weight plays that important of a role when choosing a laptop but it still does affect the overall appeal. The Omen 15, however, is somewhat light, weighing just below five pounds. The weight may vary (increase) with the option of GTX 1060 or 1070.

Keyboard: The keyboard is decent and will satisfy most users. Not the hardcore gamers though. The travel distance and tactile feedback are pretty neat as well. High grade of performance accentuation wise cannot be really expected here. HP also offers customization options here as well. The consumer can choose between a 2-zone lighting to a 4-zone lighting setup. Unlike the premium laptops or the Omen X 17, it doesn’t let you program each key but HP still has the option of choosing from a vast 16.8-million color palette to customize your keyboard.

Touchpad: The touchpad is average. It did not impress us. It is just the right size for a 15-inch laptop. In fact, even the premium laptops often do not put a lot of work into the trackpads. It’s smooth to the touch and accuracy is good enough for normal use. But somehow it does not feel good enough for gaming. We’d recommend using a mouse instead.

Display

Lifting the lid, one of the first noteworthy features of the HP Omen 15 is the bezel around the 15.6-inch screen. HP Omen 15 2018 is much smaller than its predecessor and shorter at the top. It has not, however, made any attempts to compete with the level of bezel reducement that its rival, the MSI GS65 has featured. It has an impressive 82% screen to body ratio. The webcam placement on the top of the screen in Omen 15 is appealing. It makes a fairly flattering angle for the video calls or interactive gameplay. As for the display, HP Omen 15 2018 offers three display configurations with the basic being a 1920 x 1080 with a 60 Hz refresh rate.

With the Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, the display is fluid like and smooth. It can be upgraded to a 1080p display with 144 Hz rate or a 4K screen with 60 Hz refresh. The display is average at the basic configuration.  The black contrast seems to vary in different lights but overall is easy on the eyes. The display brightness is disappointing. At 254 nits, HP Omen 15 2018 display was dark indoors which makes the idea of use outdoors very questionable. In this case, the Xiaomi Mi gaming laptop’s display is relatively better.

Unfortunately, the let down of the display brightness of Omen 15 makes its rivals, the Razer Blade 15 and the MSI GS65 display quality stand out better. With increasing display modifications, we’d suggest upgrading the graphics card along as well. A 1050 GTX can only max out the 1080p and not be able to bring out about a 4K display one is paying for.

Performance

HP Omen 15 2018 is a powerful blend of good pricing and certain strong features like the 8th generation Intel Core and graphics options. The company has always been better known for producing business-centric laptops. HP Omen 15 2018 fulfills that part of the bargain pretty well too. Although it might not be a good choice for videographers or photographers, it still is a good option for students or normal everyday use.

As for gaming, even at the basic setup, the Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 allows games to run very smoothly in vivid details. It was able to run the majority of the AAA games without breaking a sweat but we did see it having a hard time with The Witcher 3. We recorded an average of 36.8 fps throughout our tests which were run under the Ultra settings. This is far less than Razer Blade 15 (55 fps) and MSI GS65 (55 fps) both set under Ultra settings.

Configurations

HP has given the consumer a free hand to decide for themselves when it comes to configuration. The HP Omen 15 2018 can be configured with up to:

  • 2 GHz Intel Core i7-8750H processor
  • 32GB of RAM
  • Dual PCIe NVMe SSDs with 1TB 7,200 rpm hard drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU with 6 GB of VRAM

The laptop’s innards can be accessed through the single access panel at the bottom in case one needs additional RAM or another HDD.

Battery Life & Heating

HP has gotten its cooling game straightened out in the Omen 15. With the chassis being a tad bit slimmer, the fans have been placed at the corners of the device. They are paired with dynamic bearings running on a 3-phase motor which initially meant that not only were they to run smoother but with less noise projection as well. The smooth part we witnessed but the fans were noisy. The maximum temperature recorded was 51 degrees when HP Omen 15 2018 was overloaded but the area beneath the keyboard was cool to the touch. This impressed us.

As for the battery life, HP claims a maximum battery life of 10 hours and 45 minutes under normal usage. We recorded a battery life of 8 hours during our tests. This beats MSI GS65 (battery life of 6 hours under normal usage) and Razer Blade 15 (battery life of average 2 hours). This is still quite impressive for a gaming notebook. Although we reckon heavy gaming or usage can reduce this time by an hour or two.

Our Take: HP Omen 15 2018

The HP Omen 15 2018 is ideal for gamers on a budget or people at beginner level. The combination of a Core i5-8300H, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and 8 GB of DDR4 RAM might seem slightly 15 minutes of fame kind of combination but the Omen 15 can run almost all games. Its smart looking and has plenty of connectivity options and ports.

The long battery life is appealing as well. Obviously, there are slight drawbacks because naturally for a price of $1,000 one can expect only so many things packed into one machine. However, if one does not mind the average color-space coverage or dull display and the absence of Thunderbolt 3, this laptop is recommended.

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