Look out Razer, HP is nipping at your heels with its newest notebook PC. Dubbed Omen, the gaming PC is set to give the Razer Blade a run for its money.
Just take a look under the hood. The HP Omen carries an Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M and Intel Core i7 quad-core processor for high performance. Designed with the reality that most games are developed to run in HD, Omen delivers a 15.6-inch diagonal 1080p touch-enabled display that’s optimized for smooth frame rates with a 72 percent color gamut.
All that is set against the backdrop of a standard 128GB solid-state drive (SSD) that lets games load two to three times faster than traditional hard drives. Gamers can also opt for 256 GB or 512 GB PCIe SSD drives that offer load times six to nine times faster than traditional hard drives. Memory options are 8GB or 16GB DDR3 and graphic memory options are 2GB or 4GB GDDR5. Pricing for the HP Omen starts at $1,500. The Razer Blade has a 14-inch, 3200x1800 screen and similar overall specs at a cost of $2,199.
Ground Up for Gamers
The HP Omen was built from the ground up with gaming in mind. That includes managing heat, which is the enemy of gaming PC performance. The machine totes two fans that pull cool air through the bottom of the system and push hot air through exhaust fans at the rear. That keeps hot air away from the keyboard where it can flow to gamers' hands. At the same time, the machine sports rubber feet on the bottom that are engineered to channel cold air into the dual fan inlets and keep hot air from recirculating back into the notebook.
The HP Omen is lightweight (4.68 pounds) and thin (19.9mm), making it portable enough to take to gaming marathons. A custom chrome hinge works to raise the display above the hot exhaust air. All the ports are on the back of the PC, making more room for the mouse and accessories. And this machine is not lacking in ports, offering power, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, and 4 USB 3.0 jacks, as well as an Ethernet dongle.
HP is getting creative with Omen. You can set the keyboard up at your feet, your magic wand or your weapon. HP has tuned the force profile of the keys for precision and optimized key spacing for accuracy. The keyboard has six programmable function keys that gamers can customize for specific games so they can find them quickly. The keyboard is also backlit with seven multicolor lighting zones. The machine itself features Beats Audio speakers with multicolor lighting that can be set to respond to the audio of games, movies or music.
We caught up with Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, to get his take on HP’s latest gaming PC. He told us it’s a high-end gaming system at a reasonably high starting price. Of course, Razer, Dell and Lenovo all play in this domain and Kay is not convinced that HP will lead the market.
“It looks like HP is coming in with a decent gaming platform with the latest components,” Kay said. “Beyond that, it reminds me that they sacrificed their gaming brand, Voodoo, because of the various politics of how they bought that company and deep sixed it.” HP acquired VoodooPC in 2006 but the brand vanished from the company portfolio by 2013.
The Omen offers accessories for the most hard-core of gamers. The Gaming Mouse X9000, for example, promises more precision, custom control and comfort. The HP Omen Gaming Backpack lets you carry the machine wherever you go and offers special compartments for your notebook, tablet, mouse, and keyboard, and a hook for a gaming headset.
The price starts at $1,500. For an extra $100, gamers can replace the 128GB SSD with the 256GB PCIe drive and for an extra $200 gamers can upgrade to the 256GB PCIe SSD, and further upgrade to 4GB GDDR5 graphics memory. The Gaming Mouse runs $59.99. The Gaming Backpack costs $79.00. The product is available now.