HP is having a good year when it comes to laptops. Their latest launches this year, such as the HP Pavilion Plus and the HP Spectre x360 2022 edition have received positive feedback. Even the first HP Omen laptop of the year, the HP Omen 16 AMD edition, received a handsome review from us (which you should check if you are not a fan of Intel). However, a positive lineup so far also means that the expectations are high and the pressure is on for the HP Omen 16 Intel edition to deliver.
Since it’s a gaming laptop, first looks can often be deceiving and that is definitely the case with the HP Omen 16. The out-of-the-box appearance is quite generic, which while consistent with all the Omen laptops in the past, does not inspire confidence. It lacked the flair of ASUS ROG, MSI or Acer Nitro laptops. But nonetheless, I was cautiously optimistic.
It is when you take a look at the specifications that you truly get intrigued with this gaming machine. It is not a top-end gaming laptop. But for a mid-range option, it has some impressive features. It comes with the 12th gen Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, a 1920x1080 display with 144Hz refresh rate and a big 83 Whr battery. And all of that at the price of Rs. 149,999. It’s a good deal, at least on paper.
As we always say, the real life experience is what matters the most. And with that, I dove into the Omen 16 and this is what I found out after using it for about two weeks. Let’s get down to the brass tacks.
The laptop has a minimalist design on top. It has a soft plastic build with a reflective gradient Omen logo in the center. The laptop is only available in a single matte black color and it lacks any design, engraving or fancy LED lights on top. While I was not a big fan of it, the minimalist design has its own distinct appeal.
Opening the lid showcases a spacious deck complete with a full-scale keyboard which lights up in RGB color palette. It was a definite welcome inclusion as many other laptops in this price range do not offer the same. The display is supported with two hinges which almost hold it mid-air. While it makes for a good look, the display tends to wobble a little, which can be mildly annoying. The sides have thin bezels but the chin is pretty prominent, but it does not really impact the experience due to the large display size.
Coming to ports, there isn’t a dearth of it. Being a gaming laptop, it offers more ports than you will possibly need. It has three USB Type-A ports, one Thunderbolt USB Type-C port, one MiniDisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.1 port, an RJ-45 LAN port, an SD Memory card reader and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Interestingly, Legion 5i, which is priced in the same range, does not come with an SD card slot, which can be an important requirement for those using it for creative work.
Gaining about 0.5 inches from its predecessor, the HP Omen 16 is now 16.1-inch large and comes with a 1920x1080 resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate. It is an IPS display but with 300 nits of brightness, it feels very vibrant and the colors appear dynamic. Whether gaming or just watching videos, you will definitely appreciate the finer details. The viewing angles are pretty good due to the anti-glare effect and even the wider angles offer a crisp viewing experience.
Now, this was the part that had me most intrigued. The HP Omen 16 features Intel Core i7-12700H processor, which is a decent fit for a mid-range gaming laptop. I largely spent my time playing Spider-Man Remastered, Saints Row 2022 and Valorant and performance never felt an issue. And a part of the reason is the GPU that it comes with. The laptop sports NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM and it is a pretty smooth sailing experience.
However, do know the limits of the graphics card and the processor. They are not high-end specs and if you decide to play Crysis Remastered or Cyberpunk 2077, you will have to run them at low-to-medium settings, especially if you do not want any frame drops. I was able to play Spider-Man at medium graphics but playing it on the highest settings at 1080p did throttle the frame rates a bit and the game felt sluggish. Similarly, playing Valorant at 1920x1080 did make it difficult to get consistent 60 FPS. But again, unless the shadows of the leaves and houses matter a lot to you, medium settings will not affect your overall experience significantly.
For everyday usage, HP Omen 16 was a delight to use. It came with Windows 11 out-of-the-box and everything from productivity tasks to general usage is a smooth affair. Since my work involves a lot of typing, I have to hand it to the keyboard. The keys are spacious and big, the travel is substantial and the feedback makes working a lot of fun.
One minor issue I faced was that the arrow keys felt tiny and jammed together compared to all other keys. This was annoying even during gaming especially since I prefer arrows to WASD. Even after two full weeks, I could not get used to them.
The trackpad was large, supported multi-touch and had a palm rejection feature which meant there was no chance for an accidental touch in case I rested my hand on the trackpad.
Finally, the Bang & Olufsen speakers on the HP Omen 16 were decent. The audio quality was not out of the world but it did its job. I would still recommend investing in a nice pair of headphones while gaming because the sound is not very loud. It works fine for casual video watching on YouTube or social media.
It might be a little strange to say the best part of a gaming laptop is its battery performance, but for HP Omen 16, it does stand true. The laptop is backed by a 83 Wh Li-ion battery and it lasts quite a while. During my regular office work, which included opening multiple tabs on Google Chrome, watching videos on YouTube (very infrequently) and switching between multiple apps, the battery life lasted between 7.5 hours to 9 hours. This may differ based on your usage.
While continuous gaming, I could get upto 3-4 hours of playtime on the device, which is above average. The laptop comes with a 230W AC Adapter which takes it from 0-100 in a little over 2.5 hours.
When it comes to performance and battery life, it is difficult to pinpoint a flaw in the device. The HP Omen 16 is a no-nonsense gaming unit and it does not pretend to be anything else. Yes, I did have a few minor issues with its design, the arrow key location, the little gap between the lid and deck in the middle and the lack of probably a higher quality display (2K would be really nice), but it is important to recognize that it is not a general purpose laptop but a gaming device.
And HP has placed all the right components to make it a very efficient gaming machine. If you are someone who enjoys gaming but is not super competitive and is not bothered with the looks of the laptop, then this one will give you a lot to be happy about. The laptop does cost more than Rs. 1 lakh but that is because Intel machines are more expensive due to higher performance efficiency and superior driver support. So, if you can afford it and value performance, go for it.
However, if you do value the appearance and flashiness of your device, you do have a few options. The Acer Nitro 5, ROG Strix G17 and MSI Gaming Katana GF66 are a few options to play around with.
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