HP Omen 15 (2020) review: Performance above anything else
We used our review unit for gaming and of course daily work for a few weeks. HP has tried to cut corners with Omen 15 but there are enough factors that make this ₹1,20,000 device a worthy offering.
Product name: Omen 15
Key specs: 10th gen Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650ti, 15.6-inch Full HD display.
HP’s Omen line of gaming laptops has had its fair share of popularity and fan following. These may not as focussed on design and glittering RGBs like others, but instead, they aim to do something better every year. And that is delivering what gamers need the most - performance at an aggressive price tag. With the new Omen 15, HP has tried to do the same.
This gaming machine, which costs ₹1,20,000 (variant we received), aims to give you a feature-rich package that runs whatever you play on it, with ease, without any fancy show-offs in terms of design. Also, HP’s Omen series has also been playing well with the price for years, which makes it the go-to choice for some gamers by default.
So, we used our review unit for gaming and of course daily work for a few weeks. HP has tried to cut corners with Omen 15 but there are enough factors that make this ₹1,20,000 device a worthy offering.
Design and display
The material used here is mostly polycarbonate. So, in case you are expecting a premium, metal-finish in this one, you might be a bit disappointed. But that said, it is not the company’s top-of-the-line gaming laptop anyway. Hence, cutting corners is expected. From the keyboard area to the lid and the underside, all are polycarbonate.
It is not the lightest gaming laptop we have seen either as it weighs 2.3kgs. But we have no complaints here and there is some amount of durability. However, the biggest upgrade comes in the form of a new (boring) screen hinge. As compared to last year’s Omen 15, which had a screen hinge in the middle along with a unique cut on either side, the new one has a, well, regular looking hinge. Now, this might not be as attractive as before but it does make the screen a lot less wobbly.
Considering this is a gaming laptop, the keyboard area here seems a bit cramped mainly due to the full numeric pad. And then it has a bit more extra space on both sides. But we were able to get used to it pretty quickly. The arrow and WASD keys, which are the most important for a gamer, are well spaced. In general, the performance of the RGB backlit keyboard is really good. The travel time, keystrokes, less finger exercise for us since the keys were placed close to each other - all of them result in a certain level of confidence while typing or using them while gaming.
HP Omen 15 has you covered when it comes to ports and interface. You get SuperSpeed USB Type-C with DisplayPort 1.4, SuperSpeed USB Type-A, 2 x SuperSpeed USB Type-A 5Gbps signaling rate, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0a, RJ-45, headphone/microphone combo. There’s also an SD card reader on the left side. So, there’s nothing to worry about if you want to connect your laptop with external screens or to other devices.
There’s a 15.6-inch screen that has thin bezels on the three sides and a massive one at the bottom. The colours are great to look at be it games, YouTube videos, Netflix or anything else. The colour shift when watching from different angles are hardly noticeable. The unit has an FHD resolution IPS panel with anti-glare coating and up to 300nits brightness and 72% NTSC colour coverage. What’s most important here is the 144Hz refresh rate. So, in case the title you are playing supports it, this will leave you with no complaints at all.
Also, the screen itself can go until 180-degrees, which is nice and is of some help when you’re playing or working on a different surface. There are other variants as well with less NTSC colour coverage but we would recommend you to stick with this one as you’re getting the best display here along with 144Hz.
On top of the screen, there is a webcam as well but unlike others, this doesn’t come with a physical slider to block it. This is a minor compromise though.
The unit we reviewed was the top of the line Intel 10th-gen Core i7 (10750H) processor model along with 16GB RAM. Handling the graphics is Intel UHD GPU along with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Ti GPU with 4 GB GDDR6 dedicated memory. Now, this is a mid-range mobile GPU and doesn’t support ray tracing. But for a gaming laptop that is meant to bring gamers onboard, it performs just fine.
On our daily usage, which typically means a couple of Google Chrome browsers, each having 15-20 tabs open, installing apps in the background, gaming, streaming videos and more, there’s absolutely no hiccup that we came across. Our usual Assassin’s Creed Odyssey did get the fans revving at full speed (you can hear them quite well) and yes there were frame drops but nothing that should be a major concern for the crowd it is aimed at.
HP has done a good job with thermals in Omen 15. There have been laptops that have given us over 45-degree of heat when running benchmarks or stress testing. However, Omen gave us a maximum of 42-degrees. It’s not the best but it sure is better than a few others. You may feel the heat trickling down to the keyboard area but that’s not uncomfortable per se. On regular use, you won’t even feel it.
Talking about the benchmark numbers, the Omen 15 scored 1209 for single-core and 6232 for multi-core performance on Geekbench, 2851 points on Cinebench, 5236 average score on PC Mark and 5236 on 3D Mark. These are, in fact, low, but for a gaming laptop that falls in the ‘entry-level’ segment in the world of gaming PCs, these are still decent.
One of the impressive factors of Omen 15 is the audio. It has Harman Kardon-tuned speakers that are loud and are able to give that immersive feel while streaming videos or playing games. And the battery performance, as is the case with almost all gaming laptops these days, was not that great. Yes, HP could’ve tried pushing it a bit more but looks like HP fans may have to settle for this. In our tests, the laptop did run for almost 2 hours (on mixed usage with no set brightness level) but that is what one can expect from a 52Whr battery capacity. We do have a couple of gaming laptops with better batteries in this range from Asus, in case the battery is one of your priorities.
If you are buying your first gaming laptop, by no means is the HP OMEN 15 (2020) a bad choice. For an entry-level gamer, this might be one of the most reliable brands out there. And the Omen 15 gets you a decent package including a large screen with 144Hz refresh rate, powerful processor and GPU along with all the useful ports. Even the thermals are handled well.
However, if you want to nit-pick here, you may find the battery is not powerful enough, the laptop is bulkier than others in this segment and the screen is a bit wobbly. However, at ₹1,20,000 with whatever is coming in the package, you can expect HP to cut some corners and make some sacrifices.
As for the rivals (or alternatives as you may want to call it), you get a couple of laptops in the form of Asus ROG Strix G15 and Dell G3 Inspiron that come with the same processor and almost the same GPUs but have slightly better battery performance, portability factor and the overall design.