Gaming LaptopsPower Laptops

HP Omen 15-dc0045nr Review

8.3 Total Score
OUR VERDICT

The HP Omen 15-dc0045nr makes good on its thin form with lots of gaming grunt and premium look than you can find in a 15-inch laptop. To that, it adds an excellent feature set, a refreshed look and very reasonable price, although its battery life would be better.

PROS
  • Strong HD gaming performance
  • Nvidia G-Sync and 144Hz display
  • Graphics capabilities in line with rivals
CONS
  • Ho-hum touchpad
  • Mediocre battery, as with all gaming laptops
The HP Omen 15-dc0045nr is a mid-range gaming laptop that packs a solid feature set; an eye-catching chassis; and, an easy to remove panel incase you need to upgrade the storage, RAM or graphics card. To the package, add in a bright, vibrant 1080p and a pair of nice, loud speakers, and you have a gaming notebook for play and daily productivity. Inside, its components are wild as the look suggests. You’ll get a Intel Core i7 processor, along with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics.

While at it, you’ll have to do with short battery life, something common with gaming notebooks. And, it’s not the cheapest among mid-range models, but the Omen 15 (2018) does strike a commendable balance between form and function for the money.

Design

Sometimes, gaming laptop designers can throw in more lights and décor than a Christmas trees, while other devices can remain tame, lack so much flair, making it difficult to distinguish them from budget office-student laptops. The HP Omen 15, meanwhile, sits at the middle of the road with a subtle aesthetic.

All components are sandwiched in a black chassis with a metal lid that helps the system look both edgy and premium, alongside a red logo and emblem that afford the Omen 15 just enough flair to look attractive without overdoing it.

Like most gaming laptops released in 2018, the HP Omen 15 features an ultra-slim bezel, a feat that puts it in the same ballpark as the attractive Razer Blade 15. On the rear flank, there are beefy fan exhausts that reduce the risk of the laptop overheating during play, though, they add chunk to the overall aesthetic.

Measuring 1.02-inches thick and weighing 5 pounds, the HP 15-dc0045nr hardly light, but fairly portable than most gaming behemoths we’ve reviewed before that cost the same price. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S remains the thinnest and most portable gaming laptop, measuring 0.6-inches thick and weighs 4.63 pounds, but both bear the same Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 521GB SSD storage and GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card.

HP Omen 15-dc0045nrDisplay

One of the common features that get sacrificed in a bid to hit low prices for gaming laptops is the display. Previously, we’ve seen that approach in both the Dell G3 and Dell G5, with a mindset tat you’ll be hooking up the laptop to an external monitor anyway. The HP Omen 15’s screen has a maximum brightness of 300 nits and a contrast ratio of 965:1, with a White Visual Color Temperature that is a little cooler than natural daylight, but not easily visible.

On the Omen 15, HP manages to maintain an affordable price without bugging down the display. The 15-inch Full HD display looks bright, with popping colors and vibrant visuals.  Its visuals don’t seem to get much of a hit even when viewed from an angle, meaning you can watch a movie on the laptop while from any angle in the room.

The HP Omen 15 boasts a 144Hz refresh rate, something you never get at this price range. With this feature, you’re assured of fluid game play and smoother on-screen performance, which is very useful for first-person shooters. To that, add a 90.8% sRGB color gamut coverage score, and you have a 15-inch laptop that digital designers, artists and gamers will find appealing.

Games look great, and that’s mainly why you’re buying this laptop. The laptop supports Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, adding to the more reasons to purchase this laptop, and is really rare to find a laptop with all these features at this price.

HP Omen 15-dc0045nrKeyboard and Touchpad

The Omen 15 has an excellent keyboard, with smooth keys that offer a satisfying click when pressed. In designing the Omen 15’s keyboard, HP ensured that the individual keys are silent enough to afford your colleagues silence at a work station, but with enough feedback and travel for you to immediately know that a key has been pressed.

Additionally, it gets anti-ghosting technology that allows for simultaneous key presses, so you don’t have to worry one of your taps being missed during a furious shootout. To make gaming even more intense, the highlighted WASD keys should do the trick for you. And, you have the option to activate the Chroma lighting.

There is an Omen Command Center key on the top-right that opens a menu that you can use to adjust the performance levels of the keyboard’s lighting. It lets you toggle the backlighting, with the colors glowing across the transparent lettering on the keyboard. While you won’t be able to change the colors for individual colors, its still possible to switch the colors for the keyboard’s different zones: the left, and right, as well as the WASD keys. By default, the colors are orange, yellow, purple and blue combo.

Beneath the keyboard is a trackpad with left and right-click buttons, that is user friendly, though feels overly springy. It isn’t the best touchpad around, as it gets finicky sometimes and can get into your nerves when on an urgent task. However, as with any gaming laptop, you’re most probably going to grab a separate mechanical mouse and keyboard in order to play most games.

HP Omen 15-dc0045nrPorts

The HP Omen 15 has plenty of I/O inputs to offer too. There are three USB 3.1 ports for all your gaming peripherals, separate microphone and headphone ports just in case you need a quality mic instead of a headset, a USB-C port for power-ups and an Ethernet socket for wired connections. Also, there is an HDMI and DisplayPort for switching to an external monitor.

The ports are well laid, most of them at the back of the system so you don’t have cables messing up your space. Wireless connectivity comes in way of 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2.

HP Omen 15-dc0045nrPerformance

The HP Omen 15-dc0045nr is equipped with a Coffee Lake Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, Nvidia GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU and 32GB RAM, which is the same specification you find on the Razer Blade, MSI GS65 Stealth Thin and many other thin-and-light gaming laptops. That’s top-notch hardware for any system, and it’s even more impressive when you remember this one’s size. On general productivity and multimedia projects, the Omen 15 will definitely score well, and the diminutive size makes it a carry-along laptop for even work or college.

As configured, it’s clearly one of the fastest laptops outside of workstations for multitasking, crunching data, encoding videos and other tasks. Unfortunately, in the spirit of making the Zephyrus S thinned than its rivals, it can no longer support the high-end Nvidia GTX 1080 Max-Q graphics card as a configurable option. This leaves us with the Acer Predator Triton 700 and Alienware 15 as our only option that support Nvidia’s most powerful and thinnest mobile GPU.

Graphics Performance

It shouldn’t surprise you that the newest HP Omen is a beast when it comes to both computing prowess and graphics performance. To be honest, we expect that much for a machine that costs this much, the same way we expect for rivals like the Zephyrus S, Razer Blade 15 and MSI GS65 Stealth Thin, all with the same CPU and GPU options. The Omen 15 will definitely maintain parity in performance, and even outpace some buy a few frames per second (fps) on modern titles like Total War: Warhammer II (65fps) and ME: Shadow of War (76fps), both at 1080p-Ultra settings.

However, for all of HP’s impressive efforts to better cool its flagship thinner and lighter laptop, we are yet to see an ultraportable that doesn’t get hot at high RPMs. This time round, Asus developed a new class of low-profile blades and fans cut from special liquid-crystal polymer that don’t flex at high RPMs in its latest flagship ROG Zephyrus S.

The company claims that each blade measures 0.22mm at the thickest point and they increased the number from 71 to 83. Maybe they are succeeding in cooling the system better, but it remains to be seen how quiet the fans can get at their maximum setting in such a small laptop, as other PC makers pick the same concept.

Battery Life

The HP Omen 15 uses a 4-cell 70WHr battery, and the prospects here are damn alarming. This is the same battery we saw on the original HP Omen, and it only managed to crack a maximum of two hours at its best on non-stop gaming, and around 4 hours on productivity. It is a black mark for such an awesome system, and we expected it to get better.

Frankly, gaming laptops are notorious for short life off the charger, but the trend has been reversing, affecting both ultraportables and power-hungry behemoths. Thus, gaming off the switch is possible but it doesn’t seem to be an option in the Omen 15 and its ilk. A big shame that contradicts its portability.

The Bottom Line

All the major laptop makers are doing refined midrange gaming now, so the HP Omen 15 has some tough competition. For $1,549.99 at Amazon , this machine will set you back a little less than the Asus ROG Zephyrus S, with the HP Omen 15-dc0045nr you’re getting double the RAM, along with the Max-Q variant of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB), making it thinner and lighter as well. Better yet, despite using the Max-Q GPU, the Omen 15 performs on par with some laptops toting the full-force GTX 1080 GPU.

That said, if what you’re after is running the lasts AAA blockbusters at 1080p and 60fps, with the graphics settings cranked to the very top, you should notch up to the GeForce GTX 1070-based HP Omen 15. But, if battery life is key, you can do better with a different notebook. Nonetheless, if you’ll be mostly on-plug and looks grab you, this is a solid budget gaming options that has some eye candy for the bucks.

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