HP Omen Gaming Laptops Get Makeovers, AMD Options

After a year of serving up bland-looking gaming laptops with so-so performance, it looks like HP is taking the hint and finally turning its Omen line into something that's truly ominous -- in a good way.

Starting June 28, both the 15- and 17-inch Omen gaming laptops (starting at $999 and $1,099, respectively) are getting a much-needed makeover with some powerful new specs.

The first thing you'll notice about the new Omens is its striking look. Instead of the understated faux carbon-fiber chassis, the new systems' designs are inspired by fighter jets and futuristic space fighters for a head-turning effect. The lids feature a pair of brushed metallic panels with two faux carbon fiber slats accentuated by four crimson metallic strips and the blood-red Voodoo logo in the center.

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Both notebooks can be configured with a 4K (3840 x 2160) display or a Nvidia G-Sync 1080p screen with 120-Hz refresh rate for laptops with a Nvidia GPU. The AMD faithful can get a 1080p panel with FreeSync.

DIYers looking to add even more oomph to their chosen system will be happy to learn that the hard drive, SSD and RAM can all be upgraded and accessed via a single hatch. Each laptop will also offer 360-audio, thanks to the DTS Headphone software preinstalled on the system. If you don't want to wear a headset, then you can rock out with the Bang & Olufsen-enhanced speakers.

In terms of specs, both the Omen 15 and 17 will feature 7th-gen Intel Core i7 processors. However, the Omen 15 can be configured with up to an AMD Radeon RX 550 GPU or an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, thanks to Nvidia's new Max Q design. The larger Omen 17 has room for either a GTX 1070 GPU or a Radeon RX 580. For its size, I was hoping for a GTX 1080 GPU option, especially when you can find slim systems like the Asus Zephyrus sporting one. But I guess beggars can't be choosers.

Outside of the lack of a 1080 GPU, I'm disappointed that HP isn't adding an RGB keyboard, choosing instead to retain the red backlighting. But other than those issues, I'm looking forward to see how both Omens hold up to our testing in the lab.

Sherri L. Smith
Editor in Chief

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.