Wouldn't it be great if you could take something as sleek and sexy as the HP Spectre and play graphically taxing games like Mass Effect: Andromeda, Tekken 7 or Rise of the Tomb Raider? Starting in August, what was once the fever dream of on-the-go gamers everywhere will soon be a reality with the launch of the Omen by HP Accelerator.
Starting at $299, this external graphics amplifier can transform your stylish, but wimpy ultraportable into a lean, mean, gaming machine.
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Similar to other graphics amps on the market, the Omen Accelerator can house either an AMD or Nvidia desktop GPU. When connected to your Thunderbolt 3-laden ultraportable, the Accelerator will bypass the laptop's integrated (or dedicated) graphics card in favor of the desktop card. That will allow you to play games that were previously out of the purview of your system at a steady 60 frames per second, depending on the title.
HP says that the Omen Accelerator will work across a range of HP laptops, but since it's using a Thundebolt 3 port, I'm hoping the device can be used with any Thunderbolt 3-compatible laptop, regardless of brand.
The Omen Accelerator stands out from the competition, as it will be one of the few graphics amps on the market that can be configured with up to a 256GB SSD or a 1TB hard drive. You can use the additional drive to store your games on, keeping your laptop's drive free for your other important files.
The Accelerator has 4 USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, a Thunderbolt port and Gigabit Ethernet, which is on a par with the Razer Core. However, the Core costs $200 more than HP's device. Alienware's graphics amp starts at $199, but lacks Thunderbolt's plug-and-play convenience, opting for its own proprietary port and cable, restricting its compatibility to Alienware laptops.
Overall, the Omen by HP Accelerator looks like an intriguing way for gamers to have their cake and eat it, too. For an additional $299, plus whatever you'd pay for a GPU, you can transform that ultra-slim work laptop into a svelte gaming beast by simply plugging it in.
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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.