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HP Omen 15 (2021) review

The HP Omen 15 came to play, are you ready?

HP Omen 15 (2021)
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Laptop Mag)

Our Verdict

The HP Omen 15 is an attractive, fun gaming laptop with a gorgeous 4K display that invites you to play all day, every day as long as you have an outlet nearby

For

  • Gorgeous 4K panel
  • Good audio
  • Excellent video performance and rendering
  • Strong overall performance
  • Runs cool

Against

  • Terrible battery life
  • Heavy

Laptop Mag Verdict

The HP Omen 15 is an attractive, fun gaming laptop with a gorgeous 4K display that invites you to play all day, every day as long as you have an outlet nearby

Pros

  • + Gorgeous 4K panel
  • + Good audio
  • + Excellent video performance and rendering
  • + Strong overall performance
  • + Runs cool

Cons

  • - Terrible battery life
  • - Heavy

This lovely demon arrived upon my doorstep with a sultry 15-inch, 4K UHD panel that’s bright, crystal clear, and dancing with vivacious warm colors. On the inside its Omen heart is powered by a powerful Intel Core i7-10750H CPU and capable Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super with Max-Q 8GB VRAM. 

Once I popped open the lid, I swear I heard a little demonic alien growl as the mystery was solved; the Omen 15 is a mischievously fun gaming laptop, with solid specs and a few quirks you will have to adjust to. Oh, and remember to plug in. 

HP Omen 15 pricing and configurations

HP Omen 15 Specs

 

Price: $1,549.99

CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H 

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super with Max Q design 8GB

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD

Display: 15-inch, 4K 60Hz

Battery: 3:12

Size: 14.09 x 9.44 x 0.89 inches

Weight: 5.4 pounds  

Our review model costs $1,549.99 and comes with an Intel Core i7-10750H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super with Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM, with a 15-inch, 4K display.

The $849 base model comes with a 15-inch, FHD IPS display, Intel Core i5-10300H CPU, 8GB RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, and a 256GB SSD

HP Omen 15 design

The HP Omen 15 is an attractive, satin black stone slab with the smokey grey Omen lettering beneath the holographic Omen logo hinting at the possibilities within. It’s reminiscent of the Monolith from Arthur C Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.   The notebook has flat hinges with a solid all-metal chassis.  However, there is a very noticeable amount of bending on the backside that may worry some.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

 

When you open the lid, your eyes meet an RGB backlit keyboard that you can adjust via the Omen Light Studio software. The Chiclet-style keys feel like they rise up from the deck, sitting behind the touchpad. 

When your eyes come in contact with the super-bright 15.6-inch, 4K UHD panel, you will find it hard to turn away. The panel sits within a nearly bezel-less that makes for an immersive viewing experience.  

Measuring 14.1 x 9.4 x 0.9 inches and weighing 5.4 pounds, the HP Omen 15 is the heaviest laptop in our competitor group. The Asus ROG Strix Scar measures 14.2 x 10.8 x 1 inches and is the lightest rival, weighing in at 4.3 pounds followed by the Alienware m15 R3 (14.2 x 10.9 x 0.8 inches, 4.8 pounds). Rounding us out is the Asus ROG Strix G15 (14.2 x 10.8 x 1 inches, 5.3 pounds).

HP Omen 15 ports

The Omen 15 comes with a fair amount of ports to get you connected to all your favorite peripherals. On the right, you have a USB Type-C port, a Mini DisplayPort, and two USB Type-A ports.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

On the left side, we find an SD card reader, a 3.5mm audio port, an HDMI port, a USB Type-A port, an Ethernet port, and the power input.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

HP Omen 15 display

The HP Omen 15’s 15.6-inch, 4K (3840 x 2160) display is brilliantly bright, and colors are vivid and well saturated. What the Omen lacks in design, it makes up for with this 4K panel. When I first turned it on, the panel’s brightness had been turned down to 50% for our battery testing. I turned the brightness up to 100% and my eyeballs caught a tan. 

While playing Borderlands 3, beautifully rendered the game’s amazing color palette. When I used the explosive bullets to finish off my enemies, a red-orange trail began from my weapon to my target. And when the shot connected, the explosion was a full bouquet of oranges, reds, blacks, browns, and greyish-white smoke. It was so pretty I almost forgot to free Claptrap.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

When watching Avengers: Endgame, the fight between Iron Man and Thanos was super colorful as Thanos insanely roided-out muscles were reproduced in all their purple glory. Grimace’s angry uncle really put it to Iron Man as his red-and-gold armor, which started off shiny, started to crack, chip, and crumble. The Omen’s display captured and rendered every hot white, yellow and orange repulsor blast Tony tried against the Mad Titan. This is how this film is meant to be seen: bright, powerfully saturated, and crystal clear.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Omen scored 170% of the DCI-P3 color gamut during our testing, which is way above the 91.7% premium gaming average. The Alienware came in first place, scoring 149.7% followed by the two Asus ROGs. The Scar scored 78% and the G15 scored an awful 46%.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Omen 15 also led our group in brightness, handily surpassing the premium gaming laptop average of 345 nits with a score of 384 nits. Our second-place finisher was the Alienware m15 with 369 nits, followed by the Asus ROG Strix Scar’s 275 nits and the Asus ROG Strix G 15 in dead last with 251 nits.

HP Omen 15 audio 

The Omen 15 comes equipped with Bang & Olufsen speakers located above the keyboard. They pump out nice clear audio with some depth and thump. And, when combined with the Omen Audio control software, you get even better performance.  

The Omen Audio Control software gives the user some options to fine-tune the audio performance. The equalizer feature lets you choose from three preset modes (Music, Movie or Voice) or you can manually adjust the equalizers levels to suit your personal audio flavor. There is also the ability to control the level of noise cancellation when using either the built-in mic or one of our choices on the best USB microphone page you might have plugged into the laptop. 

After some fine-tuning of the EQ settings, I set forth listening to Eminem’s “Rap God.” When the bassline kicked in , the Omen’s speakers did a great job with reproduction. Eminem’s bionic-powered mouth bombarded my ears with bombastic series of lyrics that retained the fine clarity even though the bass was turned all the way up. I enjoyed how the Bang and Olufsen speaker setup separates the different audio elements, like the pounding piano keystrokes in the background of the track. 

I enjoyed a few minutes of Mozart’s “Requiem in D Minor.” The soft strings of the violin and oboe gave way to the heavier bass strings, powerfully entering as the operatic voices of the chorus begin with the altos and sopranos clearly coming through melodically. It was a thing of beauty. 

I closed out my day with a round of Borderlands 3 and reveled in the sounds of violence. The gunfire and explosions all possessed a nice realism, and the voices of the characters were clear and precise so I never had to strain to understand them. 

The Omen comes with a dual microphone array that performed well during Zoom and Google Meet calls. The Omen Audio Controls noise-canceling feature helped to mute the background noise of my keyboard.

HP Omen 15 keyboard and touchpad 

The black Chiclet-style keys on the HP Omen 15 are RGB-backlit and you can change the lighting scheme within the Omen Game Hub application. The keyboard is responsive with each key providing a soft bounce. However, I did find the keys a little small with the placement of the keys slightly left of center, which took a moment to adjust to. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

After realizing the keyboard was off-center I took the 10fastfingers typing test and tried my best to not fat-finger two keys at a time. I scored 67 words per minute with 78% accuracy, which is not my best, but it would have to do.  

The 4.6 x 2.7-inch touchpad is responsive and accurate when navigating websites or documents. It performed all the Windows 10 gestures, such as two-finger swipes and three-finger taps, nicely. The bottom corners give very firm and clicky feedback when using either right or left clicks.

HP Omen 15 graphics, gaming and VR 

The HP Omen 15 comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM. We tested the Omen’s gaming chops by playing Borderlands 3 in 1080p and our unit delivered 64 frames per second, which cruised past the 54 fps premium gaming laptop average. The Alienware m15 came in second with 56 fps followed by the Strix G15 at a very pedestrian 32 fps. 

The Omen did even better on the Grand Theft Auto V Benchmark with 85 fps, beating the 74-fps average. The Alienware m15 once again came in second with 79 fps followed by Strix Scar with 64 fps. Bringing up the rear was the Strix G15 at 44 fps. 

The Omen scored 94 FPS during our Far Cry New Dawn (1920 x 1080, Ultra) benchmark, surpassing the 84 fps average. In second place was the Alienware m 15 with 80 fps, followed by the Asus ROG Strix Scar with 73 and closing out our group scores with a disappointing 57 fps was the Asus ROG Strix G15. 

When we ran our Metro: Exodus (1920 x 1080, DirectX Ultra) benchmark our unit once again led it’s group with a score of 59 fps, falling just below the average score of 60 fps. The Asus ROG Strix Scar placed second with 40 fps, followed by our last place finisher the Asus ROG Strix G15 with 30 fps. 

For our finale using our Red Dead Redemption benchmark (1080p)  the Omen 15 scored 58 fps, which is above the 54 fps average but, only rewarded the unit with second place as the Alienware m15 R3 scored 59 fps beating our unit by a nose. Closing out our group was the Asus ROG Strix G15 which strolled in at 30 fps. 

On VRMark Cyan, the benchmark that tests virtual-reality prowess, the HP Omen 15 whupped everyone, scoring 7,378, surpassed the 5,384 category average. The Alienware m15 (7,511) placed second, with the Strix G15 (5,259) slowly dancing to the beat of it’s drummer in the back.

HP Omen 15 performance 

With an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD the Omen 15 can handle work just as easily as it does play. 

I threw some video-editing at it to see how the Omen would perform. I shot some 4K video and cracked open Adobe Premiere then edited about 2 minutes of video quite easily before rendering it in 4K. That went off without a glitch. There wasn’t any freezing or stuttering while moving around in Premiere and my workflow was flawlessly handled. Even when I tried editing with DaVinci Resolve, which is far more GPU heavy, the Omen 15 ran smoothly and quickly rendered the same 4K video.

I then popped open 50 tabs in Google Chrome, and even had a few playing YouTube videos with one running WandaVision on Disney Plus. The gaming rig ran smoothly and never got hot but the fans did kick in loudly after about 10 minutes. Fortunately, performance was not affected.

The Omen outscored its competition during our synthetic tests, starting with Geekbench 5.0, an overall performance benchmark. The Omen scored 6,416, pushing past the Alienware m15 (Intel Core i7-10750H), which scored 6.314, followed by the Asus ROB Strix G 15 (Intel Core i7-10750H) and its5,210. However, all of our competitors fell below the premiere gaming laptop average of 7,378 

During the Handbrake video editing test, the HP Omen 15 performed solidly within its group, taking only 9 minutes and 11 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p. The leader of our group was the Alienware m15 (8:38) followed by the ROG Strix G 15 (10:28) and sputtering to the finish was the Asus ROG Strix Scar III at (10:34). Again, all the systems failed to meet the premium gaming laptop average of (8:32). 

Now onward to our File Transfer test; the Omen delivered a transfer rate of 1,355.9 megabytes per second when duplicating 4.97GB of mixed-media files. It led our group and surpassed the premium gaming laptop average of 1,192.6. The Alienware followed with a score of 748 MBps (Dual 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD). The ROG Strix Scar (525 MBps, 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD) came in third, and way back in the abyss we find the Asus ROG Strix G15 (130MBps, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD).

HP Omen 15 battery life 

The HP Omen 15’s battery life is paltry at best, coming in at 3 hours and 12 minutes in our in-house battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits).It fell nearly 2 hours shy of the 4:44 premium gaming laptop average. The Asus ROG Strix G15 led our group, lasting 5 hours and 11 minutes with the Strix Scar III close behind at 5:09. Our group was rounded out by the Alienware m15 R3, which survived 4 hours and 55 minutes. 

Gaming laptops are power-hungry beasts, so it’s best to keep that in mind if you’re considering using it for double duty as a workstation.

HP Omen 15 heat

The Omen 15 has a rather cool profile in our heat tests, which consists of running a full-screen HD video for 15 minutes. The touchpad measured 75 degrees Fahrenheit while the space between the G and H keys measured 86 degrees. The bottom of the laptop reached 88 degrees, which is well below the 95-degree comfort threshold.

Those were the non-gaming scores. During gaming, the temps were slightly warmer but not by much. The touchpad measured 75 degrees and between the G and H keys measured 96 degrees. The underside , topped out at 101 degrees.

HP Omen 15 webcam

The Omen comes with your standard 720p webcam, which delivered sharp images, color-accurate video, and even skin tones when the lighting in the room is right. The autofocus was accurate and quick, finding my face and following it when I moved around the frame. I cannot stress the importance of good lighting to get the best performance out of the camera.

HP Omen 15 software and warranty 

The Omen 15 comes with HP’s suite of system management software, including HP PC Diagnostic, Power Manager, Privacy Manager, Support Assistant, Sure Sense, Work Well, and the previously mentioned Audio Control, all meant to enhance your experience. It also comes with my favorite HP software, Quickdrop, which allows you to quick send files back and forth between your computer and phone. 

Aside from those standard HP wares, there are a few Omen-specific ones like the Omen Light Studio, Omen Audio Control and Omen Gaming hub. In the latter, you can see a list of all your games, clips you have taken while gaming, and rewards you’ve earned. There’s also access to remote gaming and coaching if you sign up for an Omen Gaming Hub membership. 

Like every Windows 10 computer, you will find apps for Skype, Office 360, Microsoft Solitaire suite, and Xbox console. 

The HP Omen 15 comes with a 1-year warranty.. See how HP fared on our annual special reports: Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands.

Bottom line 

The HP Omen 15 is a well-built gaming laptop that reminded me of why I like gaming so much. The 15-inch, 4K panel is absolutely gorgeous; it’s bright, colorful, has nice black levels and the excellent contrast really pulled me in. Playing Borderlands 3 on the Omen was so much fun because of how the display rendered the rich color palette. 

The Omen either matched or surpassed its competition in our benchmarks with its Intel Core i7-10750H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max Q GPU. With its simple yet sexy styling, the Omen 15 is an attractive option you should take a serious look at, but keep in mind, it weighs over 5 pounds and the battery life is not the best.

Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.