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HP Omen 15 review: Fast, and with a ton of memory

By Koh Wanzi - 12 Dec 2018
Launch SRP: S$3599

Conclusion

Not all Max-Q notebooks are created equal

HP Omen 15

Put simply, the HP Omen 15 is a great notebook. There's honestly little to dislike about it. It serves up strong performance and is also equipped with excellent speakers and a decent 144Hz G-Sync panel, which means you should be one happy camper when gaming on the notebook. Better still, it runs pretty cool, so you'll remain pretty comfortable even after long hours. 

Aside from occasional glitches with the keyboard and trackpad, I really had few complaints about the notebook. 

The problem is that this is a Max-Q notebook that doesn't quite feel like one. It is considerably thicker and heavier than something like the Razer Blade, while still having a smaller battery, so it seems like that extra weight was all for nothing. Maybe HP managed to pack in a more robust cooling system – the palm rests on some of the other Max-Q laptops can get quite toasty – but that doesn't seem like it's worth the extra heft. 

When you buy a Max-Q notebook, you're probably expecting something really slim and light, and the Omen 15, unfortunately, doesn't live up to those expectations. To put things in perspective, it weighs the same as the ASUS ROG Strix Scar II and is nearly as thick (the Scar II is 26.1mm thick and isn't a Max-Q laptop), but the ASUS notebook is equipped with a full-fledged GeForce GTX 1070 GPU for much better gaming performance - plus it's cheaper. So it's really looking like HP didn't bother with Max-Q optimizations in the mobility department. To add insult to injury, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M, which also isn't a Max-Q laptop, is even slimmer than the Omen 15 at 19.9mm at its thickest point, runs as cool in the temperature department and is a much higher performance machine. 

These trade-offs may be the reason why the Omen 15 is more affordable than its immediate competitors. It costs S$3,599, S$200 cheaper than both the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin and Gigabyte Aero 15X. The Max-Q optimizations are also more evident in terms of things like power efficiency rather than design, so the extra price premium over something like the ROG Strix Scar II nets you better battery life, but that too isn't a strong point considering that there are longer lasting Max-Q notebooks whereas ASUS ROG Strix Scar II focuses on pure gaming performance and went with a non-Max-Q GPU. One other note to point out regarding its specs and price is that it's one of the few notebooks equipped with a massive 32GB of memory, which is great if you dabble in a lot of content creativity jobs and you need a capable multi-tasker.

All things considered, you'll probably be pretty happy with the HP Omen 15, but only if you moderate your expectations about what a Max-Q laptop is.

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8.0
  • Design 7.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 8
  • Mobility 6.5
The Good
144Hz G-Sync display
Solid build quality
One of the best speakers on a gaming notebook
Great gaming performance and generous 32GB of RAM
Rich selection of ports and connectors
The Bad
Thick and heavy for a Max-Q laptop
Battery life doesn't measure up to competitors
No Windows Precision Touchpad
No per-key RGB backlighting
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