HP expands Omen gaming lineup with GTX 965M and 4K UHD options
The notebook market as a whole has been stagnant this past year, but the PC gaming sector is expected to go up and in opposition to the general trend. Manufacturers are seeing this as an opportunity to introduce or expand their portable gaming selection, including HP.
The Omen notebook was introduced two years ago with no new models in the family until now. There have been attempts to shoehorn mainstream gaming notebooks into the Pavilion series, such as the green Pavilion 15 Gaming Edition or the Star Wars Edition SKU based on the Pavilion 15. The Omen series, however, will cater specifically to mainstream and enthusiast gamers and will even carry the same insignia as the VoodooPC in place of the usual "HP" logo on the outer lid.
Two sizes have been announced: The 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch form factors. Both carry very similar features including FHD/UHD options, red backlit keys, HDMI 2.0, 3x USB ports, 802.11ac, SD reader, Bluetooth 4.1, and Gigabit Ethernet. Core specifications will also be identical up to a Core i7-6700HQ and GTX 965M GPU with 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM. The plastic chassis is smooth to the touch with a carbon fiber-like texture on the outer lid to avoid a cheap plastic look.
There are a few notable differences between the two sizes as listed below. The 15-inch SKU includes:
- Prismatic non-removable battery
- Two B&O speakers (no subwoofer)
- No RealSense option
- Two storage bays (1x M.2, 1x 2.5-inch SATA)
- No Optical drive
- 4.6 lbs, 24.5 mm profile
- $900 USD starting price
Meanwhile, the 17-inch SKU includes:
- Cylindrical removable battery
- Four B&O speakers (no subwoofer)
- RealSense option
- Three storage bays 1x M.2, 2x 2.5-inch SATA)
- Optical drive
- 6.28 lbs, 29.9 mm profile
- $980 USD starting price
Based on our short time with the 15- and 17-inch models, the chassis looks and feels like a combination of the Pavilion 15 and the original Omen. Gone are the glossy touchscreen options and even the dedicated column of Macro keys on the original Omen in favor of a NumPad and matte screen. The chrome hinges also appear similar to the original Omen, but are now two smaller hinges instead of a single bar hinge.
Other than the fresh coat of red and black paint, the quality of the notebooks is very close to a Pavilion. HP promises that the rear-only ventilation should keep the sides and keyboard relatively cool when gaming. It's worth noting, however, that the cooling solution is different between the two models. We noticed that the larger model was running louder than the smaller during gaming loads despite both of them carrying the same core processors. Their internal designs are dramatically different from one another as the 15.6-inch model houses its battery in the front half of the notebook while the larger 17.3-inch model houses its battery in the rear. As a result, surface temperature behavior between the two models during gaming loads will likely be very different for an interesting comparison in our eventual reviews.
The 15-inch and 17-inch SKUs will become available this July 10th in North America. The enthusiast level Omen X series will also be coming later this year, though HP is remaining mum on the matter for now.
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