Omen by HP is a relatively young, but very innovative and heavily backed company. The first time we took at look at an Omen product was the Omen X Desktop and I was rather critical of it as a desktop solution. That was before I understood that Omen never set out to make the X Desktop a product for the punters – it was merely a demonstration of what they could do given the opportunity to manufacture a beast.
Their latest gaming range however is significantly more refined and provide a few incredible options for the average gamer. From laptops to accessories and software, the Omen team have been hard at work – and here at EFTM we’ve got our hands all over it.
The Omen 15 Laptop
The latest and most functional gaming laptop to come out of the brand is the Omen 15. This laptop is one hell of a machine and makes absolutely no attempt to hide it. There are many configurations you can get of this monster but the main model we’re taking a look at is the GTX 1070 version. If I’ve already out-geeked you, let me bring it back to down;
The GTX 1070 is one of the best graphics cards on the market and for the performance it provides it’s very well priced. The Omen 15 ships with other graphics cards, but I’d argue it’s most value for money with the 1070.
The biggest points of contention in gaming laptops are the base ergonomics of; size, weight and noise.
As far as size is concerned, while the Omen 15 has quite a nice big monitor, it never felt too out of place on my lap or on small desks. For daily use as a laptop in the office, size isn’t an issue. But as is the case for all gaming laptops, when you try squeeze a mouse pad and mouse into the arrangement it can often get a bit cramped.
Weighing in at approximately 2.3kg it isn’t exactly light but what else could you expect from a beefed-up beast machine?
Noise may actually be an issue for some as while the cooling for the Omen 15 was exceedingly effective, the fan noise while gaming was quite loud. The fans don’t run constantly while gaming but do intermittently chime in with a very present chorus of blasting air.
In order to appease as many as humanly possible, HP have made the RAM and storage upgradeable on the Omen 15. With the most exciting part of this being that the warranty stays in-tact. In the majority of pre-built computers, once you open it up you’re done for as far as warranty is concerned. Omen seem to really understand that while some gamers don’t have time to completely build a device, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be able to play with the hardware a little. We can only hope to see this start a chain reaction to warranty policies across the industry.
A wonderful piece of software that ships with the Omen range is the ‘Command Center’. This is the base of operations if you will for your Omen device. We’re talking all drivers, customization and tweaks. I’d go on about this software but the Network Booster and Game Stream features deserve their own article, so stay tuned.
Now as I said the Omen 15 comes in many configurations but for the most part – The GTX 1070 model of the Omen 15 is decked with an i7 at 2.2Ghz base, 15.6” either 4K or full HD 144Hz monitor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, a 256GB SSD, Windows 10 and some beautifully designed ports located for the most part at the back of the device.
The GTX 1070 model is offered with either a full HD, 144Hz monitor, or a 4K, 60Hz monitor. As any dedicated gamer could tell you, a 144hz monitor can often be the difference between being the killer or the killed. Now while 4K is wonderful on televisions or for graphic design/video editing purposes, until we see affordable 4K 144Hz monitors, I’d recommend the full HD model as it makes for a smoother gaming experience.
The GTX 1070, full HD 144hz version of the Omen 15 will be retailing for $3,099 and available primarily from JB Hi Fi stores or online at hp.com.au.
Keyboard: The Omen Sequencer
Omen seem to have a desperate need to prove themselves, and they’re managing quite well with devices like the Sequencer. The Omen Sequencer is the world’s’ fastest keyboard. A non-gamer might be asking what this means, well the time it takes for a normal gaming keyboard to send any keypress to your computer is approximately 1ms, HP have got this down to 0.2ms. A gamer might be asking what difference this will have, well… I mean… you won’t notice it, but that doesn’t take away from how cool it is. They’ve made this happen using optical-mechanical switches and while this reduced response time definitely isn’t a selling point, it goes to show that Omen by HP are an innovative division working to break ground in the gaming industry.
Another groovy feature (that won’t ever be genuinely utilized) is the ability for the user to press up to 26 keys simultaneously without missing a beat. Most keyboards won’t register beyond 6-10 simultaneous presses, which makes this novelty feature exciting enough to mention.
Beyond the gimmicks the Omen Sequencer is a well laid out gaming keyboard with every macro/media key you could need and a really beautiful volume scroll wheel. The inside word is that this wheel could potentially be used for more than volume control in the near-future, stay tuned.
The Sequencer retails for $279.95 AUD.
Mouse: The Omen Reactor
Continuing with the theme of doing whatever they want and doing it well, the Omen Reactor is the world’s fastest mouse! It has a very clean design, the classics such as on-the-fly DPI changes, RGB LED’s and two macro buttons.
One of the two standout features of the Reactor is the adjustable palm rest. All people are different right? And all gamers have a different preference for play, so not every peripheral device will suit – but features like this put so much more power in the hands of the gamer.
The other feature that can’t go without mentioning is the metal-braided cable. A problem we all face day-to-day whether with earphones, mice or otherwise is tangling – it’s almost impossible to escape, or at least it was until now. The Reactor’s metal-braided cable means that it physically can not tangle, nor will it be damaged rubbing against the back of a desk!
You’ll find the Omen Reactor in JB Hi Fi stores or on the HP website for $129.
Special Mention: The Pavilion Gaming 15 Laptop
Are you a closet gamer? Ashamed of your nerdy tendencies and desperate desires to shoot people on a screen? Or maybe you’re looking for a laptop that you can use both for the office and for the battlefield? Let me introduce you to the Pavilion Gaming 15.
The HP Pavilion range has been around for quite some time and have always been decent mid-range devices that ensure the job gets done. Probably more than what was required for the most part as they’ve typically been office/school devices. However now HP are cashing in on the fact that ~88% of gamers are over the age of 20 and likely have full-time jobs.
Packed with a 2.3Ghz i7 processor, a GTX 1050, 15.6” full HD monitor, 256GB SSD and 16GB of DDR4 RAM, the Pavilion Gaming 15 is more than capable of performing quite well in any video game. We’re not talking ultra quality – but there’s no reason it can’t pump out 60fps at a medium/high setting in the vast majority of games.
For the $2000 price tag, the Pavilion Gaming 15 really delivers the best of both worlds.
Omen by HP have been busy innovating some really interesting gaming gear and we here at EFTM are passionately excited for what’s to come from this developing brand.