Recently, Nvidia held an event in Singapore to reintroduce its lineup of Pascal notebook GPUs. During the event, a handful of Nvidia’s OEM partners took the opportunity to showcase their gaming notebooks that were equipped with Pascal GPUs.
One laptop that caught my eye, even though it wasn’t the most powerful on display, was the HP Omen 17. I knew that the old HP Omen 15 was widely available in Malaysia, but the 17-inch variant is surprisingly rare in our country. So I went ahead and gave it a spin. Here’s what I thought of it.
Let’s start off with the looks. HP stuck with its black and red design from the Omen line from last year. Personally, I thought the colour scheme is cool back in the ‘Kepler’ days, but for 2016, I thought HP could do much better. What’s worse is the keyboard has “downgraded” to a red backlit one instead of the RGB backlit keyboard from 2015’s Omen we reviewed. The design is subtle, with aggressive air vents to lend a “gaming laptop” look, so while I may not be a fan, others might disagree.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that the HP Omen 17 is slightly thicker this time round. Previously, the ‘early 2016’ Omen 17 notebook had a thickness of 29.9mm; now it’s 32.9mm thick. But that’s possibly due to the ‘desktop-grade’ GPU being embedded inside the gaming notebook (I’ll get into that shortly) as well as the two new additional speakers being added, which means there are now four Bang & Olufsen speakers in total.
For what it’s worth, 3mm is really not that much.
No changes were made to the display, although there is an option for you to upgrade to a 4K G-sync display. Like the previous Omen 17 notebook, most of the chassis is plastered with a carbon fibre-like material with a soft touch feel.
The build quality of this gaming notebook is actually very good. The use of materials here by HP would probably withstand the physical bashing that one would bestow upon this gaming notebook during those frustrating 2K MMR Dota 2 games. The speakers sound decent, the keyboard has good travel, and the Omen 17 can also be deemed as portable – even for a skinny person like me.
Potential buyers of the Omen 17 would probably be glad to know that there will be two GPU options to chose from: either a GTX 1060 or GTX 1070. The one I got to play around with had the GTX 1070.
Fallout 4 ran beautifully on the HP Omen 17 with settings mostly cranked up. The cut-down Pascal GP104–200 GPU really does perform on par with what Nvidia claimed it could. Unfortunately, framerates during gameplay was not shown for some reason, which made it difficult to know whether the game was running at a steady 60fps. That said, the gameplay did look consistently smooth to me.
Oddly, it seems that the processor used in the HP Omen 17 gaming notebook was not updated. The highest configuration that one could opt for would be the Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU, which has a base and ‘turbo’ clock speed of 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz respectively. In addition, the Omen 17 that I got to use had 6GB of DDR4 RAM, along with a 1TB HDD as well. Bear in mind that this gaming notebook does not come with an optical disk drive.
It seems very unlikely that the HP Omen 17 will be made available in Malaysia, especially since the gaming notebook wasn’t listed on HP Malaysia’s online store recently. The only Omen notebook that is going to be made available in Malaysia will be the 15-inch variant. Unfortunately, the HP Omen 15 gaming notebook may not be getting the same Pascal treatment as its bigger brother, which is rather odd; we’ll have to wait for the Omen 15 to be officially launched in Malaysia to know for sure.
In all, I think that the HP Omen 17 may not be the most attention-grabbing gaming laptop around, but for those who don’t mind the looks, this gaming notebook should definitely be considered. Not only is it ‘portable’, it also packs a beast of a graphics card. If you are looking for a more exuberant gaming notebook that constantly screams for attention, you may want to look elsewhere.