HP Omen 15 review: a polished and powerful gaming laptop

Superb gaming performance for a reasonable price

HP Omen 15
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The HP Omen 15 looks the part, plays the best games with aplomb, and is reasonably priced for what you get, too – even the sound system impresses. It's not quite a perfect gaming laptop, but it has plenty of strengths and not very many weaknesses.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Great performance

  • +

    Stylish but subtle design

  • +

    Appealing price

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Only 1080p screen

  • -

    Average battery life

  • -

    Limited lighting

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The HP Omen 15 is definitely worth a long and considered look if you're interested in a new gaming laptop: you get a 10th-gen Intel i7 processor and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 GPU with Nvidia G-Sync support, plus a 15.6-inch 1080p display with a 144Hz refresh rate.

Very decent specs, and all available at a price that reasonable – check the widgets on this page for the latest pricing on the HP Omen 15, but at the time of writing the review configuration we tested can be picked up online for somewhere in the region of £1,700.

That's a lot of money of course, but in the context of gaming laptops and the amount of power you get with the HP Omen 15, it's not unreasonable. Make sure you check out the different configurations on sale, as you can get this laptop with AMD CPUs inside too.

In our HP Omen 15 review we'll guide you through everything you need to know about the laptop, from how it runs the best games on the market to how long the battery is likely to last. After you've finished reading, you should know whether the HP Omen 15 is for you.

HP Omen 15 review: screen and design

HP Omen 15

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to gaming laptops, the HP Omen 15 is definitely towards the more subtle and business-like end of the scale – no flashing lights or crazy sculpting, just a well crafted slab of high-quality plastic and aluminium (the metal is used on top of the keyboard and by the trackpad, for a very premium feel). A variety of backlighting effects are available for the keys, handled by the supplied Omen Command Centre software.

The 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS LCD display here is a pleasure to use, keeping everything from action games to word processed documents sharp and bright. The bezels aren't the thinnest we've seen lately, but it's still a very pleasant screen to look at and work with. The refresh rate goes all the way up to 144Hz, which is bound to catch the attention of serious gamers.

Despite that large screen and those relatively chunky bezels, the laptop as a whole doesn't feel too bulky. At 2.25 cm (0.89 inches) thick it's hardly an ultraportable laptop, but when you compare it to other gaming machines in this class, it's not too bad – you're still going to be able to pick this up and carry it round without too much effort. It can easily do double duty as a standard laptop without attracting a lot of attention.

The sides and corners of the HP Omen 15 are relatively sharp and angular, but it's a look that we like. In terms of ports, you've got 1 x Ethernet, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x Thunderbolt 3/USB-C and 3 x USB-A ports, so there's plenty of room for peripherals and additional displays if you need them. There's also a 3.5 mm audio jack for connecting up a pair of wired headphones. The dual speakers – tuned by Bang & Olufsen, no less – sit above the keyboard and sound very decent to our ears.

HP Omen 15 review: performance and features

HP Omen 15

(Image credit: Future)

As is normally the case with gaming laptops, you can choose from a variety of configurations when it comes to the HP Omen 15. Our review unit came with a 10th-gen (Comet Lake) Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 GPU with Max-Q design and 8GB  of video RAM. That's a hefty set of specs, specs that should be able to cope with the best games around.

Our testing and benchmarking backed that up: the laptop scored 6,911 in the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, putting it some way above the average for gaming laptops (5,730) and some way below the average for gaming PCs (9,216). We were unable to find a top-tier game that the laptop couldn't run smoothly – in Grand Theft Auto V with graphics settings ramped up to almost maximum, we were hitting frame rates in the 80s and 90s (and sometimes well over 100) for all but the most complex of scenes.

We didn't notice a hint of lag or stutter, and the laptop keeps its cool very well too. It got loud, but not too loud; and it got hot, but not too hot – in both cases nowhere near the loudest or the hottest we've experienced in our gaming laptop testing. It's not the very best spec you can find out there, but the HP Omen 15 will run every game on the market pretty comfortably, which is impressive at this price.

Battery life isn't usually a major concern for gamers, but if you are wondering how much time you'll get between charges, don't expect anything more than three or four hours on the go – about enough for a long train journey or an afternoon away. In our two-hour video streaming test, with the screen at maximum brightness and the audio at a low volume, the battery dropped from 100 percent to 67 percent, so that works out at around 6 hours of streaming in total.

HP Omen 15 review: price and verdict

HP Omen 15

(Image credit: HP)

It's hard to find anything to dislike about the HP Omen 15 that we tested. In terms of performance and price it strikes a really good balance, and while you can pay more for extra graphics grunt (and a 4K screen), this laptop is very much going to be able to cope with everything you test it with that RTX 2070 GPU under the hood. Despite it's high spec, heat and noise are managed very well.

As well as balancing performance and price, it also balances looks and practicality: there are a few nice premium touches here, including the metal keyboard casing and the customisable backlighting, but the laptop never goes over the top. It's a relatively bulky laptop, sure, but it's not something that you'll be embarrassed to pull out at either a gaming night or a business meeting.

Away from the gaming, the 1080p screen is a delight for movie watching and web browsing – though we prefer a 16:10 aspect ratio for general computing tasks – and the keyboard and trackpad experience are impressive too. Some gamers will prefer a more clicky typing response with greater travel for the keys and more noise as you hit them, but as far as we're concerned HP has done a fine job here.

The choice of well-designed, powerful, value-for-money gaming laptops has never been greater, which is good news for consumers – though it can make picking the right one a lengthy process. If you like the look of the HP Omen 15, and it fits within your budget, we very much doubt that you're going to be disappointed with its gaming prowess or how it handles anything else you need it for.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.