HP Omen 16 review: the best of both worlds

How well does HP juggle value and performance?

HP Omen 16 review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The HP Omen 16 strikes an interesting middle ground between high-end gaming and general-use laptop. Much like its smart and discreet design, this is a machine that has no problem being used as an everyday streaming and surfing device, work machine, or gaming master (when plugged in). However, it does get loud due to the fans and is quite warm for lap-based gaming sessions.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Smart Design and build quality

  • +

    Good battery life for a gaming laptop

  • +

    Solid specs and performance

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Can run loud

  • -

    Struggles with ray tracing

  • -

    No Thunderbolt ports

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Console owner wanting more? Or PC owner considering your next gaming laptop purchase? You've come to the right place, as this HP Omen 16 review will look at what is a very well-rounded mid-range gaming laptop.

Some of the gaming laptops I've reviewed have pushed past the £/$3,000 mark and while they can offer a lot, that's not an amount we all have to spend on what is ultimately a leisure activity - even if you're a serious gamer.

That's thankfully where the HP Omen 16 comes in. More expensive than a PlayStation 5, but still affordable enough that you don't have to go without food for a while. But does it perform well enough at this price point to be considered one of the best gaming laptops? Keep reading to find out... 

HP Omen 16: Price & Availability

The HP Omen 16 varies in price quite significantly based on the spec you're looking at, but the 'n0003na' model I was sent for review comes in at £1,599 for the AMD-powered model. 

As for the US and Australian markets, there is no equivalent with the exact same specs but you can buy a similar machine. On HP's site an Intel Core i7-powered model with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU goes for around $1,599, while Australian prices for a Core i7 variant with the same Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU as my review model starts at AU$1,814.

That's firmly in the middle of the road when it comes to gaming laptops. Cheaper than an entry-level setup for sure - but not the £3,000 plus price-tag of the likes of the Lenovo Legion 7.

HP Omen 16 review: Design

HP Omen 16

(Image credit: Future)

If you didn't know the HP Omen 16 was a gaming laptop, its design wouldn't necessarily give it away. It doesn't feature the usual flair and bright colours of some of its peers, instead being only available in a sleek but restrained 'Shadow Black' finish. 

The base of the machine is primarily plastic but it doesn't feel cheap, especially around the touchpad. It also has a nice-feeling brushed metal edge that adds to a generally very impressive build quality. 

In all honesty, if you wanted to use the HP Omen 16 as a work machine, no one would give you a second glance, save for the customisable keyboard lighting. The interlocking triangles of the main speaker in particular look very smart.

When it comes to bulk, a 2.4kg weight is pretty light and fairly easy to travel around with. Although the charging brick is chunkier than that of a regular laptop, it's not as bad as some of the other gaming laptops with chargers that look capable of powering a small village. The dreaded fingerprint marks do seem to form fairly easily on the laptop's casing. 

HP Omen 16 review: Display

With a 16.1-inch QHD screen offering a 2560x1440 resolution and up to 300 nits of brightness, the HP Omen 16's display is one of the first things you'll notice about this laptop, likely along with the sizeable bottom bezel of the screen. As QHD screen, you won't the deeper contact and beautiful blacks of an OLED offering, but it's certainly still a pleasant viewing experience. 

Some will prefer the 16:10 effort that is increasingly common elsewhere, but the HP's 16:9 format is certainly the more widely supported option and works best with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU in my view.

Something that should be less subjective is framerate. Gamers agree that the smoother the experience the better, and the 165Hz refresh rate screen isn't as high as the likes of the buttery smooth Razer Blade 15 Advanced, but is still a good option for this budget. As all good gamers know, input lag is a game ruiner, so you'll be pleased to note the 3ms latency mirrors your button mashing on-screen super fast.

HP Omen 16 review: Performance 

HP Omen 16

(Image credit: Future)

As you might expect for the price, the HP Omen 16 offers performance between a current-gen console and the best gaming laptops

First off, a disclaimer. Pretty much all gaming laptops offer far better performance when plugged into the power supply. Like even the most obedient dog, when off-lead things can be very different. 

For the HP Omen 16, an AMD Ryzen 9 processor (6000 series) and Nvidia GeForce 3070 Ti GPU is a pretty powerful basis for any machine, let alone one that fits into your backpack and when given the chance to stretch its legs, you can expect a solid performance. 

Plugged in, with performance mode and the HP Omen booster activated I put the laptop through its paces. Playing Ghostwire Tokyo, a beautiful game with lots of particle effects, on almost maximum settings, I could achieve a consistent 60fps or better. However, with ray tracing enabled and cranked up, the frame rate fell to around 40fps. This is understandable but slightly disappointing.

Running on battery, you won't have such a nice time. With ray tracing enabled on the same test, I could only achieve around 12fps and even with it turned off I struggled to get 20fps. Playing Grounded (which doesn't have ray tracing) was a similar story with 60fps when charging and around 15fps on battery mode. Many would not touch games running at those framerates - but remember, of course, this is standard behaviour for a gaming laptop. 

One thing that did disappoint me was just how loud the fans run when pushing the system, which can even overpower game audio. The underside of the laptop does get pretty hot too.

If you're a fan of cross-referencing Geekbench numbers, our benchmark tests produced a CPU single-core score of 2077 and a multi-core score of 9482. The GPU score was 107,583. Both of these are perfectly respectable scores but of course lower than more expensive units like the Lenovo Legion 7.

HP Omen 16 review: Features 

HP Omen 16 review

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, the sheer power of gaming laptops also makes them excellent performers for everyday computing tasks. Word processing on the Omen's keyboard is a joy, the keys feel premium and well-spaced and there's even a dedicated calculator key!

To round up the other features of this laptop, the audio is solid, the webcam is serviceable (albeit only 720p), and while there are plenty of ports, including five USB, there is no super-fast Thunderbolt connection. 

Check out the key information below:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1
Weight: 2.41kg
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, 8GB GDDR6
Display: QHD (2560 x 1440), 165Hz
Storage: 1TB SSD M.2
Webcam: 720p
Ports:2x USB Type-C, 3x USB Type-A, 1x HDMI 2.1, power adapter, Ethernet, 3.5mm

HP Omen 16 review: Battery life 

HP Omen 16

(Image credit: Future)

Battery is always at a premium with gaming laptops, but I was quietly impressed with the Omen 16. HP claims up to 8 hours and 45 minutes - but I found with general use I was getting around 7 hours 30 minutes. 

That's still pretty good for everyday tasks from such a machine though. When gaming unplugged I was getting just over 2 hours - which is actually a good result in this market.

HP also claims that the battery can charge up to 50 per cent in a speedy 30 minutes - and I believe that based on my experience charging the laptop every single day. 

HP Omen 16 review: Verdict 

HP Omen 16

(Image credit: Future)

Those looking to push the absolute maximum out of the most intense games should look elsewhere, but I believe the HP Omen 16 strikes an interesting middle ground between high-end gaming and general use.

Much like its smart and discreet design, this is a machine that has no problem being used as an everyday streaming and surfing device or even a work laptop and then plugging in when you want to take on a gaming session. 

It does get loud and quite warm (although not dangerously so), but as a hybrid machine or for those looking to take a first step beyond console gaming, the HP Omen 16 is worth giving your undivided attention. 

Also consider

Got a bigger budget? You should probably look at the Lenovo Legion 7 and Asus Rog Strix Scar 16 or even the Acer Predator Helios 16, especially if you want top ray tracing performance.

For just a few hundred more you could pick up the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 - which is a machine that holds a special place in our hearts. If you want to go cheaper the Acer Nitro 5 is a bit older now but still a great choice.

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer

Andy is T3's Tech Staff Writer, covering all things technology, including his biggest passions such as gaming, AI, phones, and basically anything cool and expensive he can get his hands on. If he had to save one possession from a fire it would be his PlayStation 5. He previously worked for Tom’s Guide - where he got paid to play with ChatGPT every day. When it comes to streaming, Andy will have his headphones glued in whilst watching something that will make him laugh. He studied Creative Writing at university, but also enjoys supporting his favourite football team (Liverpool), watching F1, teaching himself guitar, and spending time with his dog.