When you look at the best laptops compared to the best gaming laptops, there's often a clear visible difference, and I'm not just talking about obnoxious RGB lighting. Gaming laptops are normally much bigger and heavier. It makes sense, these are performance-oriented machines that aren't exactly going to be taken to work every day. But then we have the HP Omen 16 Transcend...
It's not quite a MacBook-level of skinniness but this is the sleekest gaming laptop I've ever seen and the thinnest and lightest that HP has ever made. I was impressed with the regular HP Omen 16 when I reviewed it previously, but even just via the eye test the Omen 16 Transcend makes its mark. Let's see how it fares in our HP Omen 16 Transcend review.
HP Omen 16 Transcend: Price & availability
The model of this laptop I received is unsurprisingly very similar in price to the standard HP Omen 16 I reviewed before: it's very much in the mid-range of the market at £1799/$1699. Both are in the shopping widget above for comparison.
For that price, you get a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 Processor and an Nvidia Geforce RTX 4060 GPU, so not the absolute top specs but at half the price of the likes of the MSI Raider GE78 HX, that's pretty good going.
HP Omen 16 Transcend review: Design
As you may have heard me write already, this is one svelte laptop. But that's not all it has going for it. Like the regular HP Omen 16, the Transcend isn't exactly a machine that screams 'gamer', and coupled with the lightweight design you could definitely get away with using this as a regular laptop in public.
The finish does smudge a little easily, but the black metal shell is very easy on the eye and in my eyes resembles a stealth bomber. The magnesium-aluminium cover and keyboard frame is much nicer to the touch than plastic alternatives.
At just 2.16 kg, I had absolutely no qualms about putting this machine in my bag to carry around all day. The charger, so often a dead weight on gaming laptops, is barely bigger than that of a standard machine's equivalent, too, which is much appreciated.
HP Omen 16 Transcend review: Display
With the rest of the laptop looking so smart, it's a shame that the display doesn't quite hit the same heights.
Don't get me wrong, the 16-inch widescreen (1920 x 1200 resolution) panel is fine, but it's not quite what I'd like for the price. I wish that the QHD screen of the regular Omen 16 could make a reappearance, but this effort is good enough.
At least with a 165Hz refresh rate, games should be plenty smooth, but it does mean that running anything over 165fps is a waste of resources.
HP Omen 16 Transcend review: Performance
While it's not at the top-end of the market in price terms, the Omen 16 Transcend is still multiple times more expensive than a console. But can you expect performance beyond the likes of the PS5 and Xbox Series X?
The answer is not really. Playing Deathloop (a stunningly beautiful game) on ultra settings and with performance boosted to the max, I could get a frame rate consistently between 50-60fps. However, the machine was running pretty loud and warm at the back especially. Unplugged, it was a different story, with around 15-20fps in busier moments on screen.
Bethesda's Starfield was another test for this laptop. While I could achieve a playable 40fps on ultra settings when connected to the mains, that dropped to around 15-20fps once disconnected from the power source, which is bordering on unplayable. Of course by scaling down the settings, you can get much smoother performance.
If you're not after a laptop/console hybrid, the price is a big hurdle to get over, while those who are on the hunt should think about what they're using it for and consider the much cheaper Acer Nitro 5 too. It may not be as stylish but your wallet will thank you and it has similar performance levels.
In terms of benchmarking, you should expect a reasonable level of performance from the Transcend: its single core CPU score was 2608, while multi-core delivered 138,85 and the GPU scored 97,291.
HP Omen 16 Transcend review: Features
Of course while its gaming performance may not be quite extraordinary, there's more than enough laptop here to do pretty much anything you could want in terms of everyday tasks.
Indeed, this is where the sleek size really pays off – as it is essentially a powerful Windows machine, that also runs games. The keyboard is a pleasure to use and I found the keys to be nicely spaced out, avoiding any misinputs. If I'm being picky, I would have liked an Intel Core i9 processor at this price though.
Sound from the dual speakers is reasonable, but nothing to write home about, especially when the machine itself can run loud. If possible, I would pair it with one of the best gaming headsets instead.
While the larger Omen 16 didn't have any Thunderbolt ports, I'm pleased to say that the Transcend has two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 offerings as well as two standard USB-A ports. The webcam is a strong 1080p effort and comes with a privacy slider too. A big thumbs up from me.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Row 0 - Cell 1|
|CPU:||13th Gen Intel Core i7-13700HX|
|Graphics:||Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060|
|RAM:||16GB DDR5 RAM|
|Display:||16" WUXGA (1920 x 1200), 165 Hz|
|Webcam:||Full HD 1080p|
|Ports:||2x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, 2x USB-A, 2x 1x HDMI port,1x Ethernet, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack|
HP Omen 16 Transcend review: Battery life
Battery life is always a shortcoming for gaming laptops, but it's particularly noticeable with the Omen 16 Transcend. A 70Wh battery is perfectly fine when using it as a normal laptop, with around 7 hours of life, but when gaming you'll struggle to play graphically intense games for longer than around 45 minutes.
At least the 230W charger is sufficiently lightweight so it isn't a real inconvenience to carry around in your bag. Some gaming laptops come with gigantic brick-like plugs that are a bother, but that's not the case here.
HP Omen 16 Transcend review: Verdict
The HP Omen 16 Transcend brings a gorgeous design that has genuine appeal compared to the big brutes that dominate the gaming laptop market, while still offering a strong level of performance.
Having said that, the screen and battery life leave a little more to be desired at this price point.
Overall, if you want a laptop that's also capable of decent gaming, then this is a great choice. Otherwise that trade-off for slenderness for sake of power and cooling might not fit the bill.
If you like the design of this laptop (but don't mind it being a bit chunkier) then the HP Omen 16 is at a similar price with a much nicer QHD display.
The budget-conscious should consider the Acer Nitro 5, while if money is absolutely no object the consider for the MSI Raider GE 78 HX.