HP comes in strong with a brand new design, although the hardware of the laptop isn’t all that different. Fortunately, pricing remains the same so we are eager to see what else, despite the design, has improved. Going across the specs sheet, the HP Omen 15 receives an upgrade up to GTX 1060 with Max-Q design, but we still expect the GTX 1050 Ti version to be more sought after. But if the pricing of the GTX 1060 Max-Q is right, the laptop will attract plenty of users with its sleek and thin design, not to mention the generous I/O.
Aside from the updated I/O and hardware configurations, the Omen 15 surprises with fresh new design – a more sturdy one to be fair – changes the screen and features a completely new touchpad and keyboard. Also, the vent openings on the back suggest of a re-designed cooling system. Basically, the second generation of HP Omen 15 isn’t just a refresh but a completely new release that should fix almost all – if not all – of the issues that were pulling back the Omen series. Let’s look closer and see what HP has done differently this time.
You can find the available configurations and their prices here: http://amzn.to/2sU1vSN
Since we received a pre-production sample, we are not sure how the final units will ship but most probably the usual user manuals, the AC cord and the charging brick.
Design and construction
We are happy to see that the price tag of the notebook remains the same, for the GTX 1050 Ti configuration, of course, but the completely overhauled chassis is now competitive – the asking price finally makes sense now. And since the Max-Q design allows, the new Omen 15 is impressively thin and light measuring just 24.8 mm in height and tips the scale at 2.62 kg. That’s fairly portable for a 15-inch laptop and even comes close to the new Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro BE.
The changes are easy to spot even without opening the laptop. The lid is made of brushed-aluminum-like plastic and two protruding plastic plates that imitate carbon fiber finish. Despite the lack of premium materials, the lid feels study in most areas – only the spot around the logo gives in under pressure easily. Due to the single-hinge design, the lid isn’t very resistant to torsion. Opening the lid reveals a big lower chin and reasonably thick side and upper bezels. As far as the hinge is concerned, there’s little rocking, feels relatively stable and allows opening with one hand. The bottom piece is also made of plastic and appears to be in line with the whole design concept with patterned triangle shaped ornaments and vent openings. You can also see the speaker grills on the sides.
The new Omen 15 hasn’t grown in height as it measures around 24.8 mm but the increase in ports and connectors is significant. We are also pleasantly surprised by the port distribution – on the left you will find the most commonly used connectors – mini DisplayPort, HDMI, RJ-45 for LAN, USB 3.0, USB-C with Thunderbolt support and two 3.5 mm audio jacks for external microphone and headphones. The right side features only two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader.
Opening the laptop makes us wonder if HP read our previous review of the HP Omen because almost all of our complaints are addressed properly. For starters, the interior is now covered with brushed aluminum – fingerprints are still visible – and feels quite sturdy right now. There are no visible flexes when pressed around the wrist rest area, the center of the keyboard or the spot around the hinge. We are puzzled, though, why HP decided to place two decorative grills on both sides of the hinge since they serve no purpose. Anyway, the keyboard now has slightly larger keys, better tactile feedback and slightly longer travel. More importantly, though, the arrow keys are full-sized and isolated. The WASD keys are highlighted and feature white LED backlight instead of red. You can also individually turn on the WASD LED. Our biggest concern with the previous version of the notebook was the touchpad, which is now highlighted with chamfered edges and has dedicated mouse buttons. They feel great while the trackpad area is sensibly more responsive than before. Our only complaint would be the size of the mouse keys but you can get used to it relatively fast.
The changes introduced in the new generation HP Omen 15 are more than welcome. Most of the issues – if not all – we had with the previous model are ironed out while introducing a fresh new design and better I/O configuration that you can take advantage of.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
In terms of maintenance, the new generation doesn’t differ from the old one – there are no service lids but the bottom piece comes off easily.
Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD
The standard storage configuration is at hand – 2.5-inch HDD plus another M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD but our unit came only with a Samsung PM961 drive with 512GB capacity – the 2.5-inch turned out to be empty.
|M.2 slot||512GB Samsung PM961 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (2280)||Upgrade options|
|2.5-inch HDD/SSD||Free||Upgrade options|
As usual, the motherboard supports up to 32GB DDR4-2400 RAM (2x 16384MB) but our unit came with 2x 8GB DDR4-2400 by Kingston.
|Slot 1||8GB Samsung DDR4-2400||Upgrade options|
|Slot 2||8GB Samsung DDR4-2400||Upgrade options|
The Wi-Fi module is the most commonly found Intel 7265NGW.
The laptop uses generous 70Wh battery, which is a small upgrade compared to the previous generation.
We are extremely happy to report that the cooling system has been completely revamped – now the cooling fans are separated while the heat pipes and the heatsinks appear to be more solid. Our stress test confirm that the changes are more than good.
The notebook uses a similar panel to the one found in the Lenovo ThinkPad E570 (AUO B156HAN04.4) but this one has considerably wider sRGB coverage. It’s still made by AU Optronics but the model number is listed as AUO42ED. This is a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS panel with 142 ppi and 0.18 x 0.18 mm pixel pitch. The screen can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 60 cm.
NOTE: Unfortunately, the notebook we received for this review is an early engineering sample and we couldn’t bring the brightness of the display lower than 100%. This means that we weren’t able to create the usual profiles, measure PWM, etc. We will update the review as soon as we get an end production unit.
The screen offers comfortable viewing angles.
The maximum recorded brightness in the middle is 310 cd/m2 and 280 cd/m2 is the average, which means that the maximum deviation is pretty high – 23%. The color temperature at maximum brightness is colder than usual – 8000K so colors will appear a bit blue-ish. The contrast ratio is excellent 1200:1.
The maximum dE2000 color deviation compared to the center of the screen is 6.1, which is a bit high because values above 4.0 are usually unwanted, especially when color-sensitive work is involved.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The display covers 94% of the sRGB color gamut making it suitable for gaming and multimedia.
Below you will see practically the same image but with the color circles representing the reference colors and the white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut.
The gamma curve is pretty close to the optimal 2.2.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results with factory calibration.
Gaming capabilities (Response time)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 21 ms.
Although we weren’t able to conduct our full set of tests and create our custom profiles, it’s easy to see that the IPS panel used for this generation of the HP Omen 15 is of high quality. It offers wide sRGB coverage, excellent contrast ratio, high maximum brightness and relatively accurate color reproduction.
The sound quality is very good – there aren’t any noticeable distortions in the low, mid and high frequencies.
The current specs sheet refers to this particular model – configurations may differ depending on your region.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-core, 2.80 – 3.80 GHz, 6MB cache)|
|RAM||16GB (2x 8096MB) – DDR4, 2400MHz|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)|
|HDD/SSD||1TB HDD + 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Display||15.6-inch – 1920×1080 (Full HD) IPS, matte|
|Connectivity||LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2×2), Bluetooth 4.0|
|Thickness||24.8 mm (0.98″)|
|Weight||2.62 kg (5.78 lbs)|
We used a pre-installed version of Windows 10 (64-bit) for the writing of this review but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading the latest drivers from HP’s official support page.
Since the display brightness is stuck at 100% and can’t be adjusted, we weren’t able to run our usual battery tests but we estimate that the battery life of the new generation will be more than decent due to the slightly larger 70Wh capacity of the battery itself.
CPU – Intel Core i7-7700HQ
The Core i7-7700HQ is Kaby Lake’s top-shelf direct successor of the Skylake Core i7-6700HQ offering slightly higher clock speeds on the almost identical architecture and TDP. While Intel markets Kaby Lake’s architecture as “14nm+”, the Core i7-7700HQ is still on the same 14nm node with the only significant update being in the iGPU department. That’s why the slightly altered clock speeds (2.8 – 3.8 GHz vs 2.6 – 3.5 GHz) bring not more than 10% increase in performance compared to the Core i7-6700HQ. We still have the supported Hyper-Threading technology with 4/8 – core/thread design, the same 45W TDP and 6MB cache.
However, the Kaby Lake generation boasts an updated video engine for the iGPU, although, its performance is just about the same. Branded as Intel HD Graphics 630, the GPU offers slightly higher clock speeds (350 – 1100 MHz vs 350 – 1050 MHz) compared to the Intel HD Graphics 530 and support for H265/HEVC Main10 profile at 10-bit color depth and the VP9 codec for full hardware acceleration. In addition, the HDCP 2.2 is also supported allowing Netflix’s 4K video streaming.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i7-7700hq/
Results are from the Cinebench 11 test (higher the score, the better)
|HP Omen 15 (2017, GTX 1060 Max-Q) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||8.11|
|HP Omen 15 (2016, GTX 1050 Ti) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||8.18||+0.86%|
|Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black Edition (VN7-593G) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||8.18||+0.86%|
|Lenovo Legion Y720 Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||8.10||-0.12%|
Results are from the NovaBench CPU test (higher the score, the better)
|HP Omen 15 (2017, GTX 1060 Max-Q) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||895|
|HP Omen 15 (2016, GTX 1050 Ti) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||895|
|Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black Edition (VN7-593G) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||890||-0.56%|
|Lenovo Legion Y720 Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||865||-3.35%|
Results are from the Photoshop test (lower the score, the better)
|HP Omen 15 (2017, GTX 1060 Max-Q) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||10.72|
|HP Omen 15 (2016, GTX 1050 Ti) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||10.67||-0.47%|
|Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black Edition (VN7-593G) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||10.75||+0.28%|
|Lenovo Legion Y720 Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 - 3.8 GHz)||9.95||-7.18%|
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i7-7700HQ managed to get 13.650 million moves per second. For comparison, one of the most powerful PCs, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q (6GB GDDR5)
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q is a high-end mobile graphics chip based on the same GP106 GPU as the normal GTX 1060 but it’s designed for thin and light notebooks with lowered base frequency (1063 – 1265 MHz) and lowered maximum frequency (1341 – 1480 MHz). Moreover, the drivers for the GTX 1060 Max-Q optimize the GPU’s power efficiency instead of bumping up performance and also keeping the voltage at 1V while ensuring quiet operations of the cooling fans (maximum of 40 dB) by constantly adjusting the clock speeds.
The rest of the specs are identical to the regular GTX 1060, including the memory configuration – 192-bit width, 6GB GDDR5 clocked at 8000 MHz. The CUDA core count is 1280, TMUs are 106 and ROPs are 48. The whole chip, including the memory controller, is rated at 60-70W TDP and as for the features it supports, they are the usual – DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, H.265 decoder and support for Multi-Projection, VR Ready, G-Sync, Vulkan, DirectX 12 and Multi-Monitor.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook with this GPU that we’ve tested: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/nvidia-geforce-gtx-1060-max-q-6gb-gddr5/
Results are from the 3DMark Cloud Gate (G) test (higher the score, the better)
|HP Omen 15 (2017, GTX 1060 Max-Q) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q (6GB GDDR5)||57247|
|HP Omen 15 (2016, GTX 1050 Ti) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB GDDR5)||47670||-16.73%|
|Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black Edition (VN7-593G) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)||78999||+38%|
|Lenovo Legion Y720 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)||68315||+19.33%|
Results are from the 3DMark Fire Strike (G) test (higher the score, the better)
|HP Omen 15 (2017, GTX 1060 Max-Q) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q (6GB GDDR5)||10448|
|HP Omen 15 (2016, GTX 1050 Ti) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB GDDR5)||7457||-28.63%|
|Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black Edition (VN7-593G) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)||10938||+4.69%|
|Lenovo Legion Y720 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)||11577||+10.81%|
Results are from the 3DMark (Sky Diver) test (higher the score, the better)
|HP Omen 15 (2017, GTX 1060 Max-Q) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q (6GB GDDR5)||32500|
|HP Omen 15 (2016, GTX 1050 Ti) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB GDDR5)||25788||-20.65%|
|Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black Edition (VN7-593G) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)||35728||+9.93%|
|Lenovo Legion Y720 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)||37314||+14.81%|
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 test (higher the score, the better)
|HP Omen 15 (2017, GTX 1060 Max-Q) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q (6GB GDDR5)||3322|
|HP Omen 15 (2016, GTX 1050 Ti) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB GDDR5)||2365||-28.81%|
|Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black Edition (VN7-593G) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)||3711||+11.71%|
|Lenovo Legion Y720 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)||3560||+7.16%|
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||105 fps||47 fps||33 fps|
|Far Cry Primal||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||72 fps||60 fps||54 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||85 fps||43 fps||29 fps|
|Tom Clancy’s The Division||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||76 fps||45 fps||16 fps|
The stress tests that we perform can’t be taken as a representation of a real-life usage due to their extreme nature but it’s still the best way to assess the overall stability and effectiveness of the cooling system.
We turned on CPU stress test only to find out that the chip reaches high temperatures pretty fast. At first, the Core i7-7700HQ was able to utilize its Turbo Boost frequency at 3.4 GHz but gradually went down to 3.1 GHz.
Turning on the GPU stress test caused the CPU to tone down to 2.9 GHz while the GPU’s frequency fluctuated quite a bit but kept it within the base frequency range while running relatively cool – 75 °C.
Despite the higher inner temperatures, the surface remained cool in around the WASD and the wrist rest area. However, we did measure slightly higher temperatures around the center and the upper part of the keyboard. In any case, these digits won’t be so high during normal use and gaming.
The new HP Omen 15 proves that one generation is enough to drastically change our minds about the series. HP has definitely done its homework this time around and there aren’t any apparent issues with the model like before. Build quality is good, the updated design of the input devices makes them usable and we are impressed by its portability for a 15-inch gaming laptop with GTX 1060. We are also pretty happy with the fact that the price hasn’t been altered as much. That’s true, of course, about the GTX 1050 Ti configurations but what about the new GTX 1060 Max-Q Design variant that we reviewed?
It offers excellent performance and in most games, there isn’t a noticeable difference in frame rates. When it comes to synthetic benchmarks, the results confirm the initial claims of NVIDIA – 10 – 15% lower performance compared to the standard GTX 1060. This is probably the main reason HP was able to pull off such a thin and light design of the new Omen 15. Still, though, our stress tests indicate slightly higher than usual CPU temperatures on contrary to the cool GPU operations. So keep that in mind. In any case, no thermal throttling occurred, which is the most important thing here.
We are also glad to see the USB-C with Thunderbolt support to make an appearance and the inclusion of a high-quality IPS panel. Both changes are very welcome as they made the previous Omen 15 not worth the extra bucks.
So, should you go for the HP Omen 15 (2017)? Definitely yes! If you are willing to spend a little bit more on a GTX 1050 Ti laptop, the new generation now offers several key advantages over the competition including Thunderbolt support, 120 Hz IPS display (optional) and a big 70Wh battery. There are just a few compromises you’d have to make along the way but definitely not as much as the competition – Lenovo Legion Y520, Acer Aspire VX 15, Dell Inspiron 15 7567 and ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE. However, we especially recommend the GTX 1060 Max-Q configuration that we’ve tested. Hands down, one of the best 15-inch GTX 1060-powered options out there along with the Lenovo Legion Y720 but the latter will disappoint you with mediocre screen quality.
You can find the available configurations and their prices here: http://amzn.to/2sU1vSN
- Catchy design, rigid construction
- Thin and lightweight
- Updated input devices (now more gaming-centric and usable)
- Expanded I/O including mini DisplayPort and USB-C Thunderbolt
- Excellent IPS panel (optional 120Hz screen is available as well)
- Good value (regarding the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti configurations)
- The interior surface gets a little warm after extended use (for the GTX 1060 Max-Q model only)
- The single-hinge design makes the lid a bit flexible