HP Omen 15 (GTX 1050 Ti) review – beautiful, lightweight and compact chassis but comes at a price and a couple of trade-offs
The HP Omen lineup doesn’t have a long history in the gaming industry and sometimes you can see the hints of lack of experience. The Omen 15 with GTX 1050 Ti is a clear example of that. While most of the big OEMs push their GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti-powered products with attractive pricing, the Omen 15 charges a pretty penny without offering much in return. It still has the expected performance, IPS display, M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD support and aggressive gaming design but is it enough to stand out against the fierce competition from Acer, Lenovo, Dell and ASUS?
While Acer’s VX 15 and Lenovo’s Legion Y520 are both GTX 1050 Ti-powered notebooks with IPS displays going for around $1 000 and ASUS’ GL553VE with the same specs and better IPS display sells for around $1 100, HP is trying to sell it’s Omen 15 for around $1 200 and in some regions going even higher without standing out with more powerful hardware or considerably better display. So where’s the catch? Maybe a better chassis with premium materials or extraordinary cooling system? Better keyboard? We find out in the full review below.
You can find the available configurations and their prices here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
The Omen 15 comes in a cool black box with Omen’s logo on top and contains all the usual user manuals, AC adapter and power cord.
Design and construction
Generally speaking, the design of the HP Omen 15 hasn’t changed a lot since the last generation and it doesn’t differ too much from the current 17-inch model. Plastic is the only material used for the build, which takes away all the rigidity in some places giving us that “cheap” feel. Don’t get us wrong, though, there’s nothing wrong with using plastic for lower-end laptops that focus on the hardware rather than design but in this case, the Omen 15’s higher price just doesn’t justify the use of plastic. It just doesn’t leave a good impression, especially compared to the sturdy Lenovo Legion Y520, ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE and Dell’s Inspiron 7567. The good news is that the Omen 15 is considerably more portable than the competition weighing at just 2.19 kg and measuring at just 24 mm in height (Legion Y520 – 25.8 mm/2.5 kg, Inspiron 7567 – 27 mm/2.75 kg, Aspire VX 15 – 32 mm/2.5 kg, ROG Strix GL553VE – 30 mm/2.5kg).
The compromises, however, can be seen from the very beginning when opening the lid. We felt that the plastic, patterned, matte back feels great to touch but fails to impress with sturdiness. The center of the lid can be easily pressed while the sides aren’t resistant to torsion. Ripples appear on the LCD screen in our test attempts. Still, we must note the stealthy and smooth hinge travel that we saw in the 17-inch version as well. They are well tightened and allow opening the laptop with just one hand. The bottom of the notebook is again made of plastic and easily comes off by removing all the screws when upgrading. You will notice the vent openings at the bottom for extra airflow.
Despite the compact dimensions, the laptop offers the usual set of ports you’d find on a 15-inch machine, although, USB-C is nowhere to be found. The left side holds two USBs (one 3.0 and one 2.0) along with the 3.5 mm audio jack while the right side accommodates the DC charging port, HDMI, another USB 3.0, the SD card reader and the RJ-45 LAN port.
Going around the interior, we find one considerably weak spot between the spacebar and the touchpad – a little bit too flexible to our taste, again considering the price point of the product. The rest of the interior appears to be fairly resistant to bending and flexing, including the wrist rest area and the center of the keyboard. The glossy-like plastic finish is prone to smudges and fingerprints but feels nice to touch. As for the keyboard and touchpad, well they are absolutely identical to the ones in the 17-inch Omen – wobbly, unresponsive and cheap touchpad and good for typing, but not for gaming, keyboard. The latter offers relatively short key travel – especially compared to ASUS’ GL553VE and Lenovo’s Legion Y520 – and when you consider the layout of the arrow keys, you just hope that you won’t play racing games as much.
It’s really hard to give the Omen 15 a good score in terms of design because the higher price just doesn’t allow us. There are too many trade-offs along the way that include the flimsy screen, bad touchpad design and a good-for-typing-only keyboard.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
Just like the previous alteration of the Omen 15, this year’s model doesn’t have a dedicated service hatch but accessing the internals is pretty easy. Just make sure you’ve removed all the screws around the bottom and proceed by prying up the plate.
Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD
Storage options are the usual – 2.5-inch HDD and an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. The HDD is HGST with 1TB capacity while the M.2 slot is taken by Samsung’s PM961 PCIe NVMe SSD.
|M.2 slot||256GB Samsung PM961 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (2280)||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
|2.5-inch HDD/SSD||HGST 1TB HDD||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
The motherboard holds two memory slots and our unit came with two 8GB DDR4-2400 chips manufactured by Samsung.
|Slot 1||8GB Samsung DDR4-2400||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
|Slot 2||8GB Samsung DDR4-2400||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
The Wi-Fi card can be found next to the left cooling fan (with the bottom of the chassis facing up) and it’s Intel 7265NGW.
The laptop uses a relatively big 63.3Wh battery located under the wrist rest area.
No wonder why the cooling system isn’t able to keep up with the CPU and GPU under heavy workload – the cooling fans are stuck to each other while the short heat pipes share heat across the cooling system. We saw almost identical cooling solution on the Lenovo Legion Y520 where the same problems with heat management occurred.
HP Omen 15’s display is manufactured by LG Philips and it’s listed as LGD0532. This is a 15.6-inch IPS display with matte finish, Full HD (1920×1080) resolution, 142 ppi and 0.18 x 0.18 mm pixel pitch. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 60 cm.
Viewing angles are good, as you can see from the image below.
We’ve measured a maximum brightness of 252 cd/m2 in the middle and 234 cd/m2 as average across the surface with 13% deviation. The color temperature is 6700K, which is pretty close to the optimal 6500K. Below, you can see the results at 140 cd/m2 luminance (75% brightness).
The maximum dE2000 color deviation is 3.3, which is still under the 4.0 mark. The contrast ratio is 780:1 – not bad for a budget IPS panel.
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 51% of the sRGB color space which is rather disappointing considering the asking price of the Omen 15.
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 pre and post calibration.
The “Design and Gaming” profile is created at 140 cd/m2 brightness, D65 (6500K) white point and optimal gamma in sRGB mode.
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 at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
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 = 26 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
It appears that the display uses PWM from 0 to 99% brightness but the frequency of the emitted light is pretty high (21 kHz) and may not affect everyone.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SDP) graph.
To be honest, we expected a bit better IPS panel for the asking price. Something like the ASUS ROG GL553VE had to offer for the same amount of money. However, we get similar to the Lenovo Legion Y520 and Acer Aspire VX 15 display while both of these machines cost considerably less. All three displays have limited sRGB coverage (only half), low maximum brightness, lower than usual contrast ratio for an IPS panel and HP Omen 15’s screen also uses PWM across all brightness levels, except 100%, of course.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for HP Omen 15 (2017) configurations with 15.6″ LG LGD0532 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount
The sound quality is okay with enough clarity 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 1050 Ti (4GB 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 mm (0.94″)|
|Weight||2.2 kg (4.83 lbs)|
We used the pre-installed Windows 10 (64-bit) for the writing of this review but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS without the bloatware, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from HP’s official website.
It appears that battery life is the key selling point of this laptop and the marketing team missed on this one. Quite surprisingly, the HP Omen 15 might not be able to surprise you with over the top specs or top-notch build quality but the battery life on this thing is amazing compared to other gaming notebooks. It only falls short to the Dell Inspiron 7567 as the latter features a TN panel and a bigger 74Wh battery while the Omen 15 sports a tad smaller 63.3Wh unit with an energy-sipping IPS panel.
In any case, the laptop has been tested with the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows battery saving feature turned on.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
Exceptional battery performance during web browsing – 567 minutes (9 hours and 27 minutes).
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Considerably lower but still pretty good score – 403 minutes (6 hours and 43 minutes).
We recently started using F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
Of course, the laptop isn’t made for gaming but it’s good to know that it can last hour and a half under heavy load – 127 minutes (2 hours and 7 minutes).
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 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
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 13.335 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 1050 Ti (4GB GDDR5)
NVIDIA’s GTX 1050 Ti for notebooks is almost identical to its desktop counterpart but offers different clock rates. What’s more, the Ti variant uses more CUDA cores than the standard GTX 1050 version – 768 vs 640 but both GPUs use the same GP107 chip, which differs from the other NVIDIA high-end solutions. The GP107 chip is manufactured by Samsung, not TSMC, and it’s built on the 14nm node on contrary to the 16nm from TSMC.
Anyway, the GTX 1050 Ti also offers significantly higher clock rates than the normal GTX 1050 versions well 1493 – 1620 MHz vs 1364 – 1493 MHz. This contributes to a significant performance boost over the standard version but the rest of the specs remain the same. The GPU offers 4GB of GDDR5 memory connected via 128-bit interface and transfer rates as high as 112 GB/s.
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-1050-ti-4gb-gddr5/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||150 fps||80 fps||28 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||91 fps||60 fps||30 fps|
|Tom Clancy’s The Division||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||147 fps||60 fps||14 fps|
As usual, we ran the stress tests on the Omen 15 to see how the cooling system handles heavy workloads for extended periods of time. Of course, the extreme nature of the torture tests doesn’t allow us to compare it to normal usage scenario but they are still the best way to determine the overall stability and effectiveness of the cooling system in the long run.
We started off with 100% CPU load for an hour. We noticed that the CPU ran at surprisingly low temperatures but only due to the poor Turbo Boost utilization of the CPU. While the Core i7-7700HQ is expected to reach 3.1-3.4 GHz with four active cores, the chip on the Omen 15 struggled to maintain even 2.7-2.8 GHz, often going below the base frequency.
When we turned on the GPU stress test as well, we’ve noticed slight CPU throttling but nothing serious. The CPU ran at around 2.6 – 2.7 GHz stable, although temperatures were close to 100 degrees Celsius. In any case, we are happy to report that the GPU didn’t throttle and ran at its maximum capacity, although, temperatures were toasty 84 degrees.
However, temperatures on the surface appeared to be normal with the only warm area being around the Numpad block. This leaves us with mixed feelings about the cooling design. Yes, it does keep the heat away from the user’s hands but it also keeps the internals running pretty hot, especially when you consider the fact that the GTX 1050 Ti isn’t hard to keep cool and the CPU didn’t reach its maximum frequency at any point of the test. Also, we can’t miss mentioning the constantly spinning cooling fan even when the laptop is idle.
We really hoped that if HP is charging so much for the Omen 15, it would offer at least slightly better user experience than the general competition. However, the Omen 15 not only doesn’t impress with build, performance or display quality, it drags behind its rivals in most aspects.
For starters, build quality isn’t great – wobbly screen, flexible interior in some places, shallow keyboard with small arrow keys (it’s good for typing but not for gaming) and nearly unusable touchpad. The upside here is that the chassis is thinner and lighter than the competition. Secondly, the display just isn’t what we’ve expected. You can get the ASUS ROG GL553VE for similar if not slightly lower price with superb display or you can get the very same image quality out of the considerably less expensive Acer Aspire VX 15 and Lenovo Legion Y520. And thirdly, the cooling system doen’t seem to be all that great – cooling fans spinning during idle, CPU doesn’t reach its maximum Turbo Boost frequency (this might just be an isolated incident with our unit but since we are reviewing a retail unit, we feel obligated to include that in the cons list) and the CPU and the GPU run pretty hot under load. We do have to give credit for the heat dispersion as the notebook’s surface remains pretty cool even under extreme scenarios.
But despite all the drawbacks, the HP Omen 15 excels in one key aspect – battery life. The big battery unit can keep the system running for quite some time before dying – something only the Dell Inspiron 7567 can beat at this point.
If the price was competitive and comparable to Acer, Lenovo, ASUS and Dell’s solutions, we could have let some of cons pass. For about $150, you can even get the Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro BE (VN7-593G) with GTX 1060 and a nice FHD IPS panel. Or for a few bucks less, you can get the Lenovo Legion Y520, Acer Aspire VX 15, ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE and Dell’s Inspiron 7567, which all have almost identical to the Omen 15’s specs. When you put it this way, it’s really hard to recommend the Omen 15, unless the few extra grams and millimeters that HP was able the shave off are of great importance to you and battery life is a deciding factor.
You can find the available configurations and their prices here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
- Lightweight and thin
- Excellent battery life
- The notebook’s surface remains cool even under heavy workload
- Shallow keyboard (for gaming), small arrow keys, wobbly and unresponsive touchpad
- Poor CPU Turbo Boost clock utilization
- Cooling fans spin even during idle, internals running hot during heavy workload
- Lackluster (FHD) display considering the price tag
- Pricier than the competition for some reason
- PWM from 0 to 99% screen brightness (our Health-Guard profile fixes that)