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HP Omen 17 (GTX 1070) review – not there yet but close

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HP’s first attempt in gaming laptops a few years ago didn’t go too well. The first Omen wasn’t received so well by the users because it didn’t offer anything out of the ordinary, yet it cost a pretty penny. Now, the HP Omen 17 with GTX 1070 is in the same ballpark as the ASUS ROG Strix GL702VS and Acer’s Predator 17. However, both are hard to match rivals and the Omen 17 has a hard time keeping up.

Seemingly, the HP Omen 17 has all that it takes to play in the big league – Intel Core i7-7700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, up to 32GB of DDR4-2400 RAM, an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD for speedy data transfer/read and, of course, a good Full HD IPS display with 75Hz refresh rate and native G-Sync support. Still, these are specs that are commonly found in today’s gaming laptops so what sets them apart is the design and the way they handle this powerful hardware. What we mean by that is input devices, build quality and cooling solution. How does the new HP Omen 17 fare in our tests? Find out in our thorough review below.

You can see the available configurations and their prices here: http://amzn.to/2radFqv

Contents

Retail package

The laptop comes in an Omen-branded big black box with the usual user manuals, AC adapter and power cord.

Design and construction

The new HP Omen 17 follows the same aggressive gaming-oriented design with red accent and looks identical to the previous generation we reviewed. But expectedly, the 17-inch version’s case is considerably more thick and heavy in order to provide enough headroom for the hardware to perform. Measuring at around 33 mm in thickness and weighing 3.25 kg, the HP Omen 17 sits between the ASUS ROG Strix GL702VS and the Acer Predator 17 in terms of portability. Interestingly, though, the only material used for the casing is plastic so we are not sure why it weighs so much.

Anyway, let’s continue with the build itself. The lid features a pleasant matte finish with visual patterns imitating carbon fiber and, of course, the flashy red Omen logo in the middle. Fingerprints do stick but they are not as visible as we thought they would be. The bad news is that the plastic plate isn’t as thick and it’s susceptible to flexing and torsion. Bending the center and the edges of the lid is easy and causes distortions on the LCD screen. The same goes for the side bezels. On the contrary, the metal hinges appear to have a firm grip on the lid delivering smooth travel and allow the notebook to be opened with one hand. As for bottom piece of the notebook, it goes with a generic matte black plastic with the usual grills for additional airflow.

The sides are fairly thick measuring at 33 mm but don’t offer all the connectors you’d expect from a high-end 17-inch gaming laptop. Also, the port placement is a bit odd – the majority of I/O is on the right side, which sometimes might get in the way when using an external mouse. Anyway, the left side offers one USB 3.0 connector, and two 3.5 mm jacks for a headset and external microphone. There’s also one of the grills for dispersing the heat. On the right, you will find another two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI, mini DisplayPort, SD card reader, RJ-45 for LAN connection and the DC charging port. We really would have liked half of them transferred to the left along with the DC charging port. Also, the USB-C 3.1 connector is nowhere to be found and misses on the Thunderbolt 3 support as well. It might not be a deal-breaker for most users but since all of Omen’s competitors offer it and the I/O expansion potential of the Thunderbolt standard is huge, we consider it as a big drawback.

Although the interior sports the same visual pattern with the carbon fiber threads, the surface is entirely different to touch. It’s slightly glossy and silky-smooth but doesn’t leave fingerprints visible. What we didn’t expect, however, is that the palm rest area and the upper part of the interior where the speakers are placed is pretty rigid. The same goes for the center of the keyboard, which bends just a little only under great pressure. Speaking of the keyboard, it’s nice for typing because it has a nice clicky feedback to it but doesn’t really deliver in terms of travel. The shallow nature of the keys and the small arrow keys don’t really scream “gaming material”. Unfortunately, the touchpad is even worse – the gliding surface is okay but that’s it. The trackpad wobbles, fails to register gestures from time to time, mouse clicks are stiff, it’s inaccurate and not responsive enough. It just leaves a cheap impression on contrary to the price tag. In fact, we are pretty sure they used the same touchpad as the one in the HP Pavilion series. While it might fit the low-end to mid-range profile of the Pavilions, it just isn’t enough for this expensive gaming machine.

To sum things up, HP Omen 17’s build, input devices and I/O are decent to some extent but not good enough to give it a high score. The base and the hinges are well-built, rigid and appear to be reliable in the long run but the lid is too flexible to our taste. Maybe the fact that only plastic is used for the entire build has taken its toll. Moreover, the keyboard and the touchpad aren’t satisfactory considering the nature of the laptop and its price tag – the touchpad is cheap while the keyboard lacks travel. And finally, the bad port distribution along with the missing USB-C connector supporting Thunderbolt just don’t make a compelling case for the HP Omen 17.

Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options

The notebook has only one service hatch in the middle, which only gives access to the memory. But if you wish to access the cooling system for maintenance or upgrade the storage, you will have to remove the whole bottom piece. It’s relatively easy to do so but mind the silicone caps that are placed on top of the screws. Also, there’s one screw hiding under the service lid.

Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD

As all laptops from this price range, the HP Omen 17 also offers the standard 2.5-inch HDD and an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. The HDD is from HGST with 1TB capacity while the M.2 is a Samsung PM961 drive with 256GB capacity.

SlotUnitUpgrade price
M.2 slot256GB Samsung PM961 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (2280)Upgrade options
2.5-inch HDD/SSDHGST 1TB HDDUpgrade options

RAM

As we said earlier, the RAM chips are easily accessible and can be found under the small service hatch on the bottom. Our laptop came with 2x 8GB DDR4-2400 chips from SK Hynix.

SlotUnitUpgrade price
Slot 18GB SK Hynix DDR4-2400Upgrade options
Slot 28GB SK Hynix DDR4-2400Upgrade options

Other components

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 huge 95Wh battery located under the wrist rest area.

Cooling system

The cooling solution seems pretty solid, despite some inconsistencies we’ve detected during our stress tests. As you can see, the system uses two huge heatsinks and several heat pipes connected to the cooling fans and radiators.

Display quality

HP’s new Omen 17 features an IPS LG Philips LGD046E display with Full HD (1920×1080) resolution in a 17.3-inch diagonal, 127 ppi and 0.1995 x 0.1995 mm pixel pitch. The screen can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 69 cm.

The screen offers comfortable viewing angles from a 45-degree angle.

We were able to record 341 cd/m2 maximum brightness at the center of the screen and 338 cd/m2 average across the surface with just 7% deviation. The color temperature is 6500K, which is the standard D65 white point. On the image below, you will see all these measurements taken at 140 cd/m2 luminance (75% brightness).

The maximum dE2000 color deviation is 2.9 which is good since values above 4.0 are usually unwanted especially when color-sensitive work is involved. And as for the contrast ratio, it’s 1060:1 – typical for IPS panels.

Color reproduction

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 87% of the sRGB color space making it good for multimedia and gaming.

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 = 22 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.

We weren’t able to detect normal PWM but we did notice pulsations with extremely high frequency – 135 kHz. In any case, even users with extra sensitive eyes won’t be able to feel the negative effects of the flickering.

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.

Conclusion

The notebook’s display appears to be a good choice for multimedia consumption and gaming. It has good sRGB coverage, high contrast ratio, high maximum brightness and has virtually no PWM across all brightness levels, which is a great plus to consider when gaming or working in front of the screen for long periods of time. The additional G-Sync feature makes the gaming experience complete with 75Hz refresh rate.

Still, if you want the best possible experience out of this panel, we suggest downloading our custom profiles as they improve the color accuracy, adjust the gamma and black levels. The Health-Guard profile, for instance, reduces the negative blue light emissions while preserving the color accuracy as much as possible.

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 17 (2017) configurations with 17.3″ LG LGD046E (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2selQFE

*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 bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

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

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

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

Sound

The sound quality is okay with enough clarity in the low, mid and high frequencies.

Specs sheet

The current specs sheet refers to this particular model – configurations may differ depending on your region.


CPUIntel Core i7-7700HQ (4-core, 2.80 – 3.80 GHz, 6MB cache)
RAM8GB (1x 8096MB) – DDR4, 2400MHz
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5)
HDD/SSD1TB HDD + 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Display17.3-inch – 1920×1080 (Full HD) IPS, matte
Optical drive
ConnectivityLAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2×2), Bluetooth 4.0
Other features
  • 3x USB 3.0
  • 2x 3.5 mm audio jacks for microphone-in and headphones
  • LAN
  • mini DisplaPort
  • HDMI
  • card reader (SD, MMC, MS)
  • red keyboard LED backlight
Battery95Wh
Thickness33 mm (1.3″)
Weight3.25 kg (7.17 lbs)

Software

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.

Battery

Although the notebook has a huge 95Wh battery, the endurance tests show just about the average performance but this is expected due to the demanding hardware and the missing NVIDIA Optimus support when there is native G-Sync support. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, the Intel Core i7-7700HQ and the 17-inch IPS screen are all energy-sipping piece of hardware and even a 95Wh battery unit can’t keep the system running any longer than this.

As usual, all tests were run with the same settings – Wi-Fi turned on, Windows battery saving feature turned on and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.

Web browsing

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

As expected, not a mind-blowing result – 314 minutes (5 hours and 14 minutes).

Video playback

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

Slightly lower but similar result here – 276 minutes (4 hours and 36 minutes).

Gaming

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 – 93 minutes (1 hour and 33 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/

Fritz

Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i7-6700HQ managed to get 13.445 million moves per second. For comparison, one of the most powerful computers, 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 1070 (8GB GDDR5)

2016-06-02-image-33The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 is the second fastest mobile GPU after the GTX 1080. It’s part of NVIDIA’s Pascal generation of GPUs and unlike previous releases, the company finally closes the gap between mobile and desktop graphics processors and that’s why there’s no “M” in the branding of Pascal GPUs. All thanks to the 16nm TSMC manufacturing process of the GPU, which allows better thermals and overall performance in a smaller form factor. That’s a big technology jump compared to the 28nm Maxwell generation.

Compared to its desktop counterpart, the GTX 1070 doesn’t differ too much. They share an identical number of ROPs (64) and identical memory – 8GB GDDR5 with 256-bit bus clocked at 8000 MHz. However, there’s a minor difference in clock speeds – the laptop GPU ticks at 1443 MHz and can go up to 1645 MHz while the desktop variant is running at 1506 MHz – 1683 MHz. To compensate to some extent, the laptop 1070 carries more CUDA cores (2048 vs 1920) and slightly more TMUs (170 vs 120).

Due to its performance, thermals and power consumption, which is believed to be 10W more than the GTX 980M, the GPU is suitable for large 17-inch laptops with the appropriate cooling solution.

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 we’ve tested with this GPU: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/nvidia-geforce-gtx-1070-8gb-gddr5/

Gaming tests

GTA-V-benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS127 fps74 fps55 fps

Far Cry PrimalFull HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS93 fps85 fps82 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS125 fps71 fps48 fps

Tom Clancy’s The DivisionFull HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS121 fps73 fps30 fps

Temperatures

The two-staged temperature test that we perform isn’t necessarily a good representation of real-life use since the general user won’t be able to reach 100% CPU and 100% GPU load for such long periods of time even if the game is super demanding. However, the stress tests remain as the best way to assess the overall stability and effectiveness of the cooling system in the long run.

We start off with 100% CPU load. As you can see from the graph below, the CPU was able to maintain decent temperatures while utilizing the full performance of the Core i7-7700HQ for four active cores. Nevertheless, we observed some strange behavior. There were significant fluctuations regarding clock speeds – from 3.1 to 3.4 GHz while temperatures of individual cores were largely different. This can be caused by poorly applied thermal paste or bad heatsink design.

When we turned on the GPU stress test, the CPU’s temperatures rose significantly almost reaching 100 degrees Celsius. This also caused the Core i7-7700HQ to throttle a little at 2.4 – 2.6 GHz while the GTx 1070 maintained clock speeds within its base and Turbo Boost range. This comes as a breath of fresh air because the recently tested ASUS ROG Strix GL702VS had problems utilizing the full performance of the very same GPU during the test. It’s always better to prioritize the GPU before the CPU during heavy workloads, especially on a gaming machine. In addition, the GPU’s temperatures were relatively lower than what we are used to seeing in today’s high-end gaming laptops.

Of course, the high inner temperatures resulted in head dispersion across the surface of the keyboard. However, the warm spots were concentrated only in the middle of the keyboard and they weren’t even that hot. This ensures comfortable usage scenario during normal gaming session.

Verdict

Despite some of its drawbacks, the HP Omen 17 (GTX 1070) makes it to our recommendation list as it has some few strong selling points that need to be considered. Unfortunately, build quality, feel and input devices are not one of them. The lid feels flimsy, the keyboard offers short key travel (and it’s not optimized for gaming) and the touchpad appears to be cheaply made. We’ve criticized the ASUS ROG GL702VS for its lack of premium materials but it still came to be sturdy while the same cannot be said about HP’s Omen 17.

Aside from this, however, the laptop carries powerful hardware that can take advantage of the 75Hz Full HD G-Sync-enabled screen, which appears to be pretty good for multimedia consumption as well. It should satisfy the needs of most gamers out there. And it doesn’t have PWM making it safe to use by users with sensitive eyes. Also, battery life isn’t all that bad compared to most 17-inch gaming laptops so this is a plus.

And finally, we would like to address some of the small issues we’ve noticed within the cooling system. Although the laptop did well in our stress tests by utilizing the full performance of the CPU and GPU, we are a bit worried by the big temperature difference in the CPU’s cores and the small throttling during full load. This might just be an isolated incident with our unit due to bad thermal paste application or just a faulty unit. To be fair, though, the CPU’s thermal throttling is minor and will not occur during normal usage and gaming. Moreover, the GPU’s temperatures were relatively low and the same goes for the surface heat dispersion – both suggest of effective and stable cooling solution. This should really be considered, especially when choosing between the HP Omen 17 with GTX 1070 and ASUS’ ROG Strix GL702VS. Still, if you are willing to sacrifice weight and portability, the Acer Predator 17 (GTX 1070) and the slightly older ASUS ROG G752VS are probably more reliable and gaming-capable.

You can see the available configurations and their prices here: http://amzn.to/2radFqv

Pros

  • Fairly portable compared to some competitors
  • Good IPS screen with G-Sync and 75Hz refresh rate
  • The screen doesn’t use PWM across all brightness levels
  • Effective and stable cooling solution (with some small exceptions)
  • Decent battery life for a 17-inch gaming laptop


Cons

  • Flimsy lid and unconvicing choice of materials
  • Cheap touchpad, shallow and not gaming-oriented keyboard
  • No USB-C connector, no Thunderbolt 3 support
  • The cooling fans are a bit loud during load