HP Omen 16.1 review main

HP Omen 16.1 Review

Omen is HP’s flagship laptop range. It’s available in many SKUs which make use of Intel, AMD and Nvidia hardware. This HP Omen 16.1 is near the top of that range. We were recently disappointed by the recent HP Victus which is a second-tier offering, as despite the fact it offered some good performance at a low price, it had some significant compromises. Hopefully, the HP Omen 16.1 can cut out those compromises, offer even better performance and still keep the price down.

Key specs of the HP Omen 16.1

16-inch, matte, 144Hz, 1920 x 1080, IPS, display; 1.9-4.6GHz Intel Core i7-11800H CPU; 16GB RAM; 1TB HDD; Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics; 83Wh battery; 2.3KG. SKU: 16-b0146TX. Full specs here.

Design and Handling

At a glance the HP Omen 16.1 shares many design characteristics of the Victus. Both have a black chassis with sharp black lines. Both have a distinctive logo on the lid but the Omen’s simple diamond manages to dramatically change colour depending on how the light catches it (and your perspective). We absolutely love it. It will impress people at a LAN and not look to ostentatious in a boardroom.

HP Omen 16.1 lid
I mean, c’mon!

Opening it up provided an element of relief as the hinge is far superior to that of the wobbly Victus. However, it’s still not un-prone to wobbles!

HP Omen 16.1 front
Sharp lines, a decent screen and a great keyboard (and trackpad) help make the Omen attractive.

The keyboard is a comfortable, accurate, touch-type affair with a full number pad. It’s just disappointing to see squished arrow keys. We really like the (individually-lit) RGB backlighting. The trackpad is large, smooth, accurate and has a comfortable, quiet button actuation.

HP Omen 16.1 RGB keyboard
Who doesn’t love RGB?

The HP Omen 16.1’s 16-inch, Full HD, matte, IPS screen has a 144Hz refresh rate and is silky smooth for gaming. The pixel response time is also impressive meaning there’s very little ghosting. Colours are vibrant and chromatic gradients are relatively smooth (although monochromatic gradients get a bit blocky). It’s bright and well-lit and displays a crisp Windows Desktop. Above it is a decent, HD webcam but there’s no Windows Hello log-on.

However, we were saddened to see the same, poor, dual speaker system as the HP Victus. While it offers reasonable fidelity at all levels, it just don’t get loud enough. They’re by Bang & Olufsen for goodness’ sake!

Performance

The HP Omen 16.1 sports an 11th Gen, 1.9-4.6GHz Intel Core i7-11800H processor which utilises eight cores and 16 (Hyper)threads. It’s flanked by 16GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive. These combined to score a reasonable 6744 in PCMark 10 which is about standard for a high performance laptop. It also managed 2119 and 11,941 in the Cinebench rendering tests (R15 and R23 respectively) which is, again, decent.

Graphics are taken care of by an Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU. This managed a respectable 9727 in 3DMark Time Spy which is an average of 60fps. In Fire Strike Extreme it scored 11,902 (55fps) and in the Port Royal ray-tracing test it scored 5867 (27.16fps). Ultimately, it will handle just about everything (except Far Cry 6-like HD textures) that isn’t limited by the 1080p screen’s resolution.

When under a sustained, full load it can make an audible whoosh but it’s not the worst offender by any stretch. The base can get a little warm but the palm rest always remains very cool.

Connectivity of the HP Omen 16.1

On the left.
On the left is an SD card reader, 3.5mm audio jack, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port (with DP 1.4), USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, HDMI 2.1 port, mini DP 1.4 and a Gigabit Ethernet port. This is great, but there may be issues if you’re using many of them at once and your cables have chunky connectors.
On the right.
On the right are two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports. It’s a bit lopsided.

Inside is Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. It’s an impressive complement.

Portability

For a 16-inch laptop the 2.3KG weight is better than we’d expect. The stylish, svelte power supply weighs 780g which is quite light compared to many top-tier rivals. The 6hr 23min battery life is just above average for a gaming laptop. While the hinge still isn’t the strongest and the screen can twist a bit when a force is applied, it should still withstand life on the road.

Underneath
The power brick has, refreshingly, had some design thought gone into it.

Should I buy the HP Omen 16.1?

At $3,299 the performance, features, design and ergonomics on offer represent very good value. There are also very few compromises (unlike some beefier rivals like the Asus ROG Strix G15 which doesn’t have a webcam). Our scores tell us it’s one of the top 5 laptops on the market and, unlike many rivals, there don’t appear to be supply chain issues so availability isn’t a problem. Ultimately, the HP Omen 16.1 is one of the best all-round laptops we’ve tested – and one of the most affordable – and will suit people for almost any requirement. Very impressive!

HP Omen 16.1 Results
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Ergonomics
  • Stability
  • Portability
  • Value
4.2

Summary

A generally impressive flagship high-performance laptop at a very attractive price.

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