HP Omen 17 review

HP Omen 17 review

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen an HP Omen gaming laptop and too long since we’ve been mesmerised by the lovesome logo on the lid. However, the previous model offered great value in the mid-range while this model is wearing old technology in a market of cutting edge rivals. However, could that mean it offers great gaming performance at an amazing price? Let’s find out in our HP Omen 17 review.

Table of Contents

Specs

Screen17.1-inch, matte, 165Hz, 300-nit, 2,560 x 1,440, IPS display
Processor2.3-4.6GHz Intel i7-11800H CPU
Memory32GB DDR4-3200 RAM
Graphics16GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
Hard drive1TB
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5
Gigabit Ethernet
3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
Mini DisplayPort
HDMI 2.1
Thunderbolt 4
3.5mm audio jack
SD Card reader
SpeakersDual
Extra SecurityN/A
WebcamHD
Battery83Wh
Dimensions398 x 262 x 27mm
Weight2.92KG
SKU525U2PA
Full specs, here.

Features, Ergonomics and Design

The HP Omen 17 is a matte black box with sharp lines and (very) sharp corners. It’s understated but cool but… well… there’s just one other thing… it’s got the best logo of anything ever. If this was on a Bugatti, people would rave about it. We’ve no idea what it’s made from – it could be alien goo – but it looks different in every type of lighting and we could look at it forever. Awesome.

HP Omen 17 review front
The HP Omen 17 takes design cues from the Stanley Kubrick & Spinal Tap school of art – it can be none more black (except for the lights).

Opening it up reveals the 17.1-inch, matte screen and mechanical RGB keyboard. The former is surrounded by quite a thick bezel, but it still looks huge. The keyboard has an odd configuration that takes a little getting used to, but it’s mechanical, well-spaced and looks great with its per-key RGB backlighting contrasting nicely with the black chassis (even if it’s tricky to actually see the black-on-black keys in low light).

Our only gripe is (as with its 16.1-inch Omen predecessor) the wobbly screen. You only need to knock the laptop lightly and the screen will wobble. It’s not diabolical but it’s enough to be very annoying during web-conferencing and streaming. You won’t want to jab the chassis’ corners either as they could do you an injury.

The 17.1-inch matte screen gets reasonably bright despite it’s modest 300-nit rating. It has a UHD, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution which renders a crisp and clear Windows Desktop. Colours are reasonably vibrant and this extends into multimedia performance. There’s some light banding in colour gradients which worsens a little in monochromatic transitions, but we’ve seen worse on other gaming laptops.

HP Omen 17 review backlight bleed
For those who get finickity about a screen’s back-light bleed, the HP Omen 17 has some.

There’s a 165Hz refresh rate which melds with a quick pixel response time to keep fast-and-frantic moving objects looking reasonably sharp. Contrast is decent with details being retained in dark areas (preventing enemies jumping out of shadows) although some details get lost in very bright areas. It’s generally a good gaming display, but don’t expect true-blacks to come anywhere close to OLED (or even the best IPS performers).

The Dual Bang & Olufsen-tuned speakers aren’t bad, but they don’t live up to the B&O promise. They get loud and there’s some respectable bass. However, while fidelity at the top and bottom end are reasonable, the mid-range lacks body and music sounds somewhat hollow. We’ve heard worse, but we’ve been hearing better quality from much-thinner laptops lately – including the super-thin Surface Pro 9.

The mechanical, Scrabble-tile keyboard has a slightly odd layout but we were immediately impressed with it. Each key-press comes with a soft, satisfying click. It feels very comfortable and accurate to type and game upon. It’s not noisy but it might annoy colleagues or friends in a quiet room. There are programmable gaming keys to the left and shortcut keys and Fn-shortcuts spread all around. There are full-sized arrow keys in the bottom right corner but no number pad. It takes a little time to routinely hit your intended key but, after a short while, it all feels very natural.

HP Omen 17 review keyboard
The HP Omen 17’s mechanical keyboard is great for typing and gaming. It doesn’t make an annoying noise, either. Our main gripe is the wobbly hinges which don’t stabilise the screen well enough.

The trackpad is smooth and accurate and its buttons have a smooth actuation level.

Above the screen is an HD webcam which provides high-quality video, even in low light (where it doesn’t get overly grainy). It doesn’t work with Windows Hello, though. The dual-array microphone does a great job of recording clear audio in a noisy environment.

All in all, other than the wobbly hinge, it generally feels like a high-quality gaming laptop.

Performance

HP is still selling off a backlog of old stock which is why we haven’t seen its latest, 13th-Gen gaming laptops yet. While we’ve seen plenty of 12th-Gen laptops lately, this HP Omen 17 has an 11th-Gen, 2.3 – 4.6GHz Intel i7-11800H processor. It’s getting on a bit, but it’s far from obsolete. We were keen to see how it performed in our current tests. It’s got eight old-school cores (and 16 threads) but no newfangled Performance or Efficiency cores. Would this make a difference? It’s backed-up by an generous 32GB of older DDR4-3200 RAM and a fast 1TB NVMe hard drive.

2D Performance

In the general-computing PCMark 10 benchmark, the HP Omen 17 scored a respectable 7,032 which is comparable with a top-tier, 12th-Gen MSI Raider but almost 15 per cent behind a 13th-Gen equivalent.

In the Cinebench processor rendering tests it scored 2,037 in the drag-race R15 benchmark and 12,625 in the longer R23. It’s quick but just over one-third slower than its 13th-Gen updated rivals, like the ‘budget’ gaming laptop like the MSI Pulse 17.

3D Performance

3D performance comes via an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM). In the difficult 3DMark ray-tracing tests, the HP Omen 17 scored 7,758 (average 35.9fps) in Port Royal and 3,233 (average 32.3fps) in Speed Way which are both impressive scores that resemble a current-gen 4070.

In the 3DMark Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme tests which ape AAA-gaming titles, the Omen scored 12,003 (average 75.5fps) and 14,464 (average 68fps) respectively. These are still great scores and demonstrate the HP Omen 17 can still happily play the latest and greatest games.

In the casual-gaming 3DMark Night Raid test, the Omen scored 55,531 (average 617fps). So, there are no issues here.

In the older CS:GO test, which stresses the whole system, the HP Omen 17 averaged 383fps which dropped to 75fps in the toughest one per cent of frames (1% Low test). This demonstrates that pro gamers can make good use of this gaming laptop.

The cooling system is still relatively impressive for an 11th-Gen laptop. The fans might run at a low whoosh for minor workloads but it’s not noisy or distracting. When under load, the whoosh becomes more robust but it doesn’t sound like it wants to take off – unlike some other modern gaming laptops.

Connectivity and Ports

HP Omen 17 review left
On the left is Gigabit Ethernet, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, a Mini DisplayPort, HDMI 2.1, a Thunderbolt 4 port, a 3.5mm audio jack and an SD Card reader.
HP Omen 17 review right
On the right are two more USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports.

Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 wireless connectivity. These aren’t (all) the latest and greatest ports, but it’s an impressive complement and few will feel limited by them.

Portability and Battery Life

The HP Omen 17 feels very solid and should survive life on the road. The lid offers minimal flex when twisted and it’s solid enough to protect the screen from quasi-serious bumps.

HP Omen 17 review underneath and PSU
The HP Omen 17’s PSU is bigger than some laptops but…

The 83Wh battery ran the PCMark 10 Modern Office battery test for a respectable 7 hours and 1 minute. That’s almost a day out of the office but, naturally, you can’t game for very long on it.

HP Omen 17 review power brick
… it’s not the biggest PSU we’ve seen and even its logo can catch the light in pleasing ways.

It’s not light at 2.92KG and the unusual, slab-like power supply, while thin, adds another 1.27KG to the bulk. It’s the opposite of ultraportable.

Price and Availability

Our HP Omen 17 review sample costs $4,359 which is what we’d expect from a current, mid-range gaming laptop. Retail models come with an updated Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU which is a little faster. Still, you can get better performance from a cheaper budget gaming laptop like the (currently $2,499) MSI Pulse 17. Nonetheless, the better ergonomics on offer here mean it’s the HP Omen 17 could still be a better buy to some. There’s no getting away from the fact that, though, that this is an expensive gaming laptop considering it uses older-than-last-gen components.

5 Alternatives to the HP Omen 17

Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 review – Asus 17-inch behemoth might be a grand more, but it’s dramatically more powerful and packed full of great ergonomics and features.

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i review – It’s an inch smaller, but this near-perfect gaming laptop can be found for even less money in the sales.

Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (Gen 8) review – Lenovo’s second-tier gaming laptop is better than most rivals’ flagship models. It’s usually cheaper but still very powerful with great ergonomics.

MSI Pulse 17 review – MSI’s ‘budget’ gaming laptop rivals the performance of the HP Omen 17 with newer components. It’s cheaper, but it doesn’t have the Omen’s quality.

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE review – It’s an inch smaller (and less money), but the newer Acer Triton is worth looking at if you want a gaming laptop that can hide in an office.

Conclusion: Should you buy the HP Omen 17?

The HP Omen 17 utilises older technology, but it’s good technology and it remains relevant in the modern world. However, we would expect it to come in at a discount and it doesn’t… you can still buy superior, current-generation gaming laptops for less money – especially in the frequent sales.

Still, if you like the mechanical keyboard, the looks and the epic lid logo, it can still be an attractive purchase. But, we’d really like to see a 13th-Gen version sooner rather than later.

Pros

Mechanical keyboard
Good performance
Looks good

Cons

Older-gen components
Mediocre portability
Expensive

Results

HP Omen 17 Scores
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Features, Ergonomics & Design
  • Stability
  • Portability
  • Value
3.9

Summary

The HP Omen 17 is still being sold with an older set of components but there’s still much to like. If you can find it at a good price, you’ll end up with a good gaming laptop.

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