Omen is the HP’s flagship gaming brand. In the past, its laptops have been based around mid-range components and features, but the HP Omen Transcend 16 feels much more like a premium notebook… with the price tag to match. We’ve seen some highly attractive competitors in recent months, so how does the HP Omen 16 shape up?
Table of Contents
|Screen||16-inch, matte, 240Hz, 2,560 x 1,600, mini-LED, IPS display|
|Processor||3.9-5.4GHz Intel Core i9-13900HX CPU|
|Memory||32GB DDR5-5600 RAM|
|Graphics||8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU|
2 x Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
3.5mm audio jack
|Speakers||Dual Bang & Olufsen|
|Extra Security||Webcam privacy slide|
|Dimensions||357 x 269 x 20mm|
Features, Ergonomics and Design
We can’t lie, our first impression of the new HP Omen Transcend 16 was tinged with disappointment as the mesmerising, alien-goo Omen logo on the front has been replaced with a simple, glossy moniker. It’s happened because of a lack of brand recognition but we really hope it returns one day as it, on its own, insta-transformed the Omen range into some of the coolest laptops around.
Still, the matte black chassis is classy and has sharp and stylish lines while the zoned, RGB keyboard contrasts well against it. It could possibly fit in an office, but the translucent WASD keys would raise some eyebrows.
The 16-inch screen immediately felt a little different to competitors and this comes down to the micro-LED backlighting which seriously enhances contrast and the ability to display true blacks. The latter are not far off OLED performance while the matte screen ditches the glossy reflections which turn OLED displays into black mirrors during dark scenes. It’s also capable of ramping up to a massive 1,180-nit brightness level.
Its UHD, 2,560 x 1,600 resolution keeps everything sharp on a Windows Desktop and colours are vibrant. Multimedia performance was somewhat more complicated.
When we turned on Windows HDR mode, dark content looked better than on any screen we’ve used before: new details became visible, blacks were essentially true black, gradients were smooth and the picture quality was seriously impressive. However, when it came to bright, colourful scenes, the HDR blew-out highlights and washed-out colours so we had to turn it off.
Repeating the tests still made dark content look impressive, but transitions and gradients became more blocky and artefact-riddled – though not nearly as bad as we’ve seen on many other laptop screens. Bright and colourful content looked amazing thanks to very bright, vibrant colours, fine details and excellent contrast which simultaneously revealed objects in bright and dark areas. There was fine banding in some colour transitions, though. Still, it’s one of the top laptop screens on the market. Hopefully, HP can sort out its HDR performance in a future driver update.
Despite the UHD resolution and lighting technology, it also has a speedy 240Hz refresh rate which marries to a fast pixel response time to render fast moving objects very sharply indeed. It’s excellent.
The dual speakers come via Bang & Olufsen, no less. We might have been expecting more considering how impressed we’ve been with their performance on HP’s super-thin ultraportables like the Dragonfly and Foldable 17 recently, but they’re still very good. They get reasonably loud, there’s respectable bass and fidelity is good from top to bottom.
Above the screen is a Full HD webcam (with privacy slide). It captures impressively clear video, even in low light, while the dual-array microphones capture clear audio, even in a noisy environment. So, the HP Omen Transcend 16 is both good for conferencing and streaming.
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The keyboard consists of an impressive convergence of Scrabble-tile and touchtype keys. While the backlighting might not be the brightest, we had no problem identifying the keys. We personally feel that the translucent WASD keys are a fad that we could do without, but the industry seems to love them. Your view may vary. It’s very comfortable and accurate to type and game upon for extended periods. Just note that there’s no number pad – there are full-sized arrow keys and some useful media keys instead.
The trackpad is large, smooth and accurate and its buttons are very well weighted, if a smidge noisy when clicking.
All in all, the HP Omen Transcend 16 is a very good gaming laptop to interact with.
HP Omen Transcend 16 Review: Photo Flourish
Our HP Omen 16 review features a Jolly Rancher jelly ring bought while in San Jose at Intel’s Developer Conference.
Inside the HP Omen Transcend 16 is a powerful 3.9 – 5.4GHz Intel Core i9-13900HX processor which has eight Performance cores and 16 Efficiency cores that operate across 32 threads. It’s backed-up by a generous 32GB of fast DDR5-5600 RAM and a generous 2TB NVMe hard drive.
These combined to score an impressive 8,587 in the PCMark 10 test which apes general computing tasks. It also scored 3,944 and 21,830 in the Cinebench rendering tests (the quick R15 and longer R23 test, respectively) which is also well above average.
3D performance comes via an upper mid-range Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 memory.
In the difficult 3DMark ray-tracing tests, it scored 2918 (average 29.2fps) in Speed Way and 7,325 (average 33.9fps) in Port Royal. These are just about playable but you’ll sometimes have to drop details and resolution in the most eye-candy-rich games.
In the AAA-gaming-title-a-like 3DMark tests, the HP Omen Transcend 16 scored 12,835 (average 76fps) in Time Spy and 13,344 (average 62.4fps) in Fire Strike Extreme illustrating that it will have few problems with most gaming titles.
In the lesser 3DMark Night Raid, which mimics casual and competitive games, the Omen 16 managed 68,545 which is an average framerate of 684fps. This, married with the fast screen, mean competitive shooters can make good use of this gaming laptop.
The cooling system is impressive too. While the fans can ramp up to a quiet whoosh when under load, it remains near-silent most of the rest of the time. That said, they rarely seemed to turn off fully and this seemed to impact upon battery life.
Inside is Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. That’s a decent, cutting-edge complement of connectivity.
Portability and Battery Life
At 2.32KG the HP Omen Transcend 16 isn’t the lightest laptop, but we’ve seen heavier rivals in this category. The (refreshingly) stylish power brick weighs 830g which is smaller than many rivals.
The HP Omen Transcend 16 has a 97Wh battery but it only ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office battery test for a mediocre 5 hours 39 minutes. We suspect that this is because the fan rarely turns off, even when performing low-power tasks. At least it’s virtually silent.
Build quality is generally good. There’s no flex in the solid chassis and the screen remains stiff when a twisting force is applied. However, while the wobbly hinge of its predecessors has been addressed, it’s still not quite perfect. It can fold down flat and support the screen, but it doesn’t feel particularly strong.
Price and Availability
There are some absolute bargain gaming laptop deals around at the moment but the HP Omen Transcend 16 is sticking to its high RRP of $5,499. While we don’t judge laptops’ values by their sale prices, this is still a high RRP for a gaming laptop armed with only 4070 graphics. Ultimately, the HP Omen Transcend 16 is expensive for what you get.
5 Alternatives to the HP Omen Transcend 16
3. Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 – Asus portable gamer has rival power and is also available much cheaper. Read our Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 review.
Conclusion: Should you buy the HP Omen Transcend 16?
We want to say yes because the HP Omen Transcend 16 is a very good gaming laptop. However, it’s also very expensive in a crowded market right now and you can find better value elsewhere. However, we’ll be keeping an eye on price drops as it should be on any gamer’s shortlist once the price comes down.
Poor battery life
Underpowered 3D performance
HP Omen Transcend 16 Scores
The HP Omen Transcend 16 deserves to be on any gamer’s shortlist thanks to the ergonomics, performance and features on offer. However, in a crowded market, it’s not great value at its full retail price, so look for it in a sale.