The HP Omen 15 claims to be the “smallest 15-inch gaming” laptop that costs less than $1,000. Even more interesting is what’s inside: your choice of AMD and Intel CPUs.
Announced Tuesday and available immediately at HP.com and Best Buy, the Omen 15 is true to its size claim, if only because the 15-inch gaming laptops of smaller stature cost more than $1,000. The Omen 15 is trim enough, measuring 14.5 x 9.4 x 0.9 inches. The weight comes in at a reasonable (for a gaming laptop) 5.4 pounds.
The parts inside offer an exciting amount of choice. The Intel versions of the Omen 15 will range from a quad-core Core i5-10300H to a six-core Core i7-10750H CPU. The AMD versions will offer the six-core Ryzen 5-4600H up to an 8-core Ryzen 7 4800H.
The GPU pairings give Intel-based models more of an edge, though. The Ryzen 7 4800H ships with up to a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. The Intel-based Omen 15 matches up with GPUs ranging from GeForce RTX 2060 to GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q GPUs.
Several of the other premium features skew toward Intel, too, including 300Hz and 4K screens, and Thunderbolt 3. AMD laptops will have USB-C, but the ports will not support Thunderbolt 3.
Both laptops feature larger vent openings, a 25 percent larger fan fin size, and overall 62-percent increase in airflow at just 39dBA. HP, in fact, touts this as “desktop-level CPU” performance.
HP also says it is the first company to use an infrared thermopile sensor on the laptop. Most laptops sense heat on a single point where a thermistor is placed. In more advanced uses, multiple temperature points may be measured. HP’s use of a thermopile sensor allows the laptop to sense far more areas of heat on the laptop than before. This, the company claims, can lead to a 13-percent increase in performance in Far Cry 5, a 20-percent bump in Blender, and a 7-percent uptick in Assassin’s Creed.
HP says it used that rich temperature data along with Nvidia’s Dynamic Boost technology to create a new Performance Control in the Omen Command Center to help gamers boost performance. The Performance Control lets the laptop boost CPU and GPU up to 17 percent higher in performance.
Graphic switcher too
One last feature worth pointing out is something the company calls Graphic Switcher. HP officials say switching to Hybrid mode uses the laptop’s integrated graphics core, offering up to 12.5 hours of battery life. Switching to “discrete” means the GPU is fired up for what HP calls “smoother” game play. We don't yet how different this is from competitors that allowed you to switch between using Nvidia’s Optimus or G-Sync, the latter of which requires the GPU to be on at all times.
Nvidia recently introduced Advanced Optimus, which lets a laptop switch between both modes, much like HP’s Graphic Switcher. However, none of the new Omen 15 laptops list G-Sync as a feature. Traditional Optimus laptops supported high-frame rate as well, so it’s not yet clear to us how this mode works.