The HP Omen 15 (2020) is one of the best value gaming laptops you can buy, flaunting a fantastic Full HD performance despite its low price. It's not the best laptop option if you plan on frequently using it outside of the house due to its hefty weight and so-so battery life, but for stay-at-home gamers, this is one of our top recommendations
- Great value price
- Fantastic Full HD performance
- High refresh rate
- Design has broad appeal
- Fairly heavy
- A bit of screen wobble
- So-so battery life
- Review Price: £1099.99
- 15.6-inch Full HD / 4K IPS
- Up to 300Hz refresh rate
- Up to 10th Gen Intel i7 / Ryzen 7
- Up to Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q
- Up to 32GB DDR4 RAM
- Up to 1TB PCIe SSD
- Dimensions: 358 x 240 x 22.6 mm
- Weight: From 2.4 kg
The HP Omen 15 (2020) is one of the most impressive gaming laptops of the year, embracing a sophisticated design that will appeal to a wide range of gamers and packing enough power to run any AAA game at 1080p.
There are no cutting-edge or unique features here, but HP has nailed the basics while also setting a very consumer-friendly £1099.99 starting price. And with configurations ranging up to a 4K display, 300Hz refresh rate and Nvidia RTX 2070 GPU, there’s plenty of options whatever your budget.
But with the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 raising the bar for gaming laptops in recent months, does the HP Omen 15 (2020) have what it takes to compete?
HP Omen 15 (2020) design – A new diamond cut
Previous iterations of the HP Omen 15 clearly chased the hardcore gaming crowd, with angular edges and grooves found all over. I quite liked the look, but it could understandably be accused of being “too much”.
The new 2020 model does away with all that, opting for a more traditional laptop look. Switching off the RGB lighting on the keyboard and peeling away the GeForce sticker will see the Omen blend in at the office, with your boss none the wiser of this system’s gaming credentials. Yet, despite adopting a more modest approach, the Omen 15 remains a snazzy laptop with a thin bezel and black matte finish.
HP has even abandoned its previous convoluted Omen logo for a more elegant and simple diamond. The lid’s diamond logo shimmers green and blue, alternating depending on the angle viewed. It looks gorgeous, and I can see it appealing to both gamers and non-gamers alike.
A metal chassis ensures the Omen feels like a high-end laptop, proving sturdy enough to withstand a few knocks. The metallic surface does get a little greasy quickly though, with a number of my fingerprints visible after just a few minutes of use.
There’s also a fair bit of screen wobble if you shake the laptop, which makes me concerned about the hinge. And when applying pressure to the corners of the screen, you can bend it back slightly and cause distortion to the display. If you’re careful with the laptop, I don’t think these flaws will prove problematic, but it’s worth being aware of them.
The Omen is unfortunately a rather hefty laptop at 2.36kg, especially when compared to the likes of the 1.69kg Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. It’s still small and light enough to be portable via a rucksack, but you’ll want something a little more manageable if you’re hoping to use it for on-the-go office or university work.
One area I’m really pleased with is the port selection, with USB-C (with Thunderbolt 3), 3x USB-A, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, Ethernet and a headphone/microphone jack all included. There’s even a multi-format SD media card reader here, which is rare these days but very welcome for those who work with cameras.
A Wide Vision 720p HD web camera can also be found nestled in the laptop’s top bezel, a white light indicating when it’s active. Photo and video quality is a little grainy, but more than adequate for meetings with friends, family and colleagues.
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HP Omen 15 (2020) keyboard – A conflict of interest
HP clearly encountered a dilemma when designing the Omen 15 keyboard: should they make the keys clicky or silent? They ended up going with the latter, most likely to allow for use in a work environment without disturbing colleagues. I can see the reasoning there, but it does result in an unsatisfying key press when gaming.
There’s little to no physical indication of actuation with the Omen keyboard either, which sees the laptop lack that crunch when firing a gun or swinging a battle axe. On the plus side, these keys offer plentiful travel and are incredibly quiet, so you’d probably be able to sneak a few rounds of Fortnite without anyone nearby realising.
HP has also snubbed the number pad, freeing up a lot of extra for additional shortcut keys for the OMEN Command Center and calculator. The arrows are also at full size here, which is a relief since rival companies have been controversially squashing them down.
With the extra keyboard space, HP has spread out the keys so there are sizeable gaps between them. I assume this has been done to help prevent gamers accidentally hitting the wrong key in the heat of battle, but I’ve found this design to be awkward for my muscle memory when typing out essays.
The Omen 15 keyboard benefits from RGB lighting, which helps to provide game-ready styling without becoming overbearing. However, the settings in Command Center aren’t quite as flexible as with the likes of Razer and Asus ROG laptops. You can either have the RGB lighting set to static (separated into four zones) or turned off entirely – that’s it. There are no dynamic effects here.
Meanwhile, there’s not much to say about the trackpad. It’s smooth, responsive and large enough for comfortable use. Still, I’d recommend a dedicated mouse for gaming.
HP Omen 15 (2020) screen – Decent display with a wicked refresh rate
The HP Omen features a Full HD display with a 144Hz refresh rate. HP previously said there would also be a 300Hz configuration and a separate 4K option, but they are absent from HP’s online store at the time of review.
For the majority of people though, the 1080p and 144Hz combo (reviewed here) is the perfect combination, offering superb visuals at an affordable price. The presence of Nvidia G-Sync also helps to prevent screen tearing when gaming
The Omen’s screen specs are decent yet unremarkable. At 313 nits, it doesn’t have the brightest display but should be adequate enough unless you’re using it in bright conditions. Contrast is a little disappointing with a 812:1 ratio though, which means colours won’t appear as clear and vibrant as with rival gaming laptops. Still, I had no issue with the display when playing the likes of Valorant, with the orange bursts of fire and cold blue ice attacks looking fantastic.
Meanwhile, the 90% sRGB colour gamut coverage means digital designs (and animated flicks) are presented reasonably accurately. That accuracy doesn’t stretch to photo-realistic content however, which means you should probably look elsewhere if you want this gaming laptop to double up as a photo- or video-editing machine. For Full HD gaming though, the HP Omen 15’s screen is perfectly competent.
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HP Omen 15 (2020) performance – 1080p ray tracing at an affordable price
The HP Omen 15 (2020) is an admirably powerful gaming laptop, seeing specs climb as high as the 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10750H processor and Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card. HP sent me the top-tier configuration so I can see exactly how powerful these specs are.
Despite having such good specs, this specific configuration is available at a very generous £1600, undercutting the RTX 2060 model of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 despite the HP having a superior graphics card.
Our benchmark results showed the Omen 15 outpace the Zephyrus G14 in every test besides CPU multi-core performance. That means the Zephyrus has the advantage for CPU-intensive games such as Total War and Civilization, as well as creative tasks such as video editing, but the Omen reigns supreme for graphics.
|HP Omen 15 2020
|ROG Zephyrus G14
|Geekbench 5 single-core||1272||1211|
|Geekbench 5 multi-core||6428||7828|
|3DMark Time Spy||6982||6129|
This was illustrated further in the game benchmark tests, as the HP Omen 15 saw superior frame-rate results by significant margins, making the most out of that 144Hz refresh rate.
This came as no surprise since the Omen flaunts an RTX 2070, but it’s still remarkable how cheap this configuration is available for. Having an RTX GPU also means you get access to features such as ray tracing and DLSS, which offer a next-gen gloss to compatible titles.
|HP Omen 15 2020
|ROG Zephyrus G14
|Shadow of the
With the Omen 15 proving to be a powerful gaming laptop, HP has had to ensure it doesn’t get too hot. There are vents all over the back and bottom, and while they do a great job of expelling heat, it can still get warm in the middle section of the laptop’s base. When pushing the laptop with Borderlands 3 (set to Performance mode), the fan noise became noticeable but only when the game was paused. The speakers were always loud enough to drown out the fan whirrs.
The HP Omen also sees a spacious 1TB SSD included, featuring speedy read and write speeds at 3431MB/s and 2,793 MB/s respectively. These are very fast scores, and should ensure nippy loading and saving times when using the integrated drive.
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HP Omen 15 (2020) battery – Not for on-the-go gaming
The HP Omen 15 features a Graphics Switcher, allowing you to swap between ‘Discrete’ and ‘Hybrid’ performance. The former will see the discrete graphics card become the main provider of graphical grunt, and so will help tasks such as gaming and creative work excel but reduce the battery life as a consequence.
The ‘Hybrid’ mode allows for the processor’s integrated graphics to help with the workload, and so is best for basic tasks such as video playback and internet browsing where a powerful graphics performance isn’t required. In theory, this should help improve the battery life substantially.
We put this to the test, setting the laptop to ‘Hybrid’ mode and turning the brightness down to 150 nits before running a PCMark 10 battery benchmark test. The Omen 15 saw a battery life of 3 hours and 42 minutes. That’s slightly better than your average gaming laptop, but still lags three hours behind the Zephyrus G14.
By also taking its cumbersome weight in mind, this is a system best kept at home for the most part, and not for on-the-go use.
Should you buy the HP Omen 15 (2020)?
The HP Omen 15 (2020) is a fantastic gaming laptop, with one of the strongest Full HD performances available at such an affordable price. You also get all the important gaming features included, with a high refresh rate, Nvidia G-Sync and an efficient cooling system. It also has a lovely new design, which should appeal to a wider audience than previous iterations.
My only major gripe with the Omen 15 is it’s not very portable, weighing a hefty 2.36kg. And while battery life isn’t bad, there are alternative options that can last far longer. But if you only plan to use the laptop sparingly away from home, those flaws shouldn’t be an issue.
If you’re looking for the best value stay-at-home Full HD gaming laptop with a top-notch performance, the HP Omen 15 is our top recommendation.
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