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HP Omen Transcend 16 vs MacBook Pro (2023): Which laptop is better?

HP recently announced its shiny new addition to its Omen line – the Omen Transcend 16. In a sea of Windows rivals attempting to create their own MacBook Pro, the new HP looks like carefully considered competition. Let’s compare the two based on what we know now.

This year has already seen the reveal of the Lenovo Yoga Pro 9i (2023) and Samsung’s Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, with both devices setting their sights on Apple’s most powerful laptop. However, these devices look more like a straightforward attempt to create a “Windows MacBook Pro”, and what manufacturer wouldn’t want a slice of that pie?

The problem is that Apple has certain advantages that Windows laptops do not, with a lot owing to its latest M2 Pro and M2 Ultra chips. In some key areas, these Windows devices just can’t compete. Enter the HP Omen Transcend 16. Rather than create a machine without a clear identity, HP is setting its stall out by using the “Omen” name – with an added twist. A gaming laptop with an extra dose of quality.

We’ll have to wait to give our final verdict on this matchup until we’ve tested the HP Omen Transcend 16 but, based on what we know of the laptop now and our MacBook Pro testing, here’s how they match up.

MacBook Pro has immense portable power

One of the areas where Windows laptops simply can’t compete with the MacBook Pro right now is its performance on the go. If you remove the power cable from a Windows machine, there’s a dramatic dip in performance. Not so with the MacBook Pro which offers nigh-on identical capabilities on and off power. It’s a truly wondrous feature that is ideal for those wanting to do demanding work when out and about – travelling and the like.

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Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The HP Omen Transcend 16 looks to be a powerful device in its own right, with some of the top chips from Intel and Nvidia onboard. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely the performance it can offer away from a plug will come close to what Apple achieves.

The Omen Transcend 16 should be a gaming titan

The HP Omen Transcend 16 will sport up to an Intel Core i9-13900HX processor and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 chip. There’s also up to 32 GB DDR5 RAM and up to 2 TB SSD storage onboard.

The graphics may not be the very best you can get in a laptop right now, but it’s still very much on the high-end of things. Keeping things slightly pulled back from ultimate gaming power might be a sensible move too when it comes to price, battery life and thermals.

This is the big advantage that this machine will have over the MacBook Pro and why it’s smart for HP to base this device’s marketing on the Omen range. MacBook laptops can still not compete on the gaming front. Apple’s latest machines may perform surprisingly well on the games it can run but it’s the limited selection, along with some performance limits, that make the HP the easy winner for gamers.

Apple has top-drawer battery life on its side

The MacBook Pro offers stunning battery life, both for immensely long-lasting productivity workdays and when pushed with higher-intensity tasks.

In our review of the 14-inch M2 Pro model, we found that the machine could comfortably get to the end of the day with around 30-40% left in the tank – battery anxiety be gone. Only GPU-intensive tasks required that our reviewer even needed to bring a charger into the office on a daily basis.

Apple claims it’ll offer up to 18 hours of video playback. In our recreating of this test, the MacBook Pro actually exceeded this, hitting over 19 hours. Windows laptops, especially with powerful components like what the HP Omen Transcend 16 is set to offer, simply can’t compete with this. But, we’ll see if HP’s new machine exceeds our expectations come review time.

Mini LED displays could be evenly matched

These devices have specs sheets that look very different, due to differing approaches on the components front. The designs also have separate approaches, from Apple’s rounded yet boxy look with metallic hues versus HP’s white or black options. But, one thing could be more comparable when you look at these machines switched on – the Mini LED panels.

We loved the display of the MacBook Pro, with the Mini LED screen offering extremely bright, detailed and colour-rich images. The panel isn’t as in your face as an OLED but it excels for HDR content.

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

We’ll have to see the HP Omen Transcend 16 display ourselves before getting into deep comparisons but, on the spec sheet, it looks like Apple may have the slight edge despite the same technology being used.

Apple’s 14-inch panel offers up a 3456 x 2234 resolution compared with 2560 x 1600 on the HP. HP’s peak brightness comes in at 1180 nits up against 1,600 on the MacBook Pro.

But, true to its gaming roots, the Omen Transcend 16 does have Apple beaten on refresh rate – at 240Hz and 120Hz respectively.

HP offers greater versatility

MacBook Pro rivals have a habit of not putting enough emphasis on the biggest advantage that Windows laptops have over Apple. We’ve touched on it already, and that’s gaming.

But, as well as making sure to champion gaming capabilities as much as possible, it is worth highlighting what these higher-powered Windows devices can do alongside games.

The HP Omen Transcend 16 looks well-equipped to handle the creative work that many editors and designers are looking for when they pick up their MacBook Pro. It’s got a display with strong specs, the graphical power to back that up and a stylish yet bold look that won’t have you looking out of place at the office.

HP’s new device should be able to seamlessly transition from one of your needs to another. Whether that’s a day of productivity, a long gaming session or intensive editing work.

The MacBook Pro offers versatility across different creative workloads but the broader offerings from the Windows ecosystem, like gaming, should see the HP win out here.

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