(Pocket-lint) – The HP Omen 16 is part of a laptop trend, even miserable old sos and sos like us can get on board. It’s a powerful gaming PC – but one that doesn’t look too much like it.
That’s part of why Razer’s laptops caught our attention years ago. The concept of “style” did not start and ended with the creation of the laptop equivalent of a Lamborghini.
As such, the HP Omen 16 has become a gaming equivalent of the great HP Envy 13. It’s a reasonably priced performance laptop that looks pretty good and has broad appeal.
- Dimensions: 369.2 x 248 x 23 mm / Weight: 2.25 kg
- Mica Silver Aluminum Keyboard Frame
Only two design cues make the HP Omen 16 a gaming laptop. And the first is something you can ‘fix’, if you want: its RGB-lit keyboard and the colorful diamond on the cover. Even it looks more like jewelry than a classic player motif.
Older Omens were some of the most striking gaming laptops, with an odd tapered portion below the screen. But these days, HP seems to have made a concerted effort to make the entire lineup pretty, well, “normal.”
We welcome that because there are still plenty of Acer and Asus laptops that are more overtly gamer if you want the most eye-catching stuff.
HP’s quality is also solid. The Omen 16 keyboard plate is stiff, likely aided by the use of an aluminum keyboard surround. Its lid and underside appear to be plastic, but the design has a nice consistency that means you’ll probably forget about it in a day or two anyway.
It’s a bit heavy for everyday laptop use with 2.25kg, but it’s not a monster.
- 16.1 inch IPS LCD display
- 2560 x 1440 resolution
- 165Hz refresh rate
- 300 nits of brightness
- 1257: 1 contrast
The HP Omen 16 has a screen similar to its main rival, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro. It is a 16.1 inch matte finish IPS LCD display with 165Hz refresh rate and 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution.
These last two factors are great for gaming. You get increased sharpness from 1080p, while at 165Hz the reproduction of fast movements on this screen is reassuring and without blurring.
It’s not an ultra-wide color display and the brightness isn’t too special at 300 nits. But each is easily good enough for a home gaming PC. Contrast is also very good for an LCD screen.
There is however a small problem with our HP Omen 16. It has a clear backlight spot, making the panel appear to have been pinched in a corner, causing slight structural damage.
Therefore, it’s not a flagship display across the board, but we like the 1440p resolution, size, and overall picture quality.
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Keyboard and touchpad
- 4-zone RGB lighting
- Anti-ghost technology
- Multipoint plastic touchpad
The HP Omen 16 has a fairly classic chiclet keyboard with membrane keys. Key action is good among laptops in general, but some of the higher end gaming designs have deeper action keys.
However, they feel light and fast, which isn’t a bad style for a gaming laptop.
There is also RGB backlighting, but not the most desirable per-key type. Instead, there are four areas you can set independently, including a smaller one for the WSAD buttons. Color intensity and maximum brightness are not as good as a per-key system.
It’s no big surprise when the HP Omen 16 is a somewhat profitable laptop. Its big rival, the Lenovo Legion 5, has no RGB backlighting at all, just monochrome.
There are similar compromises in the touchpad. At first glance, it looks great – it’s a good size for a gaming laptop and looks out of the room. However, it has a plastic surface rather than textured glass.
As such, the clicker also doesn’t have the refined feel of a lifestyle laptop like the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4. However, let’s face it: HP shouldn’t be spending a large chunk of the Omen 16 budget on. a sophisticated touchpad, and it isn’t. This pad is perfectly decent, and there is no annoying dead zone for the clicker. It just gets a little stiffer at the top.
- AMD Radeon RX 6600M 8 GB
- AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor
- 512 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM
The HP Omen 16 is great for 1080p gaming with new titles. However, our Omen 16 review has an AMD Radeon RX 6600M GPU, which is not as well equipped as its rival Nvidia RTX 3060. It can handle ray tracing better and supports the fabulous scaling feature. DLSS from Nvidia.
Nevertheless, the performance is solid. Remedy Entertainment’s control offers a good view of what to expect from the laptop. Play it at 1080p resolution, with high settings, and you’ll see frame rates between 50s and 60fps. Want to use native 1440p? You will need to endure frames per second in the middle of 30 or 40 seconds if you reduce graphics to medium settings.
So what is the 1440p screen for? There are plenty of games out there that will perform flawlessly at the display’s native resolution – and 60fps.
At the moment, however, we favor the rival RTX 3060 slightly when working with that kind of budget. It’s much better equipped for ray tracing – you can’t even enable it in Control at the time of the exam – although at this GPU level you will often be better off without ray tracing.
The AMD RX 6600M also lacks DLSS (an Nvidia technology), which allows you to render games at a lower resolution and scale them to your display’s native resolution, with great results. AMD has its own version, Fidelity FX Super Resolution, but it’s not as powerful.
Still, if you want Nvidia cheats, you can have them. There is an Intel / Nvidia version of the Omen 16 which costs more and uses the Intel Core i7-11800H processor, with an RTX 3060 GPU. However, at this point you are head-to-head with the Lenovo Legion. 5 Pro, which we like a little more.
We’re also quite impressed with the heat handling of the HP Omen 16. It’s not a super thick laptop, and choosing to use an aluminum keyboard plate causes the small grille above to heat up noticeably. keyboard after a while.
However, we’re not talking about the high temperatures you might see in an ultra-thin gaming laptop like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. Its reasonably large diameter fans keep heat away from internal components before it gets too glaring, and they do so without any annoying high-pitched sounds. We heard the Omen 16 shift into high gear after about 15 minutes of playing, but given that it started from a very low noise base, we weren’t complaining.
Battery life and connectivity
- 83Wh battery
- Stereo speakers
- 10 Gbps USB-C
A gaming laptop doesn’t necessarily need incredible battery life. But one like this – which can easily double as a productivity all-rounder – could really do the trick. The Omen 16 starts off from a good place, as it has an AMD Ryzen processor, which generally allows a laptop to last longer without a load than Intel equivalents.
If you’re just doing light work on the HP Omen 16, we’ve found it to last four hours and 20 minutes. Not great. However, in our estimation, it should do better than that. We then turned on battery saver mode, started streaming video, and then it went on for five hours and 50 minutes. Much better.
You should see similar longevity if you keep the screen brightness modest, don’t do anything taxing, and stay in battery saver mode. It’s a bit better than the managed Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, at around 50 minutes.
And the rest? The HP Omen 16 has OK speakers. Their tone is good and the maximum volume is acceptable, but as with almost all gaming laptops, there is no real bass here, just a mid-size sample.
The connections are pretty comprehensive, however. You get three classic USB-A 3.0 ports, a USB-C, an Ethernet connector, DisplayPort, and an SD slot.
The HP Omen 16’s HDMI is 2.1 compliant, but USB-C does not have Thunderbolt. This is a slower 10 Gbps connection. The upgraded Intel / Nvidia version features Thunderbolt 4, which is not surprising since the connector standard was designed by Intel in collaboration with Apple.
The HP Omen 16 is a versatile gaming laptop. It has a pleasantly understated design, but the backlighting of the 4-zone RGB keyboard can provide a bit of color whenever you want. The aluminum keyboard plate also gives it the flavor of a slim and light style laptop, although the Omen isn’t particularly thin or light.
Its keyboard is solid, the touchpad respectable, although plastic. Performance is fine for 1080p gaming, while AMD’s scaling technology lets you upgrade to 1440p in titles that support it.
We think the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro series has a slight edge over the HP Omen 16, but not a huge one. As always when buying a gaming laptop, your choice should be guided by the deals available when you first buy.
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
A smart alternative for a similar price.
Written by Andrew Williams.