HP OMEN 15 2020 Review: Nearly flawless

HP has done a lot of experimenting with its Omen series of laptops, and this year is no exception. While the typical plethora of generational advancements is still present, the new Omen 15 is a very different device from what has come before it. Is the new Omen just a gimmick, or is it a machine deserving of your attention? The solutions are provided in the paragraphs below.

Specifications for the HP Omen 15 2020

HP provided us with the following setup for the review unit:

  • Intel Core i7-10750H processor (6 cores, 12 threads)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM
  • Samsung 1TB NVMe storage
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU
  • Full HD IPS display with a refresh rate of 144Hz

Clearly, HP has created a rather comprehensive setup here, with the GTX 1650Ti serving as the sole exception.

If we disregard the GPU for a moment and read the rest of the specs, we’d believe we were looking at a mainstream gaming laptop with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti, if not an RTX 2060, stated on the box. Regardless, we started working on our suite of tests to see how well this arrangement performs gaming, creative workloads, and, of course, benchmarks.

Performance of the HP Omen 15 2020 Gaming Computer

We booted up our typical suite of games to test the hardware of the HP Omen 15, and there were some really intriguing results.

All of our normal gaming games were tested at 1920×1080 resolution, using the built-in, default High and Medium visual settings.

For the sake of clarification, High refers to the graphic setting one level lower than the highest, while Medium refers to the one level lower than that. Games like Metro Exodus and Doom Eternal have even higher graphic levels, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll go between High and Medium.

As you can see from the chart above, most games maintain frame rates far below 100 fps, preventing them from fully using the 144Hz display.

However, most games go far beyond 60 frames per second, so having that quick refresh rate panel will really improve your gaming experience. What’s interesting is that the Omen 15 with its Nvidia GeForce 1650Ti surpasses the Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502 (Review) with its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti, which we evaluated last year.

Creative Performance of the HP Omen 15 2020

We have render timings from both Adobe Lightroom Classic and Premiere Pro for the makers out there. We’re utilising 500 RAW files from a Nikon D850, which we’re converting into JPG files in batches of 50, 100, and 500. During this period, we record the time it takes the system to finish the work as well as the thermals and CPU core states to check if any throttling is occurring.

We output a normal 4K timeline equipped with effects, transitions, and LUTs into 4K H.264 files for video creators. Our export files are 5 minutes and 20 minutes long, and we record all essential data points surrounding the components and thermals.

We spotted some unusual behaviour here. During the 20-minute 4K video export, the CPU never reaches its stated 5GHz single-core boost or the 4.8GHz Intel Turbo Boost Max Frequency. While there was still thermal headroom during these processes, the power drain seemed to indicate that the CPU was approaching the 45W TDP, particularly when gaming.

Premiere has a habit of aggressively shifting render load between the CPU and GPU, preventing strain on either of these components. Regardless, as seen in the chart below, the Omen 15 completes the render jobs allocated to it at a fairly quick rate.

Benchmark Performance of the HP Omen 15 2020

The HP Omen 15 2020, powered by an Intel Core i7-10750H processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Ti graphics card, performs brilliantly in the 3DMark and PCMark suites of tests.

The system also performs well in Unigine’s Heaven and Valley Superposition benchmarks, especially when compared to earlier machines in the entry level gaming category. The benchmarks for this year’s Omen 15 may be seen below.

Thermal Performance of the HP Omen 15 2020

The thermals are maybe the most significant modification to the new Omen 15 laptop. HP has a reputation for not having the finest thermal solutions in their laptops, but the Omen alters that story.

Our testing was done in 24-28 degree ambient temperature, and the HP Omen 15 never seemed like it could serve as a toaster. Surprisingly, the keyboard stays cold over its whole length and breadth, unlike most other gaming laptops, where the keyboard island may be used to warm up food from the fridge.

The WASD keys had a temperature of 38 degrees, whereas the middle of the keyboard had a temperature of 44 degrees. The hottest element is the speaker grill, which reached temperatures of 50 degrees or more. Finally, the vents in the back were found to be venting air as hot as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. All readings were taken throughout our game testing, which typically lasts 6-8 hours.

The base is still too hot to sit on, but the fact that the remainder of the machine doesn’t have you reaching for an ice pack is a welcome relief. The fact that we did all of our testing with the fan profile set to Auto in the Omen Command Center helped us win the Omen 15 award. Normally, we have to manually tune fan curves to manage thermals, but the command centre handles it automatically and effectively.

While the software is fine, there are two design decisions that clearly assist the Omen 15 retain its cool. The first feature is the huge holes on the bottom lid, which allow the two fans to suck in as much air as possible with as little impediment as possible.

The second is the fin stack, which goes all the way from left to right. Normally, a tiny fin stack would be added to the heat pipes to disperse heat. This fin structure is generally only a few inches long and is located on each side of the heat pipes on the laptop.

Instead, HP has decided to run this fin the entire length of the rear, essentially boosting the heat dissipation area dramatically. As a result, the Omen 15 is able to operate more quietly and coolly.

As we can see from all of our performance tests, the Omen has the power to handle most light to fairly intensive games and can certainly handle full-fledged 4K video projects.

Display Performance of the HP Omen 15 2020

The LG-manufactured 1080p IPS screen on the HP Omen 15 2020 review unit we got features a refresh rate of 144Hz. The panel has an 8-bit colour per channel capability, allowing for accurate and complete sRGB coverage.

The panel is also rather bright, with 310 lux of brightness in the middle while being a touch darker in the corners. While this may appear to be an issue in principle, in practise, whether you’re gaming or viewing a truly dark film, you simply don’t notice this little fluctuation in brightness. The display’s matte coating well controls reflections, and if you’re looking for a laptop to use regularly on the road, the Omen 15’s display will not disappoint.

Storage Performance of the HP Omen 15 2020

Another aspect of the Omen 15 that made us think it was a high-end gaming laptop was its storage options. Our model includes a 1TB Samsung MZVLB1T0HBLR OEM drive with the Phoenix controller from Samsung.

According to the specifications website, the drive has sequential read-write rates of 3500MB/s and 3000MB/s, respectively. Using CrystalDisk Mark 7, we were able to confirm that the drive did, in fact, approach those theoretical speeds. However, it truly showed while we were configuring the laptop with games and benchmarks.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare is now around 180GB in size, and transferring it from our Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD to the Omen’s internal drive resulted in consistent write speeds of 400MB/s for the entirety of the transfer, with no drops in speed.

Normally, SSDs will deplete their quicker SLC cache, resulting in a large but temporary reduction in write performance, however this is not the case here. This means that while Windows will continue to boot up rapidly and games and levels will load swiftly, you won’t notice any lag due to the drive if you’re editing movies directly from the internal drive.

Keyboard, trackpad, and I/O for the HP Omen 15 2020

The HO Omen 15 we’re looking at has a four-zone RGB keyboard. The keyboard is really divided into three independent RGB zones, with the WASD keys receiving their own lighting profile, forming the fourth zone.

The illumination can be adjusted using the Omen Command Center programme, although there are no effects available. The only thing you can change is the colour of the LEDs. It would have been good to have the ability to add lighting effects as well, but you can’t have it all.

You do, however, get a trackpad with precise drivers. HP is renowned for not using Microsoft’s precision drivers for its trackpads on the majority of their laptops, which makes navigating the OS difficult. The Omen 15’s beautiful big matte trackpad supports and responds nicely to motions.

When it comes to ports, you’ll get a normal yet healthy assortment. Two USB 3.0 ports are located on the right, separated from the Display Port and Thunderbolt 3.0 connectors by an exhaust vent. On the left, we have a full-sized SD Card reader, a headphone/microphone connector, a full-sized HDMI port, and another USB 3.0 port.

HP Omen 15 2020 Battery Life Evaluation

When it comes to battery life, the HP Omen 15 2020 with an Intel CPU isn’t the greatest. The laptop provided barely 2 hours and minutes with the Windows power profile set to ‘best battery life.’ This makes logical considering the laptop’s relatively tiny 52Whr battery.

Using the laptop for routine office work results in a somewhat longer battery life of 3 hours and 20 minutes, but honestly, you’ll want to have the power brick for this laptop on hand at all times.

HP Omen 15 2020 Construction and Design

The HP Omen 15 2020 looks nothing like previous Omens. In terms of design, HP has created a laptop that is both sleek and stylish. This is a laptop that may be used in boardroom meetings as well as LAN parties. Except for the Lid, almost other feature of the new Omen 15 is rock solid.

The lid flexes way too much, wobbles, and the hinges do not maintain straight line alignment. That example, if you raise the cover from one corner, you will notice that the entire display is slightly slanted. The display wobbling may be so awful that if you use the laptop in a room with a fan going full blast, the dang thing begins bouncing up and down.

It almost feels like HP started developing this computer from the ground up and ran out of money by the time they got to the lid. As a result, the lid is of outrageously bad quality. Another thing that irritates me is how readily smudges adhere to the body.

Smudges may be seen on the lid, the keyboard island, and even the laptop’s base, so if you have naturally oily fingers or a good moisturising routine, expect to see smudges on this item.

Upgradeability of the HP Omen 15 2020

One of the things I enjoyed best about the HP Omen 15 is how simple it is to use. Simply remove the Philips head screws from the bottom, insert a pry tool, and you’re done. Inside, we find two NVMe slots, one of which is empty, 16GB of DDR4 memory (8GB x 2 sticks), which can be increased to 32GB, and, of course, the battery.

Here we can have a closer look at the heat exchanger that spans the length of the back and establish that it is metal rather than a filler substance. Given that storage and RAM are typically the only upgradeable components of a laptop, HP has done well by including an extra NVMe slot and, of course, keeping to actual SODIMM slots rather than soldering RAM to the motherboard.

Verdict

The package price of the HP Omen 15 2020 is Rs 1,20,999. We just cannot suggest a gaming laptop with an entry-level GPU at this pricing.

You are unquestionably paying a premium for the Omen brand name. However, if it can be purchased at a lower price, you should absolutely have a look at it. It does have all of the necessary components, such as a strong CPU, lots of (upgradable) RAM, and a super-fast, huge capacity NVMe SSD with room for expansion. The display is ideal for editing, gaming, and watching movies, among other things.

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