HP made a comeback with its refreshed Omen gaming laptop line last year, and now the company is updating the model with the most ubiquitous size ahead of E3. The HP Omen 15 notebook will have a slightly new look going forward, along with support for the latest Intel processors and Nvidia’s GTX 1070 with Max-Q graphics card.
We only got to see a few pre-production units of the new Omen 15, and the design changes are subtle. It still sports a matte black plastic chassis with glowing red accents and the Omen logo predominantly displayed in the middle of the lid. However, now it has an aluminum keyboard area, giving it a more luxurious feel, and much smaller bezels surrounding the 15-inch display.
Display bezels, particularly on gaming laptops, can pull you out of the experience with their chunky size. So HP wanted to reduce their footprint as much as possible to improve the immersive experience most seek out of any gaming device. When compared to last year’s Omen 15 laptop, you can immediately see the difference in the new model’s display, which feels significantly bigger thanks to the bezel reduction.
HP managed to shrink not only the bezels but the overall size of the laptop as well. The new Omen 15 is 7.4 percent smaller in width and 4.6 percent smaller in depth, which may not be a drastic difference, but it shows that HP is trying to make its gaming laptops more portable, svelte, and stylish. The Omen family will likely always have the traditional gamer aesthetic, but inching it more toward the Spectre family through thoughtful editing (without sacrificing performance, of course) can’t hurt. Inside the device are dual fans that have been repositioned at the corners of the chassis, and they’re complimented by additional bottom venting. This new structure allows hot air to exhaust out the back of the machine for more efficient cooling.
But some gamers want to push their machines to the limit, and for those users HP added a new feature in the Omen Command Center. This program already lets users control many parts of their machine, down to keyboard shortcuts and lighting. But now it will also let users ramp up fan speed to boost CPU and GPU performance for a bit longer than usual with the new Performance Mode. You’ll likely have to deal with higher temperatures and more noise from the Omen’s fans when you do this, but it’s another option for gamers and power-users who need an extra performance boost on occasion.
The new Omen 15 is one of the first devices to ship with Omen Game Stream pre-installed. This program, introduced around CES this year, lets users turn their Omen devices into game hubs to stream games to another machine. With the Omen 15’s new Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds, users can play games on a big-screen TV in their living rooms by streaming it from the Omen 15 in their office.
The new notebook also addresses the previous model’s lackluster 4K gaming abilities—it’ll now support 4K gaming at 60Hz, in addition to 1080p gaming at 60Hz and 144Hz. Users can opt for an Nvidia G-Sync panel if they wish as well. HP upped the graphics limits of the Omen 15, too, which now supports Nvidia GTX 1070 with Max-Q, in addition to 8th-gen Intel quad- and hexa-core processors, up to 32GB of RAM, and HDD, SDD, combo, and Optane storage options. Those who want to update the machine as years go by will be able to access the hard drive, SSD, and RAM through a single panel.
HP also announced a slew of new gaming accessories that are compatible with its family of Omen machines. The new Sequencer Keyboard is, what HP calls, an optical mechanical switch keyboard due to its light bars that register each key stroke faster than a typical mechanical keyboard can while retaining the tactile feel that most mechanical keyboard lovers require. Also sporting optical mechanical sensors is the new Reactor Mouse, which has better ergonomic adjustability than HP’s previous gaming mouse in addition to a 16,000 DPI sensor, a quick DPI toggle, seven dedicated buttons, and an adjustable palm rest.
The most peculiar accessory HP introduced is the Mindframe Headset, a gaming headset with internal cooling technology. HP made it as an offshoot of its existing gaming headset, which customers reportedly enjoyed but said could get too hot when they wore it. Inside each cuff is active cooling technology that transfers hot air out while also cooling the inner portions of each cuff.
The Mindframe Headset doesn’t have a release date or price yet, but the new HP Omen 15 will be available on July 29, 2018, starting at $979. HP’s Sequencer Keyboard costs $179, and the Reactor Mouse costs $79. Both will be available in July as well.