HP Omen 17 (AN009TX) review: Playing it safe

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Top Features
  • -Sturdy build and good-looking design
  • -Flawless performance
  • -Impressive audio and video

With the proliferation of gaming laptops by companies like Asus, Lenovo, MSI and more, HP too has had to raise its game in the last few months. The company brought its new range of Omen-branded gaming laptops in February this year and since then, has launched several iterations. It seems like the company will be ending 2017 with yet another beefy gaming laptop, the new Omen 17 (17-AN009TX).

Interested customers would have to fork Rs 1,79,990 for this particular piece of machinery. They can buy it from HP’s own online store or from Flipkart. The device comes with some of the beefiest set of specifications and looks like a typical gaming laptop.

We got our hands on the HP OMEN 17 (17-AN009TX) a week ago and since then have been testing some of the heaviest games on it, including Forza Motorsport 7, Call of Duty and more. Should you buy it? Read the review below.

It is worth pointing out that the unit we reviewed came with 32GB RAM, while the one available at the shelves come with up to 16GB RAM support. Rest of the specifications stay the same.

Design and display

If you are familiar with HP’s OMEN lineup then this shouldn’t be an eye-brow raiser for you. The Omen 17 builds on the same design that HP has been carrying ever since the introduction of its dedicated gaming series. Being a gaming laptop, it is bound to be heavy and bulky. The laptop weighs 3.7Kgs, which is on the heavier side when it comes to gaming laptops. However, bulk and brawn are attributes that are associated with most gaming laptops as some even come with dedicated suitcases.

As for the design, you get the Omen logo right at the centre of the lid along with dual-textured patterns with red accents. According to us, the well-conceived design is better looking than others that we find in the market.

On the other side of the logo you get a large 15.6-inch canvas to show all the content. The screen is secured with a good number of bezels from all the four sides. Screens in gaming laptops with visible bezels is nothing new. If you don’t want one, you can surf across HP’s Spectre series.

The backlit full-size island-style keyboard, like seen with other laptops in the Omen family, stays the same. The travelling time of the keys too are slightly more than what is found in the traditional laptops. This won’t take much time to get used to if you are coming from a regular laptop. Gamers, however, may love it given that they use it in a rougher manner than others.

Unless you have an external gaming mouse, you are heavily relying on the touch pad. And from what we have gathered by looking at the entire Omen laptop series, all the laptops in the lineup come with a considerably small touch pad with lesser room for your performing multiple gestures. Given the vast layout, HP could’ve increased the size of touch pad a little.

On both sides of the body you get a bunch of connectivity options, which pretty much fulfill the needs of a typical gamer. You get a USB 3.1 Type-C port, 3 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 1 HDMI, headphone jack, multi-format SD card reader, mini DisplayPort alongside the usual Bluetooth v4.2 and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi combo.

The exhausts are placed strategically right at the screen hinge area, facing outwards. Exhaust grilles are also there on the underside. The two speakers can be found under the laptop alongside the rubber lids.

Being a gamer, one of the factors that is a deal maker or breaker is the display. While using the Omen 17 we found it to be at par with some of the others in the same price bracket. The gaming laptop unit we received had a 17.3-inch anti-glare WLED-backlit full HD (1080×1920 pixels) resolution, which was saturated enough and had that required punch while playing heavy games.

We found the screen bright enough at situations when required and low enough to go easy on the eyes. We do prefer full HD panel over 4K as most of the software don’t support the resolution natively, resulting in tiny appearing fonts and window sizes.

Performance

The performance section doesn’t need much detailing as it is top-notch. The beastly performance is apparent, given the brutish innards the Omen 17 carries. The new gaming laptop packs one of the most powerful processors under the hood, the Intel 7th generation ‘Kaby Lake’ Core i7 processor.

Although we were expecting the company to make the laptop, one of the first to sport Intel 8th generation Core processor, one level down won’t really make a massive difference in the gaming performance. For hardcore gamers, this might be slightly disappointing as HP already has laptops with the Intel 8th gen processor in the market.

Nonetheless, the laptop worked as smooth as silk in our tests. We ran some of the heaviest games on the device including Forza Motorsport 7, Counter Strike and more. This is in addition to working on some video and photo editing software. Shifting from one software to another was effortless and uninterrupted. Browsing on several tabs on Chrome and Firefox Quantum was nothing less than bliss.

For those interested in the GPU prowess of the Omen 17, the laptop boasts of Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU, which has 8GB DDR5 RAM of its own. In general, the device can support up to 16GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB hard drive (7200rpm) and 256GB SSD. For those who want to store data on cloud, they get Dropbox app pre-installed alongside the other web-based competing services.

We did find slight stuttering when playing a few games at 4K resolution with maximum settings. But that is something most users won’t mind, or might not even notice. Most part of stuttering is, however, taken care by Nvidia GPU.

As far as the operating system is concerned, Windows 10 performs just about fine. It comes with its own native features including Windows Hello security tech. Needless to say the UI is really familiar and shouldn’t be a hassle to operate.

You do get some HP’s native apps in the mix such as HP 3D DriveGuard, Audio Switch, Documentation, ePrint, JumpStart, Orbit, Recovery Manager and more to customise the gaming device further.

With the given set of specifications, the HP Omen 17 for now can run majority of the video games that require heavy configurations. We ran the machine through PCMark and 3Dmark tests and found it to score a rather high 24137 and P15 637.

When we reviewed the HP Omen gaming laptop earlier this year, we found it to sport well performing speakers. And nothing seems to have changed with the new laptop. The user-facing Bang & Olufsen powered speakers are louder than what we have come to witness in some of the competitors, making the gaming experience better. This, in addition to a good display, also makes it a competent device for multimedia consumption.

Video chatting is also good with the Omen 17. It has a TrueVision full HD webcam, which is coupled with microphones in case you don’t have headphones around you.

Gaming laptops are not known for their battery life. You don’t get much juice from a powerful machine such as the Omen 17. But you do get enough time to run it for a few hours. In our tests, the laptop ran for 7-8 hours on an average. This, however, is subjective given how you use the device and what or how many apps you run on it. Light users can run it for at least 10-12 hours, while heavy users will find themselves reaching for a plug point roughly after 4 hours. HP claims its new gaming machine can run for up to 12 hours.

Verdict

HP Omen 17 has one of the best gaming device with top-tier specifications you will find in any laptop. However, it is also not the only one in the given price segment. Even with those heavy specs, it is likely to witness a good amount of competition coming from rivals such as Dell, MSI, Acer and more.

The gaming laptop no doubt gives you the best of both worlds — in terms of design and performance. It won’t disappoint you no matter how you use it. It can run the heaviest games and software and has what it takes to deliver a stealthy look.

Competing with it are laptop such as Acer Predator G9-792 that has a similar specification setup but is slightly better looking. MSI also has it’s GE73VR positioned in the same price segment with similar specs and a multi-colour backlit keyboard.

(gadgetsnow.com, https://goo.gl/XSfNLq)

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