HP Omen 16 Intel review: A no-frills gaming machine

The HP Omen 16 offers a solid mid-range gaming laptop with an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. But should gamers invest in it? Find out in our review.

HP is having a good year when it comes to laptops. Their latest launches this year, such as the HP Pavilion Plus and the HP Specter x360 2022 edition have received positive feedback. Even the first HP Omen laptop of the year, the HP Omen 16 AMD Edition, got a great review from us (which you should check out if you’re not an Intel fan). However, a positive lineup so far also means that expectations are high and the pressure is on for the HP Omen 16 Intel Edition to deliver.

Since this is a gaming laptop, first looks can often be deceiving and that’s certainly the case with the HP Omen 16. The look out of the box is pretty generic which, although that consistent with all Omen laptops of the past, does not inspire confidence. It lacked the flair of ASUS ROG, MSI, or Acer Nitro laptops. But nonetheless, I was cautiously optimistic.

It’s when you take a look at the specs that you’re really intrigued by this gaming machine. This isn’t a high-end gaming laptop. But for a mid-range option, it has some impressive features. It comes with the 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, 1920 x 1080 display with 144Hz refresh rate, and a big 83Wh battery. And all this at the price of Rs. 149,999. It’s a bargain, at least on paper.

As we always say, real life experience is what matters most. And with that, I dove into the Omen 16 and this is what I found out after using it for about two weeks. Let’s move on to the brass thumbtacks.

HP Omen 16 Design

The laptop has a minimalist design on top. It has a soft plastic construction with a reflective gradient Omen logo in the center. The laptop only comes in one matte black color and it lacks any design, engraving or fancy LED lights on the top. Although I’m not a big fan of it, the minimalist design has its own appeal.

Opening the lid presents a spacious platform with a full keyboard that lights up in the RGB color scheme. It was a welcome inclusion as many other laptops in this price range don’t offer the same. The screen is supported by two hinges that keep it almost in the air. While it does look good, the screen tends to wobble a bit, which can be slightly annoying. The sides have thin bezels but the chin is quite prominent, but that doesn’t really impact the experience due to the large screen size.

Coming to ports, there is no shortage of them. Being a gaming laptop, it offers more ports than you will possibly need. It has three USB Type-A ports, a Thunderbolt USB Type-C port, a MiniDisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.1 port, an RJ-45 LAN port, an SD memory card reader and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Interestingly, Legion 5i, which is priced in the same range, does not come with an SD card slot, which can be a significant requirement for those who use it for creative work.

HP Omen 16 Display

Gaining about 0.5 inches from its predecessor, the HP Omen 16 now measures 16.1 inches and comes with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a refresh rate of 144 Hz. It is a IPS screen but with 300 nits of brightness it is very vibrant and the colors look vibrant. Whether you’re gaming or just watching videos, you’re sure to appreciate the finer details. Viewing angles are quite good due to the anti-glare effect and even wider angles provide a crisp viewing experience.

HP Omen 16 performance

Now, this is the part that intrigued me the most. The HP Omen 16 features an Intel Core i7-12700H processor, which is fine for a mid-range gaming laptop. I’ve largely spent my time playing Spider-Man Remastered, Saints Row 2022, and Valorant and performance has never been an issue. And part of the reason is the accompanying GPU. The laptop is equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM and offers quite a smooth browsing experience.

However, be aware of graphics card and processor limitations. These aren’t high-end specs and if you decide to play Crysis Remastered or Cyberpunk 2077, you’ll need to run them on low to medium settings, especially if you don’t want frame dropouts. I was able to play Spider-Man on medium graphics, but playing it on the highest settings at 1080p slowed framerates a bit and the game felt sluggish. Likewise, playing Valorant at 1920×1080 made it difficult to achieve a consistent 60 FPS. But again, unless leaf and house shadows mean a lot to you, the medium settings won’t affect your overall experience significantly.

For everyday use, HP Omen 16 was a joy to use. It comes with Windows 11 out of the box and everything from productivity tasks to general use is a smooth affair. Since my job involves a lot of typing, I have to put it back to the keyboard. The keys are spacious and large, the travel is substantial, and the feedback makes working a lot of fun.

A minor issue I faced was that the arrow keys felt tiny and stuck compared to all the other keys. It was annoying even during gameplay, especially since I prefer arrows to WASD. Even after two full weeks, I couldn’t get used to it.

The trackpad was large, supported multi-touch, and had a palm rejection feature, which meant there was no chance of accidentally touching should I put my hand on the trackpad.

Finally, the HP Omen 16’s Bang & Olufsen speakers were decent. The audio quality wasn’t out of this world but it did its job. I would still recommend investing in a nice pair of headphones while gaming as the sound isn’t very loud. It works great for watching casual YouTube or social media videos.

HP Omen 16 Battery Life

It might be a little strange to say that the best part of a gaming laptop is its battery performance, but for HP Omen 16 it still holds true. The laptop is backed by an 83 Wh Li-ion battery and it lasts quite a long time. During my regular office work, which included opening multiple tabs on Google Chrome, watching YouTube videos (very rarely), and switching between multiple apps, battery life lasted between 7, 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. This may vary depending on your usage.

During continuous play, I could get up to 3-4 hours of playtime on the device, which is above average. The laptop comes with a 230W AC adapter that takes it from 0 to 100 in just over 2.5 hours.

HP Omen 16 Verdict

When it comes to performance and battery life, it is difficult to pinpoint any flaw in the device. The HP Omen 16 is a no-frills gaming unit and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Yes, I had some minor issues with its design, the arrow key placement, the small gap between the lid and the bridge in the middle, and the lack of a probably higher quality display (2K would be really nice), but It’s important to recognize that this is not a general-purpose laptop, but a gaming device.

And HP has placed all the right components to make it a very efficient gaming machine. If you’re someone who loves gaming but isn’t super competitive and doesn’t mind the looks of the laptop, then this one will give you plenty to be happy about. The laptop costs more than Rs. 1 lakh, but that is because Intel machines are more expensive due to higher performance efficiency and better driver support. So if you can afford it and like the performance, go for it.

However, if you value the look and brightness of your device, you have a few options. The Acer Nitro 5, ROG Strix G17, and MSI Gaming Katana GF66 are a few options to play with.

Product Name

HP Omen 16 Intel Edition

Advantages

  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Choice of ports

The inconvenients

  • Design
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Directional keys

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