HP has announced its brand new contender for the gaming notebook crown in the form of the Omen, a 15.6-inch touchscreen laptop with solid internals and a premium aluminum build. It may not be the most powerful notebook we’ve seen, but its portable nature and slick looks make it a compelling option.
The new machine offers a quad core Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor and an Nvidia GeForce 860M graphics card in a choice of 2 and 4 GB configurations. It can be fitted with up to 16 GB RAM and offers SSD storage options ranging from 128 to 512 GB.
While solid, those aren’t the most impressive internals we’ve seen in a gaming laptop, with the machine offering GeForce 800M graphics over the newly announced, high-end 970M and 980M GPUs. However, the system measures just 19.9 mm (0.78 in) at its thickest point, and weighs in at 2.1 kg (4.68 lbs). While many all-purpose laptops are thinner, the Omen is one of the thinnest gaming-focused notebooks.
The system’s display matches up to its premium nature, offering 1080p resolution spread out over 15.6-inches. It’s also touch-enabled, meaning you’ll find it that little bit easier to navigate Windows 8.1.
The system has four USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI out port, mini Displayport and includes an Ethernet dongle. All ports are located on the rear of the chassis – a design decision that can prove a little irritating on a productivity machine, but one that makes sense on a gaming-oriented system where you don’t want the mouse tangling with other cables.
As with other gaming notebooks, the Omen is packed with extras. The backlit keyboard has seven customizable color zones, and there are six user-programmable function keys. HP has reportedly worked on key spacing and travel to provide a precise, speedy experience when gaming. The visual customization even extends to the integrated Beats Audio speakers, which have lights that can be set to respond to movie, music and game audio.
The Omen also features some thoughtful cooling tech, with dual fans pulling air in from the bottom of the system and pushing it out the back. Hot air is directed away from the keyboard, with the goal of ensuring a comfortable experience, even during extended play sessions.
The HP Omen is available for order now, with prices starting at US$1,500.
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