Top positive review
Fantastic laptop, great design. One issue.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 29, 2014
The laptop really deserves 4.5 stars; there just isn't an option for this on Amazon's ratings.
--Look and Feel
The Omen has a fresh, great design. It may not be for everyone, but it is certainly different from what's available on the market right now. It is not another Macbook Pro clone, something that is nice to see and something I say as an MBP owner. When the laptop is lying on a desk, for instance, it can sometimes be difficult to tell that it's even a laptop because of the way the top seems to hover above the desk. I literally had one person ask me: what is that? When I explained that it was a laptop, she was very surprised.
The 'Hewlett-Packard' lettering on the lid is very classy and very well done. The construction feels solid and of very high quality. The touchscreen is absolutely gorgeous, and the resolution is great. It saves battery, does not force you to down-scale in games, and saves you from Windows' scaling issues; you will unfortunately find all of these issues with 3k+ resolutions at one time or another. Now, some people prefer the 'retina' or higher resolution displays, and that is perfectly fine. It just seems that 1080p fits the bill on this computer just right, especially considering that it comes with the 860m graphics card.
Speaking of graphics -- the laptop had no problem running Total War Rome II on very high settings. FPS were at about 30; very playable, with AA on.
The laptop is cool to the touch under load. The fans definitely rev up but the laptop is cool. I kept it on my lap without a problem during 2+ hours of the aforementioned game.
The lights are actually pretty fun. They are a bit juvenile, but all in all you get used to them and they become fun. Customizable keyboard colors are great and actually ended up being useful. The problem lies in the inability to turn off the rear vent lights. They glow red, making your laptop look like a jet fighter or an evil being, and they glow increasingly brighter as the fans rev up. This is a problem if you want to use the laptop in meetings or during class and I have no idea why HP did not let us turn off those lights. C'mon HP. The rear vent lights are fun, but sometimes one needs to turn them off for certain situations. Give us that option.
There is no obnoxious lid 'gaming' label as is on the MSI laptops. Huge plus to the Omen. However, there is an obnoxious 'beats' label in the upper-left hand corner of the screen. It's a bit distracting.
The keyboard is either one of the best keyboards I have typed on, or the best. It is as good as the keyboard on the MBP and Lenovo ThinkBooks, the two industry leaders. It's an amazing keyboard, with great key travel, satisfying clicks, etc. It's just a joy to type on.
The customizable keys are useful in certain applications but they do force you to adjust to typing on the Omen; this takes a few days. However, I wish HP included a row, to the right of the arrow keys, of page up, down, home, end keys. This would have made the keyboard more useful. Right now to use these keys, one has to press fn-arrows, something that isn't ideal during long Excel work. Also, what's up with the insert button? Its positioning isn't great.
Gorgeous. Includes touch. I wish more 'gaming' laptops had this or at least offered the option. I realize that many gamers do not need touch screens, but for those of us who use the touch features in Windows and use these gaming laptops for work and school as well as games, the touch feature could (and often does) prove to be useful.
--Idle/Light Load Noise
This is a big one. I am used to my MBP that is silent under idle conditions or even light load, which includes browsing the web, using Word, writing, and some non-macro-heavy Excel work. The Omen, unfortunately, is audible under idle conditions and/or light load. I wish it weren't. The CPU fan spins at what I estimate to be 2700+RPM constantly, creating noise. Some people may be perfectly fine with this and this may be a non-issue. However, in a quiet classroom, the laptop is certainly audible to me and others. This is an unfortunate deal breaker for me. Again, this may be a non-issue for you, and if that is the case you should disregard this section of the review.
--Noise Under Load
Obviously audible, but not overly loud. As expected, really, and comparable to many other laptops. This is fine.
About 4 hours under 'power saver', with brightness at 65%, browsing web, typing, watching YouTube.
The laptop has begun exhibiting a screen flicker issue. While this happens only once in a while, and it is manageable, it is a bit worrisome.
HP did a fantastic job with this computer. It is different from the rest, feels good, looks and feels to be of high quality, and runs great.
If it were not for the sound of the CPU fan at idle, I would have kept this laptop in a heartbeat. The design is great, the lights are fun and useful, the customizable keys are useful, and the total package even makes the inability to turn off the rear vent lights tolerable. However, the CPU fan at idle and light load is just too loud for me, and so I had to return this laptop. Again, if this does not bother you, and you are happy with everything else in this review -- I highly recommend the Omen. It is a very surprising laptop to come from HP, and it is a very, very good machine.