Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2016
IMPORTANT NOTE (9/2/2016): HP just announced that it will upgrade its Omen line of laptops. They will get the new GPU NVidia GTX 10 series based on the Pascal technology. UNLESS a buyer is in a hurry, it will pay to wait for the new GPU to be installed on this line of products. The news is pretty fresh, but you might want to "consult" the internet. GTX 10 is a BIG jump compared to the meek GTX 9M series currently installed on the OMEN models.
I will start with the BOTTOM LINE which is what matters the most:
"You get an good machine, I think a reliable one as well, but you are not getting a state of the art laptop. Not even close."
Now I can expand.
RAM: A. Aplenty.. In this day and age 8GB of RAM is considered the new standard. 16GB is probably enough for 99.9% of tasks and 32 GB is even too much. 64GB is absolutely enthusiasts' territory. It is of the "slow" type, but frankly, with all the issue of speed and latency, I am not sure it matters much, if at all. Besides, the bottleneck for this machine is its GPU and that is it.
CPU: A. It is now a pretty common i-7 6700HQ which is good, definitely high-end, but not the top of the line. There are at least two more CPUs in this class that are superior but, frankly, this one is more than enough for most tasks and it is found even on higher-end gaming machines.
GPU: C+. This is what I do not like. The GPUs available are already 1 generation old and they are not even the top of the previous generation of Nvidia GPUs. Someone inside a store asked me if this machine can handle VR (Virtual Reality). NOT A CHANCE!
It has been clearly indicated by the industry that one needs at least a GTX 980 (NOTE: GTX 980 and not GTX 980M! where the M
stands for "mobile" and it has lower performance than the GTX 980 by a fair amount to save on battery and because of the heat that must be dissipated inside the small chassis). As of July 2016, the world has already seen the GTX 10 class. This is a mediocre GTX 9 class GPU, I think that the best they offer is GTX 960M/965M, very average. Whoever claims that this computer can handle any videogame is either not a serious gamer or delusional. In particular at 4K (Ultra-high-definition) even the absolute best laptops (and those cost $4000+!) have problems at handling them. At an HD setting, this machine is ok.. not great, but it is acceptable. You will not get the high fps (frame per second) required for a super smooth game experience.
SDD/HDD: B+. Absolutely get the SSD and in my opinion the 512GB SDD is by far the best option. Or at least get one with some SDD to install your operating system on it. It will make starting the computer much faster and more pleasant. You do not have a choice of the specific SSD type, unfortunately, and you get in fact the slowest of the SSD types, but it is still a step forward vs. having just one HDD. Of course, if most of what you plan to do is to store your pictures, then the HDD (maybe the 2 TB HDD memory) is a fine choice. If you are a gamer then you should know, even without me telling you, that having fast access to your game is important and thus you need as much Solid State Memory as you can afford. They are cheaper than in years past, but still a lot more expensive than the HDD. At least you have some option for SSD.. Trust me on this:: if you can, just get the 512GB SSD and then buy an external HD for storing all your photos and files if the SSD gets too close to full. With SSD it is a good policy to leave at least 10-15% unused. I will not go into the details for this here, but it is not wise to use it up completely.
DISPLAY: A-. The first question is: Do I really need a UHD screen? The practical answer is definitely NO. Should I get one? The answer is perhaps YES. Why do I say this? Well, first of all UHD on small screens and even a 17" screen compared to the TV sets is quite small does not really improve your vision that much. Second, there is little content for Ultra-high-definition available as of yet. Streaming movies in UHD is not really possible yet as there are not many at all and they would use a lot of band and that is going to be another battle between Netflix and the like and the internet providers in the near future. If you plan to keep the laptop for many years, it might be wise to get the UHD display as in the future we might use it more. Right now it is only for show. I have one too, I admit, but I do not get much use out of it, truth be told. Also, there is game and game.. If you play Candy Crush Saga, then even a 10 year old machine would be more than enough. If you are in the most sophisticated action packed and high graphics recent games, then a display is important, But, as I said earlier, hardly anyone has satisfactory game experiences in UHD settings and that is even on way more powerful machine than this. But they give you a good display. Not the top, though. I put an Alienware 17 R3 next to the HP Omen 17 and the image on the Alienware was better.
SOUND: A-/B+... it come with a high-end brand name speakers: none less than Bang & Olufsen. However, keep in mind that the final quality of sound is also a result of the positioning of speakers. I find it good, but not exceptional. And I doubt that at that price for the laptop, B&O went out of their way to put together one of their usual masterpieces. The result is fine, not exceptional.
BATTERY: A.. it is pretty good, but the battery performance depends on the components inside. If you have high end components they use more wattage and the battery drains faster. This last a fair amount of time, but with 17" laptops do not expect to go all day unless you stay away from the internet. And still not all votes are in yet that it will last a full day of work.
KEYBOARD: B+. Fine, but I have typed on better ones.
TRACKPAD: B. I am not liking it that much, but I use a mouse in any case.
PORTS: B. Ports are important and one realizes it when he or she tries to connect devices to the laptop and runs out of them. If you use a mouse and a blue-tooth headset, those already take 2 of your USBs port, for instance. There are sufficient ports as on the Omen 17 one gets 2 USB 3.0 (1 HP USB Boost); 1 HDMI; 1 RJ-45; 1 headphone/microphone combo. To me this is the bare minimum, though.
LOOKS: B+. I like the looks although it is quite boxy and does not have any modern muscle lines that one can see in the traditional gamers' brands like MSI, Asus ROG, Alienware, etc. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and does not have much to do with quality.
VALUE: A-. This is the best overall feature. With $1600 dollars you get their top setting and that is a good value. Unfortunately, the bottle neck is the GPU, the graphics card which is mediocre for today's standards. If they had made availalable at least a NVidia 980M (4GB) I would have given the product a solid 5-star, but the GPU I cannot choose to overlook, it is a bottleneck for an otherwise very good machine.
DO I OWN THIS MACHINE. No.. I gave it as a present to my nephew. So i got to play with it. Needless to say he was hoping that I was going to present him with a machine like mine, but that is not happening unless, I told him, he shows me that he can write some solid programs first. For videogaming he should ask his mom and dad!
IS THERE SOMEONE WHO COULD BE DISAPPOINTED BY THIS MACHINE? Serious videogamers who want the absolute best to play the most demanding games at very high settings. This is not happening here! And those who need to do serious video-editing.
STUDENTS will be very happy as long as they are not high-end gamers, but then those would already know it, anyway. Just saying this in case a good-hearted parents wanted to surprise his/her son/daughter with one of these machines.