HP on Thursday announced a new family of OMEN gaming products, including new laptop and desktop PC and display models. Each is expected to ship this summer.
“Many people think that most gaming occurs on phones, tablets, or consoles, but that’s not true,” HP’s Mike Nash told me during a recent briefing. “Gaming is mostly PCs. Mostly HP PCs, as it turns out.”
Today, HP sees gaming PCs as a growth opportunity, alongside its premium PC offerings, in a market that is otherwise shrinking. And to better tackle this opportunity, it now feels that a family of products is the right play. Pardon the pun.
Granted, HP has long offered different gaming PC choices. A few years back, for example, the firm shipped a well-received OMEN gaming laptop based on Windows 8.1, and it also offered gaming PCs through its Envy Phoenix and even Pavilion lines. But it is now avoiding the confusion caused by all these brands, and is consolidating its gaming PCs under the OMEN brand.
There are three main choices: Two OMEN laptops, one of which is essentially a follow-up to that original OMEN gaming laptop, and a desktop PC. Plus an OMEN-branded gaming display that is based on the HP display I bought a few months back. HP says it will follow up these entry-level and mid-range choices with new higher-end models later in the year as well.
The new OMEN gaming laptops are offered in two sizes—15.6- and 17.3-inches—and both can be configured with a variety of options, including 1080p (Full HD) or 4K IPS display panels, 6th generation Intel Core processors up to i7, NVIDIA GTX graphics up to 965M, RAM to 16 GB, and 512 GB of PCI-E SSD, 2 TB of HDD, or dual storage with both 128 GB SSD and 4 TB HDD.
Both models improve on the previous version in a number of ways, with a new dual fan design that pulls air under the chassis and out the back—the ports are all on the sides now, where gamers expect them—and HP Fast Charge capabilities and up to 10 hours of battery life.
As you might expect of modern HP computers, both laptops also provide Bang & Olufsen audio. And as gaming PCs, both share aggressive red color schemes, with “Dragon red” backlit keyboards, surprisingly pleasant-feeling palm decks, and attractive black mesh lids. They’re not ridiculously big or heavy for gaming rigs: The 15.6-inch model weighs 4.6 pounds, while the 17.3-inch model comes in at 6.28 pounds, HP says.
The 15.6-inch HP OMEN Laptop will become available July 10 at HP.com and Best Buy and will cost $900 and up. The 17.3-inch version will ship July 10 from HP.com and Best Buy and starts at $980. (The HP.com configurations will start at $1030.)
On he desktop side, HP is introducing the OMEN Desktop, which marries less aggressive looking plastic panels and configurable LED lighting to a stock PC tower case. (It’s the same case used by the outgoing Envy Phoenix.) The big selling point here is virtual reality (VR): The OMEN Desktop is certified for VR, meaning that it meets the processing and graphical needs of modern VR systems like the HTC Vive, which I was able to test during my briefing.
The OMEN desktop is configurable with 6th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, up to 32 GB of RAM, multiple storage options (512 GB SSD and 3 TB HDD, for example), and several video options up to NVIDIA GTX 1080 Founder Edition or AMD Radeon R9 390X. Liquid cooling is optional, and the case is a tool-less design for easy access.
The HP Omen Desktop will ship in August from HP.com in August. No pricing information is available.
Additionally, HP is announcing a 32-inch OMEN Display, which I believe is identical to the 32-inch HP display I’m currently using, save for its dark OMEN styling. It offers a Quad HD (2560 x 1440) resolution and 100 percent sRGB color space for true-to-life color, HP says.
The OMEN Display ships in August from HP.com and select retailers as well.