By Adlai Rosh
In my initial review last time, I ran it through the paces really quickly just to see what it could do – and dang, did it do a lot. Every time I thought I could break it or leave it gasping for air, I realized I just wasn’t pushing it hard enough. A few settings changes and it was right as rain, running games at framerates and resolutions alien and unfamiliar to me.
The Omen was every bit the beast I pegged it when I first laid eyes on it. I was so confident that I could find a flaw in it, something in my library it couldn’t run, something I could use as a jumping-off point to talk about its flaws. The HP Omen didn’t run like butter – it ran like liquid gold.
Plugged into a wall socket, the HP Omen packed more punch than most desktop computers I’ve had the pleasure of using. At maximum performance, the rowdy beast purred like a wildcat, its fans working overtime to cool its systems while I pushed it headlong into Overwatch, Satellite Reign, Dota 2, Bayonetta, The Surge, and a host of other games in my library. Each time it ran at framerates I didn’t realize they could run, with my personal favorite being Overwatch clocking nearly 150 frames per second. While this isn’t ludicrously high – some Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players coast around a ludicrous 300 frames per second after all – it’s still far and above the most impressive I’ve seen on a man-portable computer that doesn’t need to be carried in a giant case (I’m looking at you, Predator).
On its own, the audio seems a bit muffled even at full blast. I fiddled around with the settings and managed to get an acceptable loudness, however, and I had a pair of headphones that were more than robust enough to be used for high-stakes gaming. While it’s certainly a negative, it’s by no means a dealbreaker, but it did get a bit annoying for the first few hours while I wondered why all the sounds were so quiet.
Battery life is also impressive, assuming you’re not playing anything at full blast. As anyone with a laptop can tell you, actually trying to game while running on battery power is a silly thing to do. I didn’t mind, of course, since I spent a whole afternoon catching up on work and even finding time to browse while sitting in starbucks all while running on battery power. You could probably get away with playing low-intensity games such as Exapunks (I know I did), but trying to play League of Legends while out in a field is a fantasy you need to let go of.
Do I recommend it? If you have a lot of money to spend and travel a lot, then hell freaking yes. If you’re like me and have been stubbornly putting off upgrading for a couple of years because you play console games, getting your hands on this thing is like taking a sip of ice-cold soda after chugging a bottle of something gross, lukewarm, and flat. It’s like a glass of water in a desert. It’s like having your eyes replaced with hi-definition camera lenses. I may sound like I’m gushing, and it’s because I am – I think I’m going through withdrawal thinking about how amazing it was to use it. And while I’m trying to get over the breakup and saying goodbye to the Omen, I’ll still cherish the memories I made with it.