Reviews - Updated on April 6, 2022

So much has been written about whether laptops are suitable for gaming that it is enough for a collection of works in 10 volumes. And the result of the disputes is the same: the further technology advances, the fewer arguments remain for skeptics. Just five or six years ago, mainstream gaming laptops were noticeably inferior to large PCs in terms of performance, and ultrabooks in terms of comfort of use. In addition, a typical gaming model was a bulky stove with a screen of poor quality and autonomy for half an hour. But now the devices of this class have changed a lot.

The modern production process technology makes it possible to make mobile hardware almost as powerful as desktop hardware, and even place it in a compact package. Looking at such a device from the outside, you can’t even say that it pulls modern hits at maximum speeds. But here another question arises: how to distinguish a gaming laptop from an office one, if both look similar and cost plus or minus the same?

HP OMEN 15: five differences between a gaming laptop and an office laptop

Without taking into account the very low-end models, now you can seriously invest in a machine that will launch Cyberpunk 2077 in decent quality only on YouTube. Because the number on the price tag is not always associated with the features that are useful to the gamer. Let’s look at the example of the current modification of HP OMEN 15, which properties distinguish a gaming laptop from devices with a different purpose. The model 15-en0038ur came to our test with an AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor, an NVIDIA RTX 2060 graphics card, 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD drive and a FullHD display with a refresh rate of 144 Hz.

Design

The appearance of a gaming laptop does not have to be flashy. In this regard, many gaming models differ little from office ones. The class of the new HP OMEN 15 is only reminiscent of large vents and a logo on the lid. The advantages are obvious: you can freely bring a laptop to the office or university and not attract too much attention.

However, by design we mean not only appearance. A gaming laptop is not just components assembled in a compact package. First of all, this is a single system that works like a clock thanks to the fine tuning of all parameters. The mode of operation of the processor and video card, cooling system, power supply – all this is optimized for the gaming load to provide the most comfortable gaming experience. Thanks to proprietary OMEN Gaming Hub software, you can literally control everything with one click: temperature, performance, backlight, cooler speed, CPU and video card load.

HP OMEN 15: five differences between a gaming laptop and an office laptop

In addition, design is convenience. If you, say, need to upgrade – add RAM or a second SSD – just remove the bottom panel. It is worth noting that office laptops may not be upgradeable at all. They have integrated RAM, but there is no free slot for an SSD.

Gamers always need a lot of free ports to connect peripherals. As a rule, manufacturers rarely save on equipping gaming models, and Omen is no exception. The laptop is equipped with three standard USB connectors with a data transfer rate of 5 Gb / s and one Type-C. There are also HDMI 2.0a and Mini DisplayPort video outputs for connecting to an external display. In addition, it is worth noting a gigabit LAN port and an SD card reader.

Other nice bonuses worth mentioning are good speakers from Bang & Olufsen, as well as support for the DTS:X Ultra surround sound format. This will be very useful when immersed in virtual worlds.

Iron

The main difference between a gaming laptop is its filling. After all, there is a difference between simply launching the game and a comfortable frame rate with graphics on high settings. To get the second option, you need powerful hardware: a video card, a processor, a lot of RAM, and an SSD drive is also important. It would seem an elementary truth. But there are still more than enough people who want to squeeze out all the beauties of the third Witcher from purely office systems. Their principle is this: somehow it went – and okay. Although talking about a full-fledged gaming experience in such cases, of course, is not necessary. To understand what is meant by modern equipment, just look at the HP OMEN 15.

HP OMEN 15: five differences between a gaming laptop and an office laptop

This model carries an 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 4800H on board, where H indicates that the processor is a performance solution. In office machines, they mainly put processors with the suffix U, that is, less productive ones with a reduced heat pack. For example, the base frequency of the AMD Ryzen 7 4800U is only 1.8 GHz compared to 2.9 GHz for the Ryzen 7 4800H. For gaming, clock speed is critical, and today 1.8 GHz is very low.

As for the video card, then in a gaming laptop it must be discrete. But even here there are subtleties. For example, for 100,000 rubles you can take an office model with a GeForce MX 350 video card. Despite the fact that it is also discrete, it is unlikely that you will be able to comfortably play new items. Meanwhile, the Omen is made for games – it has an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics adapter installed inside it. This is already a full-fledged gaming video card that supports all the latest technologies such as ray tracing and DLSS. The latter allows you to significantly increase productivity without losing picture quality.

Another important aspect is memory. The HP OMEN 15 has 16GB of DDR4 RAM, which is optimal for any modern game. And not only the amount of RAM plays a role, but also the frequency and mode of operation. In modern gaming laptops, this is given no less attention than other characteristics. In our case, the RAM runs at 3200 MHz in dual-channel mode. For “heavy” games, especially with an open world, this is very important. In office laptops (and in some gaming ones too), memory is often with a lower operating frequency. In addition, office models may run in slower single-channel mode.

HP OMEN 15: five differences between a gaming laptop and an office laptop

A 512 GB SSD is responsible for permanent storage of information. Here, of course, you will say that solid-state drives are now in every second computer. This is true, but there is a nuance. In office models, the SSD is often connected via the SATA interface. At the same time, the speed is low – about 550 MB / s for reading. In HP OMEN 15, as befits a laptop for gamers, the M.2 format drive is connected via the PCI Express bus. The speed of such drives is much higher and is measured in thousands of MB / s. In addition, in the HP OMEN 15, all SSDs are covered with radiators, which means that they will not overheat and slow down under load.

Cooling

To cope with powerful iron, you need an appropriate cooling system. Moreover, it is important not only to prevent overheating of the components, but also to maintain high performance for a long time. After all, gaming sessions can last for hours. In office models, cooling, as a rule, is not designed for such loads and cannot provide normal heat dissipation. The hardware overheats, the operating frequencies drop, and performance drops – the laptop starts to slow down, and comfortable gaming is covered with a copper basin. That is why special attention is paid to cooling in gaming devices.

The OMEN Tempest Cooling system is responsible for cooling in the HP OMEN 15. It includes two modern fans and three rather thick and wide heat pipes. Interestingly, the design uses infrared temperature sensors that complement the data received from the video card and processor. This allows you to optimize the operation of the fans.

HP OMEN 15: five differences between a gaming laptop and an office laptop

Display

The laptop display has a lot of options. But the main ones for a gamer are the type of matrix, refresh rate and response time. Modern laptops are mainly equipped with IPS matrices, which produce a much richer picture and have better viewing angles compared to the already, in fact, outdated TN. Nevertheless, TN is still found in many inexpensive models. However, the game screen requires not only a high-quality picture, but also a high refresh rate and response speed.

In HP OMEN 15, everything is in order with the screen. It has an IPS-matrix with a refresh rate of 144 Hz. Together with AMD FreeSync technology, which eliminates input lag and tearing, the display delivers the smoothest picture possible. Exactly what we usually expect from an AAA project with cutting-edge graphics.

The screen size of the HP OMEN 15 is optimal – 15.6 inches. This is convenient: the laptop can be easily carried in a bag, used anywhere and without breaking your eyes. Full HD resolution with such a diagonal produces a clear picture. In games, you are unlikely to notice a significant difference compared to 4K, but the load on the hardware will be much lower and the frame rate will be higher. For a gamer, this is the gold standard, and higher resolution displays are used mainly for work tasks, such as design or photo editing.

HP OMEN 15: five differences between a gaming laptop and an office laptop

Keyboard

The gaming laptop differs from the office one, including the keyboard. It is easy to notice even at first glance – instead of a digital block in the layout of the HP OMEN 15, full-sized arrows are placed, which are more important for games. Moreover, thanks to the freed up space, the spacebar, one of the main gaming keys, has been increased in size so that it is easy to hit. In addition, the Omena keyboard recognizes up to 26 simultaneous keystrokes, which you will not find in an office laptop. But there are different loads, and here the input device must respond adequately during the most intense matches.

The picture is completed by the backlight, which can be configured separately for four independent zones. By the way, one of these zones is the WASD keys. Thanks to this, they clearly stand out on the keyboard – a trifle, but nice. When typing and working with tables, such frills, of course, are unnecessary, but they will come in handy for controlling virtual characters.

As you can see, a gaming laptop is significantly different from an office one. In fact, these are two completely different devices, each of which has its own requirements. Buying an office model for games is a so-so idea. Here, even the high cost does not guarantee that all games will fly. Therefore, if you want something truly gaming, then with the HP OMEN 15 you definitely will not lose.

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