HP would like you to know that it’s got a new line of gaming products out. Normally I’m not overly concerned with what HP would like, but there’s some pretty cool stuff in there, so let’s play along and pick through the latest offerings from the company formerly known as Hewlett-Packard. There’s five laptops, two new displays, a couple of mice, and a few other goodies to peek at.

Undoubtedly the coolest thing HP just released is the Omen X 2S 15″ gaming laptop. No, your eyes do not deceive you—that is indeed a second screen down there above the keyboard. The 6″-diagonal 1920×1080 capacitive touchscreen appears as a second display to the operating system, and can be used to display whatever the user wants. We suspect it will be used the majority of the time just like in the picture above: to show HP’s Omen Command Center hardware monitoring software.

Half of the underside of the Omen X 2S is vents.

The Omen X 2S itself is pretty remarkable besides the second screen. It’s just ¾” (2cm) thick and yet can pack in a Core i9-9980H, 32GB of DDR4 memory, a 2TB SSD, a GeForce RTX 2080 GPU (in Max-Q flavor), and your choice of 4K UHD or 240 Hz primary displays. The standard configuration is still impressive: a Core i7-9750H CPU mated to 16GB of DDR4 memory, a 256GB SSD, and a GeForce RTX 2070, all powering a 144Hz IPS screen. HP makes much of its use of Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut thermal grease in the assembly, and claims a 28% performance boost as a result.

The Omen 17 laptop is a hefty boy.

The other two Omen laptops launching this week are the simply-named Omen 15 and Omen 17. Unsurprisingly, these are gaming laptops with 15″ and 17″ screens, respectively. HP has fully re-designed these laptops for this refresh and says that they are 20% thinner than their previous versions. The Omen 15 is just ¾” (2cm) thick like the Omen X laptop, while the Omen 17 is predictably a bit thicker at about 1.1″ (2.7cm). HP didn’t offer any hardware specs on these machines aside from that they’ll apparently be available with 240 Hz, 144 Hz, or 4K UHD displays.

A whole litter of Pavilion 15 laptops.

HP’s also launching a refreshed lineup of Pavilion Gaming laptops. To be frank, I’m not completely sure what HP intends with these machines. They appear to be similar (albeit likely lower-spec) to the Omen laptops, so I suppose if you want a gaming laptop without the garish gamer styling, this could be your go-to. HP says they’ll support Core i5 and i7 CPUs along with GeForce GTX 1660 Ti cards, but as with the other Omen laptops the company didn’t provide a datasheet, so that’s all we know.

Not pictured: the immense smugness you get from owning a G-Sync display.

HP already sells a display called the Omen 25, so you could be forgiven for overlooking the “X” between “Omen” and “25” on the new models. These are more than just a refresh, though. These two displays are fundamentally identical, with the difference in the Omen 25 and Omen 25f being that the former supports G-Sync, while the latter uses FreeSync. Let me get the unpleasant part out of the way first: they’re TN panels. Don’t be mistaken, though—these are true 8-bit panels that can accurately represent 100% of the sRGB colorspace. They’re rated for 1000:1 static contrast and the backlight can shine at an eye-searing 400 nits.

The rapid switching speeds of TN LCDs mean that these monitors have a “real” (read: BTW) response time of just 3ms. That’s important, because these displays’ refresh rate tops out at 240 Hz. Even more impressively, both displays can range from 48 to 240 Hz while in variable-refresh mode, although you’ll need to use DisplayPort to achieve that; otherwise, you’ll be limited to boring old 144-Hz. There’s no word on a blur-reduction mode for the FreeSync model—the G-Sync model almost certainly supports ULMB—but at 240-Hz such a thing is a lot less necessary.

Finally, the gaming mice. HP is launching an Omen-branded mouse called the Photon, while a slightly more sedate model is coming with Pavilion Gaming branding. The Pavilion mouse is a pretty standard entry-level wired gaming mouse with five buttons, RGB LED lighting, and a low-end PixArt IR sensor. It has extra buttons on top to toggle through DPI presets and fool with the lighting, and apparently it will be programmable to some degree.

The Photon mouse on the Outpost mousepad. The top, plastic part of the pad has Qi wireless charging.

On the other hand, the Omen Photon mouse is quite interesting for an input device fetishist like myself. HP says the Photon uses a high-end PAW3335 sensor—a close relative of the PMW3360 we all know and love, intended for wireless mice—and that the 11 buttons are fully programmable. More interestingly, the wireless mouse supports Qi charging and uses optical switches for its primary buttons that should be more resistant to fouling than even the high-quality Omrons we find in most mice. Also unusual is that the Photon is ambidextrous. I’ll be interested to put my paws on one of these.

Besides all that new hardware, HP also has a couple of mouse pads—one of which has Qi charging and a USB pass-through port built-in—as well as, apparently, a whole apparel line with Omen branding. Perhaps HP is trying to take a bite out of Razer’s “gamer lifestyle” pie.

Is it discriminatory of me to say that no-one this attractive wants to advertise their gaming PC on their shirt?

The Omen X 2S’s standard configuration will start at $2100—no price given for the Core i9-equipped model—while the Omen 15 and 17 will begin at $1050 and $1100, respectively. The Pavilion Gaming laptops will be a bit cheaper, starting at $800 for the 15″ model and $850 for the 17″ version. The Omen X displays will come in at $550 for the one with G-Sync, and $450 for the FreeSync edition. The Photon wireless mouse will be $130 when it appears, and its matching mousepad with wireless charging will be $100. Meanwhile, the Pavilion Gaming mouse will run you $25. HP says all of this stuff will be available “by June.” 

Read More