Earlier this year, HP rolled out its overhauled, but something was missing: the expandable, overclockable and tunable laptop for the serious player. Well, here it is. The 17-inch Omen X Laptop debuts as HP’s top-of-the-line model, with a modern wedge-shaped design.
In its priciest $3,500 configuration, it comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card and unlocked Intel Core i7-7820HK processor — you can overclock them yourself or buy the laptop with factory overclocking — a 4K UHD G-Sync display (one of the few with a 4K G-Sync laptop panel, I believe), a 2TB solid-state RAID 0 array (2x1TB) for speedier speed and 32GB memory. The system also supports DDR4-2800 and Intel XMP profiles. No eighth-generation Intel CPUs, at least at launch.
For the less ambitious, prices start at $1,999 in a more sedate configuration, with a GTX 1070, Core i7-7700HQ, 120Hz G-Sync TN display and so on. (I don’t have pricing or availability for the UK or Australia, but those prices directly convert to about £2,700/£1,550 and AU$4,400/AU$2,500.) All models are VR ready, of course.
HP doesn’t break any new ground with respect to configuration, design or tunability, but HP’s putting forth a sporting effort to compete with models from its big brand competitors, like Acer’s Predator, Dell’s Alienware and Asus’ ROG.
The Omen X incorporates a dual-fan, vapor-cooled thermal design to handle the heat when you push the components, which pulls air in through the bottom and vents at the sides. That means there’s no optical drive, though. It also offers one-panel access to upgrade storage (SSD and HDD) and memory.
The custom-designed keyboard incorporates all the essentials: mechanical switches with individual (and individually controllable) RGB LEDs, relatively deep 2.5mm travel reinforced with aluminum, n-key rollover on every key and programmable macro keys. It doesn’t look like the touchpad lights up, however. A translucent panel lets you peek at the innards, too.
You can drive up to three external monitors, though only one with G-Sync via the Mini DisplayPort connection — the others connect through USB-C/Thunderbolt and HDMI. Discrete amps help boost the audio.
HP also upgraded its command center software to support all the tuning and customization features, including network traffic management — it doesn’t offer Killer networking — though it still lacks the ability to create game-specific profiles.
At 10.7 lbs/4.9 kg, it’s not unusually heavy for a gaming system its size, but it’s still hefty.