HP has been a huge name in the PC space for decades, and has developed a variety of well-known brands, including Pavillion, Spectre, Envy, and OMEN. These brands make up a diverse portfolio of gaming laptops: OMEN X for the hardcore gaming enthusiasts, OMEN for serious gamers who want exceptional performance, and Pavilion Gaming for mainstream gamers who are looking for versatile PCs.
HP recently unveiled some interesting additions to the OMEN line, including the dual-screen OMEN X 2S, as well as improvements to their OMEN 15 and 17 models. We sat down with HP and asked about the big changes they’re making to their portable PC lineup, and what sets their gaming laptops apart.
How does OMEN stand out in the PC gaming space?
OMEN has evolved over time, but it's always had the same core focus on delivering incredible experiences that fuel the future of gaming and enabling the gaming community to perform at their best. OMEN is committed to building a world-class ecosystem, comprised of the world’s best gaming solutions — connecting hardware, software, content, and services. We want to help gamers everywhere continue to improve their skills and have fun playing the games they love, all while building a gaming community where everyone feels welcome.
How does OMEN allow players to tweak and customize their gaming experience?
Since its creation, OMEN Command Center has been designed as the unified hub for managing the gaming experience. One core feature is enhancing performance with tools dedicated to monitoring system vitals, optimizing network capabilities, and controls for overclocking and power distribution. In addition, OMEN Command Center also supports the customization of lightning controls and setting adjustments for a range of devices and accessories, such as the OMEN Sequencer Keyboard, the OMEN Reactor Mouse, and the OMEN Mindframe Headset.
OMEN Command Center recently released a new feature for its laptop portfolio, called Performance Control. With Performance Control in Default Mode, CPU/GPU power and fan speed are balanced for all types of tasks. When a high level of performance isn’t needed, Comfort Mode can be selected to maximize fan speed in order to enjoy a cooled-down system at all times.
Lastly, while in Performance Mode, you can turbo-boost CPU and GPU power more than in Default Mode. While Performance Mode is enabled, OMEN’s Dynamic Power Technology can detect and automatically allocate power between the CPU and GPU, based on current hardware demands of a game. This creates extra headroom, and optimizes in-game FPS, allowing gamers to have the best possible experience. Combined, these powerful additions serve to improve gameplay, while also adding a level of flexibility.
The OMEN Game Stream feature also allows users to harness the power of their OMEN on other Windows* 10 devices to play games on their big screen TV. The inclusion of Android functionality last year adds an entirely new array of devices for gamers to stream their OMEN experience too.
Upgradeability is sometimes a challenge with laptops. How did you address this concern?
We understand the necessity of upgrading and expanding to prolong the life of your gaming purchase, which is why OMEN laptops are designed with single-panel access to memory and storage. All OMEN laptops come with a generous port selection, including USB Type-A, USB Type-C, Thunderbolt™ 3 technology, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, audio jacks, and ethernet to facilitate a variety of accessories and displays.
The OMEN X 2S has a unique dual-screen design. Where did that idea come from?
The OMEN X 2S was inspired by research we’ve done regarding how today’s gamers use their PCs. When you take a look at how they’re interacting with multiple devices, the vast majority of gamers have their mobile phone alongside their gaming machines or are using a second display for multi-tasking.
The gaming community is extremely social and interactive, so they’re constantly using tools like instant messaging services, voice chat programs, or live-streaming platforms.
With this in mind, HP has added an unprecedented second screen to the OMEN X 2S in the form of an easy-to-use six-inch 1080p touchscreen. This makes it easier for players to message friends in apps like Discord and WhatsApp, browse and select music on Spotify, watch Twitch and YouTube1 content, or even serve as a hub for OMEN Command Center software.
What are some other possible uses for the second screen?
The OMEN X 2S shakes the foundation of what’s expected of a gaming laptop, with tremendous multi-tasking capabilities, extended gaming possibilities, and support with dedicated hotkeys to optimize second screen usage.
One of the coolest things is the “Real-Time Screen Mirroring” feature that can cut and magnify part of the main screen, including copying the map portion of a racing game to the second screen, ensuring that vision is centered, and that head movement is more vertical than horizontal. This could also be useful for MOBAs, or games with inventory management, ammo notifications, or health and mana bars.
There are also dedicated buttons to take control of the second screen, including the ability to smoothly switch application windows between the primary and second screens. It also supports drag-down gestures, just like Windows. You even have the option to convert the second screen to a fully functional virtual number pad.
How did you decide on the placement of the second display?
We had this limited 15-inch real estate to work with, and we knew we didn’t want to compromise on portability or performance.
Our designers had to think creatively. We have the secondary screen underneath the keyboard, and that means that we had to push the keyboard forward. At the same time, we didn’t want to sacrifice the touchpad, so we placed the touchpad on the right hand side. The strategic touch placement will prevent less risk of accidental movements or taps during gameplay. We also worked to fit in dedicated left and right click buttons under the touchpad. On the top of the touchpad, we have built in dedicated hotkey buttons for second screen shortcuts. We also designed the buttons so you can toggle between the secondary screen and the main screen.
Let’s talk hardware upgrades. How did you balance performance, power, and cooling?
Portability is very important. Both of these powerhouse laptops are only 20mm thin, but at the same time, performance can’t be compromised. The OMEN 15 and OMEN X 2S both leverage the power of the latest 9th Generation 6 or 8-core Intel® Core™ processor, ranging from Intel® Core™ i5 to i9 processors. We’re also supporting incredible graphics for the latest AAA titles with up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design on both models.
To balance the powerful components in these thin laptops, we created our OMEN Tempest Cooling Technology, an overhauled thermal solution. We added another vent on the right-hand side for three-sided venting that enables five-way airflow to keep things ultra-cool. We also upgraded the power of the fans to 12 volt fan module, whereas the previous generation used 5 volt fans. Both fans are mounted at the rear corners, which helps to improve overall airflow and thermal efficiency. Each fan utilizes a 3-phase motor, which is a more efficient design that requires less power to operate. Additionally, the 3-phase motor can help generate more stable torque than a single-phase motor and provides more consistent fan speed control.
Learn about HP* OMEN gaming laptops here.