HP’s Omen 17 gaming laptops have a reputation with us that can be summarized in four words: solid performance. Shockingly affordable.

That’s particularly true for the Omen 17. Is it a looker? Debatable. Is it the best gaming laptop? Definitely not. But HP always manages to cram more hardware than you’d expect under the hood, then sell the Omen 17 way below market rate.

I’m not sure how HP pulls off this bit of wizardry, but it’s made the Omen 17 a hit. And the trend continues, as the 2019 model we’re testing (poetically monikered the 17-cb0040nr) packs in some of the latest and greatest CPUs and GPUs for hundreds of dollars less than the competition.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best gaming laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them. 

Omen 17 features and options

Okay, latest and greatest might be a bit of an overstatement. The Omen 17 we reviewed (available on Amazon) is an mid-tier gaming laptop with an Intel Core i7-9750H, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 250GB NVMe SSD system drive, and a supplemental 1TB HDD.

Of note is the fact that this is a full-size RTX 2070, not the 2070 Max-Q we see in a lot of laptops. We’ll talk more about that later.

HP Omen 17 (2019) IDG / Hayden Dingman

If you move to HP.com, the company’s Omen 17 shopping page offers options for moving up or down a bit in budget. For instance, a model with the same Core i7-9750H, an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti (i.e. no ray-tracing), 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD is $1,300 from HP.com. Swap in an RTX 2080, and the price jumps to $1,930 from HP.com.

Then waaaaay up at the top is HP’s kitchen sink configuration, $2,630 on HP.com. It packs in an 8-core i9-9880H, an RTX 2080 with a 240Hz 1080p display; 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB NVMe SSD. I think the 2070 is a better sweet spot for the price-to-performance balancing act, but if you need to go all out this top-end Omen 17 is a pretty great bargain. The only similarly spec’d machine we’ve seen is the Acer Predator Helios 700 (available on Acer.com), where that hardware would run $4,000.

Design

The Omen 17 is a good-looking laptop. It’s a bit aggressive for my taste, but HP has a way of bringing elegance to its game-centric designs. I admired that ability when reviewing HP’s Mindframe headset (available on HP.com). While I think the Omen 17’s heft works against it, there are still some alluring elements.

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