HP Omen 15 (2019) review: A GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q for under S$4,000
Slimmer is always better
This year's HP Omen 15 is a nice step up from last year's model. For one, it's markedly slimmer, although it could still do with losing a few grams. Build quality, especially in the palm rest area, is generally solid too and the laptop is crammed with plenty of features and I/O options. The screen is a 240Hz G-Sync panel, and it features a Thunderbolt 3 port, an SD card reader, and ample display outputs. Better still, the speakers are also some of the best I've heard on a gaming laptop.
Heat and noise appear in control as well, although battery life is still unfortunately mediocre. The Omen 15 still has a long way to go before it's a leader in terms of portability, but it tries to make up for that with beefy specifications.
However, the laptop still cannot overcome the fact that it ships with a single-channel memory configuration. The impact on gaming performance cannot be overstated. While the Omen 15 may come with a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, it certainly doesn't run like one. In fact, performance is indistinguishable from the GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, save for a few games.
You're effectively rolling the dice here with the Omen 15. Maybe the game you want to play won't be affected, or maybe it will. Put simply, you'll have to get an extra stick of RAM to really unlock the full potential of the Omen 15, which feels like an unreasonable ask, especially when it costs S$3,999.
A GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q notebook at under S$4,000 is pretty attractive (considering Razer's Blade 15 costs nearly as much and and only features a GeForce RTX 2070), but it becomes a lot less so when you realise you have to pay extra for more RAM and install it yourself to unlock the notebook's full potential. Oddly enough, last year's Omen 15 is still listed on HP's website with 9th Gen processors and dual-channel memory, but it seems like the new model only comes in a single-channel configuration. Still, if you're familiar with your hardware and don't mind the extra expense, the Omen 15 remains a decent and relatively 'affordable' choice for a gaming notebook today with top specs. It's just difficult to recommend to someone who doesn't want to do their own upgrades (and they really shouldn't have to).