HP Omen X 2S: The Kotaku Australia Review

hp omen x 2s 7wy23pa review

The HP Omen X 2S is the first of a new breed: dual-screen gaming laptops. It's an innovative gimmick but wholly impractical, and the Omen X 2S is much more than a silly gimmick.

Secondary screen aside, the HP Omen X 2S has a lot to offer. I'll get more into the display later, but it's worth noting off the bat that you won't get much practical use out of it. And because the screen is inset at the top of the laptop body, there also are significant sacrifices to the overall design of the machine that need to be addressed.

HP Omen X 2S Specs

HP Omen X 2S

WHAT IS IT?

The world's first dual-screen gaming laptop.

PRICE

Starts at $3,999 (Reviewed at $4,699)

LIKE

Fantastic performance. Sleek design

DON'T LIKE

Useless secondary display. Enormous price tag.

The HP Omen X 2S that we reviewed housed the following specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H CPU @ 2.60GHz
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 w/ Max-Q Design
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Storage: 1TB
  • Main Display: 15.6" Full HD Anti-glare WLED, 144Hz refresh rate
  • Secondary Display: 6" 1080p touch display

HP Omen X 2S Design

hp omen x 2s 7wy23pa review

The Omen X 2S's main feature is the secondary touch-screen display above the keyboard. It's innovative and an interesting addition, but one without much practicality or real-world use.

For the most part, the Omen X 2S is a stylish and sleek laptop. It's got an angular, matte body that looks neat and compact, and it doesn't easily show fingerprints (a very important consideration if you're a a clean freak like me). The shiny metal Omen logo on the lid is also a nice, subtle touch. The hinged lid is smooth and pretty, and the overall design is pretty hot.

Inside, you'll find a fairly non-traditional keyboard layout, one very similar to what ASUS adopted on their Zephyrus and Mothership devices.

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To make room for the screen, the touchpad has been squashed into the right side of the laptop body while the usual palm rest pads have been cut out entirely. In their place, a solid band of rubber is provided with the laptop to comfortably rest your hands on the keyboard.

hp omen x 2s 7wy23pa review

The touchpad positioning takes some getting used to, but it's actually a fantastic change from the norm. Those used to having a separate mouse will find the new hand position very comfortable, and the buttons are also very soft and satisfying.

But the lack of space for your hands around the keyboard is a problem. Trying to use the Omen X 2S with the supplied rubber block works, but its unwieldy and annoying to move around. The rubber isn't high quality and the ends began to fade to a nasty white colour after a few weeks usage.

The keyboard, fortunately, is great with a satisfying bounce. It's not too loud and the spacing is optimal for gaming. While it's hardly the biggest dealbreaker, the font does stick out with its large, cheesy sci-fi letters.

There's a lot going on with the design of the Omen X 2S and mostly, it works. The major issue I had with it is the second screen pushes out the natural resting spot for my hands — and the addition of the second screen isn't useful enough to make the change feel worthy.

HP Omen X 2S Display

hp omen x 2s 7wy23pa review

The main display on the Omen X 2S is a slim, 1080p display with minimal bezels around the screen and a matte finish. This display is consistently crisp, vivid and bright at 300 nits — enough to cut through any glare.

The screen boasts a 144Hz refresh rate which eliminated all screen tear and jaggies for me while I was using it. The main monitor is G-SYNC compatible, and this was on while I gamed, making all the action look smooth and fresh.

Now, the secondary screen. The Omen X 2S has a smaller, 6-inch 1080p touch screen which works in tandem with the main display. You can pull up performance stats, control heat functions, set the colour of the rainbow-lit keyboard and logo, use your own applications, or disable the screen entirely.

It's largely designed for multi-function use while gaming. I used it mainly for Twitter updates to stay in touch with the world while I played, but you can use it for more practical applications like monitor Twitch chats, accessing Discord or keeping track of notifications while streaming. If you do, you might find the screen isn't entirely practical.

It sits flat with the keyboard, meaning that if you're using it in traditional laptop form, you can't see the image on the screen too well. I found myself craning over the laptop and leaning forward to get a better view often — and it certainly doesn't help that it's so small.

A better way to view this screen would be to place the Omen X 2S on a vertical mount and readjust the screen so the secondary display is more in line with your vision, but this is an added inconvenience that takes away from the laptop's portability.

Strangely, the secondary display only takes up a very small part of the space it overtakes. While the glass over the screen stretches the full length of the laptop, the screen only appears in the middle of the space. It feels like a massive waste when the rest of the laptop is squashed below it.

I rarely found myself glancing at the second screen while I used the laptop. It was nice to have it there and keeping an eye on my Twitter feed was occasionally useful, but using a phone instead would be cheaper and far more practical for your eye sight.

That said, you're paying for more than just a second screen. When it comes to other functionality, performance particularly, the HP Omen X 2S delivers.

HP Omen X 2S Benchmarks

The HP Omen X 2S is a terrifying beast. At $4,699, you'd expect high quality performance, and it absolutely delivers in that regard.

hp omen x 2s benchmarks

Benchmarking on the 3D Mark programs came out with fantastic results, and it did just as well in its FPS tests.

hp omen x 2s benchmarks

These tests were conducted with the highest settings available on each game. For Shadow of the Tomb Raider, this meant texture quality was set to Ultra and all optional settings were turned on.

hp omen x 2s review

The games were all benchmarked on NVIDIA driver version 445.75 and multiple benchmarks were conducted and averaged for results.

Throughout my testing, the lowest FPS the laptop benched was 85 on Far Cry 5 with a range of 85-128. The highest FPS the laptop recorded was 164 on Shadow of the Tomb Raider with a range of 85-164. Forza Horizon 4 managed an FPS range of 109-150.

As I went through the tests, there were no notable screen tears or frame rate drops. In the past, I've seen laptops have particular trouble with the market scene in the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark, but the Omen X 2S slipped through it smoothly and beautifully with no issue.

It also had zero trouble running video recording and gameplay simultaneously, with no noticeable drop in performance or lag while I recorded content from Ori and the Will of the Wisps and The Witcher III.

If you want a performance-heavy laptop with all the trimmings, the HP Omen X 2S might be the one for you. You'll need to consider its practicality, though.

HP Omen X 2S Practicality

Being a performance-heavy laptop means portability comes second. I've mentioned the ergonomic issues, but the weight is a major concern too.

The Omen X 2S weighs about 2.4 kilograms. The charger is a hefty brick and adds another few hundred grams to the unit. There's cases and backpacks that will support this weight, but carrying it around isn't ideal. In that regard, the Omen X 2S is better suited for a stationary life.

HP Omen X 2S Price

hp omen x 2s price

In Australia, the Omen X 2S starts at $3,999. The version I reviewed retails for around $4,699. Most of the price is understandable — 1TB storage, a killer RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card and robust CPU.

But. Much of the price is a premium for the new dual screen set-up. If you don't need a smaller, secondary screen, there's better uses for your money.

Should You Buy It?

The Omen X S2 that I reviewed had some deeply envious performance, but you most likely won't need a laptop like this. The second screen is too small and weirdly placed, making it very impractical. Unless you specifically want a laptop and streaming deck in one, there's better, more cost-effective options. Investing in a separate streaming deck, for example, would set you back $229.

Beyond the strange second-screen gimmick, the HP Omen X 2S is a rip-snorter of a laptop. It maintains AAA games at frame rates well into the low triple digits, the main screen is bright and fantastically crisp and games look great on it.

But there's a steep price to pay for this performance, and the second screen doesn't justify the Omen's premium. It exists on a golden upper tier of the gaming market that's seldom touched. Some will want that excess. But for practical purposes, most don't.


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