Which HP gaming laptop is best?

HP is by no means new to the computing or computer gaming industries. In fact, it’s responsible for some innovations throughout history. The 2016 introduction of the HP Omen sub-brand included a gaming laptop equipped with the now-legendary GTX 1080 graphics card and an optional liquid cooling system.

Despite its large presence in the PC world, HP doesn’t currently have much of a reputation for premium gaming laptops. Evaluating their active lineup, though, might have you wondering why. After all, the HP Omen 16-c0035nr, the best HP gaming laptop right now, is relatively affordable considering the impressive hardware inside.

What to know before you buy an HP gaming laptop

The model numbers are confusing

HP doesn’t make a huge range of gaming laptops. Generally speaking, the Omen lineup contains premium models and the Victus family moderately powerful and well-priced options. Meanwhile, the Pavilion class is reserved for the most budget-friendly laptops.

Within those lineups, HP refers to specific models using esoteric strings of numbers and letters. Some of these characters do have meaning. For example, the first two-digit number in each refers to the laptop’s approximate screen size in inches. Overall, though, the model numbers aren’t meant to give consumers a ton of information.

To keep different HP laptop models straight, take a look at the website to ensure you’re looking at the most recent release. One good way to reliably compare similar units is by looking at how recent their central processing units are.

They’re effective for work

They may not be the most portable. Even the lightest still tips the scales at 5 pounds. However, HP gaming laptops can easily double as productivity machines. For example, they all have backlit keyboards, and most have number pads, both of which can make long days and common professional tasks easier. 

They don’t cost a fortune

When you buy an HP laptop, you’re not paying a premium for flashy RGB lights or a popular brand name. Instead, you’ll get a well-engineered laptop with powerful hardware and durable, professional build quality. With HP gaming laptops, all those things come at relatively moderate prices compared to other brands.

What to look for in a quality HP gaming laptop

This section should detail the primary features available in different models of this product, both fundamental features and optional features (upgrades). On average, expect to have three to six features. If there are a few key players synonymous with the product type that cover their key points of differentiation.

Graphics card model

The graphics processing unit lies at the heart of any gaming laptop. Few current gaming laptops feature a mobile AMD Radeon graphics processing unit. The three Nvidia GPUs that most people should consider are the RTX 3050 Ti, 3060 and 3070. Those three will run many advanced, modern games at playable frame rates using low, medium and high graphics settings, respectively.

CPU age

To ensure you’re looking at the most refined HP gaming laptops available, stick to the ones with at least 11th-generation Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 5000-series CPUs or newer ones.

Screen size

HP’s selection is limited to 15- and 16-inch gaming laptops. That doesn’t look like a huge difference on paper. In real life, though, an extra diagonal inch of screen space can make a decent difference. The larger display makes gaming more immersive and your work more convenient and easier to see.

How much you can expect to spend on an HP gaming laptop

HP gaming laptops range from roughly $900-$1,700, which is a bit less than gaming laptops from other brands more known for high-powered and flashy laptops.

HP gaming laptop FAQ

Do HP gaming laptops have a long battery life?

A. Unlike nearly all other gaming laptops, some HP models do offer respectable battery life. Of course, that doesn’t include time spent actively gaming, as a resource-intensive AAA title will drain your battery in a couple of hours.

You’re more likely to get an all-day battery life with the high-end HP Omen laptop lineup, but pay close attention to each model’s specs, as battery life can vary based on other hardware.

Do HP gaming laptops support Windows 11?

A. Yes. All new HP gaming laptops include recent enough CPUs in addition to the Trusted Platform Module chipset that Windows 11 requires. For that matter, your new laptop will almost certainly ship with Windows 11 already installed if you order it directly from HP.

What’s the best HP gaming laptop to buy?

Top HP gaming laptop

HP Omen 16-c0035nr

HP Omen 16-c0035nr

What you need to know: It’s outfitted with an effective combination of components that can run some of today’s most cutting-edge games easily.

What you’ll love: Inside this high-powered model is an AMD Ryzen 7 processor and RTX 3070 GPU, both of which get high marks for portable performance. The screen measures 16.1 inches, and it has a 1080p resolution and 144-hertz refresh rate. The laptop is engineered to avoid using the high-powered graphics chipset when it’s not needed, which leads to a manufacturer’s claimed battery life of roughly nine hours. That’s considerably more than nearly every other gaming laptop.

What you should consider: While it’s not exactly cheap, it’s still relatively economical compared to most gaming laptops. The only other minor gripe is that it weighs over 5 pounds, but once again, it’s not the heaviest option out there.

Where to buy: Sold by HP

Top HP gaming laptop for the money

HP Pavilion 15-ec2097nr

HP Pavilion 15-ec2097nr

What you need to know: It’s part of HP’s entry-level lineup and proves to be one of the least expensive laptops to feature modern gaming hardware.

What you’ll love: While it seems like a small difference, its upgraded Ti variant of the RTX 3050 graphics card marks a considerable improvement to the vanilla version. Otherwise, a powerful Ryzen processor, plenty of system memory and a half-terabyte of solid-state storage make this a capable gaming machine.

What you should consider: You’ll need to temper your expectations in terms of frame rates and visual quality, as the hardware can’t handle the newest games on anywhere near the highest settings. Also, some people find 15-inch laptops a bit too small for a satisfying gaming experience.

Where to buy: Sold by HP

Worth checking out

HP Victus 16-d0097nr

HP Victus 16-d0097nr

What you need to know: This midrange laptop isn’t the absolute cheapest, but it offers stellar performance for the price.

What you’ll love: In light of its 16 gigabytes of RAM, Intel Core i7 central processor and RTX 3060 graphics chipset, it can pump out enough Full HD frames for a smooth gaming experience. It has several advanced technologies that make it great for getting work done in addition to playing games. Things like an HDMI 2.1 output, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and a fast-charging battery make this 16-inch laptop ideal for productivity.

What you should consider: The GPU is highly cost-effective, but it will bog down if you try run new titles at max settings and enable resource-intensive features such as ray tracing.

Where to buy: Sold by HP

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

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